#1
Okay so this is not just some random "what's the difference" topic. I'm getting a nice basswood ibanez 7 string and it comes with EMG707's. I'm used to EMG81's, and I've listened to comparisons and the 707's just seem watered down/muddy compared to the 81's. I ordered blackouts from guitar center because I heard some good things, but also some bad things and I don't know if I'll like them. If I can just use the direct hookup instead of soldering them, would I then be able to return the Blackouts to GC with their 30 day return policy if they aren't the sound I'm looking for?

I've been looking at all the passive options, and really wondering some things. Almost all the guitars I own have EMG's, and all of those have EMG81's for bridge, with diff combos of EMG neck pups. I've been looking at the SD Black Winters, Sentients, Pegasus, and and I've also heard great things about Bareknuckles. I wanna be able to play some super heavy heavy stuff, get some djenty tones, but still be able to play beautiful cleans. (I prefer warm tones) I hear the blackouts just aren't stellar clean sometimes.

Could I change my amp settings to compensate for a change to passives and not notice that much of a difference? Will the passive pickups be as CLEAR and tight as the actives for heavy stuff if I choose to go passive? And finally, I've seen some great things about the black winters specifically, anyone have experience?

Edit: additionally, will humbuckers hum more than actives?
Last edited by King Elijah at Aug 18, 2015,
#2
If I were you, I would have probably tried the EMG 57/66 7 string set before the blackouts. Theyre supposed to be a little more vintagey so they probably have nicer cleans, while staying clear and tight with distortion. I stopped using EMGs in general- I love their reaction with high gain, but I simply couldnt get the clean tones with them that I could get much easier with passives. I usually use medium output passive pickups PAF style, and they sound perfectly clear and tight. I recently ordered the vintage 59 neck and bridge passives from guitarfetish- they are clear, tight (enough), and quiet. I dont think they have a 7 string version, but my point is that you can certainly be happy with passives too
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#3
I'm not looking for a vintage style per say, although obviously that's not the only thing they can do. I hear amazing things about the BK Aftermath pickups, and they get that chugga tone I like, but then I could match with a cleaner set for neck. The only thing is idk how hard it is to covert to passives
#4
Well, the emg 57/66 do the super modern sound just fine. Look up videos of Andy James using them. He has an awesome tone, but he is also a fantastic player.

Switching from actives to passives is kind of a pain in the ass. You need all new wiring and pots. And you are hopefully decently good at soldering. Its doable but can be frustrating. If you have the money for bareknuckles, knock yourself out. But in my opinion, they are incredibly overpriced for the result they have on your tone. By da way, what are you using for an amp? And maybe you should actually give the emg 707s a chance in person before you disregard them
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#5
If you want the best possible cleans, then I think you should definitely weigh the pros and cons of switching to passive pickups. I've always been able to get richer, warmer cleans out of passive pickups. It isn't that actives can't get 'clean' necessarily, it's that they can almost be too clean if that makes any sense. They can sound a little sterile. That said, I've gotten what I consider to be excellent cleans out of my Blackouts, and have used them for recording.

I also have a set of Black Winters in another guitar. Phenomenal pickups for both high-gain and cleans. They are pretty high output; not quite as high as my Blackouts, but I compensate by turning my gain up by about "0.5" on the dial. They are absolutely as tight, crushing, and brutal as my Blackouts or EMGs. For metal, you are giving up nothing by using some of these modern passive pickups over actives.

Ultimately, pickups are not going to make or break your sound, especially if your amp is not up to par. With both of my guitars, I can pretty much sound like myself. The Black Winters are a little brighter and have a little more grind to them (they are also more responsive to variations in pick attack), while the Blackouts have a little more bottom end and are more compressed. Both sound amazing. The BWs have better cleans though.
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Last edited by KailM at Aug 18, 2015,