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Old 04-06-2013, 10:01 PM   #1
365_days_gone
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81/85 pick-ups

So I bought a Schecter Damien Elite guitar about a month ago and it has active 81/85 pick-ups in it. I absolutely love this guitar and want another Schecter in the price range of around $600. Anyways, any siggestions on a pick-up combination that is similar to the 81/85 combo but different? I play metal and the 81/85 combo is amazing, but wouldn't wouldn't mind another guitar with a bit different of a sound. Maybe one with more sustain? Any recommendations? I do want it to be a Schecter guitar just because I love their feel and look. Thanks.
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Old 04-06-2013, 10:36 PM   #2
dkunick
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Look at the Andy James Sig...same parent co. http://www.espguitars.com/guitars/signature/aj-1.html

The 57/66 combo is amazing. http://www.emgpickups.com/products/index/395/294/1

Edit: Schecter and ESP share common ownership but remain separate entities...though I think the style and quality is similar enough to make a fan of one happy with the other.
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:30 AM   #3
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Pickups can not increase sustain. They can reduce sustain, by having a magnetic field that is too strong for the strings to vibrate properly, and they can manipulate sustain if they are used as an electromagnet (e.g. Sustainer systems). However, there is no pickup you can put in that increases sustain. Sustain can be attributed to the construction of the guitar and how the guitar is set up; most of all, it is down to your technique.

If you like the sound of the 81 and 85, why not just keep using those? A differently-constructed guitar is going to sound different, anyway. If you really insist on using different-but-similar pickups, try the 'X' versions of those two pickups, which add headroom and lower impedance. You could also try the EMG 60A instead of the 85, which gives a clearer tone; there's also the 60, which is a clearer version of the 81, but that can get very harsh.

Since the tone balance of active pickups is the same as low output passive pickups, you could try using basic PAF copies so you get the same balance but with less output and higher impedance. A Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro is a good match to the 85 in the neck and a Pearly Gates is a good option to balance the bridge.
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Old 04-07-2013, 12:06 PM   #4
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What do you guys think of the Seymour Duncan blackouts compared to the 81/85 combo?
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Old 04-07-2013, 01:46 PM   #5
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What do you guys think of the Seymour Duncan blackouts compared to the 81/85 combo?

I preferred the Blackouts to the 81/85 in my Ibi but later swapped those out for the EMG HetSet. I replaced those with the 57/66, but not because the JHs were bad at all, just trying something new. The 57/66 set gets my top vote of the active pups discussed thus far. They just sound so damn good.
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Old 04-07-2013, 04:18 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by 365_days_gone
What do you guys think of the Seymour Duncan blackouts compared to the 81/85 combo?
They were fantastic for about 10 months, then EMG brought in the X series of pickups and blew Blackouts out the water.

The advantage of Blackouts is(was) that they had a newer preamp design than EMG were using. This allowed them to be a little bit more dynamic when picking softly. Problem was, Seymour Duncan also wanted to provide less noise and more output; rather than working on the shielding or increasing the preamp to do this, they made the coils closer matched and wound them hotter, which removed some of the treble and bass detail that actives can provide.

Then EMG made their own new preamp—the X series—and stuck it on their regular winds, with better shielding. They got the same bump in headroom that Blackouts have, the same increase in output and less noise, but managed to keep the exact same coils of their original designs so there's no loss in high or low frequencies and they lowered the impedance further.

So now Blackouts serve no particular purpose. Basic EMGs offer the tighter and 'sharper' tone that most people want active pickups for; EMG Xs offer softer dynamics and more of everything else, if that's what you're after. The only reason to buy Blackouts now is if you want more headroom only, which is a bit of a bizarre choice to make.
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