#2
ye ol' search bar my friend

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#4
Active pickups have a preamp in them which shapes the tone a certain way and also converts the signal into a low impedence signal so that it travels along cables better. The practical upshot of this is that you can use long cables without noticable signal degradation, most guitars with active pickups in them sound the same no matter the quality of the components and most active pickups are noiseless so they don't feed back.
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#5
Quote by TeraBite
the battery boosts the pick ups

it makes them louder, and gives a richer sound

This.

They also add a lot more gain than passives do.
#6
Quote by TeraBite
and gives a richer sound


I personally don't find the sound to be richer at all; I find the tone to be quite flat and sterile compared to a good set of passives.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

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#7
I wouldn't say actives give a richer sound, I find it rather sterile but thats me. For very high gain (metal) they are good though.

Edit: Zapod said it before me
2003 Music Man Axis Pacific Blue Burst
#8
Actives have A LOT of output, so a shitty pair of them would be the wrong way to go. You gotta get some nice ones. I just bought an EMG 81 myself...
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#9
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
I personally don't find the sound to be richer at all; I find the tone to be quite flat and sterile compared to a good set of passives.


Well, I don't share this opinion. I like my EMG's (yes, obviously I am biased). I'll admit that the EMG 81 is really not very versatile (metal - yes, bluegrass - no) but I'll say that they are not really sterile. The EMG S in particular is very nice (David Gilmour uses one, I believe).

Whilst I won't say they give a "richer" sound, but I find them more sensitive.
Gear:
Ibanez S470 (EMG 81/S/85)
Sigma DMC-15E
Laney VH100R
Laney 4x12 Cab
Ibanez Weeping Demon
M-Audio ProKeys 88
Mbox 3 Pro
KRK RP6 G2's
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#10
Quote by BobMarleysGhost
The EMG S in particular is very nice (David Gilmour uses one, I believe).


He only used them for a while because they're noiseless; he gave them up because they don't sound enough like a strat for his tastes, as far as i can remember his famous black strat actually has custom wound pickups in it now but I might be wrong. Check gilmourish.com for more details.

Also from what I can remember none of his recorded tones use EMGs at all.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

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Album.
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#11
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Active pickups have a preamp in them which shapes the tone a certain way and also converts the signal into a low impedence signal so that it travels along cables better. The practical upshot of this is that you can use long cables without noticable signal degradation, most guitars with active pickups in them sound the same no matter the quality of the components and most active pickups are noiseless so they don't feed back.

So does this mean a very expensive guitar with active emgs sound same with a bad guitar with emgs?
#12
Quote by blind.quardian
So does this mean a very expensive guitar with active emgs sound same with a bad guitar with emgs?


Basically, yes; there might be a very slight difference but it wouldn't be anywhere near as pronounced as if you were to fit a decent set of passive pickups.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
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#13
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
He only used them for a while because they're noiseless; he gave them up because they don't sound enough like a strat for his tastes, as far as i can remember his famous black strat actually has custom wound pickups in it now but I might be wrong. Check gilmourish.com for more details.

Also from what I can remember none of his recorded tones use EMGs at all.


Well, fair enough. I bow to your mighty Gilmour knowledge.

But I like the EMG's. It'd be nice to have two guitar though, one active, one passive. They'd complement each other nicely.
Gear:
Ibanez S470 (EMG 81/S/85)
Sigma DMC-15E
Laney VH100R
Laney 4x12 Cab
Ibanez Weeping Demon
M-Audio ProKeys 88
Mbox 3 Pro
KRK RP6 G2's
Plum Team FTW!

X
#14
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Basically, yes; there might be a very slight difference but it wouldn't be anywhere near as pronounced as if you were to fit a decent set of passive pickups.

Omg so why they put active emgs to ****in expensive guitars:S thats nonsense. I can buy a 200 dollar guitar guitar change the tuners and floyd rose and pickups and thats it? same with a ****ing 3000 dollar guitar???
#15
Quote by BobMarleysGhost
Well, fair enough. I bow to your mighty Gilmour knowledge.


I had an obsession with getting the Gilmour tone for a while, then I realised just exactly how much that would cost and how little I'd use it so I gave up.

Quote by blind.quardian
Omg so why they put active emgs to ****in expensive guitars:S thats nonsense. I can buy a 200 dollar guitar guitar change the tuners and floyd rose and pickups and thats it? same with a ****ing 3000 dollar guitar???


Obviously the sound isn't the only thing that the body parts effect; the build quality of a more expensive instrument will be much higher and obviously better body wood will sound a little better with active pickups but it will not make even a fraction of the difference that it would if you used passive pickups.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#16
Quote by blind.quardian
So does this mean a very expensive guitar with active emgs sound same with a bad guitar with emgs?


