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EMG discussion


Guitarzan

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lately i have been doing some accoustic noodling on the Kramer (still pickupless) when wandering around the house.

i really dig the neck and the feel of this guitar.

so i am on the look out for pickups.

i have mentioned EMG's before and had a few responses.

i know alot of metalheads love the 81 and Vince Gill , Steve lukather and Dave Gilmour use EMG's for less pounding tones.

the thing is i would actually consider these for the Kramer if i knew thay would be versatile.

the guitar is a 87 pacer custom 2 routed for a hum/sing/sing setup.

so here are a few questions to all you EMG owners.

what is the one thing you hate about them?

can i get sweet clean tones that are not without processing the crap out of them with effects?

are they really that "sterile" or is this a problem with people hearing the real tone of thier guitars without the help of hyped peaks from passive pickups?

i understand the sensitivity thing, and i don't have a problem with that.

what music are they least likely to work well for?

the sound files on thier site really emphasize the low end, is that normal?

i am aware of tons of artists that endorse them.

who here has had a good or bad experience with EMG's?

which models and musical styles?

i thank you all in advance.

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the 9 volt battery is the only downside ;-)

 

They are thick (sounding), but I find them to be very versatile. The clean sounds are what I like most--very fat and warm, but minimal EQ is necessary as they aren't muddy.

 

It's been a while since I installed them on my guitar--I'll have to check and see what models I used. My synapse has an 81 and an 85, and I can coax just about any tone I need. I routinely solo w/ the neck pickup.

Cass Anawaty, Chief Engineer

Sunbreak Music, LLC

High Resolution Stereo and Surround Mastering

www.sunbreakmusic.com

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I can only comment about EMG SA's.One of the first things I noticed on a guitar I installed them on is that the notes became very even all over the neck. No dead spots or notes that played softer or louder than others. And this was a troubled guitar, a custom build by a luthier I know and the guitar had dead spots and I was actually about to give up on it when I put the EMG's on it....transformed the guitar.

 

They have great sustain.

 

They are very quiet and have great tone. The batteries last a long long time, especially if you pull the cable when not in use.

 

The SA's have a mid range presence control option that fattens them up and makes them sound more like a side by side, dual coil humbucker.

 

I personally will always have one guitar with them in. I used to think that they lacked character, compared to regular passive magnetic pickup's.....I was comparing them to my Strats and Di Marzio equiped guitars....but they really have a character all of their own.

 

I think you can't go wrong with these, because if they don't work for you in the Kramer, they will migrate to another guitar.

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I agree with FF. I have a set of Strat sized pups in my ESP, and will NEVER change them. I had a set of 'bucker sized ones in a Larivee' Tele variant that sounded fabulous. I traded the guitar due to setup shortcomings, but I loved the tone. Get them and be happy. :thu:
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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now that is what i wanted to hear.

on the HC reviews the majority of reviewers are 100% into metallica and are younger.

nothing wrong with either of those things but they tend to have no other experience or tastes. so it is hard to get a open varied review.

seeing you guys respond and knowing what you like as well as own for guitars gives me a dang good impression.

i want to be able to cover alot of ground with these and the balance between notes is important to me.

i guess i need to purchase a complete setup.

i guess i will need to drill out the input jack hole seeing it is designed for a "tunnel" jack.

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G-Zan,

 

I have S type in my warmouth strat. I agree with much of what has been stated, if you unplug the cord after playing the batteries last a LONG time! The sound is a very good single coil sound, but not vintage. In my opinion they are very good pups, but at times I do want to get a more vintage type tone. They are good for any style which is part of why I got them, that as well as being quiet. Mine also has the mid-boost which I don't believe is particular to any certain EMG pup. I don't think mine have a very good two and four position "hollow" sound that I like from Strats- that and the fact that the S type don't have a whole lot of output are probably my biggest complaints. They do have great balance and sustain.

 

Good luck,

 

durwood

knowledge is power, but ignorance is bliss
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Originally posted by Bluesape:

I changed the Energizer 9 volt in my ESP after 11 years, and I bought it used! The original was likely 15 or more years in there! :eek:

I remember some months ago asking you about the battery life of these PUs and you telling me that you hadn't changed the battery in years.

