#1
Hey,

I am modding the crap out of an Epi Les Paul, and i'm at the pickups stage, and ive narrowed it down to two types: The Seymour Duncan Blackouts or the EMG Zakk Wylde 81/85 set.

Fire away?
I eat vegan(s)

Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes; after that, who cares?! He's a mile away and you've got his shoes!
#2
I've heard the blackouts are much better than the EMG's
but do you really need active pickups?
I'm FAT!
#3
music styles?
Just call me Julius, J, etc.
Taking an Internet break for a while, will come on when I can.
#4
blackouts are mid heavy, and EMG's arent. Output is about the same. EMG's sound more compressed and Blackouts sound more natural and open. That's the biggest difference. EMG's make it tight by compression, while Blackouts are tight with mids. I'd rather have EMG's I hate when my mids are too high.
Jackson RR5 ivory w/ EMG 81/85
Jackson DX6 w/ SD Distortion & Dimarzio Super Distortion
Fender Starcaster Sunburst
Mesa/Boogie DC-3
Johnson JT50 Mirage
Ibanez TS-9
Morley Bad Horsie 2
Boss CE-5

ISP Decimator
Boss DD-6
Korg Pitchblack
#5
Quote by nowa90
music styles?

big range haha John Mayer to Necrophagist...
I eat vegan(s)

Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes; after that, who cares?! He's a mile away and you've got his shoes!
#6
Quote by Sondean
big range haha John Mayer to Necrophagist...

then get blackouts. More versatile. But i'm telling you, if you mostly play metal, EMG's are much better imo. and you can even 18v mod it to sound less compressed an give it more headroom. Or you can just buy passives because actives are one dimensional.

Oh yeah!! EMG-x came out in response to blackouts. Yeah try those. Probably a cross between regualr EMG's and Blackouts, but closer to blackouts probably.
Jackson RR5 ivory w/ EMG 81/85
Jackson DX6 w/ SD Distortion & Dimarzio Super Distortion
Fender Starcaster Sunburst
Mesa/Boogie DC-3
Johnson JT50 Mirage
Ibanez TS-9
Morley Bad Horsie 2
Boss CE-5

ISP Decimator
Boss DD-6
Korg Pitchblack
Last edited by apak at Mar 20, 2009,
#7
emg with the 18v mod. or if you like to be risky try the EMG x-series.

I'm a diehard emg fan so naturally when a rival pickup comes out I had to try it. here's what I thought:

Cleans: I feel that the blackouts were more vocal where the emgs had a fatter tone (on the neck pickup). With the 18v mod the emgs caught up to the blackouts in tonality. Decision: TIE

Dirt: The blackouts definitely have a softer high to them compared to emg's which is a common complaint from emg haters and users alike. Emgs to me had more clarity especially when I layered a track. The blackouts started to sound muddy with multi-layered tracks but more smoother attack with single tracks. With the emg mod they become more hi-fi sounding and cut trough the mix much better with a great amount of clarity and headroom without losing too much distortion.

I would say try two similar guitars with each pickups in one and the other and decide for yourself . If it was up to me though, I would definitely say modded emg's. cheers
#8
I love that new EMG SearchBar pickup.
Quote by bangoodcharlote
^Owned.

I suggest not screwing with the UGer with the best name on the site.


Quote by Albino_Rhino
I don't see how prostitution is going to help out your string buzz...
#9
I just got an EMG 81 the other day (used) and they don't lie when they say it's compressed. I love it, though. It sounds tight and focused. It can't do cleans or even some light tube OD worth a flip, though. Gonna try the 18v mod when I get tired of the 'signature' sound of the 81. Supposedly it rectifies many those problems.

So yeah. My two cents...
#10
SD Blackouts.
They're more versatile, don't sound compressed as hell like EMGs, and mids that will cut through just about anything.
EMGs tend to sound extremely thin without doing a ****load to make them sound better. The one redeeming quality is their single coils...
SD's sound more like passive pups without the noise. They actually have life, and not just a flat response like the EMGs.

Oh, and what kind of amp do you have? XD
If your amp sucks, get a better amp before you change the pups in your paul.
Quote by conor1148
who cares if they're drawn,


boobies



Gear:
Peavey Supreme 100W head
Crate 4x12 cab
Epiphone Les Paul Standard+
Modded Johnson Stratocaster
#11
Oh, this new amp crap. Not everyone can afford a new decent amp, you know. Plus, if a pup upgrade makes a guitar sound decent through a **** amp, think of what it'll do when they CAN get a good amp.

How is adding a second battery to an EMG set a "****load of work"?

My 81 sure doesn't sound lifeless or thin. It is dead-silent as well.