How 'bout no?
I dare you to get the same tone with EMG on a Les Paul and EMG on a Ibanez S body.
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Vox Tonelab ST
Blackstar HT-1R


#17
That is just nonsense. If emgs sounded same with all guitars the companies wouldnt put them to 2000-3000 dollar guitars would they? They would just put passive pickups and let the guitars original sound out. If it really worked like you said really what is the difference between a 200 dollar guitar with original floyd rose and active pickups, and a handmade guitar best quality equipment and active pickups...just a little difference??? im not a professor of guitars but that doesnt make sense.
#18
Active pickups do not let the natural tone of a guitar come through as much as passives and lower output passive pickups are more natural sounding then higher output passives. Now about the expensive vs cheap argument, well a more expensive guitar will stay in tune better, have more sustain, better feeling neck, frets, more quality components etc and so on but the EMG's will, if you wanna say, color the tone with its own signature sound. Thats not to say that a $3000 guitar will sound exactly like a $200, come one use your head.

Just because a guitar is $3000, that doesn't mean it will sound better then a $800 one for example, the higher price tag goes into other factors usually, like quality. The $200 will last you what? 4 yrs if that. The more expensive, should last a lifetime.
Just use your head here guys once in a while instead of going off on a rant.
2003 Music Man Axis Pacific Blue Burst
#19
Cmon the sound is more important than a "better" felling neck....people just say the active pickups make guitars sound same and its just nonsense. so better built guitar should sound better with passives then?
#20
Quote by blind.quardian
Cmon the sound is more important than a "better" felling neck....people just say the active pickups make guitars sound same and its just nonsense. so better built guitar should sound better with passives then?


Actually, as far as I'm concerned the feel of a guitar is, without equal, the most important thing about a guitar. The sound can be changed with amp, pickups, pedals and all that but the feel of a guitar can't be changed.

A better built guitar with passives will have more of the tonal character of the parts that make it; active pickups tend to negate the smaller details and cloud the sound of the guitar (wood etc) with the tone of the pickups. Passive pickups will take the tone of the guitar and make some slight changes but actives take the tone of the pickups and make some slight changes depending on the guitar.

What I guess I'm trying to get at as that a guitar with EMGs will sound like a guitar with EMGs but a guitar without EMGs (say a Les Paul) will sound like a Les Paul and some pickups.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


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#21
Quote by hminh87
How 'bout no?
I dare you to get the same tone with EMG on a Les Paul and EMG on a Ibanez S body.

Offcourse not, that is a dumb comparison, because those 2 guitars are totally different.
Try these two: Epiphone LP Std and Gibson LP custom. Put in a set of EMG's and try to find the tonal difference. There might be a SLIGHT, MINOR, almost UNHEARABLE little difference.

Take the same 2 guitars and put in Alnico pro II 's, and it will be a HUGE difference. Thats the whole point

Quote by blind.quardian
Omg so why they put active emgs to ****in expensive guitars:S thats nonsense. I can buy a 200 dollar guitar guitar change the tuners and floyd rose and pickups and thats it? same with a ****ing 3000 dollar guitar???


That is just nonsense. If emgs sounded same with all guitars the companies wouldnt put them to 2000-3000 dollar guitars would they? They would just put passive pickups and let the guitars original sound out. If it really worked like you said really what is the difference between a 200 dollar guitar with original floyd rose and active pickups, and a handmade guitar best quality equipment and active pickups...just a little difference??? im not a professor of guitars but that doesnt make sense.

First of all: people who put EMG's in 3000$ guitars are plain stupid.
Second: if they do so, it means that they like good finished guitars with a great playability, a nice feel and high reliability. Also: when they get tired of the pickups, they can change it and STILL have a great guitar.

Quote by blind.quardian
Cmon the sound is more important than a "better" felling neck....people just say the active pickups make guitars sound same and its just nonsense. so better built guitar should sound better with passives then?

If you find the sound of EMG's of a higher quality then passives, thats good for you. You are allowed to.
But you're wrong.
And yes, a well build guitar will sound better with passives.
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#22
So why good manufacturers like schecter esp ibanez gibson put emg to expensive guitar?? they can put passives and make the sound much better...? and also a lot famous artist use them...just to sound same??? the difference between all these metal bands are just coming from eq?
Esp sv standart is my dream guitar it has emgs....
#23
EMGs are for people that want to drive their already high-gain amp has hard as possible with minimal background noise and signal loss. That's it. If you're using only your amp's preamp gain or a pedal for your distortion, or if you're simply not maxing out your amp anyway (or your amp is naturally low-gain), then active pickups like EMGs will do literally nothing for you.

And as has been said many times, they have a very compressed, dynamically unresponsive tone, and need a good EQ to drag any kind of pleasing tone out of them. In fact I'd go so far as to say if you're uisng active pickups, your amp and EQ then dictates basically all of your tone.


