I was looking @ some guitars on Musicansfriend.com and I was looking @ two models, the "ESP LTD EC-500 Electric Guitar with EMG Pickups" and "ESP LTD EC-400VF Electric Guitar". One has EMG pick ups while the other doesn't. I've heard of EMG pick ups...but really have no idea what the hell they are, beside pick ups which look like little black boxes. I know taht Zakk Wyld uses them So if some could just explain them to me. Why people love them, hate them, use them, what sound they're good for, what sounds they're not good for, etc.
that would be great guys, thx!
They're active pickups, which means they have a really clear, aggressive sound, and run on batteries. They're best used with a high-gain tube amp, primarily for hard rock and metal. They're not so great for cleans, as they sound really stale and lifeless.

Also, it makes it super duper easy to do pinch harmonics. Like Zakk does every third note.
I personally am a big fan of EMG's. they are perfect for that Metal/Rock tone.
~Rest In Peace Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan~

Tumblr: Follow?
They are good for heavy distortion, like Zakk uses. But they dont seem to be good for much else. I would go for passives or Blackouts, as you will have a much better range of tones from em.
Quote by qotsa1998
They are good for heavy distortion, like Zakk uses. But they dont seem to be good for much else. I would go for passives or Blackouts, as you will have a much better range of tones from em.

I disagree with the decision to use Blackouts. I have a guitar with one in and the distorted tone is nothing like as good as the EMG and the cleans leave a LOT to be desired. Depending on which set you get, the EMGs can produce decent clean tones. It also depends a lot on what amp you have as well.
The DNA results show that Jeremy Kyle is a nob.

Quote by titsmcgee852
I want to look at your sexual naked body.
EMG can have good cleans you just dont use the 81 or 85 for cleans use the 60
Quote by SlayedInTheFace
I would wank over all of you if I was a gay paedophile who liked simultanous gay wanking
i have emg hz pickups which are basicly lower class emg pickups. they are very very good for high gain but sound like complete hell with clean or low gain tones. if metal and high gain stuff is your thing, i highly recomend them.
EMG 81/85 is great for metal, as is a 60 instead of using an 85. The 60 has better cleans imo.
9V batteries usually last about 1440 hours.

But if there are two active pick ups like 81/85 then it's 1440/2 which is 720 so they last about 720 hours.

That's 720 hours of actually having your guitar plugged it.
if you get active pick ups, ALWAYS unplug your guitar afterwards.

or bye bye batteries
emgs can do clean tones perfectly i have some its just that am not a complete metal head so i turn the volume down and there isnt a much just turn the volume on your guitar down you will see the diffrence use your tone knob aswell just trying any of these you will get good clean tones
My Gear

Guitars: Jackson DK2t ,
Amp: peavey valvking royal 8 - 5 watt combo
Effects: Zoom g2.1u , Line 6 pod xt
I like how everyone mentions how 'high gain' they are and used for metal but fails to mention that they are almost completely noiseless which is why some players regard them great for high gain situations.
Not all EMG's are metal pickups and you don't need a high gain amp to enjoy them. The 2 most popular of course being their 81 and 85 models, but they also make acoustic, Tele, Strat and jazz pickups and so on. The magnet in them are weaker then on a passive because there is a preamp inside, thus needing a battery.
They can sound rather lifeless I agree compared to passive (normal) pickups which have more character and dynamics. A lot of people including myself do the 18v mod which requires two 9v batteries, its harmless and actually opens up the pickups and makes them sound a lot better in my opinion. I wouldn't use them without it but thats personal preference.
2003 Music Man Axis Pacific Blue Burst
No problem. Try it out, its worth it.
2003 Music Man Axis Pacific Blue Burst