Ive had this pickup combo for a while now and have never managed to get them to be just how i want them. I recently changed all the pots from the supplied EMG pots to CGE pots (25k) and orange drop capacitors (0.1uF) but the pickups arent perfect yet....

1. The neck pickup (85) which i know is higher output seems to emit some hiss which the 81 in the bridge does not. Is this normal? The 85 is also a bit too bassy and doesnt sound that brilliant with too high gain.

2. When playing loud you can roll off the volume of 1 pickup (say the bridge pickup) and while that is the only pickup selected, some sound still comes through the amp - it is like a very weak and thin sound of what i am playing.

Some things to note:
- The pickups are wired so when the switch is in the middle position the neck volume acts as master.
- The guitar is an epi les paul custom, so has 2 volume and 2 tone knobs...

Any help is welcome
I had a set of the same pickups in a LP standard. Its just the way an 85 sounds in those guitars. The 2 volume controls can be a pain sometimes. You can either do it 2 independent volumes or each is master volume. When set up as independents it can be hard to balance them in the center position. I took mine out and put em in a guitar with brighter wood sound alot better. Now its got a p90 in the bridge and the factory humbucker at the neck. And also disconected one volume so its just a single volume control. I see alot of people useing the 60 in place of the 85 now.
Hmm i have an ESP eclipse (basically a les paul copy) which came with an emg 81/60 set and i changed out to the 85 later. Sounds like the hiss may just be a wiring issue, you could try getting some spray at radioshack to prevent oxidation on the connections.

If you want the 85 to have more brilliance you may want to think about swapping it with a 60 or even another 81. The fact that the 85 has a higher output may be causing the hiss as well. I have another ESP with 2 81's and they actually sound pretty decent as a neck pickup and handle high gain well.

bottom line, i hope you get them how you want it because EMG's are amazing.
Thanks for the replies guys,

Tackleberry - I took the 2 wiring diagrams from emg for independant volume or both masters and did the master bit on the neck pot and the independant on the bridge pot, which has made it so the neck is master. It makes sense what you say about the LP being quite a dark sounding guitar, but I've seen some videos of LP's with the zakk wylde combo and they sound sweet... Maybe its just a matter of manipulating the volume and tone controls more than I do at the moment.

eetfuk58 - why did you change the 60 over to an 85?

Any other comments are welcome...

Also I've got the pickups running off 2 batteries in series (18v)
Last edited by zw44 at Nov 15, 2007,