EMG 81/85 pickups?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by swiveltung, May 6, 2016.

  1. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    What do you guys think of these EMG's? I got a guitar with them in it, they just seem bland and lifeless to me, but I'm not a big Humbucker user anyway soo... Online all the reviews seem to be great. But I'm tempted to put some real humbuckers in there. I have a few to try. Anyone actually like EMG's?
     
  2. sleewell

    sleewell Member

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  3. Blix

    Blix Supporting Member

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    If they are 81 in bridge and 85 in neck, swap them around, that's how they were originally intended to be used. Sounds way better that way IMO.
     
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  4. metropolis_4

    metropolis_4 Member

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    I LOVE EMG's!

    I think the only reason a lot of guys find them 'bland', 'lifeless', or 'sterile' is because their only experience is with a guitar with an 81 bridge and 85 neck. The 81 is the most tight and focused of their line. That makes it work great for high gain, but not quite as well at lower to mid gain tones.

    You really should try their x-series pickups before you give up on them. They completely redesigned the preamp used in the x-series and it is a major improvement. The x-series all sound more open and feel more responsive and lively.

    I've got an 85x in the bridge and a 60ax in the neck of one of my main guitars and I think they might be my favorite humbuckers I've ever used. The 60ax sounds a lot like a mini-humbucker or even a P90. It's got a lot of chime and a very open sounding top end. I've used this guitar for jazz gigs, country gigs, rock gigs, and all sorts of other styles and it's performed perfectly with everything I've thrown at it.

    The 57/66 combo is pretty awesome as well and definitely worth checking out.

    At the very least swap the pickups around putting the 85 in the bridge and see what you think then.
     
  5. northstar6000

    northstar6000 Member

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    I have the 85 - 81 set in a guitar.

    These are extremely hot pickups and are obviously intended for gain/distortion/metal. For these applications they excel! Tons of gain and totally noiseless (which is so critical with higher gain).

    I use my EMG equipped guitar for everything from Foo Fighters to Metallica.

    But I will admit I do not like them for clean playing - this is where these pickups can sound kind of lifeless (but again that is not what they were designed for).

    You have already stated that you are not a humbucker guy, so it's not surprising g that these pickups are probably way out of your wheel house.
     
  6. metropolis_4

    metropolis_4 Member

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    I've actually heard they were originally intended for jazz/fusion.

    I heard a story once that when Hetfield originally put them in his guitar some guys laughed at him because they were jazz pickups and weren't made for metal. (I don't know where I heard that though and I don't know if it's true)


    When I plug my guitar with an 85x in the bridge into my audio interface, the db level at input is only a couple db higher than my Epiphone LP with a passive PAF in the bridge. I barely even have to make any adjustments to the input gain on the interface when switching between the guitars. I really don't think they are as high output as most people think.
     
    rummy likes this.
  7. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    Since you've EMG wiring already installed in the axe ...
    I HIGHLY recommend their single coils in Humbucking Housing ...
    There's the David Gilmore pickup in the HA (alnico)
    & the Vince Neill pickup in the H... (ceramic)

    Plus, they've recently come up with their own PAF models (check out their website)

    These pickups are drastically different in both sound & feel than any of the 80 series...
    I, for one, love 'em ...
     
    metropolis_4 likes this.

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