Okay, here's the deal.

I'm going to buy a new guitar, a Jackson DXMG or Ibanez RG320, or something similar to those 2.
But I have a problem deciding because of the pickups, if I'm getting a totally new guitar I need to know what stock pickups are the "best" for me.
I'm playing mostly metal, any sort, and I'm searching for a pickup/pickup combo that:
- Sounds good, of course.
- Picks up notes very good, like in tapping, hammer-ons and so on.
- Can make easy-to-get, awesome harmonics/screams! All sorts of them,examples: Zakk Wylde, Alexi Laiho, Mattias IA Eklundh, John Petrucci and so on.

Ibanez guitars have Infinity 3 and Infinity 4.
Jackson DXMG have 2x EMG HZ.
Some other Jackson has Duncan Designed.

As I've heard EMG HZ before(Alexi Laiho), I guessed that those should be the best ones, but if you think Infinity or Duncan designed are better, prove me wrong, and also explain why you think that way.

But if I go Second-hand, I'm probably going to change the pickups to something extraordinary, if nothing good is on the guitar already.

I'm thinking of EMG 81 & 85, or 2x 81, I've heard the harmonics played by Zakk Wylde, and those impresses me alot!
Are there any Seymour Duncan pickups that compare to those(SH-4?), or are even better on harmonics?
Also, as EMG HZ is said to compare with EMG 81, but passive, would those be a good option or should I rather go with 81's if I want stunning harmonics?

As I'm also going to get a new amplifier, are there any combo that "sticks out" at harmonics, or are they almost the same? Thinking of a Laney LV200.

I want your opinions, but if you say "EMG sucks!" or "Seymour Duncan sucks!" or anything like that, please explain WHY they suck, as I want what's best for me!
Please don't complain on a guitar/pickup if you have a crappy amplifier and have nothing to compare with, as this may change the result of my choice.
I hope you get the feeling of what I'm searching for, as I really need your help on this one.
hey hey... i have and ibanez RG42DXFX. its a little different from the guitar your considering but it has the essentials that are the same.. the infinity pickups are ok, but they kinda sound like they're a bit muddy when you push the distortion, but they are a very even sounding pickup so you can hit the strings hard and not worry to much about your playing dynamics. but for the price range you are in you really cant expect to much from the guitar.,.....
for metal they're both good choices, EMG HZ pickups get the same kind of review as the ibanez infinity pickups do, so if you want a gr8 sounding guitar with gr8 dynamics and that responds well to your playing style you may have to just get the guitar you really prefer and then upgrade the pickups to better professional ones.
on my ibanez i upgraded to Dimarzio's i have an Air Norton in the neck and a Tone Zone in the bridge and lets just say that the difference is absolutely amazing, they scream distortion and you can really hear such clarity with hi gain, the sound compared to the stock infinity pickups is so defined you can hear each note so clearly and the sound dosnt turn to mud or fuzz at all. so my recommendation would be to get the guitar that appeals to you more for looks and feel then make it sound the way you like, and remember the new amp you buy will produce a sound that is based on the pickups of your guitar so make sure you get an amp that will be matched to your pickups.

anyways hope this helps...


A Bill Lawrence L-500XL is basically THE definitive metal bridge pickup (as used by Dime himself before he sunk to new lows with that muddy piece of commercialised crap his name is on).
Something a bit warmer, like the SD Jazz or '59 would be a better choice in the neck so you're not totally restricted to playing high-gain stuff and your cleans sounding like rubbish.
"Everybody, one day will die and be forgotten. Act and behave in a way that will make life interesting and fun. Find a passion, form relationships, don't be afraid to get out there and fuck what everyone else thinks."
The clean sound is not a big problem I think, as any guitar will sound better clean than my current one!

To compare the sounds of pickups I would like to hear some examples.. I've heard EMG pickups without any "special" gear(pedals, extra effects), but Seymour Duncan .. haven't found any yet. The ones on their site has very crappy distortion, and I need to hear some better examples to be able to compare. Dimarzio's would also be nice to hear.
dude.. if you would like a sound clip let me know what kind of sound you are after and you can hear what my dimarzios sound like. just sent your email address to my private message thing on this site and il record something for you.
Last edited by alfalfasprout69 at Mar 8, 2007,
I've really been up in my head with this, and I really need more help on this one - If you want to say anything, do it!
I know alot of pickups can do harmonics like nothing, but I want the best screams possible for the price, I don't want to get disappointed!

I know EMG 81 / 85 have the sound I'm searching for, but I need to know a bit more about other pickups too. Is it alot difference between active and non-active pickups?

Is there any guitar that I should avoid if I want good harmonics(Jackson / Ibanez)?
I've come down to 3(4) stock guitars:

Jackson DXMG - 2x EMG HZ(unknown model)
Jackson DK2M - Seymour Duncan JB TB4 & Jazz SH2N
Ibanez RG320EX - 2x EMG Designed(unknown model)
(Ibanez RG320FMTL - IBZ Infinity 3 & 4)

Amplifiers, does it matter(much) of which model/brand is, on harmonic sounds?
Probably going for a Laney LV200.

Eventually I'm going to get a distortion pedal as well, just searching for one in the right price range, any recommendations?

Post like crazy, don't be shy!
all emgs are active pick-ups. each EMG contains a internal preamplifier which reults in a wider tonal range, this means the sound is vibrantly alive with more harmonics than than otherwise possible with passive pick-ups.
i'v got SG with EMG's!!!!!!
all emgs are active pick-ups. each EMG contains a internal preamplifier which reults in a wider tonal range, this means the sound is vibrantly alive with more harmonics than than otherwise possible with passive pick-ups.
you can still get a heavy sound
i'v got SG with EMG's!!!!!!
are bill lawrences ( Dime ones ) active or passive and where could i hear sound clips?
Quote by roast
Cool, thanks Lagrance.

Randall Rx15
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^whereas passive pups use coil windings to produce a magnetic field that picks up string vibrations...what zakk-wylde forgot to mention also is that active pups (such as the emg's) require an outside powes source (commonly a 9 volt battery) to power the pre-amp. thats why active pups have a better harmonic response than most passive pups

i wouldnt recommend the emg-hz's because they themselves are passive pups. if you are looking for an active set then go with the 81/85 (or the james hetfield 81/60), but personally i preffer a set of passive dimarzios over an emg anyday because they're more versitile
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Shreadhead22 had nothing helpful to say to me. He just immediatly started being a prick.

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Shredhead's advice is the best in the thread.

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As I haven't found any stock guitars of my taste with EMG 81/85's, I probably have to go with Jackson DXMG or Ibanez RG320EX, despite your comments, as they are in the right price range. I'm probably going to change to 81 & 85's when the time comes, but that may take a while.
Going to try the guitars out this weekend, and probably some others as well, so I'll see what I can find. Thanks for replying.
I'd say avoid the EMGs, they're good but i wouldnt trust them for versatility, some say they are versatile but i'd prefer a high output passive to an active anyday, the guy who posted the Jeff Waters video has had the most sensible post here IMO those pickups should do fine