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Old 02-09-2013, 11:19 AM   #1
cbeech12
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EMG 81 vs Seymour Duncan in the neck position

My SD AHB-2 bridge pick-up recently broke, so I purchased an emg 81 and 85 for 70. I plan on using the 85 in the bridge position and selling either the 81 or my AHB-1 N I have currently in the neck position. The problem is I don't know which one to sell. ATM I was thinking about selling the AHB-1 because I will get more money for it because the AHB-1 is a LOT more rare in the UK, and the emg 81 sells for about 40 (I have seen them sell for as low as 25). Also, I like the idea of having a matching set of pick-ups (yes this is a really trivial point). Another thing is if I keep the emg 81 I can always switch it round with the EMG 85 if i ever wanted to
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Old 02-09-2013, 11:24 AM   #2
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How do you break a pickup? Did you check your solder before buying the pick up to see if it just wasn't shoddy workmanship?
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:42 PM   #3
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Unless you powered it with some ridiculous voltage and fried the internal preamp, I don't see how you can break a pickup.

Check all your solder joins and pots.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:06 PM   #4
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I highly doubt that you broke the pickup.

It's more likely that one of your pots went bad, or else your switch is bad. It could also be a solder issue.

Check those first.

As for which pickup, you have both pups, install each one and record some clips. Keep whichever one you like more. We can tell you what YOUR preference is.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:16 PM   #5
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The EMGs are active...if you plan to mix with the SD you're in for a challenging wiring job. Like the others said check your switch and wiring. Unlikely you broke an immovable part.
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Old 02-09-2013, 11:19 PM   #6
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Also don't forget theirs gonna be a pretty noticeable volume difference between the 2 pickups, because 1 is active and the other is passive. And i can imagine the EQ'ing that would be done for the actives to sound good would make the passives sound bad and vice versa
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:01 AM   #7
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^^^^^

TLDR unless you physically damaged your pickup, it's not broken, and it's not feasible to mix active and passive pups.
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:40 AM   #8
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Sounds to me like you broke it...
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:45 PM   #9
cbeech12
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Firstly the Seymour Duncan AHB-1 is ACTIVE not passive.

Secondly I have re wired my guitar twice (including replacing capacitors and the pots) and had the exact same problem both times. The neck pick up worked perfectly and the bridge pick up wasn;t working. Moved the neck pick up to the bridge position and the bridge pick up to the neck position and realised it was the actual pick up that was broken. I know it's difficult to break a pick up, but i am pretty sure it's the preamp in the pickup that has broken as it still produces sound, it just has a crackly noise over the top as if it is cliping, even when i turn the volume on my guitar down to 2. The harder I play the strings the louder the worse (comparitable to the output of the pick up) the crackling gets. So it is definitely the pick up that is broken.
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:46 PM   #10
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I am not trying to mix pick-ups, as the AHB-1, emg 81 and emg 85 are all active
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:17 PM   #11
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Standing corrected, my bad.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:13 AM   #12
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This is why we don't use manufacturers' model numbers when talking about pickups. Not everybody knows which model number equates to which pickup (EMG excluded, though even then most people only know the 81, 85 and 60) and several pickups have similar IDs which makes it easy to confuse them when reading unbroken paragraphs of text. Just say 'Blackouts', it saves aggravation.

Anyway, you certainly can break active pickups, but it won't be the preamp inside. Everything inside the pickup is encased in epoxy and can't move. What you can break is the 3/4/5-pin connectors (depends on pickup model) on the underside of the pickup. It's quite easy to bend these so they don't properly connect and these are the one part of the pickup which can shift inside, too. If you're getting inconsistent or dirty signal, it is likely that either the power pin or signal pin has shifted in some way.
However, it may also simply be a case of having dirty pins. You may find that just cleaning the pins solves your problem. A dirty pin will give the same result as one that's bent slightly; the sound you're hearing is something not making a proper connection, and dirt can certainly cause that.

As far as which to keep goes, keep whatever gives you the sound you like best. Personally, I have no love for Blackouts, as I find they can't do the classic active sound that regular EMG provides and EMG X-series pickups do a better job of bridging the active-passive gap than SD Blackouts do. That said, plenty of people like Blackouts specifically because they fit halfway between the controlled EMG and open EMG X tones.

An extra tenner here or there really isn't going to mean anything in the long run, while having a guitar that sounds the way you want it to sound will mean a lot. Why not just keep them all and switch them out as need be, or keep one as a spare part? Why not try the Blackout in the bridge? You never know, that might sound great to you.
Point is, there is no objective, clear-cut choice here. Everything is viable and the only things that can tell you what is best to keep are your ears.
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