#1
After watching many videos on youtube about which one would be better in bridge position, 85 or 81, I'm still clueless. 85 in the bridge sounds somewhat more powerful, harmonics are little better and leads are much smoother than 81.

However, I also like 85 in the neck position. Now, 81 is the classic bridge position EMG to have.. and I think I know exactly why, it's good. It has a little bit darker sound to it, a little bit more aggressive than 85 in the same position.. However, I did not find decent videos of EMG 81 in the neck position, what would it be like?

tl;dr Which one better in bridge position? 85 (or 89) or 81?
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Quote by Cathbard
Bugera cloning Blackstar is a scandal cloaked in a tragedy making love to a nightmare.

#2
What guitar are they going in? What amp? And what tones are you trying to achieve?
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#3
I personally enjoyed the EMG85 at 18v the most. Ideally I would use 2x EMG85 18v. Not a big fan of the 81.
WTLTL 2011
#5
Quote by Offworld92
What guitar are they going in? What amp? And what tones are you trying to achieve?

Oh, sorry. Gibson Les Paul Studio. Blackstar HT-1.
Well, mainly the tones are: Probably my own , Sentenced, Carcass, maybe Arch Enemy, Eternal Tears of Sorrow.. mainly death metal, but also lots of thrash bands, like Stone and Slayer.
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Quote by Cathbard
Bugera cloning Blackstar is a scandal cloaked in a tragedy making love to a nightmare.

#6
well if you buy the pickups new, they should come with the solderless conection system, and you should be alble to switch pickups by just unconecting them and switching them and seeing for yourself which ones are better
"It's not about who has the biggest stick, it's about how hard you can swing it"
Last edited by M_16A at Aug 29, 2011,
#7
Quote by M_16A
well if you buy the pickups new, they should come with the solderless conection system, and you should be alble to switch pickups by just unconected them and switching them and seeing for yourself which ones are better

Yeah.. But what I'd really want to hear is how is 81 in the neck and why do people usually prefer 81 in the bridge. I like 85 in the neck a lot..
Just remembered, the store near me has an ESP-LTD JH-600 with EMG 81 in the bridge and 85 in the neck. Would this guitar give me some guidance? The body on that guitar is alder and mine is mahogany.
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Quote by Cathbard
Bugera cloning Blackstar is a scandal cloaked in a tragedy making love to a nightmare.

#8
the 81 is more clear and crisp than the 85 in the bridge position i believe, thats why people like the 81 more in the bridge because you can get a real, tight crisp sound vs the 85, in the bridge postition at least, i havent heard the 81 in the neck so i couldnt really say much about it
"It's not about who has the biggest stick, it's about how hard you can swing it"
#9
Quote by M_16A
the 81 is more clear and crisp than the 85 in the bridge position i believe, thats why people like the 81 more in the bridge because you can get a real, tight crisp sound vs the 85, in the bridge postition at least, i havent heard the 81 in the neck so i couldnt really say much about it

I guess then I shall find out myself. I just kind of want to find out before I buy anything. But, I shall go try that JH-600 at the store and then figure out what's what. Cause if I somehow find the 81 "not good", it won't be good in my LP either, right?
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Quote by Cathbard
Bugera cloning Blackstar is a scandal cloaked in a tragedy making love to a nightmare.

#10
see if you have any LTD M series guitars around you. They have 81's in both bridge and neck. Also, see if you have an Ernie Ball Music Man dealer around you. Steve Lukather model guitars are H/S/S and have an 85 in the bridge. those should give you a general idea of what sounds you can expect.
#11
^Too bad I live like 100 kilometres away from the bigger stores, but I'm sure that the local store owner will be as cooperative as possible since I've worked in his store for few months and then I've pretty much bought my all gear from there and also my brother has.
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Quote by Cathbard
Bugera cloning Blackstar is a scandal cloaked in a tragedy making love to a nightmare.

