#1
I'm getting an ESP M-400 for Christmas and it comes with EMG 81's in both bridge and neck positions. When I get it I want to switch the neck pickup but I don't know what to switch it too. I like playing death and thrash metal. I know its all personal opinion but I don't know anything about all the different tones the pickups have. Any suggestions? I know 81/85 and 81/60 are common. Also, if active pickups have higher gain, then why do so many death metals have guitarist with passive pickups? Can passive pickups get as much gain as active? I know Chuck Schuldiner from death used a single Dimarzio X2N (its passive) and his tone is super metal.
#2
You can use passive pickups, but they will have slightly less output and would probably produce a bit more noise. You might prefer the sound those produce.

Also, you pretty much answered your own question. 81/85 and 81/60 are really common. I prefer the 81/85 but this is really something you should personally try.

I wouldn't recommend using one passive and one active pickup either. It's a pain in the ass to wire, and the active will have a higher output.
WTLTL 2011
#3
yeah, it's a pain to have both active and passive... also your middle position basically won't be usable any more (both pickups on).

Might be worth trying the 85 in the bridge position too, that is if you decide to get an 85.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?