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WD Music's Kent Armstrong Humbuckers- Are these any good?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by RBrownBass, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004

    I know there are at least a couple versions of Kent Armstrong pickups, but I don't know if these are the ones that people have so many good things to say about. How do I know I'm getting the ones he makes (and, I assume, the ones that you see in Carl Thompson's basses) as opposed to the ones made in Asia under his name? Is there a price difference?
  2. kent armstrong are one of the best passive Pu out there... and the price is reasonable too!!!
  3. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    As far as I know the ones WD sells are the Asian made Kent Armstrongs. The people who rave about Kents usually rave about the custom wound ones from Armstrong himself. However, the Asian made Kents do sound pretty good, at least the humbuckers I tried in a couple basses being sold used. They didn't stand out in any special way and make me shout "wow, this is the sound I've been after all my life!" Most pickup swaps I've done have only resulted in a much less dramatic improvement.
  4. rumblethump

    rumblethump Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    Pioneer CA. 95666
    I don't know about his custom wounds, but have heard from many on the list that they some of the finest. My personal experience is with the Asian made MM pu. which can be wired series, parallel, single coil. Mine is installed in the P position and sounds so good that I bought another for back up. This bass can go from 51 P to hot rod HB and all places between. I'm sure the custom wounds in a Carl Thompson will be more expensive.

    My only other experiece with KA pickups is I installed a pickguard loaded with lipsticks in my 80s squire strat. These transformed it back to the 60s. They are low output but really nail the sound I used to get from my 62 strat (vintage).
  5. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Thanks! Keep the replies coming.
  6. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Still looking for anything about this pickup I can find out. Owners?
  7. dblbass

    dblbass Commercial User

    Mar 24, 2007
    Beacon, NY
    Owner of MBJ guitars, Maker of fine sawdust for Carl Thompson Guitars
    I have only possitive things to say about those pups. They sound great work well and are priced well. I also like the MM style pup. (its cheaper too)
  8. gtr_5155


    Jun 30, 2010
    there are NO licensed Kent Armstrong pickups.There are Kent's handmade USA models and those that are produced in Kent's factory. Both versions are wound with the same machines,components,etc.Both versions are distributed by WD Music.
  9. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I have a 4-stringer made by Karl Hoyt that I picked up in a trade a few years ago; it came equipped with a pair of Armstrong soapbars and a Bartolini preamp. I didn't like the sound of the bass at all, nor did people I played with. The bass had bounced around among numerous owners before I got it, and I suspect it's because none of them liked the tone either; otherwise, the thing was (is) drop-dead gorgeous and ergonomically perfect. I eventually replaced the pups with a pair of Nordstrand Big Singles and took out the preamp, and now it's a tone monster.

    That said, I wouldn't be too quick to draw any general conclusions about the pups: This has been my only experience with Armstrongs, and it's entirely possible that they just didn't get along with this particular, and unusual, bass -- which has a chambered cherry body, sandwiched between purpleheart and spalted maple. For all I know, they might sound great in another bass.
  10. warnan


    Mar 1, 2004
    korean made Willows spunky royal series bass use korean made kent armstrong soapbar pickup and europe made kent armstrong MM3 preamp.
    several video clips on youtube.
  11. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    I haven't used the WD music Kent Armstrongs, but I've had customs in two of my basses and absolutely love them.
  12. tubby.twins

    tubby.twins Amateur Pickup Reviewer Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    I bought one of the pickups made by WD music in Kent's name. It sounded pretty good. It is the bridge model of the 4/5 string soapbar. It had a nice tone, good balance of warmth and clarity with a nice treble response. It sounded very nice on a fretless bass.

    Dimensionally it is slightly smaller than the standard "EMG 40" size, so if you're looking to replace an existing pickup you will probably have a gap.

    I also have a pair of Kent's custom made pickups, and they sounded better than the WD music pickup IMO. But still, the cheaper one was a worthy pickup in its own right, and a great buy for the price.

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