yoTrakkz 11/29/2011

EMG 81TW : yoTrakkz's user review

« good pick ups »

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These are great custom made pickups, made by EMG. I have mixed feelings about their pickups in general, some of their stuff sounds awesome to me but a lot of it is really lifeless. These pickups are examples of the latter. I think that Steve Vai is a tremendous player, but his tone is really incredibly 80s sounding and cheesy. Unless you came of age in that era, and have never left or realized the glory that was the late 60s, 70s, and even this decade, there's a chance you might like this pedal. However, there's nothing remotely bright about this pedal. The emphasis is all in the scooped mids, which I really hate as it ruins a lot of the character. This is especially true in the neck position, good luck getting a half-decent blues sound. This wouldn't be so bad if I just needed a distorted lead sound. Considering that Vai never plays rhythm, this isn't so bad for him, but I do play rhythm and need a pickup that sounds half decent when playing clean. Forget that, it's horrible. I doubt if I've ever heard anything so lifeless. The only time I ever really get a rush from these pickups is if I crank the gain and start wailing. At that point yeah, these pickups sound great, but I need more versatility than that. A Les Paul's humbuckers will certainly give you all that and much more, so I'd say go with those types of pickups rather than these.
Granted, I'm not in the demographic that would want these pickups anyway. But my advice to players is never to take one players trademark pickups, as they are custom-made to do only what that player wants. Especially since that guitar player probably has multiple guitars with multiple different settings, he probably doesn't care very much about having a pickup in his name that barely does anything more than what he wants. Trust me, go with something more diverse.