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View Full Version : Why do so many People Diss EMG Pups?


OldSchool
04-17-2005, 10:48 AM
I see all the time............" I'd Buy it.........but it has EMG's. "


I don't get that. Is it becuase they look different? I've played Guitars that sounded phenomal with EMG's. I think SRV's oringinal Hamelitone had EMG's in it. I've played Arch Tops that kicked ass with them as well as Strats .


They are no different than any other Pup made........they have their own character sure......but I think their only crime is they look different or immediatly get associated with Nu Metal. Ernie Ball should be given Kudos.........they use them all the time.

Cool Pick ups IMO..................and I'm a Blues dude.........:cool:

HHB
04-17-2005, 10:54 AM
I use em every week, just don't talk about em, why fight the tide and get all those " I guess you can't hear the diffrerence " comments

teakwoodbetz
04-17-2005, 11:22 AM
Personally, I like a weak pickup, so EMG's are way, way too hot for my taste. I don't give a damn about how they look.

I do agree though they sound very sweet for what they are.

JPF
04-17-2005, 11:28 AM
I've got EMG SAs in my Stratocaster, and love them for recording and playing live.

Active pups are not everyone's cup of tea - if I wanted vintage sounds I would pass on the EMGs and get some Kinmans, Bare Knuckle, SDs, DiMs, Fenders, etc....

But they wouldn't be as quiet ;)

Mark C
04-17-2005, 11:46 AM
I think they're great for running a lot of effects, but straight into an amp I find them kind of bland sounding.

Rock Fella
04-17-2005, 01:13 PM
zakk gets killer tones with his.

for me , my 8.1k / 7.9 brg and nk voodoo 59 pafs are everything i could wish for in a R9.

OldSchool
04-17-2005, 01:51 PM
Originally posted by Rock Fella
zakk gets killer tones with his.

for me , my 8.1k / 7.9 brg and nk voodoo 59 pafs are everything i could wish for in a R9.

True.........but Have you ever played a Zack Wylde LP striaght into a Fender Twin? I did at Guitar Center and was Floored with what was coming out of the amp. I found myself making it louder and louder until I was asked to chill out.............I was actually considering buying a GC credit card at that point.......I'm glad they talked me down, but I'm telling ya that combo sounded fantasic!!

aleclee
04-17-2005, 02:17 PM
IMO, the frequency response is too flat and the response is too linear. Most everything that guitarists like about tubes is their non-linear behavior. To some extent, EMGs' "hi-fi" reproduction of the strings' vibration detracts from that.

JPF
04-17-2005, 04:06 PM
Originally posted by aleclee
IMO, the frequency response is too flat and the response is too linear. Most everything that guitarists like about tubes is their non-linear behavior. To some extent, EMGs' "hi-fi" reproduction of the strings' vibration detracts from that.

Exactly - they can sound a bit sterile when played straight through a solid state or tube amp, in my case usually a Koch Multitone or a Trace Elliot Velocette, and occasionally a Marshall Bluesbreaker.

But when chaining multiple effects in the signal path, the EMGs help keep things a LOT quieter - which is perhaps why effects-laden guitarists like David Gilmour like them so much.

Add the active EMG mid boost circuitry and you can get them to howl like P90s on steroids, wind it down and raise the active high/low boost circuitry and it's spank city with extra presence and sparkle. In short, they can be quite versatile, and are amazingly so when installed in the EMG DG-20 configuration I have in my Stratocaster.

But they are NOT ever going to sound like a nice set of vintage single coils pups regardless of what they're played through, in my experience. I love that sound as well, and have a seperate stock Strat for that, along with the CU22's positions 9 and 7

Horses for courses.;):dude

aleclee
04-17-2005, 04:15 PM
Originally posted by JPF
Horses for courses.;):dude 'Zactly

OldSchool
04-17-2005, 04:33 PM
Originally posted by JPF
them so much.


But they are NOT ever going to sound like a nice set of vintage single coils pups regardless of what they're played through, in my experience. I love that sound as well, and have a seperate stock Strat for that, along with the CU22's positions 9 and 7




Sounds like you got the basses covered! ;)


They do sound wonderful in thier own right though........:dude

mainsale
04-17-2005, 05:21 PM
I stuck some EMG sa into a Jap Strat I was working on they sounded great! I liked them!

Mark Robinson
04-17-2005, 09:46 PM
I bought a heavy bodied Tele with them already installed, sheesh 15 years ago or so. Used them happily for crushing rock and blues. The tone knob works really well, as does the volume knob, so I really didn't have any of the fall back internet diss problems with them. But when compared to a good P-90, or a Duncan Broadcaster bridge pickup, they did sound very light in midrange. But the tone of those pickups, when full out, cuts through like you wouldn't believe.

They migrated into a Thinline, where they served as major component of a great bar axe. It's such a pleasure having a truly noise-free guitar to fall back on, when the neon beer signs are close.

I eventually wanted more low mid and warmth, didn't think or know about an additional midrange gizmo. I was on a little vintage kick, and just grew tired of thinking about the battery, and took them out. I do like them enough that they are still here in a baggy somewhere. There worth more in utility than I could ever hope to sell them for. So someday, they will match up with a mid-heavy darker sounding Tele sort of guitar, and they will rise again.

Riscchip
04-18-2005, 12:57 AM
I had some in a tele for a while. Sounded great--very Gatton-ish, actually. Not at all sterile. Explosive and glassy with everything cranked, plenty of twang with the volume down a bit, very flexible tone control.

Mr.Hanky
04-18-2005, 05:12 AM
I never met an active pup that I liked.

Occam
04-18-2005, 04:25 PM
The comments above seem pretty genuine but I think a lot of people throw about the "sterile" term with EMG's without actual experience with them. Somebody mentioned linear and I think that's a lot more accurate term. I think of it in the same ways that jazz guys do when the plug into a polytone...it's a very accurate representation of string vibration and that either suits your ear or it doesn't. I rarely use EMG's lately because I've been going for more of a raw sound but even with a pair of 81's I was able to get beautiful clean tones with their EXG preamp which scoops the mids. For death metal it would be my number choice and if I was doing jazz stuff I'd highly consider them as well (or another active).

Marty s Horne
04-19-2005, 11:45 AM
I had a Warmouth strat with EMG SA pickups and a Guild Nightbird with EMG 60s. They are quiet and a great choice for going through multiple effects but being basically a plug into a warm tube amp type guy, I find more warmth and a sweeter tone with a good moderate output passive pickup. There are really no absolutes though, just personal taste.

c_mac
04-20-2005, 08:47 AM
Originally posted by OldSchool
Ernie Ball should be given Kudos.........they use them all the time.


Aside from the Luke model, I am aware of no other guitar that Ernie Ball puts EMGs into.

ChrisP
04-20-2005, 11:18 AM
Originally posted by OldSchool
I see all the time............" I'd Buy it.........but it has EMG's. "


I don't get that. Is it becuase they look different? I've played Guitars that sounded phenomal with EMG's. I think SRV's oringinal Hamelitone had EMG's in it. I've played Arch Tops that kicked ass with them as well as Strats .


They are no different than any other Pup made........they have their own character sure......but I think their only crime is they look different or immediatly get associated with Nu Metal. Ernie Ball should be given Kudos.........they use them all the time.

Cool Pick ups IMO..................and I'm a Blues dude.........:cool:

I don't know...my buddy has a 80s Japanese Strat w/EMGs in it and I think it sounds great. Clean/Dirty whatever.

It's also VERY quiet.

tiptone
04-20-2005, 12:42 PM
I had a set of EMG SAV actives in my swamp ash Strat, they were in it when I got it. I didn't really dig the tone with the mid boost up (it was wired to the bottom tone pot), so I ran with it all the way down all the time. Since that was the 'vintage sound' position I decided to swap them for a 'vintage-style' pickup Fralin Vintage Hots. I'm much happier with the Fralins, the SAVs never sounded _bad_, just not quite what I wanted.

ACDC_TONE
04-22-2005, 09:18 AM
Chalk one vote for EMG actives sounding sterile.

I noticed there isn't enough variation in pick attack with actives. Just not enough elbow room for expression to me. But they seem fine if you just want to do some heavy power chord wank.

TheArchitect
04-22-2005, 09:37 AM
My experience with them has been that they eliminate the guitar from the equation. A squire and a Custom shop sounded way too similar after installing the EMG's where as they were night and day different with a set of Antiquities in them.

That plus the high output really make them a non-starter for me.

JPF
04-22-2005, 11:19 AM
Originally posted by TheArchitect
My experience with them has been that they eliminate the guitar from the equation. A squire and a Custom shop sounded way too similar after installing the EMG's where as they were night and day different with a set of Antiquities in them.

That plus the high output really make them a non-starter for me.

Your observation raises some real questions in my mind, as the luthier I was going to have make my "olive wood special" singlecut guitar is adamant about using active pickups, and indeed has used EMGs and others in over 90% of his guitars, which are very highly regarded here in Spain and with rave reviews.

As I posted above, I do use EMG SAs in one of my guitars, and it suits it perfectly.

Somehow, I cannot wrap my mind around the concept of having a custom guitar with a rather exotic choice of olive wood-capped mahogany "enhanced" by using active pups .
The luthier's arguement is that they provide a high-fidelity sonic picture of what the guitar is doing when played, whereas my biased suspicion is that they would overpower the subtlety of what the guitar is doing... :confused:

I'm rather at a loss, and have the project on hold for now.

ACDC_TONE
04-23-2005, 10:14 AM
There might be the possability that "olive wood" may be really beautiful but not such a great tone wood. That may be the reason he insists on active pickups.


Not trying to put a damper on your dreamy guitar, but I am just throwing out a random idea that you might consider.


I have heard that active pickups tend to mask the natural tone of a wood to varying degrees.

JPF
04-23-2005, 12:01 PM
Originally posted by ACDC_TONE
There might be the possability that "olive wood" may be really beautiful but not such a great tone wood. That may be the reason he insists on active pickups.


Not trying to put a damper on your dreamy guitar, but I am just throwing out a random idea that you might consider.


I have heard that active pickups tend to mask the natural tone of a wood to varying degrees.

I wondered about that too, ACDC_TONE, but the use of olive wood in this case is actually really rare (there's not much of it around, and when available is a couple of centuries old). He's made three guitars out of a couple of hundred using olive wood as a cap, but he does tend to use all sorts of exotic woods which is somewhat his "specialty".

You may be absolutely right about the tonal properties of olive wood - I liked what I heard in one of the ones he made - very bright like maple with more attack.

I'm going to pick his brain some more about why the active pups. Thanks for the reinforcement

;)

Impulse 101
04-24-2005, 09:09 AM
I have 5 guitars loaded with EMG's right now. Out of a total of 12. They range from a PRS CE24 to a POS Warmoth EVH clone. None of them sound the same. They share a certain character but I guarentee that you could hear the difference between my two strats, both of which have the DG20 system (one has an 89R in the bridge, the other an SA)

I use my strats to show people what a guitar set up correctly with EMG's can do, and time and time again I hear them say "EMG's are sterile." and then I prove them wrong.

One thing that does help is to go over to your amp and turn the gain down a bit and readjust your EQ. EMG's do have a wider freq. responce and a bit more output, so it only makes sense that they need diffent settings. And I havn't tried an amp that didn't like them but you might need to cut down a little high end.

I use the EXG and the SPC in most of my guitars and the mid boost is one of the best tools I've had the pleasure of using for driving amps into overdrive. I'm been debating putting one in a pedal along with a PA-2 preamp so I can use it as a booster on passive guitars.

EMG's are great tools. They are different than a vintage style pickups but they sound great and I think that they mix wonderfully with a midrange heavy amp like a Mesa Mk series. They are not perfect for everything but they are very good pups and there is nothing better in a noisey electrical environment.

JT

OldSchool
04-24-2005, 05:24 PM
Originally posted by c_mac
Aside from the Luke model, I am aware of no other guitar that Ernie Ball puts EMGs into.


Yeah.........all the time in Lukes!! ;)

Hamer95USA
06-08-2005, 06:56 AM
Originally posted by JPF

But when chaining multiple effects in the signal path, the EMGs help keep things a LOT quieter - which is perhaps why effects-laden guitarists like David Gilmour like them so much.

Add the active EMG mid boost circuitry and you can get them to howl like P90s on steroids, wind it down and raise the active high/low boost circuitry and it's spank city with extra presence and sparkle. In short, they can be quite versatile, and are amazingly so when installed in the EMG DG-20 configuration I have in my Stratocaster.

But they are NOT ever going to sound like a nice set of vintage single coils pups regardless of what they're played through, in my experience. I love that sound as well, and have a seperate stock Strat for that, along with the CU22's positions 9 and 7

Horses for courses.;):dude

Hey everybody,

I agree with JPF on his opinion. I have installed an EMG DG-20 pickup set on an '84-87 Fender Japan Strat w/ factory installed Kahler Spyder vibrato system. That guitar sounds killer !! I can get the typical Strat sounds without the noise, buzz or thin tone associated with passive single coils. I like using the SPC control on it for mid boost on overdriven leads and I like using the EXG Expander module for lows/highs on the clean tones. It give it more sparkle and bottom end to the Strat. My EMG equipped Strat is a joy to play through in the studio through the mixing board or onstage with my rack rig or Marshall combo amp. The variety of tones I can get from this pickups set makes me happy playing single coil Strats again. I'm glad that I installed these pickups on my humble Fender Japan Strat.

I also have installed a pair of EMG 85 pickups on my '96 Les Paul Custom and installed an 85, SA and 81 in a custom made Strat guitar. Both guitars sound killer and have unique sound of their own. I also have kept the rest of my guitars with passive pickups for tonal comparison as well.

Guitar George

BigDoug1053
06-08-2005, 07:56 AM
Nice discussion! I recently got a Jackson DK27 baritone with EMG HZ pups - at first I was thinking replacement - but the more I listen to the instrument, the better I like their sound. I also have EMGs in 2 of my basses - and they sound great.

Tone from any guitar is going to be a complex issue - almost magical the interaction of your fingers and the complexities of wood, pups, amp. If it speaks to you - go with it! :)

Daddy Elmis
06-08-2005, 06:23 PM
Originally posted by Impulse 101
One thing that does help is to go over to your amp and turn the gain down a bit and readjust your EQ. EMG's do have a wider freq. responce and a bit more output, so it only makes sense that they need diffent settings. And I havn't tried an amp that didn't like them but you might need to cut down a little high end.

I use the EXG and the SPC in most of my guitars and the mid boost is one of the best tools I've had the pleasure of using for driving amps into overdrive. I'm been debating putting one in a pedal along with a PA-2 preamp so I can use it as a booster on passive guitars.

