Not a fan of EMG pickups

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Not a fan of EMG pickups

Postby noise5150 » 18 Sep 2015, 06:58

I've owned a few guitars (which I've sold) that have come stock with a EMGs and I have to admit I dont care for them at all. I find them to be lifeless and very compressed. Plus, maybe Im crazy but they sound terrible at low volumes. I currently own several guitars with a variety of passive pickups and IMO there is no comparison. I know EMGs are very popular but am I missing something?

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Re: Not a fan of EMG pickups

Postby Torshalla » 18 Sep 2015, 08:42

I also prefer passive pups... But i like classic rock type gain... Emgs are good for highly compressed modern gain tones I think... Depends what u r into
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Re: Not a fan of EMG pickups

Postby Cousin Muely » 18 Sep 2015, 08:58

I always thought they were very good when going through a lot of processing. Racks, big pedalboards, etc. Seems like I remember reading this a very long time ago and Gilmour saying that was the reason for using that SA set in his red Stratocaster. I thought I wanted that SA set for my Stratocaster back then. Installed them and hated them. After that was when I saw the article and I understood why.
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Re: Not a fan of EMG pickups

Postby skinnyj » 18 Sep 2015, 09:40

I'm going through that with the guitar I just got. It has the 81/85 combo and I'm not totally sold on them. They do sound good with lots of gain, but I always felt they never sounded good with clean tones. I'm tempted to replace them with passives, but that requires replacing all the electronics except the selector switch. That's a project for a later date.
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Re: Not a fan of EMG pickups

Postby noise5150 » 18 Sep 2015, 11:08

When I plug in my LP or my Explorer or even my Axis, I can get really great "crunchy" tones out of my DSL40 or my HD500x but with the EMGs, its all very flat and I dont get that "crunchy" sound.

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Re: Not a fan of EMG pickups

Postby longfxukxnhair » 18 Sep 2015, 11:27

I love a real modern high gain tone. But the only active pickups I like are the Duncan Blackouts. I only have a few guitars left that have EMG's in them. They came stock with them. I will get around to replacing them. I would rather have a good passive pickup like Suhr Aldrich, Bare Knuckles or the Duncan Black Winters.

EMG's have a tendency to suck at low volume.
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Re: Not a fan of EMG pickups

Postby Alpeggio » 18 Sep 2015, 11:42

I agree with what you guys said, but I do use high gain, and so its wonderful.
It can handle the gain like no other pickup, where a LP would sound like mud.
Also for down tuning they are clearer. Or cranking a dark amp like my jtm1, it cuts through the mud and makes it sound like a jmp, nice.

But if you use low gain it will loose these advantages and would be the wrong choice for you.
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Re: Not a fan of EMG pickups

Postby Cipher » 18 Sep 2015, 12:41

Active EMG's don't suit me either. I do understand the lure for thrash to modern metal use however.

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Re: Not a fan of EMG pickups

Postby skinnyj » 20 Sep 2015, 09:13

One thing the EMGs do sound really good with is my MP-1, but they are from the same era, so they kind of go hand in hand.
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Re: Not a fan of EMG pickups

Postby Lungo » 12 Feb 2018, 14:01

longfxukxnhair wrote:I love a real modern high gain tone. But the only active pickups I like are the Duncan Blackouts. I only have a few guitars left that have EMG's in them. They came stock with them. I will get around to replacing them. I would rather have a good passive pickup like Suhr Aldrich, Bare Knuckles or the Duncan Black Winters.

EMG's have a tendency to suck at low volume.



Have you had a chance to play a guitar with the Jeff Loomis Blackouts? They're everything I ever wanted out of high output pickups. They respond well to the guitar volume knob, sound great with cleans, and also drives the hell out of the front end of an amp.

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Re: Not a fan of EMG pickups

Postby Anitoli » 12 Feb 2018, 20:51

The Kiesel Lithium pups are made for high gain amps. The last time i tried EMG's i was still using 6100's and they were awful. The Kiesel pup sound very aggressive clean, bright, and crunchy.

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Re: Not a fan of EMG pickups

Postby longfxukxnhair » 13 Feb 2018, 03:32

Lungo wrote:
longfxukxnhair wrote:I love a real modern high gain tone. But the only active pickups I like are the Duncan Blackouts. I only have a few guitars left that have EMG's in them. They came stock with them. I will get around to replacing them. I would rather have a good passive pickup like Suhr Aldrich, Bare Knuckles or the Duncan Black Winters.

EMG's have a tendency to suck at low volume.



Have you had a chance to play a guitar with the Jeff Loomis Blackouts? They're everything I ever wanted out of high output pickups. They respond well to the guitar volume knob, sound great with cleans, and also drives the hell out of the front end of an amp.



I have not tried them. They look interesting
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Re: Not a fan of EMG pickups

Postby Woodhead » 14 Feb 2018, 14:44

Has anyone tried the 18 volt mod on these ?
I know it's only rock and roll , but I like it .

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Re: Not a fan of EMG pickups

Postby Lungo » 15 Feb 2018, 14:23

Woodhead wrote:Has anyone tried the 18 volt mod on these ?



It's been some years now but I have done it. The biggest change I remember is more clean headroom.

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