You must have played a bad set or are just wagoning. Idk. Really hope it isn't the latter...
#12
If you want a passive pickup, buy a passive pickup. If you want an active pickup, buy EMG's. If you don't like the sound of active pickups, don't buy EMGs.

They have a lot of punch throughout the register which comes out to a pretty flat response. So your guitar's natural sound, your own playing style, and the characteristics of your amp come through a lot.

Along the lines of what Jim said, you're probably not going to get a sparkly Fender clean (although just because I haven't figured it out yet, it doesn't mean it can't be done). But... I've found 3 or 4 different clean sounds I'm really happy with on my amp with EMG's.

They are versatile if you wire them for versatility. You have to learn to tweak your **** to make it sound the way you want it to though. Think ahead when you wire them... dual volume/dual tone will go a long way.

You know what. Just go read my review on the KFK set. It basically says all the stuff I'd end up saying here anyway.
Quote by bangoodcharlote
^Owned.

I suggest not screwing with the UGer with the best name on the site.


Quote by Albino_Rhino
I don't see how prostitution is going to help out your string buzz...
#13
I look at it like this-

James Hetfield uses EMG's, therefore EMG's are better than anything, anywhere, ever.
#16
I <3 EMGs. I'm sure that the EMG-X and Blackouts are great, but I love the EMG 81, 85, and 60. They have NO noise, are super tight, and have really smooth treble. I can't stand pickups with shrill high end. Also, they don't give a warm clean tone, but what you get is compressed to hell, and flawless.
#17
Quote by Emoishboy
SD Blackouts.
They're more versatile, don't sound compressed as hell like EMGs, and mids that will cut through just about anything.
EMGs tend to sound extremely thin without doing a ****load to make them sound better. The one redeeming quality is their single coils...
SD's sound more like passive pups without the noise. They actually have life, and not just a flat response like the EMGs.

Oh, and what kind of amp do you have? XD
If your amp sucks, get a better amp before you change the pups in your paul.


Quote by Invader Jim
You must have played a bad set or are just wagoning. Idk. Really hope it isn't the latter...



Emoishboy this is the second time in less than 24 hours that I've seen you come out with a completely ridiculous opinion regarding EMG pickups. Maybe you would get away with that over in the GG&A forum, but not here.

Do you have any idea what makes a great pickup? Flat frequency response. If pickups responded to different frequencies differently, you'd have A strings fading into nothingness, high E strings popping out like sore thumbs, or any number of negative ramifications resulting from pickups not treating each frequency equally. The finest, most meticulously handcrafted pickups are PRIZED for their flat frequency response. This is true for both vintage and modern pickups; take a look at descriptions of boutique hand-wound pickup manufacturers, like Bare Knuckle or even Swineshead, and you'll find that they are PROUD of the flat frequency response they work so hard to attain in their hand wound works of art.

The highly regarded original singles in vintage Fender Strats, which are difficult to come by due to extremely high demand and of course limited quantity, are prized for their flat frequency response. Leo had his pickups wound by middle-aged and older women because he said they had the right touch for scatter winding pickups to produce less distributed inductance in their coils, thus resulting in flatter frequency response and better sounding pickups.


Please take your close minded opinion mongering elsewhere.


I can say from many years of experience that EMGs are one of God's gifts to mankind in regards to high gain music. They will work great either with the 18 volt mod or without, but there's no harm in spending 25 minutes one afternoon, wiring in a new battery and a mini-toggle to switch between 9v and 18v, so you have both options at your finger tips. That way you'll have a more open sound on tap for clean tones, yet retain the option of a tighter sound for high gain music.
Last edited by lumberjack at Mar 20, 2009,
#19
my $.02...

i use the neck for cleans and the bridge for distortion.
blackouts have better cleans (w/o 18v mod on emgs, that is)
EMGs have better distortion imho.

therefore, blackout in neck, EMG 81 bridge is my preferred active combo.
this can be done, emgs and blackouts can be mixed, and i dont need to use two 9v batteries! (i hate battery powered anything, so the less batteries, the better)
Gibson SG Faded
Epi VJ Stack


Quote by Øttər
Whenever I clean my guitars, my family wonders why it smells so good; I say that I exude a fresh citrus scent from hidden orifices.
They stopped asking
#20
Quote by lumberjack
Emoishboy this is the second time in less than 24 hours that I've seen you come out with a completely ridiculous opinion regarding EMG pickups. Maybe you would get away with that over in the GG&A forum, but not here.