#12
I have an LTD Viper-500 (81 bridge-85 neck) and somehow I don't like the sound of the 85 (I don't use it at all actually), I only use the 81 (both rhythm and lead). This 81 gives me a lot of punch and really cool harmonics, the only complain I have with this pickup is when I make a bend on 3d string reaching a plucked 3rd or 5th on the 2nd string above the 10th fret (let's say 3rd string bend up 1 tone and 2nd string plucked on 15th fret) some of the dinamics are lost (almost all of them actually). Excuse me if my english is not very correct expressing my idea and/or guitar technicisms, english is my second language. Any thoughts here?
#13
Quote by Perverockstar69
I have an LTD Viper-500 (81 bridge-85 neck) and somehow I don't like the sound of the 85 (I don't use it at all actually), I only use the 81 (both rhythm and lead). This 81 gives me a lot of punch and really cool harmonics, the only complain I have with this pickup is when I make a bend on 3d string reaching a plucked 3rd or 5th on the 2nd string above the 10th fret (let's say 3rd string bend up 1 tone and 2nd string plucked on 15th fret) some of the dinamics are lost (almost all of them actually). Excuse me if my english is not very correct expressing my idea and/or guitar technicisms, english is my second language. Any thoughts here?


I find it odd that you do not use your 85.. Actually, really odd. I used to use my bridge pickup on my Ibanez RG for both lead and rhythm because I was too lazy to figure out how to switch "fast and smooth".
I find the tone of 85 very pleasing in the demos and reviews, so smooth and powerful, yet I have to find out myself. That's the best way there is, I guess.

By the way, nothing wrong with your English, it's more than understandable, it's quite good. English isn't my main language either and I make mistakes a lot.. at least during night time.
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Quote by Cathbard
Bugera cloning Blackstar is a scandal cloaked in a tragedy making love to a nightmare.

Last edited by Sakke at Aug 29, 2011,
#14
Quote by Sakke
I find it odd that you do not use your 85.. Actually, really odd. I used to use my bridge pickup on my Ibanez RG for both lead and rhythm because I was too lazy to figure out how to switch "fast and smooth".
I find the tone of 85 very pleasing in the demos and reviews, so smooth and powerful, yet I have to find out myself. That's the best way there is, I guess.

By the way, nothing wrong with your English, it's more than understandable, it's quite good. English isn't my main language either and I make mistakes a lot.. at least during night time.


I'm used to switch pickups with my strat, smooth and easy. Not that much like Jeff Beck though xD. It's just that the 85 doesn't suits me I guess...

About the problem I'm having with my 81, do any of you guys know if this is normal?
#15
The 81 is clearer and more percussive. It cuts through gain like a knife, sounds detailed in a band mix and if you're into metal it's tighter than a nun's ****.

The 85 is fatter and smoother. More bottom end. Better for rock than metal since it's thick rather than tight.

I'm not a fan of the 85. It's not tight enough in the bridge and for neck cleans it's way too bassy. Although it is kind of cool for neck leads I'd rather have a 60 in the neck for the excellent clean sounds.

Despite using EMGs for nearly 10 years I've never actually tried an 81 in the neck so I have no opinion on that... although if you want an example of how it sounds check out just about anything by Metallica as Kirk uses dual 81s.
#16
The classic 81 B / 85 N combo is perfect for death metal, especially in a mahogany guitar. I recommend that.

I think a far bigger problem is that your amp probably just can't do those tones. Death metal requires a ton of preamp distortion, which in turn usually requires a ton of headroom. Your amp doesn't have much of either of those.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#17
Quote by Offworld92
The classic 81 B / 85 N combo is perfect for death metal, especially in a mahogany guitar. I recommend that.

I think a far bigger problem is that your amp probably just can't do those tones. Death metal requires a ton of preamp distortion, which in turn usually requires a ton of headroom. Your amp doesn't have much of either of those.


So, do you think if I play my Viper-500 through my new RA-100 I will get rid of that problem with my 81?

Things just keep getting better for me...
#18
Yes,the 81 is more clear and crisp than the 85 ,It cuts through gain like a knife
Last edited by megaduu at Aug 30, 2011,
#19
People like 81's in the neck because it adds some highs to the sound. The neck position is bassier. Isn't that obvious?
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