Question for those who use EMG pickups.

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Thelonius, Sep 14, 2005.


  1. Thelonius

    Thelonius Member

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    How do EMGs impact a guitar? I'm not really asking if you like their tone or not. I'm more interested in do active pickups impact natural aspects of the guitar such as the way wood type or neck-thru vs bolt on might impact tone. Is it pointless to find a guitar that sounds terrific and sustain well unplugged if you are going to put EMGs in it.

    I hope this makes sense. EMGs just seem to get a bad rap on boards like this one while on metal/shred oriented boards they are practically the defacto pickup.
     
  2. theelectic

    theelectic Guest

    I have a VG20 set (S single coils with midboost) in my Jimmie Vaughan Strat. It's big sounding and very resonant, and the EMGs only enhance that aspect of the guitar. I find them to be very "precise" in the sense that small changes make a noticeable sonic impact - for example, I installed a set of Callaham saddles and immediately noticed lower lows, higher highs, and more resonance, when I wasn't expecting much difference (same strings and all). You can't hide behind them though, if your technique is lousy they bring out all of that stuff.
     
  3. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    Not if you like the sound of them and they suit your needs.

    It's been a long time since I had EMG's but I did used to use them a lot.
    I remember the HB's being very high output but there always seemed to be a hardness to the tone, like when you mix a distorted signal with a clean one.

    The main problem I had was that there was not enough 'bite' to them, the attack of the notes was always too rounded for my taste, almost compressed sounding.

    They are not inherently "bad" sounding pups and won't ruin any guitar.
     
  4. HHB

    HHB Member

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    I've got a set of SA's in my stratoid, I love em, they really shine in live application for me, no noise or microphonics, able to take massive gain if needed and still stay focused, no chance of electrical shock due to no string grounding, really nice pot taper, best I've found for my style. The downside is there is a small amount of hiss on top of the tone, you CAN hear the preamp ( at least in my rig ) I've thought about changing them but then I go to the job and think " damn these are good for my needs "
     
  5. j_hotch

    j_hotch Member

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    I have the DG-20 pickup and control set installed in my Frankenstrat. If I understand the original question correctly, I would say that EMGs do not impact the natural resonant characteristics of a guitar any more than would any other pickup.

    They are approximately the same weight and size and they mount to the body in the same way. The electronics and battery add negligible weight and take up nearly the same space as typical guitar electronics - my Frankenstrat has typical strat-style routed chambers, no swimming pool or larger control cavity needed.

    Thanks!
     
  6. Mark Robinson

    Mark Robinson Member

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    I have a Tele set. They are on hiatus right now, but not for sale. I enjoyed them for years. The volume and tone controls work really well. But if you are a guy who dimes the tone knob and never touches it, they will be too bright for you. I really enjoy the noiseless aspect of the EMGs.

    I didn't like the 'idea' of a battery in the guitar. I went through dozens, never wanting to go to a gig without a fresh one. It was my own obsessive nature of course.

    Finally I pulled them cause they sounded mid-scooped a bit too much, compared to normal metal base plate Tele pickups. I finally went right across the spectrum to HD S-90 set up, which is way fatter and louder. The H.D. pickup doesn't hum as much as a stocker either. I do miss the neck pickup, it was great.
     
  7. theelectic

    theelectic Guest

    Ah you should have tried the SPC midbooster!!! I friggin' love mine, especially with a Strat's bridge pickup.
     
  8. RSRD

    RSRD Member

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    interesting thread. So why do metal heads like them? just the high output? do they add lower end?

    ~t
     
  9. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    They work really well in high gain situations, very punchy and tight sounding.
     
  10. paintguy

    paintguy Long Hair Hippy Freak Silver Supporting Member

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    I've been told by a few guitar techs that although they sound great, they do tend to sound very similar in very different guitars.
    Their claim is that they don't impact the natural sound of the instrument as much as other pickups. Still, they are some of the favorites of some custom builders I know.

    I have used Emg humbuckers and was very happy with them. I think they are great pickups. and I don't think it would be pointless to use them in a great sounding guitar. I'm also sure there are many others who would disagree with me.:)

    Just depends on what you like!!!
     
  11. theelectic

    theelectic Guest

    IMHO EMGs are consistent (or "the same") in the sense that they sound good from one guitar to another. I had a set of Duncan Alnico Pros which sounded great in one guitar, but terrible in another. OTOH I've tried a VG20 set in the same guitars and they both sounded great, and they both sounded like different guitars. Go figure.
     
  12. baald

    baald Member

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    re: batteries:
    in my emg guitars i wire up a phantom supply and use a 3 conductor cord so i don't have to deal with batteries. works great adn pollution free.

    baald
     
  13. RSRD

    RSRD Member

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    So they have different 'models' that have different outputs? care to share which ones are which :) I think this could be an interesting option if I were to get a Hamer Vector (flying V). Ie: take a good blues/classic rock tone and make it ch-chunk heavy rock tone!

    ~thomas
     
  14. Ron K

    Ron K Supporting Member

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    EMG Pickups

    All the gifts of EMG pickups
    are held within those walls.
     
  15. RSRD

    RSRD Member

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    :D

    Better hold your 'boys' tight when you sing that line!

    ~t
     
  16. papersoul

    papersoul Supporting Member

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    The thing about EMGs is they are so naked and transparent, they will expose your guitar for what it is! I had them in a few guitars and all sounded different for sure! In fact....I never liked the sound of my one Dean....and with the EMGs it was worse because it allowed that tone to come through! They sounded awesome in my 'good' sounding guitars.
     
  17. Chrome Dinette

    Chrome Dinette Silver Supporting Member

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    I have used Emg's for years. I think the 81 sounds great. They have started making some different types lately. Supposedly the 60 and 60a models aren't as high output and have signature sounds that are different than the rest of the line. I am getting a 60a in the neck of the guitar I am having built, so I guess I will find out.
     
  18. TechpriesT

    TechpriesT Member

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    If you get EMG's it's best if you can to screw them directly into the body, they sound much better that way. To me at least...

    But I have a guitar with two 81's and i've taken them out and played without them, no difference really in natural resonance. And for metal tone, they are one of the best.
     

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