EMG 81 Active Humbucker Pickup

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.

The high-output EMG 81 Active Humbucker has become a regular first-call pickup for rock and metal guitarists. This engine-of-tone packs a roaring punch for your signal to create a full-fledged force of distortion great for either lead or rhythm. EMG active pickups employ an internal preamp that boosts your signal without adding any unwanted hum or noise. Also, this baby is sensitive, so you get a wide range of tone from a simple turn of your tone control. The sustain from this humbucker is great for holding your notes or getting some mean feedback. See what the buzz is all about by installing one -- or two -- of these babies into your axe.

More Juice for Your Signal

EMGs are world-class pickups with top-notch wiring and circuitry. Active pickups use a preamp to take your signal and add a surge of power to help your playing cut through with more presence and clout. While EMG 81s work well as rhythm pickups, their active character makes them a great choice for wailing leads and biting solos. One of these high-output babies in your neck position will give your playing a thick, darker color, while a bridge position will have a sharp bite to it.

The Ceramic Magnet Advantage

At the heart of your EMG 81 are coils wrapped around a ceramic magnet. Ceramic magnets are pretty strong and tend to have a brightness to them. They're usually found on higher-output pickups, and even when you push your distortion further, these magnets retain a higher articulation so your dirty read more tones remained well-defined throughout your playing. The magnet in your EMG 81 humbucker uses wider steel aperture poles to yield a quick attack that stays thick and full from your higher notes to your lower ones.

Shielded Magnet and Preamp for Low Noise

This is your all-around reliable and durable humbucker -- housed in epoxy, so dirt, hair, and electrical interference won't get in the way of your encased preamp and shielded ceramic magnet. This protective casing will also keep out electrical interference from lights of electrical signals near by. In the end, what you get is an uninterrupted full-fledged force of tone and sonic authority.

Devin Townsend rips though 'Kingdom' using his EMG 81 and 66 loaded axe:


- Low output noise of -91 dBV
- Active humbucker for bridge or neck position
- Resonant Frequency of 2.25 kHz
- Battery life of 3000 hours
- Uses a ceramic magnet
- RMS output voltage of 1.25 volts
- Peak output voltage of 1.75 volts
- Silver logo color
- EMG's exclusive Quik-Connect cable, prewired split shaft volume/tone control set, output jack, battery clip set, screws & springs all included
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Resonant Frequency: 2.25 kHz

RMS Output Voltage: 1.25

Peak Output Voltage: 1.75

Output Noise: -91dBV

Output Impedance: 10kOhm

Current @ 9V: 80 Microamps

Battery Life: 3000 Hours

Package Includes: EMG's exclusive Quik-Connect cable, prewired split shaft volume/tone control set, output jack, battery clip set, screws & springs.

A Brief FAQ
What's an active pickup, and why would I use one?
An active pickup is one that uses electronics to improve the sound and enhance its operation. There are a variety of ways to "Activate" a pickup. A simple "buffer" pre-amp will do the trick, but it will also amplify the hum and buzz the pickup produces. Just because a pickup is "active" doesn't guarantee you'll get great results. EMG pickups utilize an internal pre-amp (inside the pickup), which not only makes the pickup louder, it also reduces the noise!

What are the advantages of an EMG pickup?
The greatest is reduction in noise. No longer will the dimming of the house lighting system cause your guitar to buzz incessantly. You can use an extra long cable, or a wireless, and you'll get the same great tone every time.

Why an internal pre-amp?
It's the most efficient way to create an active pickup. All the coil connections are shielded, the pre-amp is shielded, and the output of the pickup cable is low-impedence, which makes it less susceptible to noise. Also, it avoids a spider web of wires and possible loose connections in your guitar and the installation is simple. All the benefits with none of the hassle.
Dimensions and Weight in Packaging
Shipping Weight: 0.5 lbs
Shipping Dimensions: 5 x 4 x 2 in
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 81B
Shipping Weight: 0.75 lbs
Shipping Dimensions: 5 x 4 x 2 in
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 2879.00

For support or warranty questions, please contact the manufacturer:
Phone: 707-525-9941

EMG 81 Active Humbucker Pickup

The EMG 81 is EMG's most famous model; the one that started a revolution. Utilizing powerful ceramic magnets and close aperture coils, the tone is endowed with detailed intensity, incredible amounts of high end cut and fluid sustain. Traditionally used in the bridge position, this pickup will make your leads slice right through even the densest mix like a hot knife. When used in both positions the sound can only be described as blistering. Other recommended pairings include the classic 81/85 setup and the versatile 81/60 combo.

During their search for sourcing the best available "chrome" finish cover cap, they found that the available products could not be ordered with any consistency. Most importantly, since the manufacturing process would not be controlled by EMG, there was no way of knowing how the sound and tonal performance characteristics of the pickups would be affected. This characteristic was something that also could vary from batch to batch. Finally, they could not find any US manufacturers. EMG knew at that point, that the "buy" solution would not work for them.

Since putting a nickel or chrome plating on a common base metal is just a low cost way to simulate polished stainless steel, EMG decided to look at the feasibility of doing the real thing. This was the "build" solution. EMG engineers worked out a way to produce a one piece, high quality, mirror polished, stainless steel cover cap while maintaining comparable pricing to the plated versions. In addition, the sound and tonal properties were virtually identical to EMG's molded cover caps, and controlling the process guarantees the consistency and high quality level of the products. They are pleased to now offer humbuckers in the real deal, mirror polished stainless steel, known as "Chrome EMG's".

The "gold" version is the same polished stainless steel cover cap with a gold colored finish that is commonly used to harden machine tools. It is a finish that both hardens the cover cap surface and penetrates the stainless steel substrate, rather than surface coating it as a plating would. This assures a durable, longer lasting surface finish that will stand up to your pounding riffs and all the abuse the road can dish out.

Designed and produced in the USA.
Package Includes: EMG's exclusive Quik-Connect(TM) cable, prewired split shaft volume/tone control set, output jack, battery clip set, screws & springs.

Reviewers gave this product an overall rating of 5 out of 5 stars. (35 ratings)
Submitted December 6, 2003 by a customer from cox.net
"EMG 81's RULE"
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
(see rating details)
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.
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
This is a mean nasty pickup....must have for any metal guitarist
Totally solid. Absolute quality
I paid $79 a piece. That's about $50 less than I expected to pay when I went "shopping"
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Solid black...they look badass
Musical Style:
Speed Metal
20 of 23 people (87%) people found this review helpful. Did you?
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