JT

Bingo. I've used the DG20 on my 82 Ash Strat for about 5 years, replacing the stock pups. Yes, the pickups are great when pushed through rack effects, but even just with the FD2 into a PJ or Goblin, they are far from "sterile" if you set the amp properly. And that midboost control is fantastic for leads.

Ben Furman
06-09-2005, 10:14 PM
I think EMG's are great. However, I got tired of having to change the batteries, and I think passive pickups can have better transient response. Bill Lawrence and Kinman pickups are just as quiet but sound sweeter. Of course they don't have the absolute output, so it depends on your situation what you value most. Gilmour sounds great with 'em.

papersoul
10-14-2005, 09:54 PM
The utter clarity and transparency of EMGs is a good thing. You better have a good sounding guitar if yo urun EMGs....

I know a local luthier who uses EMGs in all his guitars because he doesn't want to coloration of passives.

AaeCee
10-14-2005, 10:11 PM
IF you're using multiple effects, including bunches of drive, fuzz, etc., EMGs are great. No noise, powers right through the chain, and who can honestly say they can hear sterility OR warmth through a highly processed or effected set-up? That's why so many hard rockers, who gig with high volume and long chains use them. But if you're playing more intimate venues with a simpler rig, and you need to, and CAN hear your touch, than of course you can find a more expressive combination. As many here have said, there's a purpose for everything (well, almost everything).

papersoul
10-14-2005, 10:25 PM
You want intimacy and expression..clarity.....sensitivity? You won't find better than actives for that! But, most people find the intense clarity, transparency and responsiveness to be come across as sterile. I guess it is all in the end product.

Hey, I still use passives...

NuSkoolTone
10-14-2005, 10:52 PM
I moved away form EMG's becuase I felt they made every guitar sound the "same." It definetly imparts a trademark character on the guitar. That said I DO miss my old Ibanez I had loaded with an SA/SA/81 Set. The Cleans were some of the best I ever heard, but definetly NOT in a fender/blues school kind of way. The 81 had a raw attitude which was cool too. However, I felt like I was playing the pickups and not the guitar. Whenever I hear EMG's, I think "STRYPER." The batteries are a PITA too.

Given this was over 10 years ago and my ears have developed significantly since then, so who knows I might hear them in a different light if I tried them today. It would be hard not too as my setup and style of music I play is much different now, with MUCH less gain.

Why are they dissed? Probably because they were THE de facto metal pickup in the 80's, and lots of folks probably assume spandex is included with the package! :dude

JDouglee
10-14-2005, 11:19 PM
I have a couple Lukes and the same pickup set in a GMW strat.
HUGE difference in sound. The GMW is much "strattier", with more
mids.

Lex Luthier
10-15-2005, 06:17 AM
I used EMG's in almost all my guitars in the 80's. I got sounds I liked from them. But eventually I went back to passive pickups, there is just something about passive pickups I like that active pickups don't give me.

I had a guitar recently with EMGs after being away from them for a long time, again I could get it to sound good, but there was just something missing. They just don't seem as harmonically complex to me, maybe because of the epoxy potting and active circuitry?

What I do like about them is that they are quiet and they don't squeal even at insane volume.

It's like a new car vs. and old car from the 50's or 60's...a new car does everything better than the old car, the old cars are noisy, don't handle as well, not as efficient, but there is something there that can't be had a new car. Fire up a 60's musclecar, nothing made nowdays has that kind of vibe.

Chrome Dinette
10-15-2005, 06:28 AM
I just posted over in the other EMG thread. I have to say that I don't find that EMG's make every guitar sound the same. I have used the 81 in the bridge of a Parker, a Steinberger, a Les Paul, a Squier strat, a Kramer metal neck, a 60's Harmony(or Kay?) single cutaway thing and some Fernandes guitar. There was really a great deal of variation in sound among those guitars.

here is also a good bit of variation in the EMG line. I like the 81 a lot, but don't care for the 85. The 60 and 60a are supposed to be significantly different as well. I think they also make a lower output pickup aimed at jazz guys.

I read some Henry Kaiser interview where he swears the EMG tele neck pickup is the greatest thing ever and he had some made in strat pickup housings.

TechpriesT
10-15-2005, 06:30 AM
Originally posted by OldSchool
I see all the time............" I'd Buy it.........but it has EMG's. "


I don't get that. Is it becuase they look different? I've played Guitars that sounded phenomal with EMG's. I think SRV's oringinal Hamelitone had EMG's in it. I've played Arch Tops that kicked ass with them as well as Strats .


They are no different than any other Pup made........they have their own character sure......but I think their only crime is they look different or immediatly get associated with Nu Metal. Ernie Ball should be given Kudos.........they use them all the time.

Cool Pick ups IMO..................and I'm a Blues dude.........:cool:

I like them enough, but for every application, there are better pickups. Like for metal there is Bill Lawrence and WCR. For jazz, a nice set of goodwoods would kill an emg. As versatile as they may be, there are better pickups for individual jobs.

OldSchool
10-15-2005, 08:42 AM
Originally posted by TechpriesT
I like them enough, but for every application, there are better pickups. Like for metal there is Bill Lawrence and WCR. For jazz, a nice set of goodwoods would kill an emg. As versatile as they may be, there are better pickups for individual jobs.



I guess the same thing can be said about seymour Duncan............but you don't see people NOT buying a guitar equipped with them.............

TechpriesT
10-15-2005, 09:47 AM
Originally posted by OldSchool
I guess the same thing can be said about seymour Duncan............but you don't see people NOT buying a guitar equipped with them.............

True. But to replace EMG's is a hassle you need new pots, to replace seymours you just need the pup.

OldSchool
10-15-2005, 09:57 AM
Originally posted by TechpriesT
True. But to replace EMG's is a hassle you need new pots, to replace seymours you just need the pup.

Most people here do that anyway as soon as they pick up a new guitar............I think that EMG's give off a Modern Glow or Vibe imediately and no matter what the guitar................Oldschoolers just won't have'em. I think thats a shame.

vinni
10-15-2005, 11:14 AM
Had two guitars with EMG 81/85's

Ripped them all out. 'Though they sound different in different guitars the sound is TOO good. Too linear, dynamics are strange..

When you buy a EMG-equipped guitar. You think "Damm....what a sound!"....But it's always the same sound.
When I feel sad I want to sound sad on my guitar. When I feel a million bucks....you get the story.
Not so with EMG's.

Vinni

amstaf
10-15-2005, 02:52 PM
I just think that people often get wraped up into that "ford chevy, duncan/dimarzio" thing. I have emg's in a Hamer Daytona and I think that they sound great. I also have a Warmoth strat with emg's. People have said that my tone was to die for. I guess it depends on the style of music, who you are playing with and what kind of amps are bieng played.

dorfmeister
05-23-2007, 04:45 PM
I am wondering what people think of the touch sensitivity of the emg's. In my rig they seem fairly touch sensitive though I often hear people say they are compressed.

buddastrat
05-23-2007, 10:33 PM
I don't like the way they kind've fizz right at the attack when the pick strikes the strings under gain. I hear it in Gilmour's picking as well as Zack W. A lot of Kirk Hammet's stuff too. They all use EMGs.

They're fun to play at first because the sound is real alive and different, but then I started to notice besides that fizziness under high gain, there's that funny coloring to the sound and it was always there almost like an effect, but you can't turn it off. It's gives the guitar more of an electronic (duh!) sound than a more natural sound to me.

The Eristic
05-23-2007, 11:14 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQty-PzU6BE

Alias Archtop
05-24-2007, 04:46 AM
Emgs are OK...but Seymour Duncan actives are better.

The Duncan actives feel/respond as good as passives and they sound more natural than EMGs. However, the current line of Duncans are noisier than EMGs.

The new Duncan ahb-1 blackouts that are shipping (this month) are reported to be EMG killers. Anybody that wants to play with active pickups but isn't quite sold on EMG should definately check out the new Duncan Blackouts.

alvagoldbook
05-24-2007, 06:32 AM
i'm a straight to the amp, only vintage stuff rocks kind of guy. I hate ceramics almost as much as active pups. I can see active pups on a bass, but that's about it. So, yeh I hate EMGs, but I also don't play metal or anything close.

I've also noticed that a lot of the "metal" guitar companies...Jackson, Chavel, Ibanez, BC Rich, ESP, etc etc etc puts lousy as hell stock pickups in their guitars. Now I'm not saying all guitars made by some of these companies have lousy pups, but many do. Since these guitars are associated with metal or nu metal and EMGs are as well then I think EMGs get a bum rap whether it's deserving or not.

papersoul
05-24-2007, 06:56 AM
It is a misconception that EMG = metal. EMGs are very pure and transparent...very clear! They will sound different in different guitars, period. I have experienced this time and time again. I know custom builders who will only use EMGS! Mostly I see experienced players using the 85 bridge and 60 neck. This will cover jazz to blues to metal.:RoCkIn

buddastrat
05-24-2007, 08:05 AM
? everyone knows that Gilmour likes EMGs and he's not metal!

They do have a certain signature that can be noticed from guitar to guitar (that "electronic" sound). I think passive pickups allow the guitar's individual character to shine more.

Loni Specter
06-10-2007, 11:42 PM
I just picked up a Les Paul studio 1991 with EMGs. Does anone know what model pickups they are? I'm farly certain they came stock on the guitar.
The screws are nicely rusty so I don't want to ruin the crust.
BTW I think it sounds HUGE and great for saturated power chords with no squeel and nice tone, but I needed to roll of the treble on the guitar for the bridge pickup. Very different than any HBs I've got. A usefull tool for certain types of tunes.

JPF
06-11-2007, 02:25 AM
The utter clarity and transparency of EMGs is a good thing. You better have a good sounding guitar if yo urun EMGs....

I know a local luthier who uses EMGs in all his guitars because he doesn't want to coloration of passives.

I think papersoul may have cut right to the chase re. EMGs. There's plenty of room for disagreement, but I strongly believe that an electric guitar's acoustic properties truly determine how the guitar's going to sound when plugged in.

If it's dead, unresponsive and inert when played unplugged, it'll never sound great no matter what pickups you stuff into it.

On the other hand, if it's vibrant, lively, sustains, notes bloom when picked, has no dead spots, etc...then adding the right pickups for your ears will make a great guitar absolutely brilliant.

Active pups like EMGs may be more unforgiving in this respect, and magnify the deficiencies or virtues of any given guitar.

I'm not suggesting that anyone unhappy with EMGs simply has a dead, unresponsive lump of wood instead of a proper guitar - active pups do act differently when compared to passive ones - but I'd be interested in anyone's thoughts in this regard.

urizen
06-11-2007, 06:58 AM
I don' like 'em cuz they EMGs.

urizen
06-11-2007, 06:59 AM
'N I don' like 'em 'cuz they's battery-powered.

urizen
06-11-2007, 07:03 AM
'N I LIKE noise with me single coil pups bein' run into efx, 'cuz THAT'S Old School fer shure ('n I don't like to use many efx anyway), which is why it seems ironic that Old Skool started the thread supporting EMGs.

urizen
06-11-2007, 07:06 AM
JPF, I'll see your "Music is the space between the notes" - Claude Debussy with a "Music is the space between the space" (John Cage), and raise you a "Space is the place" (Sun Ra).

JPF
06-11-2007, 07:12 AM
OK, I'll see you and raise you a question - is there music in space? Reverb?

scottlr
06-11-2007, 08:45 AM
I never tried them before. I like vintage tones. But, having never tried them, I have no idea if I'd like the sound or not. What I don't want is another damn battery to deal with. I assume you have to use a battery for them?

BIGGERSTAFF
06-11-2007, 08:59 AM
They're ok, but don't really do anything for me. Basses don't sound too bad with actives, but I prefer passive pickups in most instances.

BluesRocker
06-11-2007, 10:30 AM
I owned an '88 Showcase Limited Edition 335, #9 of 200. Cream with black hardware, came stock with active EMGs (documentation with the guitar stated that the pickups were installed by Tim Shaw).

This appeared to be Gibson's stab at a hair-band era 335, but the guitar sounded amazing in pretty much any application. Haunting crunch, sizzling power chords and arpeggios that would mesmerize, especially with a little 'verb and delay.

I used it for classic rock and blues; don't think I played '80s metal on it even once.

That said, I now have a '79 335 that looks and sounds completely vintage, since that's more my style. But I sure do miss my Showcase. It was truly one-of-a-kind...

Krystal90
06-11-2007, 12:11 PM
EMG's are a means to an end.
They allow for greater headroom with signal processors running into high gain amps.
They sound best in maximum gain situations.
They clean up nice too, but really aren't ideal for classic rock / lower gain sounds.

For maximum gain and distortion I used Seymour Duncan Metal Live Wires with my rack system.


http://youtube.com/watch?v=iRF-3yG8D30

http://youtube.com/watch?v=eWCTI7HJreE

g.griffith
06-11-2007, 02:27 PM
I used to try EMGs in every guitar back in the day. I always thought it made them sound better, but in reality, it just made it sound better because of the stock pickups of the low quality guitars I used to buy, ha. Pros...Clean signal, higher output, less noise. Cons...you lose the sound of the actual guitar in every case. All you have left is the sound of the pickup. Just my experience.

papersoul
06-11-2007, 09:00 PM
Nah, EMGs still allow the voice of the guitar to come through in each case. I have had them and heard them in various guitars - each guitar retained its distinct voice.

Lucidology
06-12-2007, 12:55 AM
Well, I love EMG's single coils (am not fond of the humbuckers)...
& have the Vince Gill signature set on all my Strat type of guitars ...

Plus, all my Teles have EMG TFs on them...
very sweet Tele sound, yet retains all the qualities & nature of a good tele tone ...

If you want a Tele to totally sparkle & take on a new life,
try a pair of EMG TF's ... you'd be surprised ...

papersoul
06-12-2007, 05:47 AM
If I get another strat I was thinking of a fat strat, with singles ion the middle and neck with an 89(splittable) for the bridge.

If not, it is back to Rio Grande.

Rhomco
06-12-2007, 07:07 AM
They suck sooo bad I want to buy a set of SAV's to give to a guy who plays better than me. Anyone have a set for sale? Paypal ready....seriously, I need another set.
Rob

Lucidology
06-12-2007, 08:02 PM
Ya Know... there's actually a lot of love on this thread
for single coil EMG's ... very cool indeed!

They just have (if I may) a 'bounce' to them,
not found in many passive pickups ...

urizen
06-20-2007, 05:10 PM
OK, I'll see you and raise you a question - is there music in space? Reverb?
Reverb needs a reflecting surface; space is neither bound nor embriared by a barrier.

m.z.
06-20-2007, 05:15 PM
Why do so many People Diss EMG Pups?

they sound like crap? :D

just kidding...sort of. I think they sound bad....you may like them.

different strokes...

nah...they suck.

