My current guitar is equipped with a set of EMG-81/60. However:

1. I want to swap the 81 with an EMG-85. The question is, is it possible without any soldering? Is is plug-and-play? I have a gig next week so it has to be done really fast.

2. Which if these pickups would deliver better clean tones: the 60 or 89? The 60, which I have installed, is not that bad, but I'd like to have something more versitale. It's not really important, I just have the chance to buy an 89 for a low price and idk if I should go for it or not.

If its a new-ish EMG it should have the quick connect cable, meaning its just plug and play.

I haven't tried the 89, but I think the 60 is better for cleans, from what I've heard.
If I remember correctly, the recommended setup is either 81/60 or 85/81. I'd assume then that you'd wanna go 89/85, unless I'm completely messing up. Anyway, I'm a Seymour Duncan Blackouts fan. I find Blackouts have better cleans and less interference, which means I sound better clean and with distortion.

You may at least wanna check out Blackouts before you go spend money on new EMGs.
+1 for blackouts having better cleans. They don't break up as soon as EMGs do. And it's only worth getting the 89 if you plan to use it's coil splitting ability
I would prefer 89 over 60 for the coil splitting (if you'd use it)

You can switch the 81 with the 85 no problem if it is a newer model. Its what I did!
WTLTL 2011
No. I hate SD, sorry. EMG suits me best. And I find 85 to be awesome at the bridge position. The cleans are not that great on it, tho, that's why I need the neck pickup.

As for the setup, I want to go either 60(neck)/85(bridge) or 89/85.

buying the 89 is just a bonus option because I found one for a really low price.
Last edited by Sharkuzzi at Jul 3, 2011,
60 is the best pickup EMG make IMO.

Keep that in the neck.

1977 Burny FLG70
2004 EBMM JP6
2016 SE Holcolmb