I just picked up a baby Dime guitar in a pawn shop for $99, in perfect condition(with lighting finish), best deal I've ever gotten on a guitar. The guitar plays beautifully, the pups in it actually sound pretty good, their just Dean designed. I've already got a full sized MLX with withe the Bill Lawrence Dimebucker in the bridge, so I was thinking it actives would be nice in it.

This guitar has a basswood body, and most of the guitars that seem to come with active EMGs have mahogany bodies. Needless to say I'm a metal head, so looking for that deep crunch sound. Options? 81/85, 81/60, 85/60 etc?
Last edited by plissken99 at May 3, 2014,
My basswood Jackson Soloist had the 81 bridge / 85 neck combo. I switched them around because the 81 was a bit to harsh for my taste and the 85 was a bit too wooly in the neck. If you're playing exclusively newish metal, especially drop tuned stuff the 81 is probably the better bridge pu, 85 if you want more versatility. 85 in the neck gives a very dark smooth sound for soloing but I disliked the clean tone, the 60 should be a middle ground between the 85 and 81.

Then of course their newest offering they're pushing is the 57/66 set which sound pretty good (at least in all the youtube videos I've seen). Not sure if they're worth the extra money though.
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I like the 85 or 89 in the bridge a little more than the 81. The 89 gives the same tone as the 85 only you can also coil tap it for a single coil sound.
The 57/66 is the best EMG has to offer right now. They sound the least like active pickups. Barely any compression or any of that tininess of the usual 85/81/60.
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Hmm, from what I've reading the 57/66 should sound very comparable to the Duncan Livewires, which I actually have in another guitar, so not sure I want something that similar. Now I forgot about SD Blackouts...
I actually would try out Seymour Duncan Blackouts. They have a bit more clarity.

I would recommend either AHB-1 in the neck and AHB-2 in the bridge OR a set of AHB-3s (sold as neck and bridge set).

I use the former setup in my Fender Stagemaster, and the tone is just great.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at May 2, 2014,
I'd heavily recommend EMG's X series.
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I wouldn't get too caught up in the wood.

I would say try to get 81/85 on the cheap. Try them in both positions if you want and go from there.

If you buy new you should get all of the necessary hardware that you'll need to go active...Pots/jack/quick connect.

You can also look on Ebay for battery mods if you want to go with 18v or the 24v mod i think uses double AA's and may be more compact.

I'm pretty sure the quick connect will work with Duncans too if you decide to try Blackouts later on...and of course, easy change to any other EMG you might wanna try.
Indeed I have been reading that many think wood makes very little difference with EMGs.

I've heard of the 18v mod, but not the 24v, I'll have to check into that. There are too many frigging choices, all of which barely sound distinct on Youtube. I'm gonna have to get Youtube on my main sound system and see if I can hear any bigger differences. What about Dragonfire? I can get a set which are supposedly nearly identical to the 81/85 set for like $80 for the pair on eBay.

At the moment I'm using a solid state Randall KH120, my old Carvin X100B took a giant shit last year and this is a cheap hold over. My next and possibly final amp I hope will be the Laney T100 Iommi amp. I got to demo one a couple years ago, and it is just the ultimate guitar amp. Oh and I play Rocksmith a lot, my favorite guitar is the Dean Zero Angel with the Livewires, the game has better note detection with actives, which is another reason I want more actives in my arsenal.
Last edited by plissken99 at May 3, 2014,
Yeah I've been going through video after video, their all too similar, or their manipulated, some the Blackouts win, others the 81/85 set win. I think I'll get the quick connect system, order a few sets on my Guitar Center credit card and return the losers.

Quick question about the quick connect system. Do I need to look for specific quick connect compatible pick ups? Or will any EMG or Blackout set I order work with it?

Oh if the videos are any indication, the new Hetfield set is a joke, like he's completely embraced his role as rhythm guitarist.
Last edited by plissken99 at May 3, 2014,
All EMG's you buy now will have the quick connect and I know the Blackouts I just bought have it as well. I much prefer the Blackouts to the 81/85 with 18v mod (both in mahogany bodies)

Oh and duh Hetfield has embraced his role as a rhythm guitarist, he's been doing it for more than 30 years
Yeah duh indeed, but his old set had balls, and could do either, going from the videos his set is now strictly rythem.
Dragonfire actives suck, don't waist your money.

The wood the guitar is made of plays no part when using actives
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Yeah I found a video comparing Dragonfire to an 81, sounded liked a yard sale guitar by comparison.