Flyin' Brian
06-20-2007, 05:23 PM
Interestingly one of the "holy grail tones" people talk about here is Larry Carlton's tone on the Last Night CD.
It's a Valley Arts Strat with EMGs.

uvacom
06-20-2007, 05:48 PM
They suck sooo bad I want to buy a set of SAV's to give to a guy who plays better than me. Anyone have a set for sale? Paypal ready....seriously, I need another set.
Rob

I've got a set of SVs if you'd like 'em. They aren't SAVs (personally I think they're a little nicer) but they're basically the same thing with a quieter preamp and staggered polepieces. PM me if you're interested. :)

uvacom
06-20-2007, 05:54 PM
To answer the OP's question, I really like EMGs. They're quiet and transparent. The only thing that I found about EMGs that didn't suit me was that they don't really work the same as passives in parallel combinations, so you just get a simple summing of signals instead of a change in the LCR network with a shift in the resonant peak and overall frequency response - so those characteristic stratty 2/4 positions just don't sound the same.

I'd still like to put EMGs in another guitar, but I think it'd be more like an 89/SA/60A combination, or something along those lines. It would have to be 3 very distinct sounding pickups so it's worth having multiple pickup combinations, and ideally I'd like to add the EXG/SPC controls as well.

Paul86
06-20-2007, 08:46 PM
I'd like to read your thoughts on the touch-sensitivity issue. How do EMGs compare with passive pu's in this area?
I myself have never really spent quality time with any EMG-equipped guitar, but the fact that they are hi-fi, low-noise pu's doesn't seem to go hand-in-hand with lack of touch-sensitivity, much to contrary! What do you guys who actually owned them have to say on this matter?

uvacom
06-20-2007, 09:02 PM
I'd like to read your thoughts on the touch-sensitivity issue. How do EMGs compare with passive pu's in this area?
I myself have never really spent quality time with any EMG-equipped guitar, but the fact that they are hi-fi, low-noise pu's doesn't seem to go hand-in-hand with lack of touch-sensitivity, much to contrary! What do you guys who actually owned them have to say on this matter?

The only issue I had was that it was easy to overload the preamp *if* the pickup was placed too close to the strings. But there wasn't too much reason to actually do so, this was just out of habit - I'd imagine though, for somebody playing mostly high-gain the EMGs might just sound more compressed - if you can't hear the preamp clipping because you're really distorted anyway, it might seem like a lack of dynamics. Well, it is a lack of dynamics, in a way - but it's easily overcome.

Other than that, the response was pretty much linear in my experience.

Lucidology
06-20-2007, 09:12 PM
Interestingly one of the "holy grail tones" people talk about here
is Larry Carlton's tone on the Last Night CD.
It's a Valley Arts Strat with EMGs.

I know,,,
it seems everyone likes to talk more about the amp
Larry's playing through then the pups on his Valley Arts ...
Larry made a number of CD's using Valley Arts with EMG's,
including a whole album playing a Tele style one with EMG Tele TF's....


originally posted by uvacom

To answer the OP's question, I really like EMGs. They're quiet and transparent.
The only thing that I found about EMGs that didn't suit me
was that they don't really work the same as passives in parallel combinations,...
so those characteristic stratty 2/4 positions just don't sound the same.



Sorry,, I must respectfully disagree with you here... as this may be
your experience~soundwise~(& obviously you've a good knowlege of electronics)
but mine ears happen to hear the total opposite ...

Some of the funkiest in between quack tones of all time
have been made recording Strats equipped with EMGs ..
(just check out all the famous Paul Jackson Jr. grooves
on mega amounts of records. At one time he used a Strat with EMG-S exclusively ...)

Now, I truly agree that you get very little quack, if any from Gilmore DG-20
(maybe that's what you're referring too..) But the EMG-S's reek quack...

I play funk most of the time for my living,
& have found that the Quack quality is superior on EMG-S Strats...
& also with two EMG Tele pickups combined ..(talk about the best spank!!)

uvacom
06-20-2007, 09:40 PM
Lucid: I completely agree, EMGs can quack - I simply said they do not sound the same as passive pickups in parallel. The electronic circuit just does not allow the pickups' parallel inductance to lower the resonant peak. But you still get a lot of complex phase cancellations because of the pickups' relative physical proximity. So they can still quack just fine, but there is a specific quality to parallel pickups that I enjoy, I haven't found in EMGs - yet. I'm not giving up on them completely, I just found that the SV set was not for me.

Lucidology
06-21-2007, 12:22 AM
Lucid: I completely agree, EMGs can quack - I simply said they do not sound the same as passive pickups in parallel. The electronic circuit just does not allow the pickups' parallel inductance to lower the resonant peak. But you still get a lot of complex phase cancellations because of the pickups' relative physical proximity. So they can still quack just fine, but there is a specific quality to parallel pickups that I enjoy, I haven't found in EMGs - yet. I'm not giving up on them completely, I just found that the SV set was not for me.

Ah.. got ya... :BEER

Alias Archtop
06-21-2007, 01:09 AM
EMG's are a means to an end.
They allow for greater headroom with signal processors running into high gain amps.
They sound best in maximum gain situations.
They clean up nice too, but really aren't ideal for classic rock / lower gain sounds.

For maximum gain and distortion I used Seymour Duncan Metal Live Wires with my rack system.



my thoughts exactly

I've got livewire sets in most of my metal guitars right now. But I've still got a few with emg 81/85 sets because Duncan hasn't come out with an active ceramic magnet bridge pickup that cuts as good as the 81 yet.

Can't wait for the blackouts...I think they will be the emg 81/85 killers

dorfmeister
07-26-2007, 02:42 PM
I've got a guitar with an EMG HA Alnico single coil pickup in the neck and an EMG 85 Alnico humbucker in the bridge.

I don't much like the 85 so I am thinking of putting the HA in the bridge and putting an H (Single Coil ceramic active pickup) in the neck.

Has anyone used this combo? The EMG web-site points out that Newman Jones built several guitars for Keith Richards with this combo back in the mid 70's.

Has anyone used a strat or tele that combines ceramic and alnico single coil emg's?

I am figuring putting the H with the HA will give me a greater variety of tones that simply putting in another HA.

I don't like the sound of the 85 so I am not really interested in an 89 either.

Milkman
07-26-2007, 03:22 PM
IMO, the frequency response is too flat and the response is too linear. Most everything that guitarists like about tubes is their non-linear behavior. To some extent, EMGs' "hi-fi" reproduction of the strings' vibration detracts from that.


Ironic. Those are the characteristics I love about EMGs.

Add to that their near silence in terms of hum, the safety that not being grounded to the strings provides and what's not to love?

Hi Fi is bad?

I have only one guitar without EMGs and it's likely only a matter of time.

Milkman
07-26-2007, 03:24 PM
Has anyone used a strat or tele that combines ceramic and alnico single coil emg's?




I use a MIM Tele with a ceramic in the neck and an alnico in the bridge.


Sounds beautiful to me.

Milkman
07-26-2007, 03:26 PM
EMG's are a means to an end.
They allow for greater headroom with signal processors running into high gain amps.
They sound best in maximum gain situations.
They clean up nice too, but really aren't ideal for classic rock / lower gain sounds.

For maximum gain and distortion I used Seymour Duncan Metal Live Wires with my rack system.


http://youtube.com/watch?v=iRF-3yG8D30

http://youtube.com/watch?v=eWCTI7HJreE


Really? A matter of opinion I suppose.

I use EMGs for classic rock all the time and have done so for many years.

I find them ideal for clean to mid level distortion tones.

DonM
07-26-2007, 03:37 PM
heres all that happens in the pup trade,

Vintage is the rule,,

you stray from it a little and your still ok,

you stray from it allot and its LOVE OR HATE

there is no in between,

having worked for Fender Lace Sensors for 5 years I came to understand this all to well...

EMG's obviously have there use as do Lace Sensors, Fenders Noiseless, Kinmans, Bill and Becky Lawrence's, Di Marzios, Bardens..etc,,

But rule of thumb is keep those away from Vintage Nazi's or you get HATE,

Meaning don't march into a Blues Nazi Jam with EMG's..etc.. and a pedal board and expect not to hear several complaints..etc.. chances are you will, just be willing to accept that your EMG's..etc.. have no chance whatsoever of blowing away vintage pups at there own game,.. even with all the state of the art technology we have today.

now on the other hand the use in modern music for the "hum Free" list of pups does factor in.. ESPECIALLY EMG's which seem to have that needed sound for these music types.

I own a set of 81's here -- I got them after playing The Luke Model Ernie Ball guitar at Winter Namm 2007 -- because they did things other pups could not.. I still need to put them in something with a nice floating whammy soon..

DM
PS. remember its always ""LOVE or Hate" theres no middle ground.. its a pretty passionate thing with pups. and no mad scientist or engineer is ever going to have a do-all beat -all end all pup..

Guitarist just need a few guitars -- "ya can't eat just one" LOL

the_Chris
07-26-2007, 05:48 PM
Everybody has their own taste, but I've just found them to be "ok", nothing all that inspiring for my tastes.

I had an EMG-DG20 set that I put in an MIM Fender Strat and I remember hating that guitar. It didn't sound like a good strat and while the different knobs (SPC and EXG I think they were called) could make it thinner or thicker and with different presence, I didn't really care for any of it (just had a very different feel and I guess too much of a "hi-fi" tone - which I don't seem to be alone here). There was something just strident and well "meh" about it. I did like how radically different you could shape the tones, but when you're looking for more traditional strat tones, you realize you should stick with traditional passive Fender single coils.

I had an EMG-ZW set for a little while as well (81/85 set). These are absolutely killer metal pickups, but they pushed the frontend of my amps too hard and I essentially couldn't get any decent cleans out of them, so they had to go. Still, for tight sounding, responsive pickups through high gain they rocked. If I was in a metal or hardcore band, I could easily see those working out.

Lucidology
07-26-2007, 05:54 PM
If you want to hear a recent clip of how cool EMG tele pickups
can sound overdriven on my Melancon T... you can check it out here:

Emoting Melancon T with Lori - The Gear Page (http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=272441)

robelinda2
07-27-2007, 12:57 AM
Great tones Joe!

I owned a EBMM Luke for a few years. i enjoyed the emg's for a while, but i have always liked a bit of noise in my single coils, just not too much. the raw sound of great passive pups is what i like to hear. i dont use many effects, eventually i grew to dislike the Luke's tones, especially when on stage if i switched between my silhouette special and the luke, the silo was wonderfully alive! obviously i need to change amp settings but its not possible sometimes.

cochese
07-27-2007, 12:51 PM
It's been years but I used EMG's in a Strat over the years. The S version, SA and also the RPC and SPC controls. Very versatile. Everyone complains about them but I just think EMG's sound like EMG's. This is not a bad thing. Unfortunately most guitarists seem to like to chase other peoples tones rather than forge their own.

Chasing the vintage sound is a bit foolish (imho) for a multitude of reasons. For most of us this vintage sound probably started with people like Hendrix and Clapton etc and they didn't use vintage gear. They used what was available. Hendrix's Strats were new. If we take the most important part (the player) out of the equation you still can't say it was the old guitars and amps. There were far too many factors responsible for the sounds we all know and love. All of these older recordings were recorded on analog tape, in proper studios with good acoustics by well trained engineers with state of the art (at the time) gear. These guys were being produced by now legendary producers. They used tube mics and preamps, real plate reverbs all class a circuitry and everything was mixed to analog as well.

I doubt if i had a '68 Strat and plugged it into a vintage Marshall and recorded it with an MBox I would be able to capture that much of Hendix's tone. Take "Little Wing" for example. A strat and Marshall will get you in the ballpark but you need the compressor they used on the track to nail it. According to Eddie Kramer a big part of the guitar sound on "All Along The Watchtower" was the studio reverb he ran the guiars through.

Anyway, back to the EMG's. Although I no longer have them I think it's a good idea to have different guitars setup for different uses. Pickup swaps can be a really inexpensive way to get different tones out of similar guitars.

Miles
07-27-2007, 01:50 PM
It's all a matter of taste. EMGs are usually over-hot and sound like honky shit used on anything but heavier gain tones. They sound great for hard rock, but dial 'em down and the character just isn't there. If I really liked a guitar and it had EMGs, I'd still buy it, but I would swap pups.

Milkman
07-27-2007, 02:25 PM
It's all a matter of taste. EMGs are usually over-hot and sound like honky shit used on anything but heavier gain tones. They sound great for hard rock, but dial 'em down and the character just isn't there. If I really liked a guitar and it had EMGs, I'd still buy it, but I would swap pups.



LMAO

What you're saying is that it's all a matter of taste but if you use EMGs for anything other than high gain tones, you have none?


Horse hockey.

EMGs clean up very nicely and work very well with mildly overdriven tones as well. Anyone who can't get good clean and mildly overdriven tones doesn't know how. That doesn't mean others can't.


It's one thing to say you don't like them, it's an entirely different thing to make a statement like "sound like honky shit used on anything but heavier gain tones".

firebrand
07-27-2007, 04:16 PM
I pulled the Select by EMGs that came in my Spirit Steinberger and put these in. All the muscle of EMGs without the batteries! Like MM, I can get all the tones I want. It's simple use of the volume and tone controls. I can even have the guitar "all the way open" and use a clean tone. The response is actually lively! Eventually I will replace the pups in my PRS with these as well. Unfortunately the only thing I know is they are the Ceramic HZs. The guy who had them pulled them out of a Jackson.

dorfmeister
07-28-2007, 09:43 PM
LMAO

What you're saying is that it's all a matter of taste but if you use EMGs for anything other than high gain tones, you have none?


Horse hockey.

EMGs clean up very nicely and work very well with mildly overdriven tones as well. Anyone who can't get good clean and mildly overdriven tones doesn't know how. That doesn't mean others can't.


It's one thing to say you don't like them, it's an entirely different thing to make a statement like "sound like honky shit used on anything but heavier gain tones".

The single coil emg's are not made for high gain tones and are eminently useful for clean tones. I love the HA I have in the neck of my guitar and others have commented as to the clarity and great tone of that pickup.

cube
07-28-2007, 09:55 PM
i prefer passives , they got more dirt too em

funky
07-29-2007, 05:03 AM
I think you have to be a really clean player if you play EMGs. They are unforgiving because of their clarity. I've been playing EMGs in my guitars for more than 20 years. Each time I buy a new axe I try whatever pups it comes with and invariably I end up putting EMGs in it.

I just recently refirbed this Zion. Only thing stock on her is the body, neck, and machine heads. I played her at a gig last night. She sounds great and I play everything from Beatles to Bon Jovi in my cover band. The clean tones from the SAs are crystal and the crunch from the 81 will rip your head off.

http://www.brettfunk.com/images/funky-Whitey-01.jpg

Lucidology
07-29-2007, 05:18 AM
It's all a matter of taste. EMGs are usually over-hot and sound like honky shit used on anything but heavier gain tones. They sound great for hard rock, but dial 'em down and the character just isn't there. .

