I love my JB/Jazz set in my Les Paul Studio, but I had to find out what all the buzz about BKPs are so I purchased a Rebel Yell bridge off of an ss.org'er. I chose the Rebel Yell after watching Nolly's sweet shred video with one, perusing the BKP forums and briefly emailing Tim and Zimbloth.
Cardboard box permanently sealed in double layer of duct tape. I see what you did there.
NOT what I ordered!...
And this is a real Rebel Yell.
Now that the history lesson is over... Basically the Rebel Yell is indeed very similar to a JB. I'd describe it as lower output despite having an Alnico 5 bar magnet and exhibiting a measured and claimed DC resistance of 14.5 K ohm (a new JB is spec'ed at 16.4 K ohm). With the lower output, it seems a bit more clear and chimey, and the upper midrange is a bit more smooth and fluid. This thing begs to scream blues and do balls-out rock chording.
While I was certainly prompted to listen for it, it does seem that the pickup exhibits a lot more in the way of pleasing harmonic overtones than the JB (or any other pickup I've played) does. Chords have a nice cohesive nature to them, while individual notes tend to sing very nicely. I'll admit, I'm not sure if I'm disappointed that the output isn't a bit higher - I've got my Peavey practice amp gain dimed and it's saturated but not as chunky as I'd wish for. It was pretty easy to balance the pup with my Jazz, but it's actually quite a bit closer to the strings. I'll have to plug it into my big rig on Saturday and see how it goes - I'm hoping to get a nice sustaining lead tone.
If I keep it, I'll have to remove the chrome cover. Would appreciate any input on how to do so safely, in addition to info on how that will change the sound. Doesn't jive with mah gold hardware.
EDIT: The clean tones are pretty damn nice - they actually mesh very well with the Jazz neck pickup. Something about the character of the pickup overall matches it quite well.
a) DC Resistance doesn't really translate cleanly to volume or gain, but it can be an indicator. You have to remember that a handwound pickup will have it's own little quirks and foibles. I'd be surprised if the 'claimed' resistance was wrong though, Tim measures them before they go out.
b) The Rebel Yell isn't a particularly high gain pickup and wouldn't have been one of the first five pickups I'd name by BKP to do metal. That said, there versatility is unbridled, and I'm sure it'll surprise you through your big amp. At first I thought my Painkillers were shrill and lacking oomph through my practice combo, but once I ran them in anger through my 6505 you really see where that hi-fidelity and huge detail comes into play. It's like the first time you hear surround sound, or popping your ears after taking off in a plane. Everything just seems so much better.
c) covers can be removed, you'll need to unsolder those two spots between the baseplate and the cover and take it off VERY carefully. Best to heat it up with a hairdrier briefly around the edges in case any wax pulls windings with them. It isn't difficult but it can go wrong, and I'd leave it to a pro.