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FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / EMG pickups

Belgarath

Back of Beyond SW FL

Jun 2nd, 2016 05:45 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Any love or experience with EMG pickups here? A search revealed nothing in the last year.

I'm considering an HSS configuration using an 85 in the bridge and two SA pups for the neck and middle.

68Strat
Contributing Member
*****

USA

Upside Down, Backwards, and Left Handed
Jun 2nd, 2016 11:12 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

yes I had 3 SA's in one of my strats. They are good for a smooth overdriven sound. But like all active/noiseless pickups I have tried they lack character.

They are good for going through a lot of effects and for more distorted sounds.

But I don't like them in general...as for my ears they lack character and don't have that fender single coil vintage tone.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Eat. Sleep. Guitar.

Repeat
Jun 3rd, 2016 08:34 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yeah, active EMGs are pretty sterile-sounding to me unless they're used for crunch tones.

Their passive pickups were pretty anemic sounding; these were stock units in an 80's Steinberger I had. Dunno about their current-production passive pups.

Hammond101
Contributing Member
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So. Cal. USA

Jun 3rd, 2016 10:12 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Back in the early 90s I had a Les Paul Studio I fitted with a pair of 85s. They worked great for crunchy classis rock but not so well for bluesy tones where you just wanted the PU to overdrive the amp, a Pro Reverb back in those days.

I built a Tele in the late 80s with an EMG-T set with a little better result however that guitar now has Vintage Noiseless Fender PUs in it.

One of the things I do not like about the newer EMG PU sets in their plug and play connectors. You have to drill out the holes in the body for cable path to a larger size so the connectors will fit through. This I will not do to one of my factory guitars.

YMMV

Belgarath

Back of Beyond SW FL

Jun 13th, 2016 05:03 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Appreciate the advice. I'm also planning on using the SPC presence control. One of those things I guess I'm gonna have to get out of my system. LOL

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Eat. Sleep. Guitar.

Repeat
Jun 13th, 2016 05:46 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Despite all the negative stuff above, many pros use them--so they're not junk! They do rock really well.

MLC
Contributing Member
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It's not just good..

...it's good enough.
Jun 14th, 2016 09:04 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"One of those things I guess I'm gonna have to get out of my system. LOL"

Hey, if you got the bug, you have to see it to its conclusion. (;^D)

I loaded a Strat with them many years ago. My results are much the same as those above. They sounded OK, but kinda lifeless. The best way I can describe it is that they didn't "breathe" like regular single-coils, if that makes sense.
I play clean a lot, so they didn't really work for me.

They'd probably make a good platform if you use a lot of processing in your sound.

68Strat
Contributing Member
*****

USA

Upside Down, Backwards, and Left Handed
Jun 15th, 2016 01:00 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

the best way to describe how true single coils feel vs active or noiseless is this:

true single coils:

i can easily get pop or smoothness, or crunch...or a gracefull bell tone. it all depends on how you attack the strings and set your volume.

Active or noiseless:

i find myself pinching and punishing and mauling the guitar strings...but i still cant set it free. i feel slightly confined no matter what i do. the sound is not as free, airy, or dynamic as a true single coil.

as stated above...these problems mostly go away under heavy distortion/processing.

(This message was last edited by 68Strat at 03:03 AM, Jun 15th, 2016)

Belgarath

Back of Beyond SW FL

Jun 19th, 2016 08:56 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

68 Strat I get what you mean after listening to some Knopfler videos. The Pensa Suhr has the sounds but the tone does seem to be lacking something. Kind of like something is being held back.

Hmmmm...





68Strat
Contributing Member
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USA

Upside Down, Backwards, and Left Handed
Jun 20th, 2016 06:14 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

yup. But I would definitely consider what type of music you want to play with the EMG pickups. They are really good at capturing that classic strat look while providing a good sound under the right conditions.

I would use them if I was playing van halen type high gain music. They are good for that!

telegib

Canada

Jun 21st, 2016 01:03 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have EMG's on a couple of guitars...a Strat and Tele. I also have a set in a box and awaiting another guitar. They are nice but I prefer passive pickups.

EMG's sound more "air like" than stock Strat or Tele pickups that give that tonal bite, twang, and snap that Fender guitars are known to do. EMG's tame that and produce a more sterile version of that tone.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing. I like EMG's. But I prefer standard passive single coils or Lace Sensor pickups over EMG's.

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member
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Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Jul 13th, 2016 08:59 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

My first 5 string bass was a Washburn with two EMG Select Jazz Bass pickups. My first upgrade was to replace them with real EMG's.

I did find them non-descript and rather flat, in fact, there was little difference panning between them.

I added preamps...a bass/treble one to the neck pickup and a mid/presence to the bridge.

