Does anyone else like EMG 81?

Discussion in 'The Tone Zone' started by DDJ34, Mar 13, 2021.

  1. DDJ34

    DDJ34 Active Member

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    Been using this pickup in multiple guitars because I liked it...

    I'm ready for a change.

    Loved the DiMarzio Super Distortion 100.
    Love the 496 and 500 that come with Gibsons.

    I play hard and heavy stuff,
    But bluesy pentatonic too.

    Suggestions?
     
  2. Drinkingdeath01

    Drinkingdeath01 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I too love the 81 but I recently found the Dimarzio X2N to be a nice alternative. A friend turned me onto them and I really enjoy it.
     
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  3. Filipe Soares

    Filipe Soares Well-Known Member

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    I love the 81, but also I love the 85

    Other pickups that I love too: Bareknuckle Painkiller, Aftermath, Holy Diver, SD Distortion, X2N, and SD JB
     
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  4. DDJ34

    DDJ34 Active Member

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    Thanks!
     
  5. AdrianDSL

    AdrianDSL Active Member

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    SD Black Winter is an amazing hot pickup, very versatile. Or the JB with A8 magnet :)
     
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  6. MonstersOfTheMidway

    MonstersOfTheMidway Well-Known Member

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    I, too, love the 81, but I also love the 81X. Yet the EMG pickups I'm most impress is the James Hetfield JH "HET" signature set; these EMG pickups have a unique sound from other EMG.

    But I also love passive pups, too. Seymour Duncan JB humbucker, JB Jr., and Parallel Axis Trembucker (distortion model and original) are among my faves.
     
  7. Ken Ops

    Ken Ops Active Member

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    Haven’t been able to get along with active pickups so far. Except in my bass, so eh. Who knows what it’s all down to.
     
  8. Deftone

    Deftone Well-Known Member

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    How's the 81x compare to the 81? I have a set, just haven't tried them in anything yet.

    I have an 81 in one LP and it sounds amazing, in another LP it sounds a little too bright.

    JB in my Mahogany Charvel build sounds wicked through some of my amps, through my SL-X it sounds a little muddy. JB's in my SG &, Tele sound awesome through the SL-X.

    I recently built a Warmoth Basswood body Strat and put a Wolfetone Blisterbucker in it, absolutely killer. (Covid Special 25% off)

    Guitar, Pickup, Amp combo + Tone is subjective = YMMV? (Don't forget Capacitors, wiring options and pedals.....)
     
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  9. Iron1

    Iron1 Well-Known Member

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    If hard, heavy and versatile is your thing, get an Elysian Trident II. Adam Bath owns the company, hand builds the pickups and they're simply amazing for heavy guitars.

    I put one in my '91 540SLTD and loved it so much I ordered a set for my KM6 and might replace the Duncan Distortions in my Pro Soloist with a set when I have the funds for it.

    Here's a sound sample of it in my 540:

     
  10. JP2036

    JP2036 Well-Known Member

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    I have an 81 thats 22 years old and i can tell you there is a difference between that one & the new EMG's made in China.
    They are not the same.
    The Chinese are very sterile sounding.
     
  11. Ramo

    Ramo Well-Known Member

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    I like 81, especially when I am recording. It's like everything is live and amplified every small mistakes/noise :)

    I have different pickups in all my guitars, EMG 81, Dimarzio Dactivator, Seymour Duncan JB, and some no-name brand ones :)
     
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  12. Deftone

    Deftone Well-Known Member

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    I have new EMG's and they all say MADE IN USA.
     
  13. MonstersOfTheMidway

    MonstersOfTheMidway Well-Known Member

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    First, I totally agree with your point that in some guitars a certain pickup/pickups will project certain qualities better than in other guitars. As you pointed out, the JB seems to sound better in some guitar than in others, which makes changing pickups bit of an interesting adventure.

    In regards to the 81X versus the standard 81, the 81X seems to have a bit more headroom. Also, 81X has a bit more of an "openness" as opposed to a kind of compressed sound of the standard 81 emg. Overall, I'd say that 81X is a tweaked version of the standard 81, or another way of thinking is if you love the standard 81, then 81X should have some familiar tone characteristics that would make most players comfortable with the switch.

    Bottom line: when you find something you really like, you should feel proud that you figured out something important about the chase/search for your tone.

    Have fun with your gear.
     
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  14. Deftone

    Deftone Well-Known Member

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    I forgot speakers.....and cabinet(s).......and fingers, and....
     

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