#1
I was looking to get other peoples opinions on why they choose to use either active or passive pick ups on their guitar.

I've been using passive pick ups for a wile and have just recently bought some actives. Although i have had nice change in the sound quality i also somewhat feel like there's something missing that the actives cant give and passives could, hard to explain really.
#2
I personally think active pickups (especially EMG's) have this sort of sterility and harshness to them...I much prefer my Duncan JB and Jazz pickups to my friend's EMG 60/81.

I have heard the Duncan Blackouts though, and they're a little less harsh with a little more warmth to EMG's, but still nothing like their passives.

It must be something about the preamp's EQ that gives it the sterility that I'm talking about and that you're probably referring to.
Gear
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Kramer Striker (JB + Jazz)
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Blackstar HT-5C
Vox Valvetronix AD30VT-XL
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Dunlop DB-01 Crybaby From Hell
Digitech HardWire CM-2 Tube Overdrive
Boss DS-1
#3
Active pickup users usually seem to be metal players trying to get as much distortion out of their amp as possible. Some also claim that the preamp allows them to get more bottom end out of the guitar that passive pickups just don't have the "oomph" for.

Passive pickups have more "character", they'll emphasize certain frequencies while actives will generate a fairly even output across the spectrum- your tone will have to come from elsewhere.
#4
It's not really trying to get more distortion from their amps, but active pickups are quiet. You can run the gain really high with less feedback, hiss, and hum with active pickups; however, a quality, wax potted passive will do the job just as well.

Passive pickups do allow for more dynamics and more "character" as blaster bob said.

Certain amps do prefer types of pickups more than others though. Active's + boogie's typically are a good combination...very stereotypical, but good. Passives + EL34 based amps = good combination. It doesn't mean you can't run actives with a Marshall and you can't run passive's with a boogie, and it's not that one is more optimal than the other but, it does work very well.
Major of 7 String Legion 7 > 6

Carvin DC747
Ibanez RG2228
Schecter Avenger Custom Shop
and my baby....
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#5
well I think passive pickups are Great and are just all around better and Im a metal player.
#6
Quote by MESAexplorer
It's not really trying to get more distortion from their amps, but active pickups are quiet. You can run the gain really high with less feedback, hiss, and hum with active pickups; however, a quality, wax potted passive will do the job just as well.

Passive pickups do allow for more dynamics and more "character" as blaster bob said.

Certain amps do prefer types of pickups more than others though. Active's + boogie's typically are a good combination...very stereotypical, but good. Passives + EL34 based amps = good combination. It doesn't mean you can't run actives with a Marshall and you can't run passive's with a boogie, and it's not that one is more optimal than the other but, it does work very well.


+1 this is truth
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#7
Quote by MESAexplorer
It's not really trying to get more distortion from their amps, but active pickups are quiet. You can run the gain really high with less feedback, hiss, and hum with active pickups; however, a quality, wax potted passive will do the job just as well.

Passive pickups do allow for more dynamics and more "character" as blaster bob said.

Certain amps do prefer types of pickups more than others though. Active's + boogie's typically are a good combination...very stereotypical, but good. Passives + EL34 based amps = good combination. It doesn't mean you can't run actives with a Marshall and you can't run passive's with a boogie, and it's not that one is more optimal than the other but, it does work very well.

That does make sense... I once maxed out the gain, channel volume, and master volume on my amp. The world nearly ended.
#8
I have used passive emg's, duncans, and dimarzios. I haven't found anything better than actives, you can put them in just about any guitar and they sound perfect. Passives tend to make very different sounds you may not like especially if you have any string buss at all you mine as well give up now. If you want any metal bands sound just go for the actives in my opinion
My Gear:
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#9
Quote by Camaro4726
I have used passive emg's, duncans, and dimarzios. I haven't found anything better than actives, you can put them in just about any guitar and they sound perfect. Passives tend to make very different sounds you may not like especially if you have any string buss at all you mine as well give up now. If you want any metal bands sound just go for the actives in my opinion


I've used passive throughout my music life... and yup passives do sound completely different from one another, plus they accentuate the tone of the guitar's made and wood as well. That's what make all the different passive pickup different from each other and also the reason why there are so many more choices of passive pickups to choose from compared to active pickups.

Actives on the other hand tend to base their sound on the eq setting of the pickups you are using. I believe that very much reduced windings of the active pickups don't really pick up naunces of the tone wood either. What that means is that you get a consistent sound regardless of what guitar you put these actives in.

However, in any guitar, actives really push tube amps. For the metal tone that is characterisied by compression and heavy tube driving, nothing beats active pickups. Even the DiMarzio D-Activator and D-Activator X (which are meant to simulate the sound of active pickups) don't come close to the sound of real active pickups, and I've got the D-Activator and D-Activator X to know so. However, they are still nonetheless great tube drivers for high gain music with the nauces of passives (which is something I want for some of the music I play).

I believe the "something missing that the actives cant give and passives could" the TS is referring to are the naunces in the tone wood and the guitar body that passives pickup highlight really well, which are missing from active pickups.

True that actives and Mesa amps are a typical guitar pup-amp combo, there's nothing which prevent high gain pickups from giving your tone a different character. Active pickups were designed back in the day when passives couldn't drive tube hard enough to reach higher level of clipping and thus distortion. These days there are high gain pickups which also push the tubes pretty hard as well. These passives tend to be overwound to induce the higher gain levels necessary to push the tubes.
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#11
Quote by sesstreets
I just like the way EMG's look xD

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#12
Quote by Blaster Bob
That does make sense... I once maxed out the gain, channel volume, and master volume on my amp. The world nearly ended.


What are you trying to say??
Major of 7 String Legion 7 > 6

Carvin DC747
Ibanez RG2228
Schecter Avenger Custom Shop
and my baby....
Gibson Explorer Studio
#13
i use emgs in my explorer (81/60) and a jb and jazz in my ltd eclipse. i have to say its a toss up for me but i recently did the 18v mod to my emgs and it brings something to it. but overall if you get a good set of passives ie seymore duncans you can play just about anything IMO
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#14
Quote by MESAexplorer
What are you trying to say??

I'm just referring to the incredible amount of feedback I was getting.
#15
Quote by Blaster Bob
I'm just referring to the incredible amount of feedback I was getting.


I don't know what you were expecting. If that was a 100watt tube amp, you probably had it pushing somewhere in the area of 170watts.

EMG's are a less noisy pickup than passives. Therefore you can cut up your preamp (the harmonic and noise causing section) higher for less noise.
Major of 7 String Legion 7 > 6

Carvin DC747
Ibanez RG2228
Schecter Avenger Custom Shop
and my baby....
Gibson Explorer Studio
#16
If you want something different and your own go Passive if you want the same old metal high distortion scooped sound go active.
#18
From time to time I also want that heavy chugga chugga rhythm tone...I've tried many different guitars & pickups, but just I don't know about 'actives quieter than passive'...

as I have played the LTD M1000 and Epi SG Custom shop with EMG, both guitars are much noisier then all my guitars with passive pickups...to name a few such as my SD Jazz/JB, Dimarzio Air Norton, even the Dimebucker has less noise then the EMG's...

I used the same amp, same cables and same location for the testing..I just can't seem to figure out why. For the amount of noise I'm getting from the EMG's, and considering not a hugh jump in tone (gain wise) improvement, I can't help to think that it's not worth going actives.