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Rating and Reviews: EMG 81TW Humbucker Pickup

Get thick tones from this updated EMG 81 humbucker pickup, which has a single coil option for added punch.

User Ratings
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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
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Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"Great versatility, value, and sound." submitted May 1, 2011

By a customer from yahoo.com
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: proffesional musician, professional engineer
Music Style: anything from country to pop to rock to metal
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Sound: I love the control I get from it. I play out weekly and am able to go from true single coil twang to all out heavy tones with ease. I have it wired as the bridge pickup in my emg david gilmour set. It works great with the active tone shaping controls and mixes well with the active emg sa's. Feature: I do wish that there were an included toggle switch option to switch from single coil to humbucker mode. Ease of Use: As with any pickup, you have to get used to how it interacts with your amp. I find it a bit difficult to pull the knob out very quickly on the fly. Quality: Excellent build quality. beefy knobs included. Value: if you want true versatility in one guitar, this is your answer. I can play anything on one guitar and control most tones froom the guitar without touching my m13 or my amp. Manufacturer Support: never had to use it Overall: This pickup is great. It isn't for the novice player to install, though. It involved wiring and routing of the guitar body. It is also not a good solution for the novice player to use on stage given that it is extremely reactive to volume and tone pots.
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"Great pickup for 80's and 90's metal. You can effortlessly get great Metallica or Zakk Wylde tones out of this. Single-coil mode" submitted January 13, 2011

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Sound
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Musical Background: Hobbyist
Music Style: 70's to 80's rock/metal/thrash
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Sound: I bought this to replace the stock bridge pickup in my Epiphone SG Deluxe so I could get a more aggressive thrash metal tone from it. And it's blown me away! On humbucking mode with the lows and highs on my amp (Peavey ValveKing) maxed and mids all the way down it sounds almost exactly like mid-80's Metallica, which is a sound I couldn't even approach using stock pickups. This pickup has tons of low-end power and doesn't have much on the high-end and so it's great for chugging metal riffs. If I switch to clean and roll the tone down a bit it sounds just like the quiet clean part of Master of Puppets. And with a flat EQ on the amp it sounds very close to Zakk Wylde's Ozzy Osbourne sound. In single-coil mode the pickup sounds pretty similar to a stock Stratocaster, though the tone is somewhat lower. That's generally not my cup of tea, but more options are always better. I bought it for the humbucking tone. The only reason I picked the TW model is ZZounds had an open-box kit for slightly cheaper than a normal EMG-81 kit. There is pretty much no noise on this pickup, even with the gain maxed out on my amp. Feature: The solderless kit was awesome to work with, except I bought an open-box kit and it was missing one wire so I actually had to do a small amount of soldering to make up for that. The included wiring diagrams cover most common cases and are easy to follow. The push-pull knob to switch the pickup works great. Now my guitar can easily switch from thrash metal to a much twangier tone if I wanted to. Ease of Use: Easy to use once set up. Installing it was more complicated than installing passive pickups, but I knew that when I bought it. If you're not the adventurous type you might want to find a friend who can install it for you. Quality: Great quality. I bought it open box and it looked brand new. I'm not worried about it breaking or anything. Value: Great since I bought it open-box. I wouldn't have purchased the TW model otherwise since I was looking for a normal EMG-81. Manufacturer Support: Haven't had to deal with them. The Wow Factor: EMG pickups are a must for thrash metal. The single-coil mode doesn't help in that area at all, but it will give you a more versatile guitar. Overall: I highly doubt I'll be replacing this pickup. If I do it's because I might move it to another guitar, not because I'm dissatisfied with the sound.
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