I recently bought an EMG 81 active pup, but before I install it I want to make sure I'll get the most out of my guitar. I have a Jackson DXMG Dinky, which has the standard EMG HZ passive humbuckers, with one volume and one tone pot (at 500k) What I want to do is put the 81 in the bridge position and keep the HZ in the neck position, at least for now. Eventually I want an 85 or 60 in the neck position. I've heard, however, that if both an active and a passive are connected to the same pots, that the passive pup will lose a lot of gain. It was recommended to me to use resistors to keep the battery from freaking out the passive, but I'd like to avoid that if possible.
There's a few options that you can go with...
You can leave the stock value pots, or change them to 25k to accept the active pup. One way will make the active sound bad, the other will make the passive sound bad.
You can use seperate pots for each pickup (wiring like in a LP), with the appropriate value pots for each, but using both pups together will sound bad.
Or you could put a booster on the active pickup. That would allow you to use shared pots, and use both pups together without losing tone.

The last option would be best if you're going to stick with one active and one passive, but since you're going to uprade to an active in the neck eventually, I'd suggest either staying all passive for now, or switching to all active.

edit: all this stuff is mentioned in the EMG faq's (link)
Thank you very much for your help. Would it be plausible to keep my 500k pots, if I install the active and either disconnect or just never use the neck pup? What's most important to me right now is getting the most out of the active pickup, with the least amount of work/money.

Edit: I was told by my local guitar shops that the active EMG's should use the 500k pots, but on the EMG FAQ's it says to use the 25k pots if you don't want to lose tone/gain with the active pup.

Which should I use?
Last edited by XBguitarist at Feb 2, 2008,
you'd have to change the pots to 25k to get the most out of the active one. I suppose you could switch the pots with 25k, but have them wired before the switch, so they only affect the active pickup, then leave the neck pickup wired to the switch, and the switch to the ouput jack (it would usually go to the volume/tone). That'd at least give you the option of using the neck pickup if you wanted rather than disconnecting it completely.

edit: I'm almost completely positive it's 25k, so I think the guy at the store was incorrect in suggesting you should use 500k.