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EMG 81
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EMG 81

Humbucker guitar pickup from EMG belonging to the Active series.

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nickname009 nickname009
Publié le 03/27/11 à 17:44
I've owned at least 3 different guitars equipped with the EMG 81, and I've bought and installed about 5 EMG 81s in different guitars that I've owned and tried them in both the bridge and neck position. If you took a medium output passive pickup, threw a boost out in front of the amp, you'd get an EMG pickup. In essence, this is what the battery does for the pickup.

as a neck pickup (CLEAN):

Not bad. It's not like any fender glassy clean nor is it like a thick humbucker pickup. But the tone is almost like a transparent, woody tone. Suprisingly, very transparent. Not too bassy or trebly or anything! Just clear and woody is the best way i can put it. Though the headroom is a little bit questionable as it sounds like it's JUST on the verge of break up, but doesn't.

as a neck pickup (DIRTY):
Great! Smooth distortion, not too bright and not too much bass. There's enough gain on tap to do any of the shreddy stuff. Low-medium gains is nothing to write home about however. But it tracks very well under high gain!

as a bridge pickup (CLEAN): The clean is decent. Some people have said that it breaks up but I personally haven't had that same experience, it may depend on the pickup height however.

as a bridge pickup (DIRTY): Very subjective here. Over the years it's been claimed to be either great, or shrill and sterile. I personally think it is a relatively bright pickup, and slightly gritty. I've used this pickup on standard tuned guitars and downtuned guitars, both of which sound good. Of course on a downtuned guitar the overall sound is smoother than if tuned in standard. A lot of metal players use these pickups for this reason. It keeps the tone tight when downtuned. Harmonics leap out effortlessly.

Overall great metal pickup. Very tight, and clear even with downtuned guitars. Clean is not something this pickup excels at. Doesn't clean up with the volume control but it is quiet since it's active. The battery thing is a necessity with these pickups, it DOES help with taming ground noise and whatnot. I do not find it troublesome, though some people do. It's completely subjective these days as a lot of other guitar gear works the same way.

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