As for why more expensive guitars have them put in when they are tonall vapid; build quality. An ESP Custom Shop guitar is going to last longer and play better than one of their cheap LTD range, so that alone is seen as enough to justify the much higher price even though tonally there will be little difference if both guitars have the same active pickups. And why don't these companies put passive pickups in their top guitars? Becuase most of the people who buy those guitars are people who do want to drive their high-gain amps as hard as possible, and are people who have access to good quality amps and of course an EQ of some form, so the sterile tone that active pickups give don't matter, and is in fact often wanted.
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#24
Hmm im starting to understand So the higher than high gain can be achieved with active without background noise etc. and also what are dynamically unresponsive tone and signal loss? and also if i understand right if you have good quality amps and eq you can still get some different and good tones with actives and at some point its good that you have actives if you have good quality amp and eq?
#25
Quote by blind.quardian
Hmm im starting to understand So the higher than high gain can be achieved with active without background noise etc. and also what are dynamically unresponsive tone and signal loss? and also if i understand right if you have good quality amps and eq you can still get some different and good tones with actives and at some point its good that you have actives if you have good quality amp and eq?


Dynamically unresponive means that they compress your sound a lot which means that the difference in pick attack between hard and soft is much reduced, this is one of the main reasons I don't like them; I want my sound to be as controllable as possible without moving my hand away from the strings and actives just don't respond as well to that.

The whole signal loss thing still confuses me a little but from what I understand active pickups put out a different kind of signal which means that along long cables and through wireless systems the signal travels much easier so you don't loose tone and volume anywhere near as easily, passive pickups tend to loose tone and volume slightly along longer cables (at least 20ft plus I think before it becomes noticable).

A lot of bands get perfectly good tones out of EMGs and I respect that but the fact remains that they are, without fail, using high-end tube amps that are being driven very hard in a studio situation where they can tweak the tone five ways from Sunday so if you're at home using a practice amp through a shorter cable you will not get ANY of the benefits and all of the drawbacks.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


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#26
Quote by blind.quardian
So why good manufacturers like schecter esp ibanez gibson put emg to expensive guitar?? they can put passives and make the sound much better...? and also a lot famous artist use them...just to sound same??? the difference between all these metal bands are just coming from eq?
Esp sv standart is my dream guitar it has emgs....

Schecter isnt that great. Its not bad either, but its kinda mediocre. And they want to attract a growing public in the guitarplayer's world: metal(core) and shred players. People who love sterile tone and lots of gain. People who love th3 br3wt4lz, people who love downtuning, ...
Thats why schecter puts EMG's in most of their guitars. And even then they also make models with passive pickups
ESP: Same reason: public attraction. Profiling.
Ibanez: doesnt use EMG's very often. Mostly they come with other crappy fake dimarzio sh!te.
And Gibson has, apart from the ZW sig guitars, no models with EMG's at all. And there's a reason for.
PRS: passive
John Suhr: passive
Jackson: passive (except for the MG series)
Fender: passive
Gretsch: passive
MusicMan: Passive
Dean: Passive
Hamer: passive
Micheal Kelly: apart from the deluxe models: passive
Zion: passive

This says enough i guess?
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#27
Quote by LP_CL
metal(core) and shred players. People who love sterile tone and lots of gain. People who love th3 br3wt4lz, people who love downtuning


Epic fail, I play shred and metal and hate EMGs and so do quite a few other people I can think of. Just about all my favourite player's tones use passives.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
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#28
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Epic fail, I play shred and metal and hate EMGs and so do quite a few other people I can think of. Just about all my favourite player's tones use passives.

Well, you might not like them, but alot of people in these new metal genres do. And apparently these brands have chosen to profile them for these kind of players.
Like i said: its all about profiling and audience attraction. Gaining alot of customers by making choices.
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Last edited by LP_CL at Sep 4, 2008,
#29
For high gain metal stuff with big amps and high volume the emg looks better and anything else passives are better?
#30
Quote by blind.quardian
For high gain metal stuff with big amps and high volume the emg looks better and anything else passives are better?


I wouldn't say so, I have no problem using my emg's for anything, blues, jazz, classic rock tones, 60's pop, 80's metal, modern metal, slide guitar, pretty much anything that takes my fancy and I've never had anything but praise about my tone.

I'm not going to try and dispute any of the information given to you by others in this thread as trying to argue opinion is pointless.

The only way you will know if you like emg's is to go and play some.
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#31
Quote by blind.quardian
For high gain metal stuff with big amps and high volume the emg looks better and anything else passives are better?

Certainly not better, but in these cases, they are quite usefull.
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#32
Quote by blind.quardian
For high gain metal stuff with big amps and high volume the emg looks better and anything else passives are better?


