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Rating and Reviews: EMG 81 Active Humbucker

The active pickup of choice for extreme lead guitarists! With a rail magnet, the EMG 81 offers high output and low impedance for consistent, cutting tone.

User Ratings
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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"EMG 81's RULE" submitted December 6, 2003

By a customer from cox.net
Overall
Sound
Features
Quality
Value
The Wow Factor
Music Style: Speed Metal
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Sound: Mean, crushing. This is the best rock pick-up ever. High output and absolute crunch removed the necessity of an outboard pre-amp for me. The sustain is unbelievable. My only complaint would be that they are sooooo powerful that they pickup every little noise. Every pickup hole in ALL my guitars will soon be plugged with EMG 81's Feature: This is a mean nasty pickup....must have for any metal guitarist Quality: Totally solid. Absolute quality Value: I paid $79 a piece. That's about $50 less than I expected to pay when I went "shopping" Manufacturer Support: Unknown The Wow Factor: Solid black...they look badass Overall: I expect to be using EMG 81 pickups for a long time. I use them in conjunction with Marshall heads and cabinets. Its definitely the best pickup I've ever tried in 25 years of axemadness. It has given me the tone I want for every note I need to play.
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"Loud and aggressive but perfectly clear and sound-friendly." submitted December 30, 2003

By a customer from kent.ac.uk
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Sound
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Music Style: Metal (progressive death)
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Feature: The noise impedance really works. I use mine with cabs and head and play in large venues with lots of interference and yet when used in combination with a noise gate it stops humming the second you turn your guitar volume down. It
7 of 9 people (77.78%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"EMG 81 Humbucker" submitted October 26, 2012

By Malik Ore in Joplin, MO
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: I have been playing guitar for 5 years getting close to six. I play bass, guitar, and drums and i do jam and in a band
Music Style: Meta core, nu metal, black metal, death metal, thrash metal, etc
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Sound: I has a really high gain output its kinda hard to describe the sound of it. Feature: Not that much features Ease of Use: It is not easy to get good sound from it, it is very easy to get AWESOME sound out of it. Quality: It was made well no doubt about it. Manufacturer Support: It is just that good of a pickup you wont need any contact. The Wow Factor: ITS an awesome pickup and has the best sound for metal nuff said. Overall: This pickup is definitely in the five years i have been playing guitar the best pickup i have ever come across. The best pickup for metal used in the bridge position.
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"Heavy and Clear at the same time." submitted August 1, 2003

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Music Style: Hard Rock
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Sound: It's like an after-market turbocharge for guitar. That's how significant the change is compared to stock pickups. These pickups open up the midrange allowing you to cut through the mix. Articulation and definition is achieved which is a miracle when going heavily distorted. Oh yeah... I forgot... It's heavy. Feature: The Switchcraft knobs are silent and spread their effect over the entire potetiometer spectrum. There are no "sensitive spots." Just a smooth mix. Quality: It hasn't broke yet and has that solid-weight letting ya know that it ain't gonna break Value: Costs about as much as a good pedal but does way more for your sound The Wow Factor: Black is a standard look-good color Overall: All future guitars of mine will have the 81 installed or I'll install it myself
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"The cream of the crop for metal sound" submitted May 11, 2008

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: Active musician
Music Style: metal
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Sound: Sound is great. I have an emg 81 on my bridge and 85 on the neck which is a great setup that a lot of people use. For instance one of the memebers of slayer, Zackk Wyld and kirt hammit from metallica. Also james from metallica uses an 81 on the bridge but a 60 on the neck. I havent tried that setup. I love how the harmonics flow out. the amp makesa huge diff on how the pikcups sound. The better the amp the better the sound of the pickups. I recommend a randall those are great for metal and the emg 81 and 85 is mostly used for metal. A good guitar has a lot to do with it to. I reccoment just buying a guitar with the emg setup. U would have pay at least 600-700 for a guitar with the emg setup since a active emg set is worth 200 bucks. the comapny wont put a 200 set of active pickups and a 300 dollar guitar. I reccomend a esp or a esp ltd for these kind of pickups. I use the ltd mh400nt(the best one in its class). It was 680 and it came with the 81 85's. Esp class is very expensive. If your going to buy an esp ltd which are the cheaper ones but still great.(mostly your paying for wood in the esp class) If your goign to buy a ltd get the best one in its class which would be around 700. Or go for a ltd deluxe which is around 850-900. Yes the active pickups use a battery but dont worry one 9v gives u a lot of hours. If your worryd about if actives give more noise than passive just get a noisegate pedal. I dont like passive pickups it really takes away from the sound. Don't mix active with passive. Feature: lots of features with the sound. Ease of Use: Sound comes easy out of these. Espically pinch harmoincs or regular harmonics. so much eaiser to hit them with active pickups. Quality: Emg in my opinion makes the best active pickups for metal! I'm sure passive might be better for other styles. How do i know emg makes the best active pickups for metal? Because for one i know esp makes the best guitars for metal. I look at the roster for musicians and they got the guys from metallica, alexi laiho, will adler from lamb of god, stephan carpenter from deftones, the guys from chimara one of the guys from slayer, and tons more. And most of those guys all use active emg pickups with there esp. Except i know will adler uses passive for some reason and alexi uses a seymor duncan blackout on his bridge and he has nothing on his neck. I think thats because he never has a clean tone ever in his music or something. Value: These are priceless Manufacturer Support: im sure its good never used it yet The Wow Factor: They look mad sexy on a dark guitar Overall: Ill never use another set up than emg active pickups. I'll always use an 81 on my bridge. I might experiment with another emg active on my neck such as a 60 like james hetfield but probably not.
5 of 12 people (41.67%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"EMGs RULE!" submitted February 9, 2010

By a customer from hotmail.com
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Sound
Features
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Value
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Musical Background: Active Musician (Metal Band)
Music Style: Metal
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Sound: Crunchy. Extreme highs. Brutal lows. Insane metal pickup, picks up harmonics like a beast. Great quality, wouldn't regret the purchase for a second. Feature: The best active pickups. Ease of Use: Really easy to get good sounds from this guitar, makes harmonics a breeze. Although the paper explaining how to install could have been better. Quality: The best quality, the finish is amazing looking on my red guitar (i have black EMGs), 100% reliable. Nothing bad to say about it. Value: Couldn't ask a better price for what you are getting. The Wow Factor: oh my gosh insane looking, I couldn't believe how much of a difference in how awesome my guitar looked after having them installed. Overall: Expect them to last a long time, haven't had any problems with them, they sound great, look great, and overall 10/10
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