EMG ALX W ABQ review by EMG

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8.5 (18 votes)

Price paid: $ 99

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 10
This is the new signature pickup that Alexi Laiho designed with EMG. It is basically a passive HZ-H2, but it has a ceramic and steel magnets.The ABQ Pre-amp has a Push-Pull Pot with an adjustable boost in the down positon. The ABQ Pre-amp has a 3-position dip Switch that allows the resonance of the pickup to be altered to a variety of fixed frequencies. The out put with this is adjustable because of the adjustable boost. I believe you can max it out at 20db. Which IMO is alot more than you will ever need. I keep mine at like 4db(lowest setting) I put this PU in my Jackson RR24M and it screams. I replaced the EMG 81 it had as I am just not too fond of the sound they produce. More dynamics can be heard with it as it is a passive PU. The clean sound with this PU is very dull....it's not bad, but don't expect single coil chime with it. But I didn't buy it for clean. It is a metal PU by all means.

Overall Impression — 10
What I love most is the ABQ adjustments. You can really change the tone this PU produces just by changing the resonant freq switches. The PU itself is also very good for heavy stuff. I also play blues and it does that well too. This PU is very similar to a PAF style PU, so that tells you what kind of sound to expect. Almost vintage... until you turn up that gain, then this thing is ready to melt faces.

Reliability & Durability — 10
It has been reliable and durable so far. I mean as long as you know how to wire it up right you shouldn't have any issues. It has also been as durable as I need it to be. I just play at home and with friends for fun and it hasn't let me down once.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I just got/installed this pickup today! people are battling over whether it has a wah effect.. it does! The differnt types of settings this abq has available is pretty kewl. I started from the Alexi setting and worked my way thru all of them... there are one or two that sound like a neck pickup which is pretty tight! All in all, I'm very impressed with this pickup and I will prolly make sure that all my guitars (flying v's) have this installed... ya, I'm fan boy, but at the same time, Alexi's signature sound is awesome!
    with the eq boost, can you put it into a passive guitar? I REALLY want to put it in my ESP viper 100fm
    what would b the best combo for this pickup? 'cause i need a neck pickup on my guitar.
    DanGuitarist wrote: with the eq boost, can you put it into a passive guitar? I REALLY want to put it in my ESP viper 100fm
    Yes. The EQ boost is the volume pot, push in for extra gain. If you're asking if you need a battery compartment, no. A 9V battery easily sits inside the control cavity of a guitar.
    iannii wrote: what would b the best combo for this pickup? 'cause i need a neck pickup on my guitar.
    Get another neck pickup, this is a brdige
    how does this work on a guitar with 1 volume knob I have a Jackson JS32RR and I want to replace the bridge pickup do I need to get this specialy installed? or can I just put it in without putting a second volume knob on it and link both humbuckers to that knob can I than use the push/pull system on both pickups?
    This "package" basically is very crappy and bad sounding passive EMG HZ-H2 with glorified EMG Afterburner that has addition of 3 mini dip switches and renamed to ABQ. First problem I am having is that every time you want to change those switch settings you have to unscrew/screw back the control cavity. Another thing is - if you need a good and easy "on the fly" EQ - why not just get an EQ pedal that has shitload more options than this. For my money, the best sounding combo that ever left EMG factory is EMG 85 with EMG Afterburner. EMG 81/60 (actives with ceramic magnet based) and all passive EMGs PUs really suck. I didn't try them all but I tried enough to say what I said. Unless you want to play ONLY Alexi's music and use the same amp setup like his, don't waste your time and money on this. If you are in the need to "melt your face" with superb quality PU that sound great no matter what you play (and it can be coil cut for almost Stratocaster sounds), but you wat to stay with an passive guitar set-up - do yourself a favour and try DiMarzio X2N. Cheers.