Kent Armstrong...any good?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by jazzbass1967, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. jazzbass1967

    jazzbass1967 Guest

    Feb 20, 2006
    Lexington, KY
    I'm thinking of having Kent build me a custom pickup. I have never heard his products. How good are they?
  2. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    Very very good custom pickups in my honest opinion.
    Matt R likes this.
  3. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    Kent makes pickups for Ken Smith, Celinder and a whole host of others. He is super easy to work with too.
  4. Skelf


    Apr 15, 2005
    Moffat D&G Scotland
    Builder AC Guitars.
    I use Aaron Armstrong Kent's son for all my pickups,they are excellent.
  5. frootbooty

    frootbooty Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2008
    Las Vegas
    Brian Barrett told me once that Kent Armstrong made some of the best jazz bass pickups you could buy. I recently purchased a set off TB and I must concur. Fantastic
  6. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Keep in mind that the hand made Kent Armstrong pickups are not the same as the Korean made pickups that WD sells.
  7. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    Yes, my judgement is based on custom made ones. I've not tried the WD Music imports.
  8. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Thanks for that clairification; was not blown away by the WD units; sounded OK but not incredible; then again dealer cost is very low
  9. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    Actually, the price of the custom Kent Armstrongs i've had made were still cheaper than Bartolini's. I was considering Bart Quad coils for my Schecter Studio5 and at the urging of Brian Barrett I went with custom Kent Armstrongs. I was wildly impressed with them and pleased with the price to boot. Enough so that i've had a custom Jazz/Musicman set made for another bass and was impressed with those also.
  10. jpalir


    Oct 20, 2008
    I have installed the WD's version in my new custom jazz and.....I can say WOW! I was extremely surprised at the tightness and the tone!
    Matt R likes this.
  11. frootbooty

    frootbooty Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2008
    Las Vegas
    I have tried both Kent Armstrong customs and the WD version. The WD's were decent pickups (athough a bit noisy), but they are nowhere near the custom Armstrongs
  12. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Don't laugh.

    Wishnevsky uses Kent Armstrong pickups in his basses, I can only assume he uses the WD Soapbars. I played a couple of Thunderitter's Wishbasses at a recent DC GTG and was extremely impressed by the tone of those basses. They really sounded like a million bucks!!!!
  13. Their Vintage Hot P bass pickup is fantastic and does exactly what it says. Some real low end thump and good definition on these and they're very cheap. Anyone with a MIM Precision should consider these as replacement pickups and for the price you really can't go wrong.
    Matt R likes this.
  14. chuck1073

    chuck1073 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    Preston, CT
    My Adler came with Kent Armstrongs. Some of the best sounding pups I've used in 30 years of playing. They really reproduce everything the bass has to offer.
  15. mikecd1

    mikecd1 Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2009
    New England
    I put a KA HBMN1 Musicman style pup in my Dan Armstrong AMB1 bass and love it. Unlike the Duncan SMB4D the Armstrong is very consistent all the way up the neck with thick mids, clear highs and growling lows. I use it with the series parallel switch and with 13.5k output, it works well in passive mode. I contacted Kent Armstrong himself about the pickup thinking maybe I'd just have him make me new one and here was his reply:

    Dear Mike this PU looks like one of my Korean ones and to be truthfull it is as good as any thing I can hand make as my partner does a great job !!! I can build you one if you so wish !!!! Kent Armstrong

    I'm okay with that at least for the time being...
    Matt R likes this.
  16. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Just in case anyone was not aware of it... Kent makes Ken Smith's pickups too.
  17. stix_clgi


    Mar 4, 2008
    Accokeek, MD
    After reading all the positive replies, I think I'm going to go ahead and have Brian order me a custom set for my BTB. I'm having an Aguilar OPB-3 preamp installed right now, hopefully the pickups won't take too long to make. Quick question for anyone, how much do KA's normally cost? I was quoted a price, $250. Does that sound right to anyone? (I'm not complaining, I know that some pickups cost way more, I just want to know).

  18. I must concur...had a wish with a KA soap installed...loved the pickup...(didn't love the bass...bass went away last year)

    If I were to do a custom bass, I would seriously consider installing a pair of KA soaps in it. A lot of soaps I've tried had a sorta compressed and middly sound to them...the KA's have a nice even "clean" sound about them.
  19. loopee

    loopee Supporting Member

    May 12, 2009
    Surrey, B.C. Canada
    Were the KA soaps good for blues and rock? What do you think of a P in neck position and a MM in the bridge? Or would the soaps be better?
  20. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    His son Aaron makes replacement pickups for Aria basses. Im very happy with those.