The additional tone shaping brought them to life.

Now, decades later I've come to regard EMG's as "tonal palettes" on which excellent tones can be obtained.

I had a Musicmaster bass I turned into an 8 string bass. My first pickup upgrade was with an EMG SA Strat pickup. It was excellent in that bass and brought out the best in the strings. The original single coil was noisy and thin. The EMG picked up the bass strings better and added clarity to the octave strings.

Cal-Woody

USA/California

Why do I keep fixing things that work?
Jul 13th, 2016 10:06 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hey Steve, I have a Fender P/J 4 string bass put in the Duncan 1/4 pound set. Do you have a preferred preamp that can be installed in this instrument?
It is the Mexican model and is passive but would enjoy more adjustment to overall tone. I installed the Fuel preamp on my friends Sheckter 5 string bass, even though it has nice tone shaping, I couldn't adjust it to where it wouldn't overdrive the amps input. Or at least I didn't find the attenuation control to back off the signals output signal to the amp.
If you are familiar with these, or could check them out, could you let me know where or how to make the adjustment?
But I would still enjoy some of your insight into finding an active preamp for my bass.
Again, it is a 4 string bass and actually plays really well just wanted to add some more ambiance and tonal adjustments to these pickups, which were a vast improvement over the stock pickups!
My 'Thanks in advance', Woody

telegib

Canada

Aug 12th, 2016 03:50 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Belgarath
If you are interested in EMG's go for it. It may be the sound you are looking for. They are very lively sounding pickups and as I spoke above in this thread they are good pickups. It's just my preference to prefer passive pickups. Well good passive pickups anyway.

Regarding passive pickups I find Sliders pickups to be excellent sounding pickups with great tonal balance. I love the Sliders SRV 59 Strat pickups. Haven't tried their other pickups yet.


(This message was last edited by telegib at 05:51 PM, Aug 12th, 2016)

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member
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Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Sep 26th, 2016 08:28 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Cal Woody...Sorry, I didn't see your question until now.

I've gone through a LOT of preamps, and nearly all of them cheap ones. I've had really good luck with Artec, and really like the three band with adjustable mid frequency. (Two stacked pots)

Lately, I've been building knockoffs of the first Music Man two band Stingray preamp. I built a 5 string MM knockoff a few years ago, and used an Artec three band with frequency control for over a year, and it worked well. Then I built the two band MM preamp and THAT was what that pickup needed.

I since put one in my 5 string Steinberger Spirit. I have two Mighty Might soapbars in that bass that came out of my Korean Squier Prot Tone. I have had three other preamps in that bass, but the MM works best.

The preamp in my fretless, with baxandall bass and treble (with an EMG SPC for the bridge) was one I've been building since the mid 70's. Two transistors and two band "active" boost and cut.

Some cheap bass preamps have a trimpot on the epoxied preamp board to set the amplification.

If a bass overdrives the amp, turn the bass down. Most amps have attenuators for "active" basses. Or lower the pickups to lower the output.

Preamps for guitars are usually high output, to overdrive amps. All of my basses are active. None are any louder than passive instruments.

artec SE3P

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member
**********

Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Sep 26th, 2016 08:32 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've got that Artec in two basses. It's clean and quiet and I like the action of the controls. I have concentric controls for the bass and treble.

sneakle

USA

Oct 24th, 2016 03:35 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have a strat with EMG active pickups and I like the way it sits in a mix, when I don't want a spikey identifiable tone that stands apart. Don't know if that makes sense or not . . . .. Talking about mild overdrive, not heavy crunch tones.

super mario
Contributing Member
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USA

tone to the bone no other way
Oct 28th, 2016 08:29 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I know this is a thread about EMG's - but I like Steves input on the active electronics.....I may try it on my Yamaha BB5000A that I swapped out the original system for a SD design that did not work as well as I thought it should. The Artec looks simpler and much neater.

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member
**********

Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Nov 1st, 2016 07:26 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

If I was doing an EMG guitar, say a Strat, I'd wire it up with an SPC for the bridge pickup (boosts mids, cuts bass and treble to sound more humbucking) and an EXG for the neck and middle (boosts bass and treble.)

David Gilmours Strat has both, but not dedicated to specific pickups.

sneakle

USA

Apr 26th, 2017 04:50 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have them on 2 strats. I like the "85" a LOT for their "evenness" of tone and volume from string to string. Some people call this sterile because odd strings and notes are not jumping out at you. All subjective opinion I guess. Great for slide, boosted, bridge pu with some of top rolled off. Sound great on the Gilmore assembly I have on another emg strat. Very quite for recording. A bit of a pain that you have to remember to unplug your guitar if it's sitting around for days running down the battery.

FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / EMG pickups




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