Active Pickups

Stone

Rock Star
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5,372
howdy all, so who here in the TGF uses Active pickups
and how do you like them? and when do you use them ?
yes lots of questions, but inquiring minds want to know :D

Cheers
Mike
 
I have a few sets of EMGs
I don’t really treat them any differently. They have a tone but the gain is not problematic. The main guitars I have to have to treat as different is my Fenders with single coils. They need different gain across the board.
 
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Taking a stab at EMG J Bass actives on a chop6 like this:

7C3692B2-C643-41DE-A85A-4054401104FE.jpeg


If that doesn’t work… We can always swap them for something else.
 
EMGs are the deal for me.

Tried numerous stuff, including a ton of BKPs, Motor City, Arcane, PRS stuff, PAF clones from a ton of different winders including Wizz and Throbak.

I mostly play metal and some sort of doom/sludge, and I love the way the 81 responds. Most of my main guitars have only 1 pickup and it's always an 81.

Fishmans are ok, and I actually like the KSE model the best out of those, but for what I do they can't touch the 81.
 
I love EMG, I’ve been a huge fan for years. I’ve been waving the “EMGs aren’t just for metal” banner in forums a long time now.

SAX set with an SPC on the bridge are my favorite Strat pickups. SAVX are really good too

T set are some of the best Tele pickups money can buy

I’m a big fan of the 60/85 combo
 
The Majesty needs batteries, but it has a 20dB boost available on the volume knob. The guitar won't pass a signal without the batteries, but Idk if that qualifies as "active PU's."

Whatever it is, or if that's considered "active," I do like it, because it's a convenient way to get more gain. And the PU's sound amazingly rich, full of the natural bloom of harmonics.
 
I love EMG, I’ve been a huge fan for years. I’ve been waving the “EMGs aren’t just for metal” banner in forums a long time now.

This is going to possibly sound combative, but I honestly don't mean it to:

I'm pretty much always turned off by EMGs and high gain pickups. Could you point me to any clips (audio or video) of beautiful EMG cleans and pushed cleans that would perhaps change my simplistic and mistaken viewpoint? Might as well start with a strat-style neck pickup.
 
This is going to possibly sound combative, but I honestly don't mean it to:

I'm pretty much always turned off by EMGs and high gain pickups. Could you point me to any clips (audio or video) of beautiful EMG cleans and pushed cleans that would perhaps change my simplistic and mistaken viewpoint? Might as well start with a strat-style neck pickup.

Hmm… I’ll have to think about that and do some digging. I don’t currently have them in my guitars (had to take them out because I can’t use them in my main venue) or I’d record something to show you.

The thing is, they’re really not as high gain as people think they are.
 
EMG 81/66 in my PRS Custom 22, 85/66 in my Fender Modern Strat (yes, the 85 is a great bridge pickup in brighter guitars) and a P-Set in my Fender Precision Bass. I went through a phase of pickup swapping, tried Seymour Duncan Custom / JB / Distortion, DiMarzio D-Activator, Suhr SSH and Bareknuckle Brute Force. While the Brute Force Set sounded amazing in an Ibanez RG I had for a short time and the D-Activators were the ones I liked the most in my PRS, I finally came to the conclusion that active EMGs are "the" sound for me. I know that nowadays they are often frowned upon, especially by the younger generation of guitar players, but they have a certain voicing and compression that just does it for me. I also tried the active Fishman Modern Fluences, but absolutely hated them for their quackiness.
 
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EMG81 is great for high gain and I use it 90% of the time but I also like the passive Seymour Duncan SH-4 on my LP clone (Edwards) which I feel is more dynamic when playing.
They will not sound very different in a recording, but the FEEL when playing certainly is.
 
Absolutely love my EMG in my LTD EC-1000, especially the 81, i agree that they can do gain and high high gain very well, not sure about cleans but then i did not get this guitar for cleans

NECK PU EMG 60
BRIDGE PU EMG 81
 
I love EMGs, with the 81 probably my favorite Hard Rock / Metal pickup. Though not my main guitar, I always make sure to have at least one EMG 81 equipped guitar for tracking and just rocking out. Fishman sound good but lack some of that 81 compression I like and has a bit more modern cocked wah tones. I also like the 89 in the neck.

Still need to try out the EMG 57/66 combo.
 
I have EMG 808X in my 8-string, they are mean yet clear. I also have EMG T in my tele. Sounds great. A tad "polite" compared to a normal tele set maybe.
I also have an 85 in my Steinberger Spirit , fat tone!
 
The EMGs tend to have a frequency response like a bandpass with a peak around 700 Hz and some compression. Passives are basically like second order low pass filters with a 3 dBish resonant peak from 2 to 4kHz.

I like both and change my presets to get what we sound I want, I think the compression in EMGs is the bigger deal.
 
The thing is, they’re really not as high gain as people think they are.

Well that's a good starting point. I've learned something. I am one of your "people" that you're referring to for sure 🙂

I think one of the problems is that I always see demos where somebody (I assume) has their amp tone stack dialed in for their gain sound, but start off a demo with "and here is my clean sound..." and it nearly always sounds utterly insipid and lacking in any sort of flavour.

If that "clean sound" in those sorts of pickup demos was a drink, it would taste like dirty dishwater.

I'm looking at you Fluff!
 
This is going to possibly sound combative, but I honestly don't mean it to:

I'm pretty much always turned off by EMGs and high gain pickups. Could you point me to any clips (audio or video) of beautiful EMG cleans and pushed cleans that would perhaps change my simplistic and mistaken viewpoint? Might as well start with a strat-style neck pickup.

I think this covers all the bases! And despite the monstrous rig he had on this tour, he’s only running into a couple pedals for this song. Basically a compressor, chorus and a Tube Driver

 
Well that's a good starting point. I've learned something. I am one of your "people" that you're referring to for sure 🙂

I think one of the problems is that I always see demos where somebody (I assume) has their amp tone stack dialed in for their gain sound, but start off a demo with "and here is my clean sound..." and it nearly always sounds utterly insipid and lacking in any sort of flavour.

If that "clean sound" in those sorts of pickup demos was a drink, it would taste like dirty dishwater.

I'm looking at you Fluff!


It's ok. I kind of think they blow, too. Not that you do. :idk

I have had them in numerous guitars, and various sets--and they don't
blow. They do have more personality, and tend to be anything but subtle.
I always get this real strong stamp on the tone when using them and that
is not always what I want----even if tone really is all in the hands and not the
active pickups. :LOL:


And while they may not always be high-gain, they are definitely built
to push more signal than traditional pickups---whether single-coil or humbuggers.
That can result in that harsher clean signal that sometimes resembles digital
clipping to some. Just a really less than pleasant break-up.

Even Gilmour's use of them helped him push signal through 2,700 feet
of instrument cable, and 18,000 patch bay connections in his monster live
rig. Also, noiseless. I am sure he dug the tone, but there were those other
considerations going on as well, and are worth mentioning. He wanted/needed
that hot signal and noiseless solution. It fit. Few of us are in the same position
of having to push so much signal through so much gear.
 
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