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Old 02-03-2009, 01:15 PM   #1
Mark G
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EMG 81/85 vs 85/85 vs 81/81 etc.

Pretty simple and quick question, what is the benefit of switching around these pickups? I have 2 EMG equipped guitars, so I'm pretty curious if this is something worth trying.
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:19 PM   #2
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Well the 81 is a bridge pup and the 85 is a neck pup. The 85 has less output (so an 81 81 combo or a 85 85 combo may produce un even volumes) and they will both have different tones, I assume the 81 is more geared towards riffing where as the 85 would be geared towards solos.
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:22 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Absent Mind
Well the 81 is a bridge pup and the 85 is a neck pup. The 85 has less output (so an 81 81 combo or a 85 85 combo may produce un even volumes) and they will both have different tones, I assume the 81 is more geared towards riffing where as the 85 would be geared towards solos.

I thought 85's had more output?
isn't that why they're usually in the neck position?
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:25 PM   #4
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No bridge pick up's are always higher output.
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absent Mind
Well the 81 is a bridge pup and the 85 is a neck pup. The 85 has less output (so an 81 81 combo or a 85 85 combo may produce un even volumes) and they will both have different tones, I assume the 81 is more geared towards riffing where as the 85 would be geared towards solos.



THIS is quite wrong. The 81 is not just a bridge pickup. The 85 actually has MORE output! This doesn't necessarily mean it's hotter. The 85 or 81 can go in either position. The 85 is often more smooth and articulate, which would be better for cleans/light overdrive, or solos. depends on the situation. The 81 is more commonly used in bridge position for high-gain. I have used it for cleans also, so that rumor isn't true.

Anyway, the most common set-up is 81 bridge, 85 neck. although other combinations can be used.
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:26 PM   #6
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No neck pups have a lower output, because the strings are vibrating more nearer to the 12th fret, and so cause a higher output of the neck pup than the bridge pup, to balance things out companies reduce the out put of necks pups (on the whole)

Thats what a 'calibrates set' basically means, two pups that when taking into account of their positioning will produce similar outputs.

I was talking in general terms that the 81 is bridge and 85 is neck, as recomended by EMG, I think kirk hammet uses an 81 / 81 combo.
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:31 PM   #7
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I'm pretty sure both KSE guitarists use 85s in the bridge and I've heard of other people doing it so it's fine...just a bit different
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:33 PM   #8
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Kirk sometimes uses 81/81 I read, and As I Lay Dying recorded The sound of truth with 85/85...so yeah, whats it benefit of either approach?
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:45 PM   #9
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I find hotter my 85 in neck position than my 81 in bridge position
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Old 02-03-2009, 02:15 PM   #10
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I like 81/60 or 85/60.

The 81 is made for lead work.. it's as simple as that. The 85 is better suited to bringing some warmth in the bridge position, because it can get muddy in the neck, and it has slightly more output than the 81. The 60 is between the 81 and 85 in terms of tone in the neck position - it's got enough top end to stop it sounding dull, and enough bass to sound fat, without getting sloppy.
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:48 AM   #11
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I would definitely go for the 85/85 set. The 85 gives out higher output on the bridge than the 81. That means even though the 85 isn't as hot as the 81, the 85 still gives out more attack. The 85 also gives out the smooth soloing tone on the neck. Therefore, the 85/85 set is the best configuration I can think of. I wonder if anyone tried 89/89 yet.

No, Absent Mind, the 85 is also a bridge pickup. It HAS been done.

The only bad thing about the 85s are that you need 9vs for them.

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Old 02-27-2011, 12:56 AM   #12
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Went from 81/81 to 85/85 and will never go back
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Old 02-27-2011, 01:36 AM   #13
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i personally hate the emg 85 in the neck position... i think it sounds pretty bad. i really like the emg 81/60. especially with the 18volt mod, the 18 volt mod helps the emg 81 a lot.
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