#1
Hello guys,
I'm ordering ESP M-II with maple fingerboard and neck and I don't really know what to choose:
-EMGs 81/85
-SDs 59' (neck)/TB
I play instrumental (Malmsteen, Vai, Satch, Romeo) metal but I don't want my guitar to sound to harsh and cruely death metalish.
Which one would be best?
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#2
They are very very different pickups.

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#3
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#4
well i can only base my opinion off what ive heard on youtube videos and such lo...but... ive never seen anyone hit satch tone with EMGs. actives have a sweet tone for metal and highs, but lack warmth. again tho, this is just based of youtube videos ive seen (so those people could just have wack settings).
#5
EMG 81/60 set would probably fit you better than the 81/85 then...

Seymour Duncans are also an excellent option, personally I lean towards those anyway. If you don't mind spending some money I'd look into Lace Sensor Drop & Gains... The set costs ~$200 but all the reviews I've read are stellar. Better cleans than the EMGs, arguably better distortion tones than either SD or EMG...

Another option are Dimarzios; they make the signature Satch, Vai (and Malmsteen I believe) pickups and are on par with Seymour Duncan more often than not (in my book).
#6
Those active EMGs are only good for brutal metal and super hi-gain stuffs. The dynamic in tone is almost non-existent on those, sterile and dull. Not to mention you will have to have a good tube amp to be able to bring out the sound.

Passive Seymour Duncan pickups is a better choice for your kind of music and they can do metal just fine.

Classic question: Do you have a good amp?
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#7
Go with a 81/60 set of Emgs they have better warm sounds and also brutal metal sounds... I have a set in my Les Paul so I know from experience
#8
I would look at Dimarzio pickups for what you are searching. Probably the PAF pro with a Super Distortion could be a good combination or maybe look at Evolution (Vai's signature pickup). You've got ton of options there.
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#9
I bought an ESP Eclipse II earlier this year. It came with EMG's 81/60. I didnt have the option to switch them when I bought my guitar. I wish it did though.

Although I love metal, I dont want to play it all the time, and the EMG's just werent giving me the tones I wanted from my axe. No matter what I did, they pretty much sounded the same.

I ripped them out and had Seymour D's (59/JB) put in and was more than happy with the results.

Way more dynamic for what I want to play. I'm keeping the EMG's though incase I want to toss them back in when I finally get around to getting my PRS DGT.
#10
i'd probably go with the duncans...
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#11
Quote by Dave_Mc
i'd probably go with the duncans...


+1

While they do sound good, JB's and 59's are EVERYWHERE. I'd change out pickups to something that was more appropriate for your sound, JB / 59 just sound kinda generic.
#14
Since you're asking, I'm guessing you really want EMGs. Some of my guitars have them (EMG 81 + 85) and they're brutal + you can't beat how quiet they are. I'd look into the EMG 60 for the neck. I know I don't really care for the 85 ... too docile and doesn't seem to have the range of an 81. Time for me to google the EMG 60 to see what they're all about.
#15
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Neither, I'd go DiMarzio.

ESP doesn't offer Dimarzios in a production guitar unless you're getting a Page Hamilton sig.
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#16
You can't compare EMG's to a 59' and a TB as EMG's are active and the Duncans are passive. Whole different beast. The Blackouts are the most direct comparison to EMG's that Duncan has.

I've used EMG's in my Gibson Explorer for about 15 years (81/85). Great pickups, there is a reason why so many famous musicians in metal use them. They are very tight and articulate sounding, but also a little sterile.

I just installed some Blackouts in my Agile PS900 as I wanted to see how they compare with the EMG's and I have to say, they are a definite improvement. They are both more natural sounding and more "high-fi" sounding at the same time. They have a bit more bass, low mids, and highs. They have a bit more clarity to them as well. The EMG's sound almost muddy in comparison.

They still have that "active" sound to them, so you will have to decide if you like that or not, but as an EMG user for many years, I would say cross them off your list and go for the Blackouts instead. They are not a revolution over the EMG's, but they are a definite evolution.
#17
59s have a low low output, and i would say they are overated in general. i tried one in my "metal" guitar in the neck but it had such a low output compared to ma bridge i took it out and put it in a middle position in another guitar. works great as a country pickup.
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#18
EMG 81/89's!!!!!
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#19
It depends entirely on your amp.

If you don't use pedals, don't use your amp's pre-gain control, your amp is a naturally medium or high-gain tube amp and you want it to be as cranked as possible with the volume and everything always set to max, producing the heaviest natural overdrive possible... then get the EMGs, that's exactly (and only) what they were designed for, and nothing can do that better than active pickups.


However, if you use pedals for your gain (or overdrive, or distortion, or fuzz, or boost), if your amp is a lower-gain model, if you use your amp's pre-gain control, or if you're just plain not always cranking the amp all the way all of the time.. then get the passive Seymour Duncans, because in any of those situations the EMGs with do nothing for you but suck all the responsiveness and tone out.
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#20
Quote by MrFlibble
It depends entirely on your amp.

If you don't use pedals, don't use your amp's pre-gain control, your amp is a naturally medium or high-gain tube amp and you want it to be as cranked as possible with the volume and everything always set to max, producing the heaviest natural overdrive possible... then get the EMGs, that's exactly (and only) what they were designed for, and nothing can do that better than active pickups.


However, if you use pedals for your gain (or overdrive, or distortion, or fuzz, or boost), if your amp is a lower-gain model, if you use your amp's pre-gain control, or if you're just plain not always cranking the amp all the way all of the time.. then get the passive Seymour Duncans, because in any of those situations the EMGs with do nothing for you but suck all the responsiveness and tone out.


very very nicely said, listen to this man!
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#21
I have EMG's , but those are made for metal , ive heard SD's in a 80's JEM and they sounded better for malmsteen and vai
kthxbai.
#22
SD's far more versatile than those EMG's

Would fit your needs better from what I understand
^Note: Probably sarcastic
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#23
And how about DiMarzio X2N in neck and Tone Zone in bridge?
Wouldn't it be to bright?
To remind you, the body is alder and the neck is maple-that gives really bright mix.
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#24
Quote by Chrisiphone
They are very very different pickups.

hahahahhahaha
anybody could've told him that.
get the duncans. EMG's are harshly deathmetalish and not really made for instrumental stuff. they're meant to cut through everyone else in your band chug-chugging away.
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