#1
I've heard that active EMG's and SS amps just don't go well together. Is this actually true, or is this just a statement made by the gear elitists? See, I'm thinking of buying a EMG equipped guitar, but I have a Marshall MG, which is a SS amp. Could someone please help me?
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#2
Marshall MGs generally sound terrible compared to other amps.

Solid state amps' overdrive sound harsher and less tuneful than valve amps' overdrive.

Active EMGs produce more gain than passive pickups, making the sound more distorted, so more overdrive will come out of the amp.


You'll discover just how good your RG1570 and G400 are if you get a valve amp instead of the new guitar.
#3
yeah, i would get a new amp before you mess with new guitars.
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Thats probably some of the best advice I've ever received on here.
#4
Quote by blue_strat
Marshall MGs generally sound terrible compared to other amps.

Solid state amps' overdrive sound harsher and less tuneful than valve amps' overdrive.

Active EMGs produce more gain than passive pickups, making the sound more distorted, so more overdrive will come out of the amp.


You'll discover just how good your RG1570 and G400 are if you get a valve amp instead of the new guitar.



Well, I'm replacing my G-400 with the knew guitar, but the guitar is not going to be over $1000. Seriously, I don't have all the money in the world to be spending on a valve amp, that's the whole problem here.
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#5
EMGs do sound bad with SS amps.. but not just because it's an SS amp...

Active pickups sound awful with any amp (or any other gear) that isn't gig-quality. And I don't just mean something that could fill a bar; I mean a proper, arena-touring quality rig. If your guitar didn't cost at least a few thousand, if your cables aren't of the highest quality, if you don't have an amplifier the size of a small shed... then the actives will sound awful.


Basically, active pickups are tonally vapid. While other pickups already have their own treble/mid/bass balances, actives don't - or rather they do, but to such a much smaller extent, it might as well not exist. So active pickups depend on the rest of your rig being as good as it can be, whereas passive pickups can cover something like say, a weaker amp, inferior cables, or slightly lower grade body wood in your guitar. Actives just don't cover that stuff though - they will show up every single little fault with your gear. So obviously, unless your gear is *perfect*, actives will sound like ****.
#6
Quote by bokuho
EMGs do sound bad with SS amps.. but not just because it's an SS amp...

Active pickups sound awful with any amp (or any other gear) that isn't gig-quality. And I don't just mean something that could fill a bar; I mean a proper, arena-touring quality rig. If your guitar didn't cost at least a few thousand, if your cables aren't of the highest quality, if you don't have an amplifier the size of a small shed... then the actives will sound awful.


Basically, active pickups are tonally vapid. While other pickups already have their own treble/mid/bass balances, actives don't - or rather they do, but to such a much smaller extent, it might as well not exist. So active pickups depend on the rest of your rig being as good as it can be, whereas passive pickups can cover something like say, a weaker amp, inferior cables, or slightly lower grade body wood in your guitar. Actives just don't cover that stuff though - they will show up every single little fault with your gear. So obviously, unless your gear is *perfect*, actives will sound like ****.


Bull****...

They sound fine through my Fender Blues with a standard Planet Waves cable, and its hardly such an 'arena-quality touring rig' I have several guitars with EMG's, and they all sound TOTALLY different, through either amp!

Through a SS amp, they just sound like a regular passive, but a bit 'sharper'

If you like the guitar, go for it, but seriously consider a valve amp, even if you don't get the active pickups!
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#7
I was thinking about this too. I'm thinking of getting a Schecter Hellraiser with the 81/89 set. I've got a Vox AD30VT. Sound good or bad? I've tried it at GC but it's so damn loud there I can't tell.
#8
If you can afford an EMG equipped guitar (unless it's used or something), then I guarantee you can afford a MUCH better amp to replace the MG which will make you MUCH happier.
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#9
Quote by mafropetee
If you can afford an EMG equipped guitar (unless it's used or something), then I guarantee you can afford a MUCH better amp to replace the MG which will make you MUCH happier.



Last time I checked, GOOD tube amps are above $1000. The guitar I'm looking at is just $700.
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#10
I keep hearing about this "magical" $1000 barrier for tube amps. Where are people getting this?

You can get perfectly good tube amps for half that, even less.

Peavey
Orange
Epiphone
Crate
Fender

All have good amps at or around $500.
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#11
Quote by KingDev
I was thinking about this too. I'm thinking of getting a Schecter Hellraiser with the 81/89 set. I've got a Vox AD30VT. Sound good or bad? I've tried it at GC but it's so damn loud there I can't tell.


