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EMG 81 Pickups v.s. Seymour Duncan Les Paul Pickups?
Contributor: TC Staff    Rating: 4/5    Views: 122046

"Does anyone know how good EMG 81 are? I know Metallica uses them. I know
you have to put batteries in them to make them work. Are they really
worth buying? -- or would Seymour Duncans be better? In my Aria Pro 2 Les Paul
guitar. Help? Hope you guys know!"


Hi BR, I haven't compared the EMGs to SDs directly yet (same guitar and amp
etc.) but the EMG-81 is the hottest I've ever laid my hands on (sorry,
girls). They have an immense output with lots of highs and mids (and
lows too, actually :-). Cool point that they stay really clear, I
mean, you can hear single notes in a chord even if playing with lots
of distortion.

Zakk Wylde (former Ozzy guitarist) uses EMG 81's and 85's. He has a
great clean sound and a great dist sound. They sound really good on his
albums. He only uses a Chorus (when clean), so that's the only thing
that covers up the real true tone and sound of them.

Kirk Hammet (Metallica guitarist) uses 81's in both neck and bridge position in all his ESP's

When I put my current axe together, I based it largly on a Les Paul
design. Although the body looks like a Tele, it is made of mahogany and
is routed for two humbuckers. I have tried three different types of EMG
pickups in it, and I have currently settled on an 85 neck/81 bridge

EMG-81: This pickup is definitely HOT. It gives a thiner, piercing, screaming tone.
I still don't use it as much as the 85 in the neck position, but I do like it.
For some reason, it is not nearly as loud as the 85. One of these days,
I'm going to lower my neck pickup and try to get the volumes equal.

EMG-85: This pickup is thick, rich, and sweet. Originally, I had 85's
in both positions, but I found that I never used the bridge pickup
because it didn't sound that different from the neck position, only
weaker and thiner.

EMG-60: I replaced the bridge pickup with a humbucker from a
steinberger, which I am told is essentially a 60. I didn't like it. It
was thin and clean, and it just didn't do the trick for me. I think it
might be geared more toward a jazz sound, while I am geared toward a
blues/rock sound.

-TC Staff

Contributor: TC Staff    Rating: 4/5    Views: 122046

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