EMG Pickups

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by chefb, May 8, 2016.

  1. chefb

    chefb New Member!

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    does anybody here know anything about EMG pickups and how they sound on a strat? I'm looking for bluesy to metal sound.
     
  2. lammie200

    lammie200 Senior Stratmaster

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    I have SAV pickups in my Strat with both the RPC and EXG tone controls. I also wired it for stereo with two 9 volt lithium batteries. I can pretty much get any tone that I want. Also, completely noisleless in any position. It would be interesting to compare the SV pickups to the SAV pickups, but I believe that the SAV's will give you more variety. Hope that helps.
     
  3. Kester

    Kester Senior Stratmaster

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    Hi there, I've had a few sets of SAs over the years. They are very rounded and chimey, I like them. I do find though that positions 2 & 4 aren't quite like standard coils and are more of a 'smoothened version of bridge and neck pickups respectively. I would try before you buy, or at least have a good listen, as they are not for everyone.
     
  4. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster

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    Welcome to the forum @chefb - I'll need more info...

    What model of EMG pickups? Active or passive? Humbucker in the bridge or all single coils? etc....

    There are a lot of variables...
     
  5. Euclid

    Euclid Strat-O-Master

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    I had EMGs on a Valley Arts Strat back in the 1990s...they were excellent for very clean and very distorted sounds, but not so hot at sounds with only a bit of "hair". They were active. So my experience was good for metal, not so much for earthy blues
     
  6. Phrasemaker

    Phrasemaker Strat-Talker

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    Without knowing if you are talking active or passive it's hard to narrow this conversation down. However I do have a fair bit of experience with the actives so will offer my personal opinions. I wouldn't put them on what I consider to be a classic type of instrument, for instance a nice Strat or Tele, or LP and most other guitars of that pedigree. That's me, as little in between the metal and organic parts of the guitar as is possible. I like guitars with their own voices piped straight into my amps. I own a few EMG active loaded guitars and I use them for a range of applications where I want to have them running through a rack, so i basically play my rack of tones with the guitar. They are great for certain uses although the humbucker size ones can poke through an amp's clean headroom so easily it's difficult to get a pure clean tone. Each of the guitars I own are radically different in terms of mechanical options and string quantity, but they sound almost identical if simply playing without doing anything with the other options on the guitar. I guess in a nutshell I find them generic tone-wise. Example, I was recording a solo where I needed almost a bar of sustain on a note, yes the active loaded guitar does it easily. Bearing in mind this was recording with headphones so no amp to kick resonance back at the guitar to aid sustain. I then tried the same thing with a reverse Firebird and could make the solo sound almost vocal with more feel coming through but had to sustain the note with a little vibrato. Try a guitar with them on and see if they work for your application, I use mine for a number of genres where they do provide something I can't get easily with other pickups.
     
  7. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh needs you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too.

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    I've personally never liked EMG, but a lot of guys swear by them. Engineers like them because they are very flat in their response and very consistent, but they also don't have much in the way of personality IMHO.
     
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  8. GaryCorby

    GaryCorby Strat-O-Master

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    David Gilmour's candyapple red strat and Mark Knopfler's Pensa Suhr are EMGs. Not to mention Steve Lukather uses them to the point he has a signature set. So those would probably be the theoretically best sounds you could get from those pickups.

    They are excellent for pedals, they are very, very noiseless, they don't sound like vintage pickups, which should surprise no one. They don't lose the high and low frequencies, which is what gives a strat its trad sound. I don't understand the personality issue, or some call the sound too clinical. I use round core nickel strings on mine and I hear plenty of personality. If you use active EMGs, replace the tone knobs with EXG and SPC controls.
     
  9. Fender Phil

    Fender Phil Strat-Talker

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    I have two loaded pickgaurds with EMG. A S ceramic set, and a SA (alnico) set. I really like both sets and switch them out on the same guitar. I need to have at least one guitar with a set of these pickups. I find them versatile, powerful, and when I roll down the volume pot on the guitar, it gets vintage. That Strat makes me the happiest. I run these pickups set fairly close to the strings.

    I have 5 other Strats, one with Wagners, the others are stock Fender.
     
  10. etr102

    etr102 Strat-Talker

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    I too have an American Standard Strat that I'm considering putting EMGs in (specifically the EMG 85 and 81). I know the body is routed such that an HSH setup is possible (pickguard obviously needs to be swapped out), but is the body typically routed to fit EMG 81/85? I imagine they are no bigger than standard humbuckers?

    Where is the recommended place to put the battery? Would there be room to put it in the back? Or would it have to go under the pick guard somewhere? Trying to visualize where there would be enough real estate to accommodate this.
     
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  11. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster

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    There should be room between the pots and 5-way switch, just have to cover the battery with tape so it won't touch any other component and short/ground anything out....

    should also fit in your strat....your EE doesn't have a swimming pool route?
     
  12. etr102

    etr102 Strat-Talker

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    This is embarassing but I haven't had that pickguard off in over 10 years and I can't remember if it has a swimming pool or not. I'm embarrassed to say I posted this without investigating the logistics myself but I saw somebody else start an EMG thread so I jumped in. Goes to show how lazy I am hehe.

    If it does have a swimming pool though that would make life much easier. Do you know what model years swimming pool routes were found on USA Standard models?
     
  13. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster

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    Pretty sure they were swimming pool route from the beginning until the mid 90s or late 90s....on the American Standard...
     
  14. Ozric

    Ozric Strat-Talker

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    The only EMG I was able to enjoy was the SLV, hotter than any other single coil they have, easy to dial in when volume comes down, it seems to have its own voice if you will, not like the 81`s 85`s way compressed, the 60`s have more of an open and natural sound, I no longer have any but good for really loud settings .....
     
  15. sam_in_cali

    sam_in_cali Scream for me Strat-Talk! Silver Member

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    Do you have a particular artist's tone in mind? Blues to Metal is a pretty broad spectrum.
     
  16. AlexEP

    AlexEP Strat-Talker

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    I've got the DG20 and they sound absolutely strattish
     
  17. Fender Phil

    Fender Phil Strat-Talker

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    Those are SA pups with the optional electronics that make up the Gilmore package.

    I agree. I have these in my most played Strat.
     
  18. chefb

    chefb New Member!

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  19. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster

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  20. sonichronic

    sonichronic Strat-Talker

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    THESE SURPRISINGLY SOUND GREAT!

    i have a MIM CAR 50s lacquer with the EMG DG-20 set up in it (Gilmour RED Strat) and I play it more than my '83 SB Fullerton AVRI '62
    IMG_0803.JPG
     
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