I have a Schecter Hellraiser and a Vox AD50VT, and it sounds great.
#12
Fender Champion 600 - $200
Epiphone Valve Jr. Combo - $150, Half Stack - $250
Blackheart Half Stack- $300
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe - $700
Peavey Valveking - $400
Vox AC15 - $600
Fender Blues Jr - $480
List goes on....

Any of those amps would decimate your current MG. Any questions??

Edit:

My point was, why do you feel you need an amp thats gonna cost you over $1000? What arena shows are you planning to play? A tube amp for $600 will rock out better then I bet you'll ever need and yes a 30watt tube amp is plenty. A 100watt head is not twice as loud as a 50watt. The margin is actually very small.
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Last edited by DSOTM80 at Apr 19, 2008,
#14
Geez! Work with what you have and/or can afford. Consider one thing: Who are you trying to impress? In most cases, the vast majority of your audience doesn't know or care what the specifications of your rig are. They honestly can't tell the difference. If it is for your own satisfaction, I advise you to take your time. Figure out exactly how you want to sound, and you decide what to buy. If you just have to get through a normal gig, play what you've got as well as you can. If you play well enough, the gear is secondary. If you suck, it doesn't matter what gear you have. You will still Suck!
#15
i got EMG 81's in my strat, and play it through my randall 5x120R, it doesnt sound great. My ibanez with stock V series pickups sounds much better
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#16
EMG's do sound better trough a good amp then they do through a crappy amp. You know why? Every piece of gear that you use has an effect on your tone. If you have great pickups but a crappy amp, you'll probably won't get the tone you want. But if you have a nice amp, but awefull pickups, you'll probably won't get it either. Everything from the wood to the pickups to the amps to the cables to pedals has an effect on your tone. (But ofcourse the amp has a much greater effect than the cables, keep those things in mind aswell)

Considering you're using a marshall MG it would be better to upgrade you're amp then to get a new guitar with new pickups. No matter how good they are, you're tone will still be sucked away by the amp. Allways try to upgrade de worst part of your rig to get the most benefit.

About the EMGs, some people love 'em and some don't . Some only like how they sound trough high end gear. The thing is that they are so powerfull that you'll hear everything. That's good because it can give you a really powerfull sound that's still clear, but also bad because you'll hear every single noise (even the scraping of your pick against the string when you pick)

I run my washburn with emg 81 and 85 into a zoom G2 and after that into a moddeling amp (with the moddeling disabled ofcourse, cause moddeling + moddeling sounds crap) and I like the sound I get. The active EMGs improve my sound, but upgrading my amp will improve my sound even more.
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#17
Quote by Dardarian
EMG's do sound better trough a good amp then they do through a crappy amp. You know why? Every piece of gear that you use has an effect on your tone. If you have great pickups but a crappy amp, you'll probably won't get the tone you want. But if you have a nice amp, but awefull pickups, you'll probably won't get it either. Everything from the wood to the pickups to the amps to the cables to pedals has an effect on your tone. (But ofcourse the amp has a much greater effect than the cables, keep those things in mind aswell)

Considering you're using a marshall MG it would be better to upgrade you're amp then to get a new guitar with new pickups. No matter how good they are, you're tone will still be sucked away by the amp. Allways try to upgrade de worst part of your rig to get the most benefit.

About the EMGs, some people love 'em and some don't . Some only like how they sound trough high end gear. The thing is that they are so powerfull that you'll hear everything. That's good because it can give you a really powerfull sound that's still clear, but also bad because you'll hear every single noise (even the scraping of your pick against the string when you pick)

I run my washburn with emg 81 and 85 into a zoom G2 and after that into a moddeling amp (with the moddeling disabled ofcourse, cause moddeling + moddeling sounds crap) and I like the sound I get. The active EMGs improve my sound, but upgrading my amp will improve my sound even more.


Good answer.

dont look to something thats only a small percentage of tone overall to improve your whole sound, when it comes to building a better rig it's best to start big and work your way down to the smaller parts of your tone.
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#18
Quote by forsaknazrael
You can DEFINITELY find good tube amps that are well under 1000 bucks. You're looking in the wrong places...


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#19
Quote by bokuho
EMGs do sound bad with SS amps.. but not just because it's an SS amp...

Active pickups sound awful with any amp (or any other gear) that isn't gig-quality. And I don't just mean something that could fill a bar; I mean a proper, arena-touring quality rig. If your guitar didn't cost at least a few thousand, if your cables aren't of the highest quality, if you don't have an amplifier the size of a small shed... then the actives will sound awful.