This might hold some truth with some of the humbucker EMG's...
But not at all with the single coil models...
they are entirely different breed ...

Smü
07-29-2007, 05:33 AM
If the guitar doesn't work, toss EMGs in and everything's fine. I own a cheapo Les Paul copy, that play well but is made of dryboard or something. EMGs in and it works.

papersoul
07-29-2007, 09:09 PM
I think you have to be a really clean player if you play EMGs. They are unforgiving because of their clarity. I've been playing EMGs in my guitars for more than 20 years. Each time I buy a new axe I try whatever pups it comes with and invariably I end up putting EMGs in it.

I just recently refirbed this Zion. Only thing stock on her is the body, neck, and machine heads. I played her at a gig last night. She sounds great and I play everything from Beatles to Bon Jovi in my cover band. The clean tones from the SAs are crystal and the crunch from the 81 will rip your head off.

http://www.brettfunk.com/images/funky-Whitey-01.jpg

EMGs are great...the 85 is very warm in the bridge.

shred-o-holic
07-29-2007, 09:37 PM
EMG's be great.......Duncan Blackouts are great too..

Nolatone Ampworks
07-29-2007, 10:13 PM
zakk gets killer tones with his.

for me , my 8.1k / 7.9 brg and nk voodoo 59 pafs are everything i could wish for in a R9.

Zakk is a killer player, but I'm not a big fan of his tone. That's just me though. I much prefer the tone of dudes who play the olden PAF.

A-Bone
07-29-2007, 10:16 PM
I have heard other people get really good tones from EMGs and other active pick-ups, but speaking only for myself, I have always been underwhelmed with them whenever I tried them (and that is including the much lauded 81s and 85s). I don't know if I can put a finger on it, but these pick-ups seem a bit too even, or hi-fi or something.

papersoul
07-30-2007, 05:34 AM
Nice thing about EMGs is the transparency and purity, although the heat of the pickups can turn some off. I however, never find them too be that hot....just very true and clear. Your guitar and amp better be good because the EMGs will pick up on any bad sounding guitar and amplify exactly what you put into it.

I know there are plenty of guys using EMGs for everything from jazz to metal, especially the 85 and 89, not to mention the singles.

MjCartney
07-30-2007, 06:05 AM
I first heard about EMGs back in the 80s, guys like Knopfler and other totally non-metal guys were hooked on the S and SAs. John Carruthers used to rave about them in his GP articles. I think he might have helped them out on the design of some of the early stuff too, like a beta tester or something.

I like the SAs for their versatility and sonic "roundness". Really brings out the acoustic tone of the guitars I've used them in. I've used them for jazz, rock, country, etc.

Contrary to the hype, the S and SAs are not completely noiseless. They're much quieter than than plain singles, but they still pick up some EMF buzz. The DiMarzio Area series are much quieter in that regard. (I use them too, and really like them.) The EMGs are essentially a single with a preamp, so they have a much lower noise level but still pick up some hum. If stage lights make your Strat buzz now, EMGs probably won't fix that. They do protect you from shocks, which is an overlooked benefit.

If the fact that a few metal guys use them bugs you, just think of Knopfler, Carruthers, Gilmour, Vince Gill, Keith Urban, Lukather, and Prince instead. ;) (I think Jay Graydon used them for a while too, but I'm not sure about that...)

c_mac
07-30-2007, 11:15 AM
If stage lights make your Strat buzz now, EMGs probably won't fix that.

I was under the impression that one of the main reasons Gilmour started using EMG's was due to the fact that they were quiet under stage lights. Maybe I was mistaken.

Smü
07-30-2007, 03:00 PM
I was under the impression that one of the main reasons Gilmour started using EMG's was due to the fact that they were quiet under stage lights. Maybe I was mistaken.

That's the exact reason. Due to the battery, the signal's electrons are too strong/close bound to each oher and come close to a symetric signal coming from a mic.

Bo Faulkner
07-30-2007, 05:28 PM
Vince Gill sure sounds good with them!

MjCartney
08-26-2007, 05:36 PM
That's the exact reason. Due to the battery, the signal's electrons are too strong/close bound to each oher and come close to a symetric signal coming from a mic.

Mine pick up buzz under stage lights. They are definitely much quieter than the stock singles, but not totally silent.

I bought my first set of SAs in 1988, and the last a few years back was a DG20 set. Both sets pick up EMF from lights or other power sources in the places I've played.

Kief
08-26-2007, 06:09 PM
#1 guitar is a warmoth mahogany body, maple/rosewood neck with the Vince Gill set (S pickups and mid boost). It can do anything! Those pickups sound excellent clean and dirty. The 2 and 4 positions are funky, neck pickup jazzy, bridge pickup with the SPC turned up is like a humbucker, middle pickup with the SPC bout half way is the go to lead sound. Love them!

walterw
08-26-2007, 06:48 PM
Contrary to the hype, the S and SAs are not completely noiseless. They're much quieter than than plain singles, but they still pick up some EMF buzz. The DiMarzio Area series are much quieter in that regard. (I use them too, and really like them.) The EMGs are essentially a single with a preamp, so they have a much lower noise level but still pick up some hum. If stage lights make your Strat buzz now, EMGs probably won't fix that. They do protect you from shocks, which is an overlooked benefit.

If the fact that a few metal guys use them bugs you, just think of Knopfler, Carruthers, Gilmour, Vince Gill, Keith Urban, Lukather, and Prince instead. ;) (I think Jay Graydon used them for a while too, but I'm not sure about that...)

actually, all emg singles are in fact stacked humbuckers. a true single-coil with a built-in preamp would be just as noisy as a passive single coil, probably far noisier. one of the tricky things about an 89 is that it switches between a side-by-side bucker and a vertical stack bucker in the same housing.

emg's hook is that they design the coils strictly for their tonal balance, (usually a very under-wound coil for lots of clarity), and then boost and eq it with the preamp to get it up to normal output levels.

a lot of the "sterile" complaints stem from the fact that there is basically no capacitance loss from the cable compared to passive pickups.

(personally, i hate the single-coils, to me they're thin when played straight, artificial-sounding when boosted with an exg or spc control, and tend to mask the guitar's character either way. but just like anything else, i've heard players better than me make them sound good.)

the funny thing is, what hasn't changed in the 12 years that i've been selling them, the emg 81, and to a lesser extent the 85, are by an order of magnitude the most asked-for pickups i stock. i have to explain why a burstbucker 1 or a dimarzio area '58 or a suhr v-60 low-peak has the sound someone is looking for, but usually i just hand the guy the white box with the 81 in it and that's that. no metalhead or aspiring metalhead in southeast virginia wants anything else.

WILLIEKENDRICK
08-26-2007, 07:08 PM
I put an EMG 81 in my Les Paul back when I was a kid (about 17). 20 years later, I'm just not an EMG guy. I think if you run a TON of effects or tour globally (Pink Floyd and Judas Priest come to mind) and you don't want to pick up excessive interference/police radios/etc, EMG's are probably a great choice. They sorely lack character to my ears...what is gold to some is rubbish to others.

forgivenman
09-02-2007, 01:28 AM
I actually had EMG's installed in my Strat a few years ago and bought their version of a midrange boost with it. Now my 2nd tone knob actually functions as the boost level control. Very cool! I've never been anything but completely satisfied with my tone.

Lucidology
09-02-2007, 01:43 AM
#1 guitar is a warmoth mahogany body, maple/rosewood neck with the Vince Gill set (S pickups and mid boost). It can do anything! Those pickups sound excellent clean and dirty. The 2 and 4 positions are funky, neck pickup jazzy, bridge pickup with the SPC turned up is like a humbucker, middle pickup with the SPC bout half way is the go to lead sound. Love them!

I use this same set...
The 2 & 4 positions have much more quack then the DG-20's...
Therefore they work out very well in my musical word of funk & fusion

robelinda2
09-02-2007, 02:07 AM
well ive gone back to the Ernie Ball Luke, i couldnt stay away for long! I actually miss the neck feel of the Luke, its really amazing in your hands. i bought a sunburst Luke new, i figure if i dont like the pickups as expected i'll change them to passive, i really like the guitar that much.

thesteve
09-02-2007, 02:15 AM
A friend of mine has EMGs in his Telecaster...I saw it and thought, "oh this can't be a good idea at all"...then I plugged his Telecaster in his silverface Fender Champ and thought..."oh man...this isn't just great...it's amazing!"

NeoConMan
09-02-2007, 02:23 AM
Very simple for me.
Batteries.

Seriously. No thanks.

I know alot of guys who like EMG's, and Zakk has a cool tone.
I like mild pickups, driven hard if need be, with no effects, straight into a cleanish tube amp..

vinni
09-02-2007, 02:57 AM
Had two guitars with EMG 81/85's

Ripped them all out. 'Though they sound different in different guitars the sound is TOO good. Too linear, dynamics are strange..

When you buy a EMG-equipped guitar. You think "Damm....what a sound!"....But it's always the same sound.
When I feel sad I want to sound sad on my guitar. When I feel a million bucks....you get the story.
Not so with EMG's.

Vinni

Guess what guys.....
Just bought a new guitar....with EMG's ! :crazyguy
It's just another tool.....

Vinni

Lucidology
09-02-2007, 03:12 AM
A friend of mine has EMGs in his Telecaster...I saw it and thought, "oh this can't be a good idea at all"...then I plugged his Telecaster in his silverface Fender Champ and thought..."oh man...this isn't just great...it's amazing!"

Here's a youtube & a studio clip of one my 2 Tele's with EMG's in 'em..
The EMG TF (alnico) Tele pickups are probably some of the best sounding pickups I've ever heard...

Shamelessly Wanking Santana (by request) - The Gear Page (http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=276682)

~Sparks of Lydian~ (Mood Piece) - The Gear Page (http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=281599)

robelinda2
09-02-2007, 03:31 AM
Diggin It Joe!!!!!!!!

IndianScout
09-02-2007, 05:48 AM
I played a strat loaded with EMG/s for about 2 years, we did some recordings when I had this particular guitar..

while it did sound very clean, it was thin and took away alot of the "twang" I'm used to in country music..

here's a song done with the EMG's

http://media.putfile.com/TMB1-96

smorgdonkey
09-02-2007, 08:51 AM
Ok...very long thread...here is my opinion on the EMG pickups:

Many people knock them because of the way they sound...I don't think it's the look that people dislike. That sound is quite distinctive and has many advantages that have been mentioned by previous posters.

I find the biggest thing about them is that they sound the same in every guitar that they are in. The EMGs use a smaller magnet and their internal preamp to get 'the sound' that they are known for. I don't think that it matters as much what the guitar is made out of because the design negates the nuances that wood types and passive pickups combine to achieve.

I have heard EMGs in plywood guitars that sound great ('great' if you like the EMG sound). EMG recommends that the pickup be as close to the string as possible without making contact while playing...so to me the vibrating string is more of the tone equation than in a passive pickup. I've had people say that they can hear the difference with the same model EMGs in two different guitars made of different woods but often it's just that they already know that the woods are different.

I like the sound of them for certain things and I prefer other pickups for other things. I guess the biggest and most important factor on the subject is that if there weren't so many 'tastes' in the world then there wouldn't have to be so many 'flavours' . It would suck in my opinion to only have one model bridge humbucker, one middle H and one neck H, and the same with single coils.

I have a mahogany Les Paul style guitar with EMGs and an alder (I think it's alder) strat style guitar with EMGs. I like them both...but then again I have a bunch of guitars with Seymour Duncan pickups, and I have one or more of 5 or 6 other companies as well. I guess it would be good to note that people's opinions are great to have but never let one person's (or the majority of a group's opinions) make the final decision for you.

dorfmeister
10-06-2007, 04:20 PM
Right now I've got my emg's about as far away from the strings as I can get them and I like the sound better than when I had them up close.

I am thinking of putting a HA Alnico single coil in the bridge of my guitar with a H Ceramic single coil in the neck.

Has anyone used a guitar with the single coil emg's in which you have combined a ceramic magnet single coil with an alnico magnet single coil?

If I don't do that combo I will get another HA to combine with the HA I've already got.

SGNick
10-06-2007, 04:53 PM
I find the biggest thing about them is that they sound the same in every guitar that they are in.

This line alone made me stop taking your post seriously.

smorgdonkey
10-06-2007, 08:36 PM
This line alone made me stop taking your post seriously.
That's ok man...I don't need affirmation from a stranger on the internet. There are many more people who think the same thing. The debate is about as 50/50 as it could possibly get. I've heard them in a lot of guitars and so far I haven't detected much difference...plywood or mahogany...pretty damn close.
Has anyone used a guitar with the single coil emg's in which you have combined a ceramic magnet single coil with an alnico magnet single coil?
I am not 100% on this but I think that because the EMGs use a two stage output jack (often called a stereo jack) that passive and active cannot be mixed. There is an extra connection in the output jack that activates the power of the 9 volt power supply. You could do the 18 volt mod which adds major headroom and thus clarity to the pickups. Super simple and you need not actually modify the guitar at all to do it.

pm me if you'd like the info.

Ben Furman
10-06-2007, 08:38 PM
I find the biggest thing about them is that they sound the same in every guitar that they are in.This line alone made me stop taking your post seriously.

No kidding! You can go back in this very same thread (or look in just about any EMG-related thread) and read almost identical claims. Just because these statements are parroted so often doesn't make them true!

While I do think EMG's have a uniquely flat frequency response, to suggest that this in any way negates the materials and construction of the guitar is utter nonsense. They have a clean preamp to boost the signal of a weak coil. Low-inductance coils are plenty responsive, and the preamp no more dominates the guitar's character than a clean boost pedal does! Admittedly, this all occurs before the cable, so the signal your rig sees is less dependent on other variables.

-Ben

dorfmeister
10-06-2007, 08:56 PM
That's ok man...I don't need affirmation from a stranger on the internet. There are many more people who think the same thing. The debate is about as 50/50 as it could possibly get. I've heard them in a lot of guitars and so far I haven't detected much difference...plywood or mahogany...pretty damn close.

I am not 100% on this but I think that because the EMGs use a two stage output jack (often called a stereo jack) that passive and active cannot be mixed. There is an extra connection in the output jack that activates the power of the 9 volt power supply. You could do the 18 volt mod which adds major headroom and thus clarity to the pickups. Super simple and you need not actually modify the guitar at all to do it.

pm me if you'd like the info.

I'm not planning to mix passive with active. Both the H and the HA are active EMG single coils....it's just that one has a ceramic magnet and the other is alnico.

smorgdonkey
10-06-2007, 09:15 PM
I'm not planning to mix passive with active. Both the H and the HA are active EMG single coils....it's just that one has a ceramic magnet and the other is alnico.
I see...I completely misunderstood. My apologies.

