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EMG Retro-Active Strat pickups

joegold

Member
Messages
199
Does anybody out here have any experience yet with these new offerings from EMG?

http://www.emgpickups.com/guitar/single-coil/strat/ra-2.html

http://www.emgpickups.com/guitar/single-coil/strat/ra-5.html

And the big question is, do they sound more like traditional Strat pickups than the SAs or the Ss or the SXs, etc.

Also... The blurb for the RA-2 set, the pickups using AlNiCo 2 magnets, seems to make a claim that Hendrix, Clapton and Beck tended to use Strats equipped with AlNiCo 2 Strat pickups while the blurb on the RA-5 page seems to claim that Vaughan, Blackmore and Malmsteen used AlNiCo 5 pickups.
I've never heard this before.
I didn't even know that anybody used AlNiCo 2 on Strat pickups at all until various companies started offering it recently.
I knew about them being used on PAFs but not on SC pickups.
Any SC AlNiCo 2 lore appreciated.
 

scienceguy

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,156
I've been looking at these too, but can't find any info online. I'll be following this thread and I'll add anything I find...
 

Robotechnology

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,421
Not the not the same thing but, the Schecter Sun Valley Super Shredder has EMG Retro Active Hot 70 humbuckers. From my experience, the ONLY thing I do not like about that model is its pickups. I’ve tried a few different ones at 3 different GC’s but, I keep walking away from them thinking the same thing. Your opinion may vary about the single coils. An interesting fact is that I didn’t even know they were active until I saw a YouTube review of the guitar after the fact. I thought they were passive because they looked passive when I was trying them out. Maybe that’s why I don’t think I like them as I prefer a passive sound?
 
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fenderjapan

WCW World Heavyweight Champion
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,828
I wonder if they will fit the same pinout as the DG-20 set. I'd be game to try some more retro style strat pickups in my DG-20 Strat but I like the EXG
/SPC
 

Blackmoreguitar

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,975
Also... The blurb for the RA-2 set, the pickups using AlNiCo 2 magnets, seems to make a claim that Hendrix, Clapton and Beck tended to use Strats equipped with AlNiCo 2 Strat pickups while the blurb on the RA-5 page seems to claim that Vaughan, Blackmore and Malmsteen used AlNiCo 5 pickups.
Interesting, but can't see anything about about Vaughan, Blackmore and Malmsteen, on the RA-5 page, just some stuff about Surf tones.
 

Sevenmodes

Former/Future Time Bandit
Messages
1,270
I wonder if they will fit the same pinout as the DG-20 set. I'd be game to try some more retro style strat pickups in my DG-20 Strat but I like the EXG
/SPC
Reviving this thread to see if there are any updates on these pickups.

I’m also look at replacing the SAs on my DG-20 with the RA-2/Crossroads set.

Has anyone tried these?
 

Sevenmodes

Former/Future Time Bandit
Messages
1,270
Actually... I can provide an update as I went ahead and bought the RA-2 set.

My thoughts:

They are dead silent and I can run a 25’ cable straight to my amp with no loss of highs.

They sound like vintage 50s era strat pickups and the pick guard is “wired” with tones on Neck/Middle and nothing on the bridge. This means I basically set up my amp/pedals for my bridge pickup and adjust neck and middle tones accordingly.

All three, Neck, Mid and Bridge are a little on the bright side which is not really a bad thing for me as I prefer to have plenty of treble on hand to cut through if needed. I play a lot of rhythm and fills, and can kick in a TS-type pedal with the tone rolled down some for solo work... sounds great!

The Neck and Mid tone controls take a little getting used to because they actually operate almost linearly across the full sweep of the knob. I am getting used to rolling the tone knob down to 3 to get a nice, round neck pickup sound. The volume knob has a nice, full sweep as well. I often find myself on 5 for rhythm, 7 for leads early in the night and 10 towards the end when we’re playing with more energy.

The 2/4 positions are very scooped just like typical strat pickups. The volume drop between those spots and the 1/3/5 is a little more than I’d like, but its workable.

All in all, I like them... I wouldnt say they are particularly “special”, but it is very hard to find noiseless pickups that can do the vintage (50’s style) strat “thing” and these come very close.
 

Robotechnology

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,421
I tried yet another Schecter SVSS through a Fender Bluesbreaker 15 last night and I liked the EMG Retroactive HB’s this time. Maybe I’m getting a little more acclimated to the EMG sound now that I have a 57/66 set in a guitar that I love.
 

Sevenmodes

Former/Future Time Bandit
Messages
1,270
I tried yet another Schecter SVSS through a Fender Bluesbreaker 15 last night and I liked the EMG Retroactive HB’s this time. Maybe I’m getting a little more acclimated to the EMG sound now that I have a 57/66 set in a guitar that I love.
It took me a while with the DG set I had on my Strat, but I slowly realized that I preferred a more full range sound to the pickups that I could then shape with EQ rather than having strongly voiced pickups that might sound muddy in certain situations.

The SAs in the DG set are a little too full range though and I had a hard time getting a good “strat” sound. These retroactives are quite different though, they really just sound like good, vintage, noiseless pickups.
 

c_mac

Member
Messages
4,016
*I* think the tone in these videos is terrible.
Obviously, it’s recorded direct so that has to be taken into account but the basic tone he is getting is very Stratty and I think it would be even better through an amp.
 

scolfax

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,242
An interesting fact is that I didn’t even know they were active until I saw a YouTube review of the guitar after the fact.
When I was researching the Super Shredder I found that these are not active pickups, but come with a preamp which is what the battery is for.
 

Sevenmodes

Former/Future Time Bandit
Messages
1,270
Update on these for those interested - gigged with them Sat night and they sounded great. They sat perfect in the band mix. EMG nailed the 50s vintage vibe with these... hard to do in a noiseless format.

Tone was very clear, lots of presence and the neck pickup, in particular, sounded fantastic on rhythms and fills. It’s brighter than most (50s style) but the tone control can warm it up nicely.

These are pretty low output which is a little different for actives. I prefer this with my Strat since I use a Tele for heavy lifting. All in all, I’m pretty happy with them.
 

MIM#1

Member
Messages
1,658
Bumping for Maverick reviews! Any body try the Maverick set? I'd really like to hear if they are as 'surfy' as they claim. I love my EMG S and SA sets, so curious to hear how the mavericks compare!
 

Dyoung121

Silver Member
Messages
31
I have the Mavericks and want to try some Cross Roads. I agree that they sound brighter than most Strat pickups But it balances very well in an HSS setup. Overall they are great pickups!
 




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