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> Active Pickups-thoughts?
SlyRy
post Jul 17 2011, 02:26 AM
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My new guitar has an EMG81 in it (bridge). It is the only pickup in the guitar, which is an ESP M1. I have mixed feelings on active pickups for soloing. I am not sure I like it after all. What is everyone's preference? I am thinking about putting in a Seymour Duncan Invader. Thoughts? I feel I play so much smoother on my other guitars, which have passive pickups. But maybe I just need to get used to it

This post has been edited by SlyRy: Jul 17 2011, 02:27 AM
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Mudbone
post Jul 17 2011, 02:52 AM
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I can see why you have mixed feeling about the EMG 81. Its great for powerful heavy metal riffs, but the 81 in the bridge isn't that dynamic for soloing. But whats great about EMG's is you have so many options. The EMG's have a quick disconnect system, so you can easily change pickups with other EMG pickups. You could try putting an 85 in the bridge to change things up.

Also, if you want to make the pickups more dynamic for soloing you could try doing the 18v or 24v mod. I have the 24v mod on mine because its easier to do. Its just this 24v battery I found on eBay thats made exclusively for EMG systems. It definitely increases the dynamic range of the pickups. But the pickups do lose a little of their characteristic tight low end. For leads, I prefer the 24v mod, for riffing I prefer the regular 9v.

If you feel like doing some modding, you can do the 18v mod and add a toggle switch to switch between 9v and 18v. You will however have to make room for two 9v batteries. So it will take a bit of tweaking to get to work properly. Good luck biggrin.gif

Edit: Just one more thing, the mod makes the clean tones much more dynamic and clear, and removes a lot of the compression that inherent in the EMG pickups.

This post has been edited by Mudbone: Jul 17 2011, 02:53 AM


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Michael AC
post Jul 17 2011, 02:58 AM
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QUOTE (SlyRy @ Jul 16 2011, 09:26 PM) *
My new guitar has an EMG81 in it (bridge). It is the only pickup in the guitar, which is an ESP M1. I have mixed feelings on active pickups for soloing. I am not sure I like it after all. What is everyone's preference? I am thinking about putting in a Seymour Duncan Invader. Thoughts? I feel I play so much smoother on my other guitars, which have passive pickups. But maybe I just need to get used to it


I do not like hassling with batteries so I always go passive. I replaced my stock Duncan Design humbuckers with SH4 JB in the bridge and a SH2 Jazz in the neck.
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Mudbone
post Jul 17 2011, 03:52 AM
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QUOTE (Michael AC @ Jul 16 2011, 09:58 PM) *
I do not like hassling with batteries so I always go passive. I replaced my stock Duncan Design humbuckers with SH4 JB in the bridge and a SH2 Jazz in the neck.


According to the EMG website, you can play 8 hours everyday for a year before you have to change the battery. This is something I can attest to. Well, I don't practice 8 hours everyday, but I change the battery probably every 8 months. This is because I leave the cable plugged in many times, and this drains the battery. I really don't see it as an inconvenience at all. The battery has its own compartment, so its pretty easy to change.

I must say though, that SD pickup combination you got is fantastic. Both are great pickups biggrin.gif

This post has been edited by Mudbone: Jul 17 2011, 03:26 PM


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"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens


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Mojo: Hammer of Odin and a pair of Ox gonads
Inspiration: Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Zero to Hero: 1,387/10,000

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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jul 17 2011, 12:50 PM
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What type of humbucking sound are you after? Changing to medium output pickup might work for you, or hi output one, if you prefer this. I would choose medium output if you need to preserve picking dynamics, or hotter pickup if you are picking more gently.


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Michael AC
post Jul 17 2011, 05:50 PM
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QUOTE (Mudbone @ Jul 16 2011, 10:52 PM) *
According to the EMG website, you can play 8 hours everyday for a year before you have to change the battery. This is something I can attest to. Well, I don't practice 8 hours everyday, but I change the battery probably every 8 months. This is because I leave the cable plugged in many times, and this drains the battery. I really don't see it as an inconvenience at all. The battery has its own compartment, so its pretty easy to change.