PFCG
10-06-2007, 10:42 PM
i have actives in my alembic, they sounded like shit for a while when i had it strung as a 7 but i modded the electronics a tad and it sounds way better! Just a different resistor on the gain switch and moved the little trim pot a tad. I really like them alot now. Great shit, but i still like passives. I just like guitars... im a dork!

thesteve
10-07-2007, 12:10 AM
I am not 100% on this but I think that because the EMGs use a two stage output jack (often called a stereo jack) that passive and active cannot be mixed. That's correct. They can't be mixed, but they can be both in the same guitar. For example, if you have an LP with a passive in the neck and an active in the bridge, both will work fine on their own (given you used the right pots) but in the middle position (both pickups selected) you'll only get signal from the bridge pickup (the active).

I actually found this thread when I did a google search on the topic
http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?p=3053621

dorfmeister
10-07-2007, 11:43 AM
So has anyone liked the combination of a single coil EMG ceramic pickup in the neck with an alnico EMG single coil in the bridge?

HHB
10-07-2007, 02:11 PM
I've got as new 85's and an 81 FS for the lovers out there, PM me

jads57
10-07-2007, 08:23 PM
I used to have Strats and Tele`s w/ them in all the combinations,3 single , 2singles and a h/b bridge, tele set, 2 h/b`s, both S and SA model, and Vintage polepeice`s mid boost , expander. For recording I really liked The Strat S models great presence and sits in the mix great. The Tele sets were way too bright kind of like Bardens w/out any fullness . However a great local Tele player has used them for years and he sound` s great! Hated there humbuckers, at least for the tone I like( they are very flat sounding ) I think what most guitarists like to hear is more character from their p/ups and that`s why most people don`t play them. But I`m surprised nobody has mentioned Vince Gill strat / . I also think there are better alternatives w/ the newer Kinmans and Dimarzios avalable.

Lucidology
10-08-2007, 04:48 PM
Diggin It Joe!!!!!!!!

Thanks Mate



#1 guitar is a warmoth mahogany body, maple/rosewood neck with the Vince Gill set (S pickups and mid boost). It can do anything!

Those pickups sound excellent clean and dirty.

The 2 and 4 positions are funky, neck pickup jazzy, bridge pickup with the SPC turned up is like a humbucker, middle pickup with the SPC bout half way is the go to lead sound.

Love them!

Love 'em too ... They are my favorite all time Strat pickups ....

Speed_Racer71
10-09-2007, 11:19 AM
im holding of on buying some until they come up with a big recharging craddle i can just sit the guitar down in like a razor or something so i dont hve to buy 9v batteries ever again :dude

clothwiring
10-09-2007, 11:37 AM
Never dissed 'em, just don't go for the tones that they would best compliment. I would like to try the Gilmour set sometime.

Hamer95USA
10-09-2007, 11:42 AM
im holding of on buying some until they come up with a big recharging craddle i can just sit the guitar down in like a razor or something so i dont hve to buy 9v batteries ever again :dude

Hey Speed_Racer71,

If you unplug your guitar cord when the guitar is not being used, an akaline 9 volt battery life for an EMG pickup is 3000 hours. I still have batteries in my guitar for 2 years that I have yet to replace.

Guitar George

dorfmeister
12-19-2007, 08:14 AM
I've got an EMG H (ceramic single coil in humbucker housing) in the neck of my guitar and an HA (alnico single coil in humbucker housing) in the bridge of my guitar and I think this is a great combo. In my guitar (a Schecter with mahogony body and neck and a maple top) the H in the neck is smoother, has really good clarity and more pronounced bass while the HA in the bridge has more midrange and some nice bite.

Anybody else combining EMG ceramic single coils with alnico single coils?

I've seen that the single coil sets that EMG offers usually are all alnico (DG20) or all Ceramic (VG20).

What do you think of the ceramic/alnico single coil emg combination.

One other thing about how I am using the EMG's. EMG recommends putting them close to the strings but I've found I like the sound quite a bit better with the pickups about as far away from the strings as I can get them. Has anyone else found this to be true?

I am also considering installing the SPC-20 control to give a little more variety to the sound. I am not a big fan of the tone of the EMG 85 or 81 humbuckers. Will this just give me a sound more like those?

(I'm expecting that no one will actually respond to this post but instead the usual know nothings will jump in to say "Hey, I've never played an EMG but my brother's neighbor's mother's cousin's wife's nephew's dog, Spike, knows that they are sterile, only good for heavy metal, and/or sound like crap!" Please avoid carpal tunnel and avoid that desire to respond to every single thread on the board!)

dorfmeister
12-19-2007, 03:26 PM
bump

Ken Ho
12-19-2007, 04:46 PM
Hmmm, i have EMG's in two guitars. My ESP ltd Viper 301 mahogany body came with EMG-HZ as standard. I swapped the bridge for an 81, they run OK together, but I did not do the install, so I have no idea if any tweaking is needed.
The other guitar is an ESP KH-2 with 81's front and back, and a FR trem.

The sound of the 2 guitars is quite different. The solid mahogay stoptail is thick and heavier in tone, sounds esp good in dropped tunings. TYhe KH-2 is not as thick, but I think the FR has a lot to do wioth that.

DYnalically, there is plenty of response and no lak of feel and touch. They are ggreat to use with an amp on the verge of overdrive. Play nice and you get great clean tones. Step up the pick attack, and you get nice dynamic OD, what's not to love about that.
I agree you can get this hionky overtone when thrashing on high gain power chords. There are some songs in particular I hear it on, and I can hear it on Metallica recordings as well, is exactly the same place.
I kinda like it, it's a quirky character that in no way detracts. It only happens when you are slamming into the same chord over and again wiht mutes between.

papersoul
12-19-2007, 05:47 PM
I do find it surprising you do not see more pros using EMGs. You see some switching but then they go back to passive. I know George Lynch did just that.

dorfmeister
12-19-2007, 06:26 PM
I do find it surprising you do not see more pros using EMGs. You see some switching but then they go back to passive. I know George Lynch did just that.

Is Gilmour still using the EMG single coils? Not sure.

Larry Carlton, Steve Lukather, Paul Jackson Jr. all have used at one time. Not sure if any of them have them as a first choice now. Mark Knopfler used them at one time but does not any more.

You've got country guys like Keith Urban and Vince Gill and both of them are real gearheads and I think presently using the emg single coils. Both really good players with good tone.

I like the single coil emg's alot. The humbuckers (81/85 at least) have not suited my taste.

Many metal guys are using the humbuckers for high gain stuff but I'm not into that sound at all.

papersoul
12-19-2007, 06:59 PM
Well, I want a fat strat and was thiking of an EMG 89 with two singles. I hear the 89 is great. I was looking at Rios but hate the thought of noise.

However, some noise gets lost in the band mix and stage noise. I remember splitting my McCarty pickups and the noise not being an issue.

captain_bob
12-19-2007, 07:43 PM
Love them, or hate them...the sound of guitars with different pickups such as the EMG is completely subjective. If you like em, use em. If you don't use your beloved PAFS of whatever you like instead. Personally I love the tone I get out of my Les Paul Studio with my Zakk Wyld EMGs going straight into my JCM 900. Contrary, I didn't care for the sound of them through my silverface Bassman. So now you have my 2 cents.

jd_bassman
01-03-2008, 11:45 AM
all this talk of EMGs has spiked my interest

Looking to purchase a set of SL-20 (Lukather EMGs) but dont like the black pearloid

Anyone know where to find a s/s/h pickguard in black with 2 control cutouts for vol/tone (not 3 like most pickguards)?

mcalldp
01-03-2008, 12:38 PM
I had two different EMG setups like this:
SA/SA/89 with the volume knob set to split the 89 and the SPC and EXG controls. They both sounded great. I agree, the in-between postitions are not spot on with single coils.

I later tried a stock David Gilmour assembly but there was a slight hiss/white noise at all times, others have mentioned this before but that was the first set I heard it from, strange. Over-all I like them, they are not what I need right now though but I wouldn't hesitate to pick up some more to try at some time.

Now I am using the Dimarzio area pickups in my strat and like them a lot. Quiet as well.

Crunchyriff
01-03-2008, 05:30 PM
I'm generally not an overall fan of the EMG humbucker sound (and I've owned plenty of them)- I wouldn't call it "my sound"; but IMHO one of the finest examples of humbucking rock tone comes from a TGP member here (IIRC) that has a PRS Singlecut with them, running into a CAE OD-100 watt head. Totally obliterates the stereotypical perceived 'EMG sound'. Just phenomenal.

papersoul
01-03-2008, 07:19 PM
I'm generally not an overall fan of the EMG humbucker sound (and I've owned plenty of them)- I wouldn't call it "my sound"; but IMHO one of the finest examples of humbucking rock tone comes from a TGP member here (IIRC) that has a PRS Singlecut with them, running into a CAE OD-100 watt head. Totally obliterates the stereotypical perceived 'EMG sound'. Just phenomenal.

Is that Mark from the Sam Hill band? I love his tone. I am shocked he is using a singlecut if that is him since he was a diehard LP guy and said he thought the SC was nowhere near as nice sounding as an LP or his LPs. Anyway, people change and sometimes you find the right one but he loves EMGs!

I love WCRs now.

Crunchyriff
01-05-2008, 04:12 PM
Is that Mark from the Sam Hill band? I love his tone. I am shocked he is using a singlecut if that is him since he was a diehard LP guy and said he thought the SC was nowhere near as nice sounding as an LP or his LPs. Anyway, people change and sometimes you find the right one but he loves EMGs!

I love WCRs now.

Could be, but I'm not sure- I can't reacall at the moment. It was what appeared to be a Black Cherry (or some variant of dark red) PRS Singlecut. Just incredible tone. I'd go so far as to say that, at least from what I could hear in those clips, it was one of the best rock humbucking tones I've heard in years... maybe period. It was THAT good, IMHO.

Crunchyriff
01-05-2008, 04:36 PM
Yup is IS Mark. Just checked. Slammin tone. so good that I may have shelved my plans for a Komet//13 setup for a CAE OD-100. Looks like his PRS SC is ruby red.

Man I miss my Black Cherry PRS SHSC.

90wreck
01-05-2008, 06:58 PM
Well, I love EMG's single coils (am not fond of the humbuckers)...
& have the Vince Gill signature set on all my Strat type of guitars ...

Plus, all my Teles have EMG TFs on them...
very sweet Tele sound, yet retains all the qualities & nature of a good tele tone ...

If you want a Tele to totally sparkle & take on a new life,
try a pair of EMG TF's ... you'd be surprised ...
YUP!
Since 86 in a 66 Tele worn to the coils and still rockin'.
I get compliments on my tone all the tme.(I do have the mid boost I use for hard rocking leads only)
Originally to a 62 Bassman rig, then to Matchless amps since 95 or so.
I do have tons of other guitars with out them.
They are all different...But the 66 w/the EMG's and a Keeley comp is hard to beat for a #1 go to.

papersoul
01-06-2008, 08:56 AM
Yes, Mark's tone is great but I have heard others I prefer so it really is personal preference, his is a bit scooped for my tastes but it is awesome. Some guys swear by EMGs for everything!

I have a local small music shop where the owner, a jazz and blues guy puts EMGs in every guitar, single and humbucking. He says nothing is more true and transparent to his ears.

Gary Ladd
01-06-2008, 10:47 AM
FWIW, I'm a hard rock/metal player and I've never liked EMGs because they don't have the dynamic/organic response I crave under all gain situations.

That said, on a whim I picked-up an ESP MH400 baritone with 85n/81b combo w/18v mod that just blows me away everytime I play it.

Tuned to my spec it gets a tone all its own and is much more dynamic/organic than any EMG guitar I've played at normal scale lengths.

Perhaps it's the extra juice create by the baritone vibration...the 85n neck with the Volume down actually pulls off some beautiful pianoesque cleans, the 81n is only good for me with the gain turned up medium or more - Together in parallel the pups are blah ;-)

:JAM

Ben Furman
01-06-2008, 11:23 AM
I suspect it's the 18V config that you like as much as the scale.

-Ben

Treble booster
02-22-2008, 03:58 AM
I find that EMGs have a lot of depth to the tone. I have the David Gilmore set in a strat, and friends always compliment about the tone.
Emg's website states that the telecaster set's neck pickup is the best pickup they make. I have a set on the way to me now. I can't wait. I like that they are noiseless "underdogs" in the pickup world. It's kind of fun getting slammed for having them, and then finding those who hear them compliment the tones.
One thing I don't like about them is the bland appearence. I am thinking of making some custom pickup covers, and trying to paint some covers too. I am just trying to spice up the look.

FLICKOFLASH
02-22-2008, 08:40 AM
think its the whole battery thing

AtomEve
02-22-2008, 12:29 PM
David Gilmour makes them sound incredible! :JAM

prsnstrat
05-16-2008, 11:42 AM
My experience with them has been that they eliminate the guitar from the equation. A squire and a Custom shop sounded way too similar after installing the EMG's where as they were night and day different with a set of Antiquities in them.

That plus the high output really make them a non-starter for me.

This is why you'll see a lot of people put these in partscasters and frankenstrats. Throw these in a squire strat and you've got something you can work with. It's all relative to the application.

echale3
05-16-2008, 01:03 PM
I had an 81/85 setup in a BC Rich Platinum Series Warlock from the early '80s. Killer pickups, crappy guitar.... They'd do a really good clean through all-out metal, but as I progressed, the guitar itself proved to be a real POS... It was OK for flailing away on, but not much more.

I traded it off for a Gibson Faded Flying V, which is much more playable, although I didn't really care for the 496R/500T pickups I had in it. I already fixed that, though...

My MIM Strat has a DG20 setup I got from a TGP listmember, and it's really brought that guitar to life. Great clean tones, and playing with the EXG/SPC controls gives me lots of flexibility. Setting the amp on the edge of breakup gives me really excellent blues tones, and I can get it solidly into metal territory by switching to either of my 2 gain channels (I run a Peavey Triple XXX) and dialing it in....

I like my EMGs. I'm considering taking one of my guitars and modding it with a pair of EMG pickups, AB and Pi2 accessories, maybe more depending on how much room in the guitar I have to stick electonics in.... I'll have to route a spot for the battery in the back of the guitar, though, but that's no problem....

Lucidology
09-02-2011, 12:45 AM
There's really no comparison between the humbucker EMGs & their single coils ...
Totally different sound intentions ...
The Tele Anico T's are really sweet, clear sounding pickups ...
Almost all my Tele's have 'em installed ... & I've got a ton of clips & youtubes to prove it if anyone's curious

JPF
09-02-2011, 03:05 AM
I agree with Lucidology - EMG single coils are an entirely different animal. The SAs that are used in the EMG DG-20 setup are wonderfully alive, and can handle clean through distorted tones with aplomb.