Basically, active pickups are tonally vapid. While other pickups already have their own treble/mid/bass balances, actives don't - or rather they do, but to such a much smaller extent, it might as well not exist. So active pickups depend on the rest of your rig being as good as it can be, whereas passive pickups can cover something like say, a weaker amp, inferior cables, or slightly lower grade body wood in your guitar. Actives just don't cover that stuff though - they will show up every single little fault with your gear. So obviously, unless your gear is *perfect*, actives will sound like ****.


I've never read so much bs in my entire life.
I use EMGs in my Ibanez S470 through my SS Peavey Bandit and they sound great. The difference between those and the stock pickups on the Ibanez is huge. Even on your MG it will sound better, but like everyone else is saying, I recommend you get a good tube amp before worrying about pickups.
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#20
EMGs are made to push pre-amp tubes of a tube amp harder to give a more saturated/distorted tone, for higher gain stuff.

Therefore, they sound much, much better through tube amps than SS amps.
#21
Quote by Hakael
I keep hearing about this "magical" $1000 barrier for tube amps. Where are people getting this?

You can get perfectly good tube amps for half that, even less.

Peavey
Orange
Epiphone
Crate
Fender

All have good amps at or around $500.



I forgot about the ValveKing. I liked that a lot when I played it in guitar Center. I might give it a try.
DETHKLOK IS TEH ROXORZ!!!
#22
EMG active pickups work by having a low output signal that is boosted by means of an electrical circuit. This actually means that the magnetic field on EMGs is weaker than on passive pickups. This is compensated for by the active electronics. When the weak signal is amplified there is less variance in the frequency response since the waveform's amplitude is just being increased... it's hard for me to put into words since I'm not a true expert, but this basically means that frequency response is more uniform in addition to higher output.

Solid state amps do not distort with the same level of complexity and frequency response as valve/tube amps do due to the different type of clipping and the equalization differences between tubes and transistors.

What this boils down to is that EMGs are very pure sounding, some say even sterile. This sterility is often offset by tube sound, which produces its own dynamics and modifies the frequency response in a way that transistors do not. EMGs through a solid state amplifier will sound rather "sterile" because there is less complex signal manipulation going on.

Hope this all makes sense... But in a nutshell you don't have to have "arena quality" equipment, you simply should make a better amplifier than a Marshall MG priority before you get a new guitar with EMGs in it.
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#23
Quote by Mo Jiggity
EMG active pickups work by having a low output signal that is boosted by means of an electrical circuit. This actually means that the magnetic field on EMGs is weaker than on passive pickups. This is compensated for by the active electronics. When the weak signal is amplified there is less variance in the frequency response since the waveform's amplitude is just being increased... it's hard for me to put into words since I'm not a true expert, but this basically means that frequency response is more uniform in addition to higher output.

Solid state amps do not distort with the same level of complexity and frequency response as valve/tube amps do due to the different type of clipping and the equalization differences between tubes and transistors.

What this boils down to is that EMGs are very pure sounding, some say even sterile. This sterility is often offset by tube sound, which produces its own dynamics and modifies the frequency response in a way that transistors do not. EMGs through a solid state amplifier will sound rather "sterile" because there is less complex signal manipulation going on.

Hope this all makes sense... But in a nutshell you don't have to have "arena quality" equipment, you simply should make a better amplifier than a Marshall MG priority before you get a new guitar with EMGs in it.



Well put, good explanation
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#24
Quote by Mo Jiggity
EMG active pickups work by having a low output signal that is boosted by means of an electrical circuit. This actually means that the magnetic field on EMGs is weaker than on passive pickups. This is compensated for by the active electronics. When the weak signal is amplified there is less variance in the frequency response since the waveform's amplitude is just being increased... it's hard for me to put into words since I'm not a true expert, but this basically means that frequency response is more uniform in addition to higher output.

Solid state amps do not distort with the same level of complexity and frequency response as valve/tube amps do due to the different type of clipping and the equalization differences between tubes and transistors.

What this boils down to is that EMGs are very pure sounding, some say even sterile. This sterility is often offset by tube sound, which produces its own dynamics and modifies the frequency response in a way that transistors do not. EMGs through a solid state amplifier will sound rather "sterile" because there is less complex signal manipulation going on.

Hope this all makes sense... But in a nutshell you don't have to have "arena quality" equipment, you simply should make a better amplifier than a Marshall MG priority before you get a new guitar with EMGs in it.



