#1
I have a Jackson Soloist SLAT (fixed bridge) that came stock with an EMG 81 in the bridge and an EMG 85 in the neck and after not being 100% happy with the tone and reading some internet posts I decided to try switching them around.

I have to say that I'm quite impressed with this set up and am much happier with the guitar now. I'm not much of a writer so here's some lists of the plus' and minus'.

What I didn't like about the normal 81/85 set up.
-81 was too bright and shrill for my liking, especially for leads, and especially in standard or drop D tuning which I primarily use.
-85 had some sweet saturated smooth lead tones but it's a one trick pony. It has way too much bass for the neck in my opinion.
-The 85 will clip at full volume making it turn to mush when trying to play clean.

The good with the 85 in the bridge and 81 in the neck:
-85 seems like a much more versatile pick up in the bridge. Still does metal but also sounds pretty good with medium gain settings.
-The 85 really sings for lead tones in the bridge, no ice pick sounds like the 81.
-81 sounds like it was made for the neck. It's still bright, but the neck position really mellows it out. It's very clean and articulate on clean amp settings.
-81 is even clean enough to play distorted rhythms without turning to much.
-You can still get a smooth lead tone by rolling off the tone.

So the verdict; if you only play metal and especially if you use low tuning's the normal set up is probably a good fit. The 81 is a bright pick up for the neck position but apparently I really like that. If you play in standard tuning and like to mix it up a good bit (but still want to be able nail metal tones) then try switching them. Heck, all you got to do is unplug them and switch them, no soldering required.

Anybody else try this or have any thoughts on it?
#2
I have the 81-7 combo in the LTD SC607B and ESP Stef B7 (bridge/middle), standard tuning, and both are very nice, Clean through brootz.

What amp are you using? Even through the Laney VH100R, which is inherently bright with stock tubes, the tone is pretty good. Through the VH4 (channel 3) or Twin Jet, it slays.
#3
I'm playing through a Peavey XXL 212 and primarily a Digitech RP500. I agree the 81 in the bridge is brootal and if that's what you're after it does the job. I just feel like the 85 in the bridge can delve into 'standard' rock and classic rock much better than the 81, plus I really like the 85's lead tone in the bridge.
#4
Am I the only one that finds the 85 to be a lot punchier than the 81?

It feels like it is in my 7 string at least
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Epiphone MKH Les Paul Custom 7 - Ronda
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#5
The 85 definitely has more bass and low mids than the 81 so yes, it's punchier. Bridge vs. bridge the 81 is a katana and the 85 is a broadsword.