Do you have any idea what makes a great pickup? Flat frequency response. If pickups responded to different frequencies differently, you'd have A strings fading into nothingness, high E strings popping out like sore thumbs, or any number of negative ramifications resulting from pickups not treating each frequency equally. The finest, most meticulously handcrafted pickups are PRIZED for their flat frequency response. This is true for both vintage and modern pickups; take a look at descriptions of boutique hand-wound pickup manufacturers, like Bare Knuckle or even Swineshead, and you'll find that they are PROUD of the flat frequency response they work so hard to attain in their hand wound works of art.

The highly regarded original singles in vintage Fender Strats, which are difficult to come by due to extremely high demand and of course limited quantity, are prized for their flat frequency response. Leo had his pickups wound by middle-aged and older women because he said they had the right touch for scatter winding pickups to produce less distributed inductance in their coils, thus resulting in flatter frequency response and better sounding pickups.


Please take your close minded opinion mongering elsewhere.


I can say from many years of experience that EMGs are one of God's gifts to mankind in regards to high gain music. They will work great either with the 18 volt mod or without, but there's no harm in spending 25 minutes one afternoon, wiring in a new battery and a mini-toggle to switch between 9v and 18v, so you have both options at your finger tips. That way you'll have a more open sound on tap for clean tones, yet retain the option of a tighter sound for high gain music.


Owned! absolutely 100% owned!

Well TS, I'm not very much help on this, I've tried both and don't really like either too much. I mean I'm not saying they're bad, they're very nice pickups, they just don't fit my style. To each his own really, I've tried the EMG 81 85 combo and I didn't like it very much because I couldn't seem to get a clean sound that I liked, and I've done this through a bunch of amps, and I just can't get what I want out of them. If you want a bit of a compressed sound with a pretty kick ass distortion, I'd say go with the EMG's, but you have a pretty wide playing style so I'd suggest the blackouts, they're much more versatile and I think they'd suit your style better.

Don't take my word for it though, I'd say find a way to try both and see what you like best.
#21
You need a 60 in the neck for the awesome cleans. Its my favorite neck pickup, so clear and percussive with loads of warmth, like a big fat extremely high output single coil IMO.
#22
Quote by jscustomguitars
You need a 60 in the neck for the awesome cleans. Its my favorite neck pickup, so clear and percussive with loads of warmth, like a big fat extremely high output single coil IMO.

Exactly this But if you want a more aggressive dirty neck sound, the 85 might be better. But I want me an Explorer with an 81/60 setup
Then there's this band called Slice The Cake...

Bunch of faggots putting random riffs together and calling it "progressive" deathcore.
Stupid name.
Probably picked "for teh lulz"

Mod in UG's Official Gain Whores
#23
Quote by Invader Jim
Oh, this new amp crap. Not everyone can afford a new decent amp, you know. Plus, if a pup upgrade makes a guitar sound decent through a **** amp, think of what it'll do when they CAN get a good amp.

How is adding a second battery to an EMG set a "****load of work"?

My 81 sure doesn't sound lifeless or thin. It is dead-silent as well.

You must have played a bad set or are just wagoning. Idk. Really hope it isn't the latter...

yup. band wagoning is no good. EMG's are awesome, but a lot of people here hate them for no reason. They ahve a bad impression and when they try them, of course they will sound bad. It's almost psychological.
Jackson RR5 ivory w/ EMG 81/85
Jackson DX6 w/ SD Distortion & Dimarzio Super Distortion
Fender Starcaster Sunburst
Mesa/Boogie DC-3
Johnson JT50 Mirage
Ibanez TS-9
Morley Bad Horsie 2
Boss CE-5

ISP Decimator
Boss DD-6
Korg Pitchblack
#24
Quote by Shinozoku
Exactly this But if you want a more aggressive dirty neck sound, the 85 might be better. But I want me an Explorer with an 81/60 setup


IMHO, whilst the 85 is hotter than the 60, it's too fat and bassy in the neck position, so I prefer the 60. The 85 is great for the bridge, to give similar characteristics to the 81, but with a bit more balls.
#25
Quote by -MintSauce-
IMHO, whilst the 85 is hotter than the 60, it's too fat and bassy in the neck position, so I prefer the 60. The 85 is great for the bridge, to give similar characteristics to the 81, but with a bit more balls.

doesnt it get muddy and do worse in cleans? That's just how i'd imagine it with a fatter and higher output pickup in the bridge.
Jackson RR5 ivory w/ EMG 81/85
Jackson DX6 w/ SD Distortion & Dimarzio Super Distortion
Fender Starcaster Sunburst
Mesa/Boogie DC-3
Johnson JT50 Mirage
Ibanez TS-9
Morley Bad Horsie 2
Boss CE-5

ISP Decimator
Boss DD-6
Korg Pitchblack
#26
Quote by apak
yup. band wagoning is no good. EMG's are awesome, but a lot of people here hate them for no reason. They ahve a bad impression and when they try them, of course they will sound bad. It's almost psychological.

