#1
Hey guys!

I just picked up a used guitar (ESP EC400) which had an EMG81 in both the neck and the bridge. When I got it, I also bought an 85 and and switched the bridge pickup out for it (so now I have an 81 in the neck, and 85 in the bridge).

The thing is, literally EVERYTHING sounds better on the 85. The lows on the 85 sound better (which I expected) and the highs for lead sound amazing. In contrast, the 81 sounds drowned out and the highs sound "reverby". Basically, I was using the 85 for lead because I thought it was the 81 that I had activated, but upon further inspection (tv remote near the PU), I realized that it was actually the 85.

From everything that I've read, this doesn't seem to make any sense. I know a lot of people have this setup with the neck/bridge positions switched from what I am doing, but that wouldn't make a difference like this, would it?

Do I just have the wrong idea of what each of these pickups should sound like, or do you think it's possible that the 81 that was already in it is performing worse due to age/use/whatever? Is that even likely? Since it had two 81s in it when I got it, I have the other 81 that I took out; is there an easy way I can switch the 81 in it out with the one I have sitting here to test without taking off the strings? (I changed the strings right when I got it home and that was when I put the 85 in)

Sorry, it's a lot of questions. Thanks to anyone who answers!
Last edited by NineEightNine at Sep 18, 2011,
#2
The 81 sounds gross in the neck IMO.

Trade the 81 for a 60 and bask in the glory of EMG's best neck pickup
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#4
If I understand you correctly, you're asking why the bridge pickup has more treble than the neck pickup?
#5
Quote by some_dude_2
If I understand you correctly, you're asking why the bridge pickup has more treble than the neck pickup?


Yeah. I was under the impression that an 81 is supposed to sound really bright but this one I have here has a really drowned out and flat sound compared to the 85 I have in the bridge.
#6
Quote by NineEightNine
Yeah. I was under the impression that an 81 is supposed to sound really bright but this one I have here has a really drowned out and flat sound compared to the 85 I have in the bridge.


The bridge position is typically brighter than the neck position, regardless of the type of pickup is put in those positions.

An 81 in the bridge is bright and cutting. In the neck it's kind of dull.

The 85 in the bridge is kind of scooped. In the neck it's super bassy.
Last edited by some_dude_2 at Sep 19, 2011,
#7
Quote by NineEightNine
Yeah. I was under the impression that an 81 is supposed to sound really bright but this one I have here has a really drowned out and flat sound compared to the 85 I have in the bridge.

Yeah... because it's in the neck.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#8
As said, you're going to get more harmonics in the bridge position. Simple wave physics. If you have two identical pickups, they're going to sound different in those different positions. The 81 and 85 are different pickups and thus have a different voicing. They'll emphasise or de-emphasise certain frequencies. Speaking generally, if you have a bassy pickup in the bridge, but switch it to the neck... yeeeaaah, you're going to be rather overwhelmed by bass response.

What you describe about the 85 being better in the bridge? That's exactly why I got an 85X for my guitar's bridge position. I listened to sound samples and thought it sounded better than the 81. It's pure taste; these pickups aren't specifically calibrated for a position, you can use them wherever to your taste.
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#9
Alright, thanks a lot for the responses guys, makes sense! I knew they would sound different based on their position, but didn't think it would make such a big difference as I am seeing.

I will try switching them around and see what I think.
#10
Quote by NineEightNine

I will try switching them around and see what I think.


I prefer the 81 in the bridge. With the right amp it's very aggressive and maintains excellent clarity when combined with a lot of gain.

The 85 is too bassy for my tastes... both in the bridge and in the neck.
#11
Quote by some_dude_2
I prefer the 81 in the bridge. With the right amp it's very aggressive and maintains excellent clarity when combined with a lot of gain.

The 85 is too bassy for my tastes... both in the bridge and in the neck.



I agree. I use the 81 in bridge religiously. It has an extremely great tone with aggressive amps.
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well i did sit 5th row for the who in '82.

ears are still ringing a bit.