#1
Will upgrading from Gibson 490 R and T to EMG 81/85 be a big difference?

I currently have stock 490 R and T on my SG faded and im thinking about upgrading to EMG 81/85

any thoughts

Note: I play through a B-52 60 watt all tube combo with nice gain.

im looking for better, crunchier gains while still having nice cleans.

thanks!
#2
Yeah, it'll be a huge difference as far as tone and output. I've never tried emgs clean, but most people seem to think they sound sterile. I demoed them with some random metal amp and I thought they sounded pretty sterile even for brutal stuff. Very tight though, with lots of output.
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#6
The cleans on the 85 are pretty good but the 81 sounds awful clean. If you get them I highly recommend the 18v mod. This mod really helps the cleans. Check out this thread. It explains the mod better.
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=941907
Last edited by zakkwyldefan79 at Nov 18, 2008,
#9
I disagree so much with the myth that emg's don't do clean well. Its simply not true. I love the cleans on my hellraiser. Its just not something you'd expect from a predominantly metal guitar.

I mean if you've heard it yourself to say that they sound sterile than thats an opinion, but I see many people just repeating others ideas about the emg myth.

Really. If you want nice cleans out of an emg set of pickups either use the middle position or use the bridge and boost the mids a little bit. Its very simple.
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#10
Quote by sesstreets
I disagree so much with the myth that emg's don't do clean well. Its simply not true. I love the cleans on my hellraiser. Its just not something you'd expect from a predominantly metal guitar.

I mean if you've heard it yourself to say that they sound sterile than thats an opinion, but I see many people just repeating others ideas about the emg myth.

Really. If you want nice cleans out of an emg set of pickups either use the middle position or use the bridge and boost the mids a little bit. Its very simple.


it's no myth that the 81 sounds terrible clean. 85/60/89 on the other hand are bareable.
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#11
Quote by mikeyElite
it's no myth that the 81 sounds terrible clean.


I respectfully disagree. And point you to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPW9AbRMwFU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8nmg9abXGk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-j39ABZyzek
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bX2IyXejGk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLB0srsOtfw

I dunno dude. Maybe I just like that sound from emg's

Also, emg knows this apparently, and has resolved it a bit with the 81TW. I actually have that pickup in my hellraiser, and I do say that it has some very nice cleans, I know a bit of what you speak of with the sterile-ness and I've hurt some stupid people playing scooped clean intros with 81's, and indeed it sounds like ass.

All I'm saying is that saying emg 81 pickups have horrible cleans is a really brash statement that doesn't take into account eq noobs.
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Last edited by sesstreets at Nov 18, 2008,
#12
Quote by sesstreets


killswitch uses emg sa pups for cleans and 85's in the bridge. well adam does atleast and he plays the intro.
i used to be a mod, then i took an arrow in the knee.
#13
Quote by mikeyElite
killswitch uses emg sa pups for cleans and 85's in the bridge. well adam does atleast and he plays the intro.


Guitarworld did an official transcript of my curse and they pointed out in the interview he used the 81 for that.

Although he boosted most of the upper mids and highs with an eq box.

Edit: Also adam doesn't use his caparison anymore. More recently he's been seen using a parker. For what reason I don't know because I honestly don't like them at all. But he seems to like them.

But they don't have any sa's in them.
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#14
None of those sounded very good, expect the 3 doors down one, but I hear some chorus.

The cleans are sterile, that's all there is to it.

Also, there's a reason david gilmour went back to passives after he had EMGs for a while.
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#15
I like em'

Thats all there is to it. Especially with a thick fat mid boost to any tube amp my 81tw sounds very smooth.
Pain is an illusion.
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#16
Quote by sesstreets
All I'm saying is that saying emg 81 pickups have horrible cleans is a really brash statement that doesn't take into account eq noobs.

I've got an 81 and it's just easier to get cleans from my 85. I don't have to adjust my EQ. All I have to do is flip the toggle switch to the neck position and I get pretty good cleans. The 18v mod does help the cleans alot too.
#17
Quote by sesstreets
I respectfully disagree. And point you to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPW9AbRMwFU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8nmg9abXGk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-j39ABZyzek
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bX2IyXejGk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLB0srsOtfw

I dunno dude. Maybe I just like that sound from emg's

Also, emg knows this apparently, and has resolved it a bit with the 81TW. I actually have that pickup in my hellraiser, and I do say that it has some very nice cleans, I know a bit of what you speak of with the sterile-ness and I've hurt some stupid people playing scooped clean intros with 81's, and indeed it sounds like ass.

All I'm saying is that saying emg 81 pickups have horrible cleans is a really brash statement that doesn't take into account eq noobs.

When recording one James used a jazz chorus and a duncan bridge pickup, not a 81
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#18
Quote by zakkwyldefan79
I've got an 81 and it's just easier to get cleans from my 85. I don't have to adjust my EQ. All I have to do is flip the toggle switch to the neck position and I get pretty good cleans. The 18v mod does help the cleans alot too.


so by using the 85 on the neck spot i will get good cleans and the regular warm tone i would get from a neck positioned pickup?

also, is that mod really difficult or really easy to do, cuz if i do get them and do that mod i really dont want to mess it up.

thanks again
#19
Quote by gpowsang
so by using the 85 on the neck spot i will get good cleans and the regular warm tone i would get from a neck positioned pickup?

also, is that mod really difficult or really easy to do, cuz if i do get them and do that mod i really dont want to mess it up.

thanks again

Yes the 85 in the neck has a warm tone. The mod is really easy and makes a difference. Here's a link to the 18v mod thread. The first post shows the basic ways of doing it.
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=941907
#20
It sounds like a pretty inexpensive and safe way of warming up the tone.

Although i wonder what it does to the pickups in the long run...
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#21
Quote by sesstreets
It sounds like a pretty inexpensive and safe way of warming up the tone.

Although i wonder what it does to the pickups in the long run...

EMG says they can handle up to 27v without hurting them but there's not much difference in the sound from 18v to 27v. So adding a third battery would be a waste really.
#22
Your sound will take a turn for the worse. I love gibson stock pickups. I would just get a 498t or 500t in the bridge, both great sounding pickups.
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#23
Quote by dcdossett65
Your sound will take a turn for the worse. I love gibson stock pickups. I would just get a 498t or 500t in the bridge, both great sounding pickups.

I woudn't really say that. I've got the stock pickups in my Gibson V (500T & 496R) and they sound great. My Explorer has EMG's and they sound great too. EMG's sound better for some songs and the Gibsons sound better for other songs. It just depends on what you're playing.
#24
sorry to steal the thread but, for the neck does the 60 get that better cleans?
overall 85 vs. 60 whats the difference?
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#25
Quote by acdclandon
sorry to steal the thread but, for the neck does the 60 get that better cleans?
overall 85 vs. 60 whats the difference?

I've played guitars with a 60 in the neck and I prefer the 85. The 60 wasn't bad. I just like the 85 a little better.