What I hear in EMGs that I hate...

Discussion in 'The Tone Zone' started by GuitarIV, Feb 24, 2020.

  1. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

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    Just wanted to share my observations here.

    So I used to be an EMG fanboy, then I switched to passives, tried EMGs again and now I'm back at passive pickups.

    I currently have one guitar equipped with the 81/60 combo and I already know I'll throw in some passives asap. Did a little A/B test today again and it just confirmed what I hear.

    EMGs sound great in a mix, they are very dry and unforgiving, you gotta up your game and be precise. I noticed this at rehearsal.

    With my rig (Laney IRT Studio, KHDK Ghoul JR. OD, Marshall V30 412) I hear this nasal and honky quality that grates on the ears and whilst I do have mid heavy passives as well (Suhr Aldrich Set) there simply seems to be a certain frequency band that is so pushed with EMGs that I can't dial it out.

    As said. It's apples and oranges. Playing at home by yourself is one thing, playing with the band another, EMGs have that certain mid push that makes them cut and even with high volumes the low end stays very tight, but I found I prefer passives, not only because you can get them to cut just as well, but also because for me they feel a bit nicer to play (more "give" or "sag") and the dynamics are better.

    Maybe if I had a different rig it would be the other way around, but with the amps I play (Marshalls and the Laney) there seems to be something weird happening in the mids that turns into honk city.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts and observations!

    p.s.: this is not another EMG bashing thread. I like them for certain applications. This is just something I hear and experienced
     
  2. Filipe Soares

    Filipe Soares Well-Known Member

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    have you tried EMGs with 18 or 24v mod?
     
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  3. Lance Chambers

    Lance Chambers Well-Known Member

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    :coffee:
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020
  4. lespaul339

    lespaul339 Well-Known Member

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    I haven't used EMG's for over a decade, but I used EMG's for a short while back when I was in a thrash metal band. They work good for stuff like that but if you want to play anything with any kind of dynamics I like passive pickups over active for that. Passive's just sound better to my ears. But I won't knock anyone for having EMG's in their guitars.
     
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  5. slide222

    slide222 Well-Known Member

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    I tried the 18 volt mod and preferred that ,not such a hard sound as 9 volt , and I left it 18 volt
     
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  6. RCM 800

    RCM 800 Well-Known Member

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    I used them for a couple years in the 90's. 81/85 and 81/S/S. They were loud but they just didnt have the dynamics I like out of passives. Even for heavier music I still prefer a JB.
     
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  7. South Park

    South Park Well-Known Member

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    Only good for scooped mids on a ss amp .
     
  8. ampmadscientist

    ampmadscientist Well-Known Member

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    What guitar is it?
     
  9. ricksdisconnected

    ricksdisconnected Well-Known Member

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    EMG's are a love/hate thing. they are a tool but not a be all end all pup.
    i have one guitar with them in it for when i want them. im a JB fan myself.
    im not so sure EMG has moved up the ladder any since the 80's.
     
  10. 6550

    6550 Member

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    Midrange honk.
     
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  11. Drinkingdeath01

    Drinkingdeath01 Well-Known Member

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    I've ran EMG's for years and still do. I've tried other pups but I always go back to the 81. They fit my style for most of what I play.
    On another note, if I feel like chicken picken then Ill grab the wife's Fender and rock out with that. I guess it all depends on what your tone preferences are and the style of music your playing.
     
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  12. ricksdisconnected

    ricksdisconnected Well-Known Member

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    wifes fender????
    a-ha, youve been busted. those are YOUR WIFES amps in your avitar and not yours. :p
    ok maybe the red one is yours. :D
     
  13. Drinkingdeath01

    Drinkingdeath01 Well-Known Member

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    Lol. She's a Boogie girl. She'll grab the clean channel on one of the Marks and use that, she's not much of a Marshall player. Much like me, they're too dirty for her.
     
  14. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

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    Haven't tried the 18/24 volts so far... maybe I should before I yank em out...

    Right now in an ESP Eclipse, but I noticed the same with every single guitar I had them in. My rig is at fault, as said something doesn't mesh well in the frequencies when it's played with EMGs

    Fair enough. As said I don't dislike them, I just seem to always go back to passives. Played a few Mesa Rectumfriers using EMGs and holy smokes - that sounded unreal!
     
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  15. ricksdisconnected

    ricksdisconnected Well-Known Member

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    roflmao
     
  16. Lance Chambers

    Lance Chambers Well-Known Member

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  17. South Park

    South Park Well-Known Member

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    Made for scooped mids shredding . Sound great if that is what you play.
     
  18. Filipe Soares

    Filipe Soares Well-Known Member

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    and just to take out the bad fame the EMG use to have: try the 85 in 18 or 24v. It´s much more docile and balanced than the 81. This is an awesome pickup for guitars with tremolos.
     
  19. wakjob

    wakjob Well-Known Member

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    Guess which EMG's these are....

     
  20. rick16v

    rick16v Well-Known Member

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    I had a HetSet in a Jim Root tele and they sounded great. Little bit more organic and responsive than the 81/60 I took out. EMG cleans on the neck position, lovely.
     

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