The association of words like "sterile" and "clinical" with EMGs strike me as being a knee-jerk cliché, like "haunting" mids, "organic" tone and "transparent" overdrive pedals. The underlying perception is experienced by a minority of those using the terms, with a majority parroting the terminology into the realm of urban legend.

Either that, or I've got tin ears... ;)

Average Joe
09-02-2011, 03:48 AM
All I know is that I played in an oldies band with a guy that used a ESP LP style with EMGs and he could that thing to jangle, twang and shine straight into a Super Reverb. When I first heard their demos before the audition, I thought I heard a tele. We played clean 90 percent of the time.

Of course, he was a fantastic player, way way out of my league

billy budapest
09-02-2011, 12:05 PM
Hey Speed_Racer71,

If you unplug your guitar cord when the guitar is not being used, an akaline 9 volt battery life for an EMG pickup is 3000 hours. I still have batteries in my guitar for 2 years that I have yet to replace.

Guitar George

I bought a strat that had EMG SAs and had been in a closet since the mid-90s. The battery still worked fine!

V-Type
09-02-2011, 12:29 PM
I dont mind Emg's at all.
I do like passives a lot for mainly their "airyness" but the Emgs can be So articulate and honest its amazing.
I have a Single H active model that is essentially a Sa housed in a Humbucker form and when in the neck and bridge of my LP could almost nail the perfect Strat tone and stupid close too my buds actual 73 USA Standard.
The 81 when dialed down on the guitars volume can cop a much pleasing and less Hot
tone and not unlike some of my favorite classic Paf's.
The Emg 60 is also another quite "warm" passive feeling active and could easily be at home in Jazz,Blues,Country,Metal,etc....
Its that versatile imo.
Again try using the guitars volume and tone controls as with the actives you sometimes getter a wider array of tones.
Theres a reason Emg's are as common as DiMarzio and Duncans for both starter and Pro.

Lucidology
09-02-2011, 02:22 PM
I dont mind Emg's at all.
I do like passives a lot for mainly their "airyness" but the Emgs can be So articulate and honest its amazing.
I have a Single H active model that is essentially a Sa housed in a Humbucker form and when in the neck and bridge of my LP could almost nail the perfect Strat tone and stupid close too my buds actual 73 USA Standard.
The 81 when dialed down on the guitars volume can cop a much pleasing and less Hot
tone and not unlike some of my favorite classic Paf's.
The Emg 60 is also another quite "warm" passive feeling active and could easily be at home in Jazz,Blues,Country,Metal,etc....
Its that versatile imo.
Again try using the guitars volume and tone controls as with the actives you sometimes getter a wider array of tones.
Theres a reason Emg's are as common as DiMarzio and Duncans for both starter and Pro.

For real .. the EMG H is an single coil EMG-S (like the kind of singles Larry Carlton & Vince Gill use) in a humbucker houseing ...

Totally different sounding pickup then any other EMG humbucker
(because it's not a humbucker for one ... lol)

MGSchindel
09-02-2011, 04:53 PM
EMGs record well, and can be pristine (and a bit thin) for cleans, but they sound and feel compressed and too even, and have a bit of a synthetic filler quality to their gain that is always distinguishable, like it or not. You can't dial it out. You can load them in a $6K R9 or bolt them to a hockey stick, and while it will sound a little different, you'll still hear primarily the EMGs' qualities, a homogenized tone, like playing thru a BBE sonic maximizer. I also don't like how their headroom changes when you put in a brand new battery, and as it slowly drains, the headroom and top end change. And forget vintage. Their humbucker models are far from anything like that. Putting an EMG 81 or 85 up against something like a Motor City Detroiter or Black Belt is like a bad joke, revealing the real one-trick-pony nature of the EMGs. It is what it is. The EMGs have a nice distinguishable "sound." The Motor City or other paf style passive bucker, for example, will have true feel and tone, by comparison.

EMGs can be a necessary evil in cases where some folks are using high-gain rigs on different medium to large stages every night in a variety of different venues, where inconsistent power supply, noisy lighting rigging, long runs of guitar cable, and other issues you encounter on any given night can make passives nearly unworkable due to noise problems, feedback, signal losses, radio interference, etc. That is, unless you really have your noise gates, noise suppressors, and other such devices really well sorted out and dialed in, between your amps and pedal board. These issues are what EMGs were really developed to address...the rigors of touring and a solution for the feedback and noise issues during high-volume gigging on stage, where pickups like vintage, unpotted dimarzios and gibsons used to feed back like runaway fire alarms every time you stopped playing.

Then again, EMGs can also be a curse for live use. The stereo jacks they use are pretty cheesy/flimsy, and can crap out or become intermittent. Been there, done that. And there have been plenty of times where a tech left a wireless pack plugged into the out jack of an emg-loaded guitar for a few nights in a row, and in the middle of a set, during an instrument change, hands you a dead guitar.

Batteries are for flashlights.

BobPoomba
09-03-2011, 07:20 AM
I've only seen them on super floyded guitars and that turns me away

Ampegasaur
09-03-2011, 09:35 AM
EMGs record well, and can be pristine (and a bit thin) for cleans, but they sound and feel compressed and too even, and have a bit of a synthetic filler quality to their gain that is always distinguishable, like it or not. You can't dial it out. You can load them in a $6K R9 or bolt them to a hockey stick, and while it will sound a little different, you'll still hear primarily the EMGs' qualities, a homogenized tone, like playing thru a BBE sonic maximizer. I also don't like how their headroom changes when you put in a brand new battery, and as it slowly drains, the headroom and top end change. And forget vintage. Their humbucker models are far from anything like that. Putting an EMG 81 or 85 up against something like a Motor City Detroiter or Black Belt is like a bad joke, revealing the real one-trick-pony nature of the EMGs. It is what it is. The EMGs have a nice distinguishable "sound." The Motor City or other paf style passive bucker, for example, will have true feel and tone, by comparison.

EMGs can be a necessary evil in cases where some folks are using high-gain rigs on different medium to large stages every night in a variety of different venues, where inconsistent power supply, noisy lighting rigging, long runs of guitar cable, and other issues you encounter on any given night can make passives nearly unworkable due to noise problems, feedback, signal losses, radio interference, etc. That is, unless you really have your noise gates, noise suppressors, and other such devices really well sorted out and dialed in, between your amps and pedal board. These issues are what EMGs were really developed to address...the rigors of touring and a solution for the feedback and noise issues during high-volume gigging on stage, where pickups like vintage, unpotted dimarzios and gibsons used to feed back like runaway fire alarms every time you stopped playing.

Then again, EMGs can also be a curse for live use. The stereo jacks they use are pretty cheesy/flimsy, and can crap out or become intermittent. Been there, done that. And there have been plenty of times where a tech left a wireless pack plugged into the out jack of an emg-loaded guitar for a few nights in a row, and in the middle of a set, during an instrument change, hands you a dead guitar.

Batteries are for flashlights.

Ridiculous post. Many, many people have used them all over the world for years. Larry carlton - Last Nite, ALL EMG on that live CD, Vince Gill, David Gilmour, Gary Moore, and the more than can be listed. I use both active and passive, your generalizations are just that.

scolfax
09-03-2011, 09:36 AM
iJZYG5qwHHI

Average Joe
09-03-2011, 02:12 PM
EMGs - the tone robbing bastards

z2nQZPC2uTs

;)

BobPoomba
09-03-2011, 03:53 PM
woa cool clips

hawkeye17
09-04-2011, 01:27 PM
I've played quite a few guitars with EMGs and I just never liked them. There's a dryness to them or something...can't quite explain it.

MGSchindel
09-04-2011, 04:29 PM
Ridiculous post. Many, many people have used them all over the world for years. Larry carlton - Last Nite, ALL EMG on that live CD, Vince Gill, David Gilmour, Gary Moore, and the more than can be listed. I use both active and passive, your generalizations are just that.

So it is ridiculous to state factually that EMGs record well? That they were designed to be a quiet solution to passives for lots of heavy-touring pros all over the world, and for recording? Ridiculous to admit that they depend on batteries and sound different through the life of the battery? Ridiculous to observe that they sound like EMGs and sound like themselves with a distinct character in many different guitars? That they feel compressed compared to passives? What ridiculous nonsense LOL!

The OP asked why lots of people seem to diss EMG's, and the above are simply some of the truthful and practical reasons why SOME people do.

No one said you can't get a good sound out of them, so don't wad yer panties. And of course, you make my point for me, listing all the touring pros that wanted a pristine, even, consistent sound in all sorts of venues all over the world every night for years. Metallica and Slayer use 'em too, all over the world and all over their recordings. In Hetfield's words, "SO What?" They DO still sound just like emgs LOL! Isn't that the POINT of them? Not that that's a BAD sound.

Please DO point out which EMG models sound truly natural and vintage like the better old skool passives, don't feel a bit compressed, and don't experience battery voltage inconsistencies or fragile stereo jacks, so we may all try them out LOL!

Your post that my post is ridiculous, is ridiculous. So THERE! LOL! Isn't it more ridiculous to just generally insinuate that everyone should automatically be an EMG fanboy just because Carlton and Gilmour, and you, use them, and if we think they sound or feel compressed or a bit synthetic, we should be criticized as being ridiculous overgeneralizers? LOL! I like your logic, though!

On point with the thread, how would YOU characerize EMGs as compared to the passives you also use, since you use both? Do you find them quiet at gigs? A little compressed? Record well? Clear sound? Run on batteries? Do they sound more consistently like EMG in different guitars/into different amps, and less vintage, than your favorite passives? Or is that all ridiculous stuff, and way off base? LOL!

I have, like, and use lots of both actives and passives, horses for courses. The fact that Gilmour used 'em won't change my own 25+ years of no-less-valid experiences and opinions of installing, gigging with, and recording with them. So share your experiences and comparisions, so others can agree or disagree, rather than just generically poo-pooing mine LOL!

Cheers!

Paul86
09-04-2011, 05:07 PM
Another ridiculous EMG user, for some time at least, was Buddy Guy. Now, here's a Guy who's totally tone deaf! :nuts:rolleyes::cool::sarcasm
You know what's really ridiculous? It's this fixation we have on pickups / strings / things. Buddy Guy is Buddy Guy no matter what POS he's playing. The same can be said for any pro musician worth his salt.

walterw
09-04-2011, 06:53 PM
wow, nice 3-year bump to a zombie thread!

a big part of the perceived "sterility" of EMGs is the preamp, which can lack a little headroom.

their new "X-series" versions have revamped the guts, with a better, higher-headroom preamp. they're a night-and-day improvement, with more natural dynamics and just plain better tone.

Amplite
09-04-2011, 07:04 PM
Anyone else try the "X-Series??
Please chime in!!

Rockledge
09-04-2011, 08:52 PM
I have the DG SA setup in one strat and an old set of selects I have probably had for 20 years in another, and I like both.
They are far better for recording than for live, but they are pretty good live as well.
One thing about the SAs is that I seem to have more problems finding the sweet spot for pinch harmonics on them than other hot pickups.
I understand why some consider them sterile and lifeless, you gotta have your amp settings especially altered for them, they are quite different than all other pickups.
But the thing the lack is the same thing that they have, which is that the extreme definition between notes you get with them seems to also inhibit some of how they react to your fingers, if that makes sense.
But in general they do a good job.
Also, for some odd reason I notice that wireless systems don't seem to like the SAs too much, I suspect because their output is so high.

tylerfreak
09-04-2011, 08:59 PM
I was a hater until I tried the David Gilmour set...I was totally set straight...those pickups sound great.

Gary Ladd
09-04-2011, 10:10 PM
I was a hater until I tried the David Gilmour set...I was totally set straight...those pickups sound great.

Yeah dood, like totally EMGs in Gilmour's CS sHop sTraT :bonk

http://www.5min.com/Video/David-Gilmour-Signature-Fender-Strat-Review-241272938

Rockledge
09-04-2011, 11:26 PM
Yeah dood, like totally EMGs in Gilmour's CS sHop sTraT :bonk

http://www.5min.com/Video/David-Gilmour-Signature-Fender-Strat-Review-241272938

Have you tried the 18 volt setup? I have considered doing it to mine.

Ampegasaur
09-05-2011, 12:03 AM
So it is ridiculous to state factually that EMGs record well? That they were designed to be a quiet solution to passives for lots of heavy-touring pros all over the world, and for recording? Ridiculous to admit that they depend on batteries and sound different through the life of the battery? Ridiculous to observe that they sound like EMGs and sound like themselves with a distinct character in many different guitars? That they feel compressed compared to passives? What ridiculous nonsense LOL!

The OP asked why lots of people seem to diss EMG's, and the above are simply some of the truthful and practical reasons why SOME people do.

No one said you can't get a good sound out of them, so don't wad yer panties. And of course, you make my point for me, listing all the touring pros that wanted a pristine, even, consistent sound in all sorts of venues all over the world every night for years. Metallica and Slayer use 'em too, all over the world and all over their recordings. In Hetfield's words, "SO What?" They DO still sound just like emgs LOL! Isn't that the POINT of them? Not that that's a BAD sound.

Please DO point out which EMG models sound truly natural and vintage like the better old skool passives, don't feel a bit compressed, and don't experience battery voltage inconsistencies or fragile stereo jacks, so we may all try them out LOL!

Your post that my post is ridiculous, is ridiculous. So THERE! LOL! Isn't it more ridiculous to just generally insinuate that everyone should automatically be an EMG fanboy just because Carlton and Gilmour, and you, use them, and if we think they sound or feel compressed or a bit synthetic, we should be criticized as being ridiculous overgeneralizers? LOL! I like your logic, though!

On point with the thread, how would YOU characerize EMGs as compared to the passives you also use, since you use both? Do you find them quiet at gigs? A little compressed? Record well? Clear sound? Run on batteries? Do they sound more consistently like EMG in different guitars/into different amps, and less vintage, than your favorite passives? Or is that all ridiculous stuff, and way off base? LOL!

I have, like, and use lots of both actives and passives, horses for courses. The fact that Gilmour used 'em won't change my own 25+ years of no-less-valid experiences and opinions of installing, gigging with, and recording with them. So share your experiences and comparisions, so others can agree or disagree, rather than just generically poo-pooing mine LOL!

Cheers!

Again, totally, completely ridiculous.

xntrick
09-05-2011, 12:34 AM
their new "X-series" versions have revamped the guts, with a better, higher-headroom preamp. they're a night-and-day improvement, with more natural dynamics and just plain better tone.

i use the 81X and your description is spot on, versatile pickup with the best of both worlds..i just wish they didn't require a special tone pot and i have not noticed any problems with the jacks...

