EMG active pickups - only for metal?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by MGT, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. MGT

    MGT Member

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    I was recently looking at a Godin LG with EMG pickups (85 and 81) and loved the feel of the guitar. While I have nothing against the Zak Wylde, etc at all, I was wondering if these pickups are versatile enough for blues, jazz, classic rock, etc.

    The simplest thing would be to visit the store and try it out but I'd appreciate any of your thoughts.
     
  2. MuseCafeChris

    MuseCafeChris Senior Member

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    David Gilmour and Mark Knopfler play 'em (single coils, though).
     
  3. BIGGERSTAFF

    BIGGERSTAFF Member

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    Steve Lukather has used EMGs too, as have a number of other non metal guys.
     
  4. acwild

    acwild Member

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    Stevie Ray Vaughan used EMGs for "Couldn't Stand the Weather" and "Cold Shot" on stage with his custom Hamiltone Lurktamer Strat-style guitar.
     
  5. kkuehl

    kkuehl Member

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    You might want to look at the new seymour duncan blackouts. I haven't tried them yet my self, but I WILL.
     
  6. Mudder

    Mudder Member

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    It's more about how you play and your set up than anything else. As mentioned, Luke, Gilmour, Knopfler all used EMGs, I know several guys who use EMGs because they're so quiet, so just because it's high output doesn't mean you can't play jazz.

    Likewise Malmsteen plays metal with vintage output single coils. It's all about style and set up.
     
  7. r_cressw

    r_cressw Member

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    I like the Blackouts a lot... They sound a lot like EMGs but seem to have a better response to dynamics and clean up a little bit better. Plus they're a direct replacement for EMGs with the 3 pin connector.
     
  8. baimun

    baimun Member

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    EMG's are just a different approach to reach a similar result.

    Instead of a large coil and magnet, EMG's (and most active designs) just use a smaller magnet and coil dialed into a particular frequency range, then use the onboard battery to amplify that signal to passive pickup levels (or hotter) but without noise, hum, or interference.

    This method inherently compresses the signal a bit more. If you're looking for smooth pick attack and a consistantly high signal level (Metal, jazz, fusion) you'll probably like them.

    If you don't want that much compression, like to use your volume knob to create different levels of distortion out of a tube amp, or have a percussive or snappy style of playing (blues, funk, reggae, classic rock) then you'll fall into the camp that reports them as "sterile" or "overly compressed" and desire passive pickups.

    Neither is right or wrong... just different for different styles.
     
  9. The Captain

    The Captain Supporting Member

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    I have a KH-2 wiht 81's front and back
    The last few nights, I've needed to keep things quiet, so I've been playing clean with the volume and tone rolled off just a little on the neck pup.
    This turns them into very civilised tihngs very quickly, wiht a smooth tone would would never mistake for metal.
    If you want to go teh other way, and set your amp on the edge of break-up, they will either stay clean, or drive the front end into break-up very nicely and controllably.
    They are also very low noise, much , much quieter than my other humbucker guitars, whichis why Gilmour used to use them.
    He specifically stated in one interview I read, that he used them due to his large pedal board, and the huge lighting rigs they use.
    He also stated that having the lighting rigs on their own power supply, and other changes, that he was able to go back to the passives which Seymour Duncan fiddled wiht for him in his black guitar.
     
  10. gibson08

    gibson08 Member

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    I have a LP standard with EMG 81/85 and I think its very versatile, they are pretty hot pickups so you def. want to set up a little diff. usually you find that everything gets set up a little cleaner cause the pickups drive pretty hard. You can def play country, blues, rock anything with them.
     
  11. Orren

    Orren Member

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    FYI, active pickups like EMGs are also really excellent for those who use lots of pedals. Thanks to the low impedance of the active circuitry, the pickups don't need to see the same load and don't suffer the same degradation from pedal runs.

    Orren
     
  12. Berlin Chris

    Berlin Chris Member

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  13. JDouglee

    JDouglee Member

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    I'd like to try those (used EMGs on & off for years). I'm REALLY curious about the Blackout singles, due out soon.
     
  14. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

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    I have always hated them. Still do.
     
  15. papersoul

    papersoul Member

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    I thikn they are very transparent but that can be sterile to my ears at times. I thikn they respond well to the guitar's controls and that is a big reason I know some jazz guys who love em, responsiveness and transparency with a nice attack.
     
  16. Bussman

    Bussman Member

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    For those who find them "compressed" try using your EMGs with two batteries in series (18v), it improves their dynamic range a lot.
     
  17. dorfmeister

    dorfmeister Member

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    The single coil EMG's and the Humbucker EMG's are totally different animals.

    I had a guitar with an 81/85 set and I could get some tones I liked out of it but I was much happier when I put an H (ceramic single coil in hum housing) in the neck and an HA (alnico single coil in hum housing) in the neck. Much lower output, clean and clear and nice contrast between the two pickups. Really improved the guitar for what I like.

    I don't think too many people even know about the H and HA but they can be a nice option for a guitar that has an 81/85 set and the quick connectors.
     

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