Price paid: $ 95
Purchased from: ebay
Sound — 9
I used to be a Super Distortion DiMarzio guy then I got a guitar with EMG pickup in them a telecaster I got cheap on eBay NOT 81's but was very happy with the output of the pickups, SO being a Metallica fan I got a 81's for my main guitar (a B.C. Rich at the time) and well that was 12 years ago I have around 20 guitars and nearly all have an EMG in the bridge position. (I have 3 with Duncan Blackouts). I have tried alot of other pickup Tone Zone, Pearl Gates, too many to count. In alot of different guitars and the EMG do have a complete different tone depending on what guitar they are installed into. If you want metal only maybe go for blackout if you want more flexibility to come down into blues, clean and jazz etc. The EMG 81 is a great clean and powerful pickup. I play thru computer mainly using VST plugins for recording and a Line 6 X3 for gigs Carvin 1000 and JCM 900 and a 200 wat tube amp to 4 cabs. The EMG 81 is a high output pickup but clearer then a Super Distortion DiMarzio. A much fuller sound, it's like when you play at 11 on your amp and the hairs on you legs move to your playing, the Super Distortion DiMarzio took on a new sound and much better sound EMG 81 does that sound a low volume levels, so you don't have the cops around every practice session.
Overall Impression — 10
nothing to hate this is a nice pickup I have installed these in Fender's, Gibson's, Carvin's, Jackson's, B.C. Rich's, Peavey's, PRS's and Yamaha's etc all keep the tone of the guitar bust add EMG power and clean tone to the mix. Lower your volume on your guitar and the pickup fills out and give nice warmer tone. At full volume you have all the tone of Mega high volume without crazy feedback and a police visit. But on the subject of feedback it does it well I have and EMG 81 installed in a studio dot hollow body and the feedback that comes from that when you stand directing in front of the amp is a truly beautiful thing it screams so so well in all the right ways. Very happy with my 81's.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I have had EMG in one guitar for 12 years no issue. But always keep a spare 9Volt in your case, they last a long time so it's easy to forget the last time you changed the battery and well if it's sound a little flat it's normally new battery time. Never a problem Always strong and loud can not see a problem if you wired it up correctly when installed the first time. As for the new wireless installation system it had me confused the last few I did I just got the soldering iron out and done it old school. Just did get it to work the follow the manual? Reliability and durability on a pickup what more can I say? It works and has kept working for me for many years.