Ben Furman
09-05-2011, 10:02 AM
Again, totally, completely ridiculous.

I don't think his posts are ridiculous at all - just overstated. The things he is talking about are very, very subtle.

Also, many pickups have a character that shadows the guitars they're mounted in. That's why certain pickups have such a loyal following, because people like the character of them. Other pickups are more transparent, but that doesn't necessarily win them fans.

-Ben

MGSchindel
09-06-2011, 01:11 PM
Again, totally, completely ridiculous.

True, I guess it IS totally, absolutely, completely ridiculous to ask and expect you to share your own comparative experiences with us, and be objective LOL!

MGSchindel
09-06-2011, 01:16 PM
i use the 81X and your description is spot on, versatile pickup with the best of both worlds..i just wish they didn't require a special tone pot and i have not noticed any problems with the jacks...

I'd like to try these out, and wish they came in both solder and solderless kits, rather than just the new solderless stuff. I don't trust those little contact pins to be reliable long-term down here in florida where the humidity is high. I've already seen people reporting that they're digging these units, but I've seen reports of occasional intermittent issues with the installs.

Anyone else have good or bad experiences with the newer X units adn thoughts on the solderless kits?

somedude
09-06-2011, 02:35 PM
I'd like to try these out, and wish they came in both solder and solderless kits, rather than just the new solderless stuff. I don't trust those little contact pins to be reliable long-term down here in florida where the humidity is high. I've already seen people reporting that they're digging these units, but I've seen reports of occasional intermittent issues with the installs.

Anyone else have good or bad experiences with the newer X units adn thoughts on the solderless kits?

I haven't tried the x series, but I did order a solderless kit for a guitar. The plugs are the same kind of jumper connection that's used for the quick disconnect on the back of an EMG pickup. I've never had an EMG pickup randomly disconnect itself, so I have no fear of them slipping off their pins in the pickup buss.

That said, the pickup buss includes soldering pads, so if you want you can clip off the ends and solder them direct to the buss. Why you wouldn't just solder them direct to the pots I don't know... but the option is there if you want it.

My only real complaint is that the patch block takes up too much room. In a large control cavity such as my Les Paul it made it so I couldn't fit a second battery, and I've read it won't actually fit in something like an Explorer cavity.

Rockledge
09-06-2011, 05:32 PM
I would suppose that older players who remember when aftermarket pickups didn't exist are probably much more tolerant of most pickups.
I know I have used very few truly bad pickups over the years.
The only pickups I have used that I found totally useless were Seymour Duncan Invaders. They were all output and midrange, no tone.
But short of that, some of the pickups on even the most inexpensive guitars are damn good.
EMGs are in general extremely good, just not everybodys thing.
I can take them or leave them, but in general, I like them better than many stock pickups. Much better than say Lace Sensors.

buddaman71
09-06-2011, 07:04 PM
I've used EMGs for 20 years. I only use SC pups and the SA and T sets work great for me. Personally I simply found them more neutral rather than "sterile".

I've also played with a great, rich tone in venues with spotty wiring where other players sounded like bees in a can.

Just my preference

somedude
09-06-2011, 08:12 PM
My grandfather lead country band and I remember him having EMGs in his Tele. I remember it because there was a minor panic after he loaded in for a gig and his battery was dead with no spare.

I use EMGs myself but it's for hard rock and metal. I always thought it was weird that country guitarist used EMGs, but in hindsight my Grandfather's Tele never hummed.

Ampegasaur
09-06-2011, 09:33 PM
True, I guess it IS totally, absolutely, completely ridiculous to ask and expect you to share your own comparative experiences with us, and be objective LOL!

I stand by my statement. Way too many generalizations, and untrue statements. Toured, played hundreds of gigs and been all over the United Sates in all kinds of climates. Never had an issue with EMG pickups. To say you do not care for their tone, and they don't work for you is one thing, but that is not really what was said. I do not like Duncan JB pickups at all, but Mustaine, and many others have done just fine with them. I still have a few guitars with them, some with Duncan Blackouts, and some with passive. They all have their place and have good tones. EMG pickups have been used by every genre, on thousands of recordings, and all over the world. Everyone has personal tastes, but to say they are not a good pickup is pretty ridiculous.

Rockledge
09-19-2011, 03:04 PM
I have a strat that I rebuilt and refinished a number of years ago, I wired it with a set of EMG selects I have had for years.
I took that guitar out to a gig Sat night, and man, I am going to start using that guitar more often. I had forgotten how nice those Selects sound.


Has anyone here used the EMG passive pickups that come in LTD guitars? They are EMG LH-300, which from what I can find out are an LTD version of HZ4 pickups.
I am curious what they sound like, I have a pair and am thinking on putting them in something. Knowing in advance what kind of tone they have and how hot they are might help me decide what to put them in.

Deathmonkey
09-19-2011, 04:46 PM
EMGs are like Rectos. Too many people use em to get exactly the same awful sound, completely obliterating the hordes of people that use them to get a whole host of actual great sounds.

If I never hear another overgained, clicky, plastic sounding EMG loaded guitar (usually with 707s) into a 5150, Axe FX, or an Engl, I'd be a happy man. But that doesn't mean all EMGs suck.

Personally, I loathe the damn things. But then, I record a lot of bands who think that plugging an EMG loaded Schecter into a B52 head with the ole 10-0-10 EQ curve is the greatest tone since sliced bread, so I might be a tad biased. There's tons of records I love that have been recorded with them, so I think it's more a case that there's a few of us that reeeeaaaaalllly hate one or two sounds that seem to be common with EMG users, but that says more about those players than EMGs. Players that DON'T get those sounds usually sound pretty bitchin, and that's usually the case with ANY gear, especially if it's popular.

Rockledge
09-19-2011, 05:04 PM
EMGs are like Rectos. Too many people use em to get exactly the same awful sound, completely obliterating the hordes of people that use them to get a whole host of actual great sounds.

If I never hear another overgained, clicky, plastic sounding EMG loaded guitar (usually with 707s) into a 5150, Axe FX, or an Engl, I'd be a happy man. But that doesn't mean all EMGs suck.

Personally, I loathe the damn things. But then, I record a lot of bands who think that plugging an EMG loaded Schecter into a B52 head with the ole 10-0-10 EQ curve is the greatest tone since sliced bread, so I might be a tad biased. There's tons of records I love that have been recorded with them, so I think it's more a case that there's a few of us that reeeeaaaaalllly hate one or two sounds that seem to be common with EMG users, but that says more about those players than EMGs. Players that DON'T get those sounds usually sound pretty bitchin, and that's usually the case with ANY gear, especially if it's popular.


I think perhaps what has happened is that EMG has wrongfully gotten stereotyped as a high output pickup that you use if tone doesn't matter to you and all you want is balls to the wall distortion.
Which is obviosly wrong, but what happens is that you then encounter a lot of guys getting that sound and using EMGs to do so because they consider them a must.
I use the EMG DG setup in a strat, EMG selects in another strat, and I just got a set of humbuckers from an LTD I hope to use.

I don't use much distortion at all, I don't really need it. I play mostly rock era music and some country and am doing music that requires you to actually hear the notes instead of just a wall of grunge.
I can get that sound from the Select and DG setup.
I like pickups that have output as high as you can get without sacrificing tone. EMGs seem to fit that mold pretty well. I drive an amp hard with them to get that ringing sustain and high gain sound without all the fuzz.
Again, they do that well.

I can't say much about the active humbucks, I never used them.

But my point is, I think you encounter this because of the the stereotype that has attracted a certain mindset of approach to tone ( or lack of).
I think you could have said the same about Seymore Duncans back in the 80s when those godawful Invaders were all the rage.

I suspect most of the current EMG stereotype comes from the active humbucks like 81s than the rest of their past and present product line.

Rockledge
09-25-2011, 08:32 PM
Something new to add to this thread.....
I have been systematically taking my guitars out to gigs, going throught them and taking each one a long to a gig to use for at least one set, just to see which ones need what done to them, and which ones I want to swap out the pickups on.
I took my Squier strat with the EMG SA DG setup with me last night to a gig, and ended up playing it all night. I had forgotten exactly how nice those pickups sound.
They have all the strat quack only with a lot hotter gain.
I will be using that guitar a lot more often.

dspellman
09-25-2011, 09:20 PM
I see all the time............" I'd Buy it.........but it has EMG's. "


I don't get that. Is it becuase they look different?


They are no different than any other Pup made........

What is it with thread titles that include a statement that's assumed true (by the poster) but which requires a bit of proof? I haven't seen "so many People (that) Diss EMG Pups."

There are more obvious material differences between EMGs and other pickups -- for starters, you need a battery to run them. True of any active pickups and any active preamp and any active boost, whether for piezo or other. You have to make a conscious decision about whether or not you want to futz with batteries needing replacement. EMGs in particular have found themselves in purpose-built guitars, and there's very little market for them outside of that purpose.

Looks are the least of the issues; I have a set of Bartolinis from the '70's that have black covers. As it happens, these are also active pickups, but aren't designed for metal at all. I just had a guitar on a trial basis that had Kent Armstrong PAF0's -- they were sweet, almost jazzy pickups and they had black covers. Carvin makes black covers for some of its pickups. Gibson made black covers for some models of the L6S guitars. And so on. Those of us who've been around guitars for a while have seen plenty of black covered pickups and do NOT automatically assume that a guitar is "metal" and has EMGs because the covers are black.

Fenderkid67
09-25-2011, 09:42 PM
I love my emg t set, it sounds great, I like to think I get damn good tone with em, recorded a band that used single coils and it scared me how much hum coming from my amps....

Rockledge
09-25-2011, 09:50 PM
What is it with thread titles that include a statement that's assumed true (by the poster) but which requires a bit of proof? I haven't seen "so many People (that) Diss EMG Pups."

There are more obvious material differences between EMGs and other pickups -- for starters, you need a battery to run them. True of any active pickups and any active preamp and any active boost, whether for piezo or other. You have to make a conscious decision about whether or not you want to futz with batteries needing replacement. EMGs in particular have found themselves in purpose-built guitars, and there's very little market for them outside of that purpose.

Looks are the least of the issues; I have a set of Bartolinis from the '70's that have black covers. As it happens, these are also active pickups, but aren't designed for metal at all. I just had a guitar on a trial basis that had Kent Armstrong PAF0's -- they were sweet, almost jazzy pickups and they had black covers. Carvin makes black covers for some of its pickups. Gibson made black covers for some models of the L6S guitars. And so on. Those of us who've been around guitars for a while have seen plenty of black covered pickups and do NOT automatically assume that a guitar is "metal" and has EMGs because the covers are black.

Not all EMGs are active, their passive pickups are good old standbys that when first introduced were a great alternative to stock pickups. The original selects were quite popular and did what they were intended to do quite well.

nofearfactor
09-25-2011, 11:25 PM
I play metal and industrial/metal. Been using EMG 81s in all of my guitars since the 90s and plan on using them into the future. You dont like em thats your business, some of us do.

dspellman
09-26-2011, 01:20 AM
Not all EMGs are active, their passive pickups are good old standbys that when first introduced were a great alternative to stock pickups. The original selects were quite popular and did what they were intended to do quite well.

I've seen some passive EMGs, but I'm guessing EMG doesn't rank them among its biggest sellers. BTW, I'm under the impression that Selects, while designed by EMG, were actually intended to be manufactured abroad under license, much like the "Duncan Design" pickups that showed up on less expensive Korean guitars by companies like Samick. Is that not true?

partsocaster
09-26-2011, 02:30 AM
Personally, I like a weak pickup, so EMG's are way, way too hot for my taste. I don't give a damn about how they look.

I do agree though they sound very sweet for what they are.

This is my take on EMGs as well, plus I get pissed when I forget to unplug my guitar and the damn the chews through an alkaline overnight.

I prefer a PAF output level, maybe just slightly hotter, like a Duncan 59.

scaryfoot
09-26-2011, 04:05 AM
I don't think I would like to have EMG humbuckers, but single coils are a different story. Seeing and hearing Larry Carlton playing a Valley Arts strat with EMG's made my mouth water.

papersoul
09-26-2011, 07:56 AM
EMGs are fine...not sure why people diss them.

440gtx6pak
09-26-2011, 11:20 AM
For active, I like their singe coils more than the humbuckers.


I don't think their humbuckers are 'bad', just a lot brighter than most others. That is why they get called sterile. They are ok if I re-EQ my amp's settings just for them.

Dred/Fryer
09-26-2011, 11:23 AM
I had a set of the Lukather EMG's, and they sounded pretty damn good for active pickups.

Rockledge
09-28-2011, 10:39 PM
I've seen some passive EMGs, but I'm guessing EMG doesn't rank them among its biggest sellers. BTW, I'm under the impression that Selects, while designed by EMG, were actually intended to be manufactured abroad under license, much like the "Duncan Design" pickups that showed up on less expensive Korean guitars by companies like Samick. Is that not true?
I don't think it is true.
I think Selects were EMGs first entry into the pickup world. EMG was originally called something else, I forget what. They made passive replacement pickups that were intended to be a little hotter and quieter than most stock pickups without sacrificing tone, which is what Selects were.
I have a nearly complete collection of GP mags back into 1968-1980something and I think the company that became EMG was around in the early 70s, and had become EMG by the mid or late 70s. I remember seeing the ads in the old GPs. If I remember right Selects didn't catch on real fast because they were a bit pricey and guys were not yet jumping on the aftermarket pickup bandwagon that much.
I think the deal was that guitar makers began courting EMG for pickups rather than the other way around.

Back in the 80s a lot of guitars came stock with Selects, if I am not mistaken all of the Steinberger licensed guitars ( like Corts and a couple others) came stock with Selects.
If I remember right EMG didn't become known for actives until the mid 90s or later. Seems to me when they did it was for active bass pickups, but again my memory may be failing me.

somedude
09-29-2011, 03:57 AM
If I remember right EMG didn't become known for actives until the mid 90s or later. Seems to me when they did it was for active bass pickups, but again my memory may be failing me.

Metallica started using them during the Ride the Lightning tour, so sometime around 1984/85.

dantedayjob
09-29-2011, 07:12 AM
I have had them in two guitars, both of which sounded killer acoustically, but lacked character when plugged in. While the EMGs were a little hotter than the PRS HFS I use in most of my guitars, they sounded puny and generic in comparison. Sort of like the difference between listening to music on a good vinyl system as opposed to a CD

V-Type
09-29-2011, 09:29 AM
I don't think it is true.
I think Selects were EMGs first entry into the pickup world. EMG was originally called something else, I forget what. They made passive replacement pickups that were intended to be a little hotter and quieter than most stock pickups without sacrificing tone, which is what Selects were.
I have a nearly complete collection of GP mags back into 1968-1980something and I think the company that became EMG was around in the early 70s, and had become EMG by the mid or late 70s. I remember seeing the ads in the old GPs. If I remember right Selects didn't catch on real fast because they were a bit pricey and guys were not yet jumping on the aftermarket pickup bandwagon that much.
I think the deal was that guitar makers began courting EMG for pickups rather than the other way around.