Thank you. That really explains most of what I wanted to know right there. I've been thinking, and I think that I will invest is a better amp now.
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#25
Buy a Carvin MTS series amp. You won't be disappointed and they're only $800 for the combo
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#26
Quote by nexteyenate
Buy a Carvin MTS series amp. You won't be disappointed and they're only $800 for the combo



Thanks for the suggestion, man! I've got a couple that I'm looking at, but I'm a big fan of Carvin and I definitely trust their stuff.
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#27
Also, look into Ashdown, particulary the Fallen Angel (if you can still get em....went outta production a while ago)
I got mine for £330 online, and coupled with the EMG81 in my ESP EC-400 and a EHX MetalMuff, it blows most amps that any bands use around where I live away.
It also has a beautiful punk/rock tone without the Muff
#28
Quote by bokuho
EMGs do sound bad with SS amps.. but not just because it's an SS amp...

Active pickups sound awful with any amp (or any other gear) that isn't gig-quality. And I don't just mean something that could fill a bar; I mean a proper, arena-touring quality rig. If your guitar didn't cost at least a few thousand, if your cables aren't of the highest quality, if you don't have an amplifier the size of a small shed... then the actives will sound awful.



Say that to an EMG 89, 85 or 60. You are brutally wrong. The cleans, overdrive, and full on balls out gain sounds just as good if not better than most passives out there. The downside to my argument is there isn't a wide enough selection of actives. They cover about 5 different tones but there isn't really a range of outputs/boosted or cut frequencies like passive pickups, nor are there high high end companies producing hotrodded actives.
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#29
Quote by Hakael
I keep hearing about this "magical" $1000 barrier for tube amps. Where are people getting this?

You can get perfectly good tube amps for half that, even less.

Peavey
Orange
Epiphone
Crate
Fender

All have good amps at or around $500.


But all those brands you listed are somewhat limited....Limited to either 1 channel, lacking of gain, or really focused around a specific tone such as 80's hard rock.

Metal tube amps aren't really an option for less than about $700 unless you buy used. Although, the Crate polominos, Orange Tiny Terror's, and Peavey windsors have a good bit of gain, they could use a distortion pedal or a pretty potent overdrive.

I understand what you mean though. It's not like it has to cost $1000 to be good, but typically, in the $1000+ range it's about tones you like, not necessarily the price making it better.
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#30
Quote by MESAexplorer
But all those brands you listed are somewhat limited....Limited to either 1 channel, lacking of gain, or really focused around a specific tone such as 80's hard rock.

Metal tube amps aren't really an option for less than about $700 unless you buy used. Although, the Crate polominos, Orange Tiny Terror's, and Peavey windsors have a good bit of gain, they could use a distortion pedal or a pretty potent overdrive.

I understand what you mean though. It's not like it has to cost $1000 to be good, but typically, in the $1000+ range it's about tones you like, not necessarily the price making it better.


Limited?

I really wouldn't call those limited. The Peavey's for example have two channels, and I've heard everything from country to metal played on those, without a pedal. The Orange is also fairly versatile. Fender's do tend towards the cleaner side of things, but sparkling cleans to light rock can still be done, and I'd consider that a pretty decent sweep.

Also, with the fact that there are many that can be had for a very reasonable and inexpensive price, that leaves more than enough room for pedals to fine tune the sound one might be looking for. You could pedal it up like crazy and still be under $500.

I just hate how people make it sound like you have to spend over $1000 (or whatever number) or else you have crap.

Expensive does not always mean better.
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#31
Quote by Riffomatic_5000
Last time I checked, GOOD tube amps are above $1000. The guitar I'm looking at is just $700.


Even tho my EMG equipped jackson doesnt sound too bad through my MG, you should get and amp instead

a krank Rev jr is only 700$ and its a sweet tube amp
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#33
Coming from a guy who has both (C-1 Hellraiser w/ 81/85 set and Marshall MGDFX 250), it doesn't sound great, not because of the guitar though but because the amp. There's just not enough gain on the MG to fully utilize and EMG's. When I play on my friend's Dual Rectifier, the sound is amazing.
#34
Quote by Riffomatic_5000
Well, I'm replacing my G-400 with the knew guitar, but the guitar is not going to be over $1000. Seriously, I don't have all the money in the world to be spending on a valve amp, that's the whole problem here.


i know that this thread's way too old, but i wanna help you out. anyways, theres a common misconception that tube amps are always really expensive. WRONG. u can get a high gain B-52 AT112 for less than 600 bucks. or a randall RG50TC combo. or a used 5150 combo or used mesa combo. and also, dont forget the krank rev jr. hope this helps!
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