The EMG 81 is a popular active humbucking guitar pickup manufactured by EMG, Inc. It is usually considered a lead pickup for use in the bridge position paired with EMG’s 85 as a rhythm pickup in the neck position (Zakk Wylde is famous for this configuration).
The EMG 85 is a popular active humbucking guitar pickup manufactured by EMG, Inc. It is combined with the 81 in the Zakk Wylde Signature EMG set. It was originally designed for use in the bridge position, but is typically installed in the neck position by modern guitar manufacturers.
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The EMG-81 is our most powerful pickup. The EMG-85 has slightly less output than the EMG-81 but still has plenty of output to overdrive an amp. The EMG-85 has more low end and less high end than the EMG-81. The EMG-81 has less bass and is brighter than the EMG-85.
In terms of more headroom, it has a more open sound; That said, the 81s sound a bit compressed compared to the Xs, like you turned the tone knob down a bit… Also, it’s on the clean channel that’s easiest to notice the difference in tone in my opinion. If you play individual notes, you will hear the pitch difference.
The EMG 81 is a popular active humbucking guitar pickup manufactured by EMG, Inc. It’s typically considered a lead pickup for use in the bridge position paired with EMG’s 85 as a rhythm pickup in the neck position (Zakk Wylde is famous for this configuration).
While this pickup was originally designed for lead guitarists, the 81 works amazingly well for single player bands as it has plenty of punch, great sustain at overdrive and features a distinctive fat tone , chunky tone that’s perfect for hard rock rhythms.
The classic EMG 81/85 are another choice too, although they don’t offer as much when it comes to clean and crunch tones. But they excel at high gain metal sounds and hard rock sounds.
EMG81 pickup specifications:
Noise: -91 dBV. Output Impedance: 10K ohms.
Kirk Hammett is the guitar soloist of a generation of metal fans, and EMG pickups are the tools of his trade. It gets its wild tone and tight, searing overtones from its signature Pro Series system, among other things: the EMG KH20. This system pairs the EMG 81 humbucker with a pair of S single coil pickups.
You can identify the exact model of your pickup by the color of the EMG logo. A gold logo means the cartridge uses Alnico magnets, silver means ceramic magnets, gray for ceramic and steel, and copper means it’s a dual-mode cartridge.
They actually sound pretty decent. The first guitar I ever heard/played through them in was my Viper 301. I’ve had a few guitars with different pickups over the years and the HZs are very versatile. I can play Metal as well as R+B and Blues with it.
EMG Pickups H4
The H4 is one of EMG’s best-selling passive humbuckers for guitar. Combining the power of our active 81 with the soul of a passive PAF, this pickup produces a balanced tone with tight bass response, glassy mids and crisp highs.