Back in the 80s a lot of guitars came stock with Selects, if I am not mistaken all of the Steinberger licensed guitars ( like Corts and a couple others) came stock with Selects.
If I remember right EMG didn't become known for actives until the mid 90s or later. Seems to me when they did it was for active bass pickups, but again my memory may be failing me.

This is from the Wiki EMG page:
The company was founded in 1976 by Rob Turner in Santa Rosa, California. It was originally called Dirtywork Studios, and their first pickup was the same as their current 2011 model of EMG H and EMG HA models. The active humbucking pickup EMG 58 followed soon after. The name was changed to "Overlend"[2] (spelled "Overland" in some sources[1]) in 1978. However, its products have always been called EMG pickups.
In 1981, EMG active pickups became standard equipment on Steinberger basses and guitars. According to Hap Kuffner, EMG pickups originally had widespread success in Europe, after first exhibiting at the 1983 Musikmesse tradeshow in Germany. The name was changed to EMG, Inc. in 1983 ("EMG" stands for "Electro-Magnetic Generator"). As Steinberger guitars became more popular among American metal and rock musicians, so did EMG pickups, and vice-versa.[2]

Rockledge
09-29-2011, 06:26 PM
This is from the Wiki EMG page:
The company was founded in 1976 by Rob Turner in Santa Rosa, California. It was originally called Dirtywork Studios, and their first pickup was the same as their current 2011 model of EMG H and EMG HA models. The active humbucking pickup EMG 58 followed soon after. The name was changed to "Overlend"[2] (spelled "Overland" in some sources[1]) in 1978. However, its products have always been called EMG pickups.
In 1981, EMG active pickups became standard equipment on Steinberger basses and guitars. According to Hap Kuffner, EMG pickups originally had widespread success in Europe, after first exhibiting at the 1983 Musikmesse tradeshow in Germany. The name was changed to EMG, Inc. in 1983 ("EMG" stands for "Electro-Magnetic Generator"). As Steinberger guitars became more popular among American metal and rock musicians, so did EMG pickups, and vice-versa.[2]


That could very well be true. Although I don't trust wiki anything 100%, I was speaking from memory, which, man that was quite a while ago.
Yes , OVERLEND, I had forgot that name.
I do remember that EMGs caused quite a stir for a while, and that Selects were quite popular for quite a long time, then seemed to fade from view.
No doubt they are far better known for their actives now, I didn't think Overlend was making actives but perhaps they did.
I do know that other than Selects you didn't often see guys in garage bands using EMGs, I think they were what would be called a bit "botique" now.

walterw
09-29-2011, 08:52 PM
the selects were nothing more than a crappy budget import alternative to the already successful "real" EMG pickups.

Rockledge
09-29-2011, 09:30 PM
the selects were nothing more than a crappy budget import alternative to the already successful "real" EMG pickups.

Bullshit. No matter where they were made, Selects were good pickups. I still use them and they do the job well. And they last a long time, I have had a set for probably 30 years that sound just as good now as they did when I bought them. They were not "crappy" and weren't commonly considered to be.

elvinbross
02-16-2012, 08:49 AM
EMG's only got a strange rap because their pickups (some have/had) a darker sound. And the usual "Tommy said so, so I'll go along" mentality occurs frequently in this trade.
EMG pickups are very well made, for one. Even the old EMG Select Korean strat pickup I have isn't bad. Just scored an '89 Squier II with a David Gilmour pre-wired pickguard. First of all, it isn't really meant to sound like Strat single coils per se (I pretty much play only strats and love old single coils and that Alnico III sound), so that's that. David played the setup to deal with the noise from the lighting systems and the usual. (The pickup was already on the market.)
They are loud. I have mine as far away from the strings as practical. There are various posts and videos out there on this. You do not need these pickups up close to the strings.
The pickups are bland sounding with the EXG and SPC rolled down, and I don't care. They don't sound bad, just not strat single-coil. Start rolling in the EXG for my favorite scooped sound, and the guitar comes alive. Killer with the neck pickup, and works well with the SPC control for some great sounds. I don't like the midrangey sound that many do, but the SPC works great. Sounds like a cross between a strat and a P-90. I also use the knobs to roll in volume for soloing or loud rhythm boosts when needed. It's neat to hear the tone dynamics swell as the volume comes up.
It's an active pickup setup. Don't need to explain. Quiet in terms of pickup an line noise, LOUD in terms of output. I needed a noiseless setup and walked into this steal at a pawn shop for less than the price of the pickups alone used. Very versatile setup, and way easier to deal with than the complicated strat wiring setups out there. (My favorite is stock, 3-way pickup switch, no anything. Leo had it right the first time.)
Don't expect this setup to sound like something else. If that's the case, get something else. This setup does what it's supposed to really well. I like the pickups better than the Fender noiseless I have on a '68. Way better than the old and new Clapton Signatures. I am quite happy to add this new sound palette to my setup. I have been playing for hire since 1969. Know Stratocasters. Crank these up and Run Like Hell.
EMG pickups are superbly built.

benxiwf
11-18-2012, 11:20 AM
I love them...and I definitely don't play metal.

peskypesky
11-18-2012, 11:24 AM
i bought a used Strat in the early 90s that had EMG SAs. I played that guitar for many years and loved it.

Then, one day, I discovered guitar forums on the internet. One of the first things I learned from the "experts" was that EMG active pickups suck. So I took them out and put alnicos in the guitar.

Two years later, I realize I was an idiot. And so were all the people who told me EMG's suck.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JZxirZq8pw&feature=fvsr

Vindicator9000
11-18-2012, 04:06 PM
I don't personally prefer EMGs, but they're good quality, and are great if they're your thing.

My other guitar player has a set of Gilmours in his Strat, and they just scream for him. Side-by-side with the Texas Specials in my Strat, his just seems so much ballsier. I love them, but I don't think they'd suit my style.

BlackmoreNight
11-18-2012, 04:10 PM
The reason so many think that EMGs suck is because they hear with their eyes instead of their ears. Sure, they aren't as good for some applications as passive pickups, but just to say they flat-out suck is simply idiocy.

Jonny D
11-18-2012, 05:19 PM
EMG Pickups are ideal for what they aim to do, but there are large swaths of the guitar population that don't set out to do what EMGs are made to do.

I do think it is aesthetic for some who want some sparkle and chrome, etc.

bismark
11-18-2012, 08:03 PM
i bought a used Strat in the early 90s that had EMG SAs. I played that guitar for many years and loved it.

Then, one day, I discovered guitar forums on the internet. One fo the first things I learned from the "experts" was that EMG active pickups suck. So I took them out and put alnicos in the guitar.

Two years later, I realize I was an idiot. And so were all the people who told me EMG's suck.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JZxirZq8pw&feature=fvsr
Many of these internet forum "experts" actually know nothing, other than propagate their bias (and cork-sniffing) opinions and some even try to pass them off as facts. The best opinion you can trust is your own ears.

Jonny D
11-18-2012, 08:30 PM
I once purchased a guitar that had EMG pickups in it. I must admit that I was the type that had decided that EMGs were worthless and to be replaced. However, out of principle I decided to keep them in there and actually listen.

I am not big on distortion and always had it in my head that these were for metal solely. I wound up having them in there for more than a year and was surprised how versatile they were.

In the end I did change them because I wanted to have a more vintage "open sounding" humbucker. I went with Seth Lovers.

Jven
11-18-2012, 08:32 PM
Wasn't a fan of EMGs either, until I bought a Luke.... After that I bought a second Luke... Yeah they do sound different than any passive pickups, the only thing I did was adjust my amp...

Earplayer
11-19-2012, 12:55 AM
well they are ok or even fun for a while. then go and plug in a guitar with passive pickups.

i played a musicman luke for 2 years exclusively. on a session i grabbed a squire strat - holy cow - i was shocked to hear "alive" singlecoils again after a while - shortly after that i dumped the luke.

heisenberg
11-19-2012, 04:24 AM
The thing is that, you can put a set of EMG's through a Tom Anderson, or a stringed broom, and it will still sound like EMG's. Just a personal thought.

darkknight91
11-19-2012, 08:58 AM
I had them in a couple of my guitars and liked them. The 89 was a fine pickup with a nice split sound, though the volume drop was too significant. Otherwise, I see no problem with them.

bloomz
03-23-2013, 09:42 AM
I love them...and I definitely don't play metal.

Ditto that - they sound magical, to get all esoteric on ya all

i bought a used Strat in the early 90s that had EMG SAs. I played that guitar for many years and loved it.

Then, one day, I discovered guitar forums on the internet. One of the first things I learned from the "experts" was that EMG active pickups suck. So I took them out and put alnicos in the guitar.

Two years later, I realize I was an idiot. And so were all the people who told me EMG's suck.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JZxirZq8pw&feature=fvsr

Every year I look back to last year and realize how full of shite I was back then.

Next year will be no different.

dsw67
03-23-2013, 09:56 AM
No idea. I've had them in various guitars and they always sound great.

Sparky6string
03-23-2013, 12:23 PM
I compared my Les Paul with Seth Lovers to another guy's Les Paul with EMGs and his sounded almost as good clean and better dirty. I really thought there would be night and day regarding cleans but there wasn't.

Lucidology
03-23-2013, 06:48 PM
I've only seen them on super floyded guitars and that turns me away

What are ye ... blind?
;)

TubeStack
03-23-2013, 06:52 PM
My brother has EMGs in his bass and they sound awesome. They slam the f*ck out of the front end of his YBA-1 and get a great "Sabotage" kind of fuzzbass gnarl.

wingtip4
03-23-2013, 06:52 PM
Too sterile for me.

scolfax
03-23-2013, 08:31 PM
The Comfortably Numb solo on Pulse was epic! Good enough for me!

Ampegasaur
03-23-2013, 09:00 PM
Larry Carlton Last Nite live is one of the best live tones I have ever heard. EMG all the way. That tone is a standard of the singing sustain blues tone. Still an dream tone. I like passive and active for different things. EMG pickups can clean up so well with a volume knob, and tone out the wazoo when you know how to use them. The most interactive pickups out there. Listen to that album and you can hear the nuances. David Gilmour to Vince Gill, get killer tones. Nuff said.

Picaflor
03-23-2013, 09:53 PM
Because they don't sound that good.

Ampegasaur
03-23-2013, 10:58 PM
Because they don't sound that good.

Nice one.

Dog Boy
03-23-2013, 11:01 PM
They aren't my go to but I don't hate them. Some producers love them and insist I use them.

pima1234
03-23-2013, 11:07 PM
#1 upside to EMGs is that you should never have any noise issues. And that can be a big deal.

Remember that in comparison to most standard pickups, play your EMGs on about 7-8 on your guitar's volume. Above that is essentially a preamp boost.

And yes, the EMG preamp has it's own unique color. I think that is part of what people diss them for.

I like not having to think about a battery, honestly. Other than that, they're are some real-world benefits to EMGs.

gearmeup
03-23-2013, 11:33 PM
Because they are stupid,and they market to suicidal metal heads who like SLIPKNOT

kludge
03-24-2013, 12:13 AM
My experience with EMGs is limited to the Tele set, but speaking from that... contrary to popular opinion, they're not totally immune to the guitar they're in. When I first got the EMGs, I put them in a MIM Tele. It was thin and disappointing, bandmates objected, and that guitar was much happier with a Bill Lawrence / Firebird combo. But when I got the Tokai I play now, a truly wonderful piece of wood, I tried several pickups and the EMGs blew them all away. I was recording every set of pickups dry and running them through Pod Farm, so I could be somewhat scientific, and they just worked.

Later, I added a SPC to that guitar, and made it even better! The Tele-SPC combo can give me a fatness that is reminiscent of P90s, but still Tele-like, and it can drive amps like crazy. It does that clean-to-gain thing that everyone wants the volume knob to do. Moreover, I can easily voice the mids to suit the moment. Great rig, and I will never swap the EMGs out of that guitar!

pima1234
03-24-2013, 12:13 AM
:rotflmao :spit


Because they are stupid,and they market to suicidal metal heads who like SLIPKNOT

stratguy23
03-24-2013, 01:33 AM
I have owned one guitar that came with them (sold it, it was Robin from the '80's). They were just very sterile and lifeless sounding to me. They were super quiet though. I guess at the end of the day, I prefer passive, lower output pickups.

filtersweep
03-24-2013, 01:36 AM
Because they are stupid,and they market to suicidal metal heads who like SLIPKNOT

Never saw that back in the 80s.... When I was rocking a SD Invader in the neck, wishing I had EMGs but not wanting a battery route.

Suicidal metal heads use Duncan Dedigned pickups, for the record.

Animalboy71
03-24-2013, 01:45 AM
I guess I'm guilty.

I've always associated EMG's with pointy shredder guitars and Death Metal. That said, I've never even been to their website & if I see them in a guitar I skip it...

treedroppings
03-24-2013, 01:52 AM
Because they won't fit in my firebird.

Lucidology
03-24-2013, 01:59 AM
Larry Carlton Last Nite live is one of the best live tones I have ever heard. EMG all the way. That tone is a standard of the singing sustain blues tone. Still an dream tone. .... The most interactive pickups out there. Listen to that album and you can hear the nuances. David Gilmour to Vince Gill, get killer tones. Nuff said.

Carlton's Last Night guitar tone is, hands down IMO, the best lead guitar tone I've ever ... by best, I just mean, MY favorite ...
His playing is so inspired and lively on that ..
but's it's amazing to that that MR.335, got the best tone ever with a Strat loaded with EMGs..
Then there's Vince Gill's Strat tone ...when I watched the first "Crossfire" DVD..
Also IMO, Vince Gill's strat tone was by far the best of the EC Festival ...

Now mind you both LC and VG's tones are from the EMG-S' single coils (ceramic)
Well David Gilmore's are from the EMG-SA single coils (alnico) ...

Lucidology
03-24-2013, 02:03 AM
Here's a set of EMG-T's through my Tele ,,, into a Tonelab into a Bose L1 (no 'guitar' amp in the equation)

/YW5qzNobYFE

gearmeup
03-24-2013, 02:20 AM
HAHA made myself laugh with that comment too

gearmeup
03-24-2013, 02:21 AM
Because they don't sound that good.
yeah sheer genius:spit can I put your name in the raffle for a nobel prize?

footiee
03-24-2013, 02:50 AM
i used to line in my 85 to pc and some modeling software. works great but after getting a set of ghost piezo, its simply a way better product for modeling and recording imo