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EMG Retro-Active Strat pickups

agbiggs

Member
Messages
180
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.
If they're not active, what is the pre-amp for? (Not trying to be a jerk, just asking!)
 

MIM#1

Member
Messages
1,658
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!
I'm real close to buying a Maverick set, but there's a used RA-2 set I also have my eye on. These are crossroads pickups In the RA-2 loaded guard [I think]. I really like bright, scooped and clean and currently am very happy with my 'S' set. Would the Maverick set be redundant to the 'S' set, or are they more spanky and percussive like 50's single coils?
 

Mordacain

Member
Messages
6
The RA2 (Crossroads) are a bit more scooped / percussive to my understanding. I've been using them for the last month in my main strat and once you get the height setup correctly (they're very finicky in that regard) they sound pretty close to proper singles, lots of top end shimmer and the percussive attack you'd expect. They are also pretty much dead silent.

I wasn't particularly happy with the bridge so I've been trialing different pickups there...so far I've tried an SLVX and an SAVX. The SLVX was pretty meh overall to me while the SAV has a wonderful tone (pretty close to what I'd expect from the RA5) but is definitely more compressed than the RA2. It also lacks the top end shimmer.

I've also had a DG20 set in the past as well a standard SAX set. It definitely surpasses both of those in pure tone terms, at least to my ears.
 

MIM#1

Member
Messages
1,658
Ok, after about a year or two of wanting the Maverick set I finally scored one for my strat. [I'm a HUGE fan of the S and SA's.]
I'll keep this short and concise as possible. I wired the tone pots to the neck/bridge and left the middle wide open. The neck and middle position are AMAZING! The most vintage, real strat single coil approximation of any pickup EMG has put out. The middle is probably the best middle position pickup I've ever used, period. It has so much 'cluck' and percussiveness that sounds like the perfect knopfler tone, and this is all by itself! The neck is just the perfect strat neck tone and positions 2/4 sound stellar and clucky.
The bridge, while not bad at all, is SO different from my favorite S pickup that it just sounds midrangey with a lack of all that beautiful S or SA presence. One man's 'beautiful presence' is another man's sterile ice pick, so if you feel that way about the S or SA then you will LOVE the bridge pickup. It sounds similar to my passive american standard bridge pickup,but still an improvement. However, after using the S and SA's for many years I'm afraid that's become my sound, especially clean.
So I put my S ceramic in the bridge and the Mavericks in the Neck/Middle and its my perfect dream EMG setup. Vintage strat tones in the neck/middle plus the beautiful 3D clean presence of the S in the bridge. [The S is also much hotter so I prefer it for lead tones as well,really makes a muff sing!] With pickup heights adjusted accordingly the set matches perfectly.
My advice, if you have an EMG loaded strat, at the very least find yourself a Maverick middle pickup. [do they sell them separately?] That position is pure magic. And the Neck sounds like a proper passive strat neck pickup.
Just remember, the pole pieces on these are spaced for their individual positions. So unlike the rail S/SA you cant use a neck pickup in the bridge etc.
Hope my assessment helps you EMG fans out there! :beer



 
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JMP2203

Member
Messages
137
are you still digging the Maverick neck&middle?

im a fan of the SA in the neck and bridge, no middle

im thinking in the Maverick bridge or middle model in the neck with SA Bridge because the neck Maverick may be to bright for me
 
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MIM#1

Member
Messages
1,658
Am I still digging the Maverick N/M? Well, I like them ALOT, but If I had to choose one pickup it would be the S or SA pickups. However, those have become 'my sound'.I love the maverick's because they really provide a totally different tone option in my guitar, making it a very flexible axe! I think anybody who doesn't like the EMG sound or that says they are 'sterile' or 'lifeless' should try the Mavericks. Much closer tonally to traditional single coils.
So yes, I stick by my review. It's just that I primarily live on the bridge position, occasionally flipping to the neck. So strat appropriate magnets mean they just look cooler in my strat. The Mavericks aren't as bright as my S pickups, but they are bright in a different way. The S pickups have that beautiful upper presence like 3k and above. Where the Mavericks have more upper mids and treble, but not that presence 'sheen' of the S/SA pickups.
Biggest difference to me in the bridge position was driving a Big Muff or distortion box into my MusicMan amp.The S and SA pickups just sustain,feedback and drive a distortion box like nothing else.The Maverick bridge was like hitting it with a standard [noiseless] single coil.
 
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