I must say though, that SD pickup combination you got is fantastic. Both are great pickups biggrin.gif


I was amazed the first time I played them, it was SO different and distinct. You are right on the batteries. It just always seemed that when the battery would go out would be during a concert or something...that is where the inconvenience was, but honestly that is my fault.
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SlyRy
post Jul 18 2011, 01:38 AM
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QUOTE (Mudbone @ Jul 17 2011, 01:52 AM) *
I can see why you have mixed feeling about the EMG 81. Its great for powerful heavy metal riffs, but the 81 in the bridge isn't that dynamic for soloing. But whats great about EMG's is you have so many options. The EMG's have a quick disconnect system, so you can easily change pickups with other EMG pickups. You could try putting an 85 in the bridge to change things up.

Also, if you want to make the pickups more dynamic for soloing you could try doing the 18v or 24v mod. I have the 24v mod on mine because its easier to do. Its just this 24v battery I found on eBay thats made exclusively for EMG systems. It definitely increases the dynamic range of the pickups. But the pickups do lose a little of their characteristic tight low end. For leads, I prefer the 24v mod, for riffing I prefer the regular 9v.

If you feel like doing some modding, you can do the 18v mod and add a toggle switch to switch between 9v and 18v. You will however have to make room for two 9v batteries. So it will take a bit of tweaking to get to work properly. Good luck biggrin.gif

Edit: Just one more thing, the mod makes the clean tones much more dynamic and clear, and removes a lot of the compression that inherent in the EMG pickups.


Great info thanks. The crazy thing is that the EMG81 is sometimes advertised as a lead pickup. Have you ever heard an 85 in the bridge? If so, how did it sound?

I ordered the 18v mod off of ebay. Only $9, worth a shot.

This post has been edited by SlyRy: Jul 18 2011, 02:42 AM
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Todd Simpson
post Jul 18 2011, 03:06 AM
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QUOTE (SlyRy @ Jul 17 2011, 07:38 PM) *
Great info thanks. The crazy thing is that the EMG81 is sometimes advertised as a lead pickup. Have you ever heard an 85 in the bridge? If so, how did it sound?

I ordered the 18v mod off of ebay. Only $9, worth a shot.


Many great replies about the Pros/Cons of EMG Active approach to pickups. I personally love the things to death. I've owned several instruments with the 81/85 set including my Minarik Lotus (LP Shape) with the Kerry King 81/85 set. For that they are built to do, not much else comes close. I'm glad I have other guitars that are NON EMG just for variety/dynamics etc. But I'd hate to be without at least one EMG active Axe.

The 18v mod is insane. A fine choice. smile.gif It will blow your skull apart with gain. It can be a bit much to control but riding the lightning is always fun smile.gif



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Mudbone
post Jul 18 2011, 05:38 AM
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QUOTE (SlyRy @ Jul 17 2011, 08:38 PM) *
Great info thanks. The crazy thing is that the EMG81 is sometimes advertised as a lead pickup. Have you ever heard an 85 in the bridge? If so, how did it sound?

I ordered the 18v mod off of ebay. Only $9, worth a shot.


The 81 can be a great lead pickup, it all depends on your style. For highly technical playing it works great, for bluesy stuff, not so much. I actually have the 85 in the bridge right now, and I can say its a bit smoother and more textured. Is it better than the 81 for lead? I think you're gonna have to decide that, as its really a matter of preference. There are many comparisons on YouTube demonstrating the differences between the two in the bridge position. Definitely check them out. Also, EMG has an X-series line of pickups that are variations of their established models. They are advertised as being more dynamic than the regular ones. I have played the 81-X, and I actually prefer the regular 81. But thats because I have a neck pickup that I use for leads. I just like the old classic unmodded 81 for riffing biggrin.gif But I always change things up just for the sake of changing laugh.gif


--------------------


He who laughs last thinks slowest.

"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens


Gear:

Guitars: Uncle Rufus' Twanger Classic
Amps: Mississippi Boom Box
Mojo: Hammer of Odin and a pair of Ox gonads
Inspiration: Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Zero to Hero: 1,387/10,000

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