tjon901 12/09/2011

EMG 81 : tjon901's user review

« Classier look from a brutal active pickup »

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The EMG 81 is a classic design in the guitar world. It has stayed consistant throughout its history. For a lot of people the active tone is what they wanted but they didnt like the sterile mechanical look of the black plastic covers they all came in. They wanted the tone but without completely changing the look of their guitar. For the longest time if you wanted a different look from your EMG pickups you had to do it yourself. You had to grind down the plastic covers and place the metal cover over it. This was a messy job and could damage your pickups. Now you can get Chrome and Gold covered pickups from the factory and lots of people are taking advantage of it to put in their Les Pauls and other guitars. They are not exactly like if you did it yourself. The pickups do not have pole pieces on them so you can kinda tell they are not normal humbuckers. If you did it yourself you could glue on some pole pieces to complete the look. The tone of these pickups hasnt changed but lots of people listen with their eyes instead of their ears. The 81 tone is classic metal tone. It has a razor sharp high end sound to it that keeps the clarity now matter how fast you are riffing or how much gain you have piled on. Since it has more of a high end voicing the clean tones are not that great. Personally I do not like the lead tones from the 81 either. To me they come out way too harsh when playing leads with a bridge position 81. If you are looking for high gain metal tone but want to keep the classic look of your guitar these Chrome covered EMG pickups are what you need.