None of them are just flat out "better", it's all opinion really. In my opinion the plusses to passive pickups far outway what I see as the negative points of actives but other people might see it differently; I know a lot of people absolutely love the EMG tone but it's just not my thing.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
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#33
Wow this thread really got debate oriented, awesome. There's a lot of great opinions in here. I have one active EMG and one passive EMG in my axe, and they both have different uses. TS, i believe your question got answered, just do whatever you feel is right.
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#34
So ok if i buy a lets say an original esp(not ltd) should i buy it with passives so i can get better tone from a good guitar? Cos i wouldnt want to waste my money to a guitar which can sound (not feel, stay in tune better but still) same with a 400 dollar guitar. So there is no meaning to pay more than 1000 to a guitar with emgs. you can have a really good feeling really good tuning and actives for 1000 dollar. you dont need to pay more to make it better if you give that much.
#35
Quote by blind.quardian
So ok if i buy a lets say an original esp(not ltd) should i buy it with passives so i can get better tone from a good guitar? Cos i wouldnt want to waste my money to a guitar which can sound (not feel, stay in tune better but still) same with a 400 dollar guitar. So there is no meaning to pay more than 1000 to a guitar with emgs. you can have a really good feeling really good tuning and actives for 1000 dollar. you dont need to pay more to make it better if you give that much.


It all depends on what you like; if you like the tone that EMGs put out then obviously they're a better option than passives, even if they're in a more expensive guitar. A more expensive guitar will have much better build and part quality which means it'll last you longer and stay in tune better.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


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#36
It depends man, some people will pay hundreds for a specific paint job or finish or for that AAA Birdseye Maple neck. Its all what your preferences are. Look at those Zemaitis guitars that are over $10,000 brand new. Would you pay that much for a guitar? Some would, personally I wouldn't cause I'd prefer a guitar thats a player and not a show piece.
I guess I like it simple. I don't like bindings, really fancy colors or finishes or fancy inlays which all bring the cost of a guitar up. The wood and quality on a guitar thats $1300 lets say and one thats $3000 could be identical except you're paying extra for the showy stuff So you just gotta figure out whats important to you. If you like the tone of active EMG's then buy a guitar with active EMG's. I'm not paying for it nor is anyone else here on this forum, so its your decision.
2003 Music Man Axis Pacific Blue Burst
#37
Quote by blind.quardian
So ok if i buy a lets say an original esp(not ltd) should i buy it with passives so i can get better tone from a good guitar? Cos i wouldnt want to waste my money to a guitar which can sound (not feel, stay in tune better but still) same with a 400 dollar guitar. So there is no meaning to pay more than 1000 to a guitar with emgs. you can have a really good feeling really good tuning and actives for 1000 dollar. you dont need to pay more to make it better if you give that much.
Well, it depends alot on your amp too, and what pedals you use:

- If you are using a high-gain amp, you're not using the amp's preamp gain, you're not using distortion pedals, you're often performing live and you want to drive your amp as hard as possible just from the pickups alone with no other form of signal boosting... then yes, the active pickups might be good for you. You'll have to remember to get a good EQ (or make sure your amp has a good EQ) to really get the best out of it though. As far as the guitar itself goes, don't ignore the much higher build quality. You are always better off getting a guitar with a nice body and maybe bad electronics, than a guitar with a worse body but good electronics. Remember, electronics and hardware can be replaced, but you can't replace the guitar itself without just outright buying a whole new one.

- If your amp isn't high-gain naturally, if you are using any kind of distortion or boost pedal, if you are using the amp's preamp gain, if you're not performing live (e.g. perhaps just playing in your bedroom or whatever), or if you're just plain not driving your amp hard anyway.. then active pickups will be a waste of time for you. Even if you like the compressed tone they give, you can get that yourself with an EQ and a compressor/sustain pedal, which will be much cheaper than getting a brand new guitar with active pickups. And as far as the guitar itself goes, yes, passive pickups will let more of the guitar's natural tone shine through, so it could be said it 'justifies' the more expensive guitar more if you have passive pickups in it, as not only will you be getting the better build quality, you'll get the better natural tonal quality too.




Or, to put it another way:
If you have a big wall of amps, you play sold-out gigs infront of a few thousand people every week, and you absolutely must have the hardest natural overdrive, then go get active pickups.
If you are anybody else, don't bother.
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#38
Im am anybody else so i will go with passives then ...so now i have a ibanez rgr321ex and it would be a nice change to upgrade it with a pickup cos im not gonna buy a new guitar soon...Replacing the pickup with a duncan or a dimarzio would be a clever idea? I now have a boss gt-8 and use it through my roland micro cube.
#39
You probably won't notice any difference with that Roland. Upgrade your amp first.
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