Matter of fact, I used to hate them For no real reason. I just thought they were over-done cliche junk, and I tend to shy away from things that are overdone like that.

But then came mikeyElite. He had an 81 for sale and I decided 'what the hell. at the very least, I have a name'. Turns out I was totally mistaken.

Lesson learned: Ignore mass opinion and use YOUR OWN ears.
#27
Quote by Invader Jim
Matter of fact, I used to hate them For no real reason. I just thought they were over-done cliche junk, and I tend to shy away from things that are overdone like that.

But then came mikeyElite. He had an 81 for sale and I decided 'what the hell. at the very least, I have a name'. Turns out I was totally mistaken.

Lesson learned: Ignore mass opinion and use YOUR OWN ears.


Lesson learned: Invader Jim is human.
#28
hey guys hope one of you could point me in the right direction here :P

ive recently baught emgs 81 and 85 .. WIRED EVERYTHING UP .. ALL GOOD TO GO .. HAD A SCHALLER 3 WAY SWITCH with only 7 tags on .. not like in the diagram, all the connections are quick connect stuff really .. the neck and bridge postion on the switch sound exactly the same and the middle postion with "both" pups in sounds awful .... think i might have to get an 8 tag on like shown in diagram, also ... the jack socket ... i have to have my lead half way in to get ...ANY sound at all .. put it all the way in and nothing ...

please help guys, BTW all volume and tone controls perfect
#29
i find that i rarely use my 85 in the neck....except maybe for some leads...I find it too bassy and muddy for me, so I think I may switch to the 60....thank God for quick-connect cables
I've bought, sold, and traded more gear than I care to admit.
#30
Quote by greemo
hey guys hope one of you could point me in the right direction here :P

ive recently baught emgs 81 and 85 .. WIRED EVERYTHING UP .. ALL GOOD TO GO .. HAD A SCHALLER 3 WAY SWITCH with only 7 tags on .. not like in the diagram, all the connections are quick connect stuff really .. the neck and bridge postion on the switch sound exactly the same and the middle postion with "both" pups in sounds awful .... think i might have to get an 8 tag on like shown in diagram, also ... the jack socket ... i have to have my lead half way in to get ...ANY sound at all .. put it all the way in and nothing ...

please help guys, BTW all volume and tone controls perfect


From the EMG website:

My pickups do not work unless the cord is plugged halfway in. Did I wire them
wrong?


Probably not, but you should check the orientation on the Quick-Connect cables. You may
have the connectors on upside down.
#31
Quote by -MintSauce-
From the EMG website:



BURN!!


The only thing worse than getting directed to a manufacturers website is getting told to use the search bar...ouch.
#32
thats the thing ... there in the way the diagram said :/ it even has arrows on the quick connect thing .. so :/ i dunno
#33
Quote by greemo
thats the thing ... there in the way the diagram said :/ it even has arrows on the quick connect thing .. so :/ i dunno


Check the wiring of your jack socket, then rewire if you have to.

Edit: Just to clarify:

Hot output goes to the TIP,
Ground goes to the SLEEVE,
Battery -ve goes to the RING.
Last edited by -MintSauce- at Mar 23, 2009,
#34
ive managed to get my tutor to get his guitar repairer/maker to sort out the problem so fingers crossed .. just dont wanna fiddle aorund n end up making a mess ... bt thnx for getting back guys much apreciated

take care
#36
A week ago called, they want their thread back.

(Not that your response had anything to do with what was going on then, either)
Quote by bangoodcharlote
^Owned.

I suggest not screwing with the UGer with the best name on the site.


Quote by Albino_Rhino
I don't see how prostitution is going to help out your string buzz...
#37
I'm really tempted to report this guy. He seems to just be advertising for Duncans. He's bumped four different threads today recommending Duncan pickups
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

A man chooses, a slave obeys.
#38
He's only got 8 forum posts total, and 4 are duncan ads? That looks pretty bad
Quote by bangoodcharlote
^Owned.

I suggest not screwing with the UGer with the best name on the site.


Quote by Albino_Rhino
I don't see how prostitution is going to help out your string buzz...
#39
Hey man, Ive tried both( as I am a zakk wylde fan and an alexi fan) I honestly didnt care for either.At least for my style,I mean they are both obviously great pickups)just look at who plays them) I did find that bare knuckle pickups have several models and all the ones I tried melted face.I picked the nailbomb and It sound deadly.
shut up an play yer guitar