 

A few days later, you had to change the battery which I remember was no trivial task. :eek::D

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Zan,just another perspective on this. I don't have any EMG equipped guitars so I can't comment on them one way or another. There is one thing to think about on this as I see it, you may agree or not. I bet just about every classic and popular guitar tone you and I admire where NOT done with EMG fitted guitars. I think the only one that I know of and that is more recently is David Gilmore, but his older non EMG tones are the ones that have always sounded great. If a set of standard magnetic pickups are set up properly the rest is up to your hands and the amps. Anyway just another view of it.
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good point Lee.

i know there are lots of artists endorsing EMG's.

and one could assume they use them in the studio.

but sometimes i wounder if the tone i hear on a CD was done with the artists regular stage gear or other guitars that were only used in the studio.

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Originally posted by Hard Tail:

Originally posted by Bluesape:

I changed the Energizer 9 volt in my ESP after 11 years, and I bought it used! The original was likely 15 or more years in there! :eek:

I remember some months ago asking you about the battery life of these PUs and you telling me that you hadn't changed the battery in years.

 

A few days later, you had to change the battery which I remember was no trivial task. :eek::D

Actually, it hadn't quite died, but yeah, the neck had to come off to get under the pickguard! :eek:
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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Originally posted by guitarzan:

good point Lee.

i know there are lots of artists endorsing EMG's.

and one could assume they use them in the studio.

but sometimes i wounder if the tone i hear on a CD was done with the artists regular stage gear or other guitars that were only used in the studio.

You can be assured that in most cases the stage gear differs from the studio gear.

Cass Anawaty, Chief Engineer

Sunbreak Music, LLC

High Resolution Stereo and Surround Mastering

www.sunbreakmusic.com

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Originally posted by guitarzan:

1) Are they really that "sterile" or is this a problem with people hearing the real tone of thier guitars without the help of hyped peaks from passive pickups?

 

2)What music are they least likely to work well for?

 

3) who here has had a good or bad experience with EMG's?

 

4) which models and musical styles?

I had the same set (SA - the set with the mid range boost) Gilmour uses in my Strat.

 

The only reason I had them was because the bars my band played in had neon lighting and gave a horrible buzzing sound through the amps with stock pups. We played Top 40 with a lot of effects, so warmth was not an issue. Trying to cut through the same sonic space as the keyboards was more of a priority.

 

You mention Lukather and Gilmour using them....they have a highly processed sound. You take away all the effects and you hear how cold EMGs sound. It's no wonder the metal heads like them.

 

For a vintage Blues/Rock tone, they're not convincing. If you want to do Nu-Metal or dropped tuning stuff, they would be OK, I guess.

 

I got rid of my SA set and put in California 50s (calibrated) single coils in my Strat....it sounds how a Strat should sound now.

A Jazz/Chord Melody Master-my former instructor www.robertconti.com

 

(FKA GuitarPlayerSoCal)

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They add a dimension, a texture different from passive pups. If I only used one guitar, I could be fine with them. My Blades are active, and are always my first choice for gigging. I'll bring something else along, too, but it usually won't get a lot of use. I wouldn't put them in an investment grade guitar, but I'd toss 'em into a workhorse in a heartbeat.
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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i met a real nice older gentleman at the local store awhile back and he was in love with his EMG's.

he played in a big band and seemed to be a guy who wanted pristine clean chords.

i do understand why some people dislike them.

and yes Luke and Gilmour like effects.

i am all for the sensitivity of the low impedance pickups.

i want to make the Kramer an all purpose "shred,metal, blues and instrumental beast".

i will have other means of achieving vintage tones.

accoustically the Kramer has a nice bell like tone with warmth (believe it or not).

from what i have read, EMG's give you exactly what the guitar produces.

so i assume if i enjoy the accoustic properties of a guitar then i shouldn't be suprised after adding them.

i have been grabbing this axe every day to noodle and it never dissapoints.

the fact i can play this pickupless beast for extended periods is the reason i want to get it all fired up.

it is light as a feather and still has bottom end and balance through the strings.

i do still have some needs to do the metal thing and i want to soon get down to tracking some instrumental stuff.

but my priority isn't drop d or nu metal.

it is more like Judas Priest or Megadeth type of stuff.

but i still want nice round cleans for my tender side. :D

 

i don't want them if they are:

 

thin

bottom end muddy

unresponsive to dynamics

peaky in a certain frequency

 

if they are:

 

good at cleans and crunch

resist mud

have natural string to string balance

round and smooth

sensitive to dynamics, then yeah i will like them

 

my main amp is a Yamaha DG100 that has 5 bands of EQ that can boost or cut.

bass/low mid/high mid/treble and prescence

which makes me think after all the input you guys have given me that it would be a good marriage.

 

am i on track with this?

or am i in need of help?

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