Submitted February 12, 2020 by Russell
"You can't go wrong"
I got these to put in a $200 bass that I was taking on the road. When I came home I put them in my real bass. They made the $200 bass sound better than most basses I've ever played. It made what was kind of a junky instrument very fun to play. They really came to life in my fancy bass, which has an active preamp.
I can't imagine a better set of pickups. I was afraid they would be too boomy for fast music, but they were not. 16th notes on the low E string are not rubber-bandy but actually very well under control. They definitely add a large round low end, like you would expect from something that has Geezer Butler's name on it, but that's never in the way and they are always musical above all else. The low midrange is well defined and each note has impact, even on the high G. They take up a lot of space but are articulate. If you want less space taken up you can use the EQ on your amp or play with the pickup height. They loved having the active preamp in the circuit as well, which changed their character some but they retained everything that's good about them. They are also very dynamic. Definitely the most dynamic Fender-style bass pickups I've ever played. They are great for punk and metal, but I think country and R&B players could get a lot out of them as well. A lot of time and thought went into these designs. They make playing either of the basses I had them in much more fun and effortless, which I can't say about many pickups, even some very good ones. They also hit mild-to-high overdrive rigs in a way that blended with guitars much better than some name brand alternatives that I have used. High end never fizzy.
Nothing special, see next section
Ease of Use
I did the solderless install on the first bass I put them in and actually kinda enjoyed it. This is a great option for novices who haven't taken their bass apart before. It took 6 or 7 years, several low-dollar soldering irons, and a lot of courage for me to get halfway competent at performing guitar surgery. For the second instrument I put them in, I had to clip some wires and hook things up to an active circuit which is very different from the regular P/J configuration. The modular nature of the solderless system actually made it easy to fix mistakes, but if you run out of wire you have to buy a new harness to hook up the pickups since the pickup leads are just two pins for plugging into their modules. Since I was careful I didn't have to do this. I will also say that P bass pickups are not the easiest to mount, but that's just the way it goes.
All of the top pickup makers have very high quality in my experience.
For under $200 these are really great. They could go for $300 easily, especially with the celebrity endorsement. They are pretty unique for what they are. Most Fender-style passive pickups are going after stock sounds, while these really do seem like a lot of time was spent to get them musical and organic feeling. Very great gift for the bass player in your life. I can't see anyone not liking these.
EMG has some of the best customer support. Someone is there when you call who can help you and there are smart people answering their emails. They are ready to do what it takes to get your issues resolved. Don't be afraid to call them no matter what it is.
The Wow Factor
All of the bandmates remarked on the difference when I first played these at rehearsal. It's harder to get a more real-world accolade than that. There was more bass where it was missing previously and less where it got in the way of the drums or guitar.
25+ yrs, semi-pro
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