Price paid: $ 230
Purchased from: Online
Sound — 9
I came across these as I was searching for pickups to complete my warmoth explorer project and I decided to give them a shot. These aren't yet available in Canada so I had to email a half dozen different online dealers to find someone who would ship to Canada. I might be the first person in Canada to own a set :). Anyways, on with the review! I've used an 81/85 and 81/60 combos before in other guitars, and I think we all know the pros and cons to them. This bridge has a little less bass and a little more midrange to them, just a touch. Makes them sound more "crisper" than your standard 81. The neck wood on my warmoth is ebony on walnut, and the body is made of black korina, so that might be just the wood tone characteristics, but I've found that emgs sound pretty much the same throughout all guitars. The neck pickup is just wonderful. Absolutely beautiful chimey clean tones through my Marshall JVM. I was absolutely stunned to get a really nice blues tone with crunch orange(channel on the jvm) and a BBE Green Screamer in front of the amp!! Really makes these feel more like passives with low to no gain. And the high gain is just right. I've always disliked the overscooped mids and excessive bass on the 81's and the slight adjustment on these really makes these feel like a more well balanced pickup. At home I practice on either a Line 6 pod xt or a Blackstar ht-5. I can get really good tones out of either or both combined, ranging from crystal clean to blues to metal. My other main guitar has a bareknuckle ceramic Nailbomb in the bridge and a cold sweat in the neck, which are also nice pickups, but I find the Nailbomb to be too bassy and lacking in mids, which is much more evident when compared to these emgs.
Overall Impression — 9
Great upgrades to the 81/60 combo, seems like they really wanted something special with these, and I think they nailed it. Everything I hated about emgs seems to be addressed with this setup. Better cleans, more mids, less bass, thank you! My only choice for active pickups right now.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Comes with a sexy black nickel finish, which unfortunately is very easy to smudge up with fingerprints. No problems otherwise though, installation is fairly simple. Built to last, I've never had emgs fail on me, but always make sure to unplug your guitar to save the battery!