JH Set review by EMG

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.3 (20 votes)

Price paid: $ 239

Purchased from: Sam Ash, Hollywood.

Sound — 9
First off, I'm not a big fan of Metallica (only the first album). When I bought the EMG 81X, that was suppose to be a regular 81 with more headroom (the punch of a passive) I was surprised about how good it sounded. After some time playing the 81X I heard that James would release his own signature pickups, saw the interview with him and he talked about the punch of a passive and the wall of an active. About how the 81X was designed I got interested and thought that they had taken this one step further. I have recorded some stuff using the same presents as I used with the 81X and I have to say that the JH Set has a little bit higher output. Witch is high! I love the output on these, reminds me of the Gibson Dirty Fingers. I use a Marshall JCM 2000 lead and it sounds very very good with the JH Set. The tone is fantastic! Tight bass, super awesome mid and nice treble. This is how an pick up should sound to my ears. I play alot of pop-punk, Hardcore and easycore, and the JH set is perfect for that sound. It's not only just for metal or so it fits my style perfect (blink 182, found year strong, set your goals). The dirt fingers is a 10 but this is 99% of an dirty fingers in my ears so I will give it an 9.

Overall Impression — 10
It's nothing to hate about it, maybe I find something to hate when I try it with an different amp or something but I don't think so. What I love is the quick connect, it is so good, didn't change anything other than the pickups it self, and I did it in three minutes. I putted these in my Hagstrom Ultra Swede, basswood body, and it sounds really bada-s! I really love the bridge pickup and to be frank I don't care to much about clean tones or the neck pickup. Buy these if you like modern distortion and attack!

Reliability & Durability — 10
I seems really solid! When I first started using the EMG solderless system I didn't think it would stand our live performance since we jump around and throw our instruments all around the stage but everytime I open it up to change batteries I see how well it stands my shenanigans. Yes I can depend on it! I have had some trouble with other guitars and electronics, nothing is as solid as these, no loose cables or anything.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    i have a decision to make, to buy this or buy a line 6 dm4 (the distortion that james uses) according to his latest gear rig info
    From my understanding (bearing in mind losing all my credibility in music history being a 90's kid) James hasn't used a distortion pedal since Ride The Lighting ('85, I believe.)
    they are awesome...got the first ones at my local music store.....i had all set ups from emg and this is the one i like the best,,,,,i use it on my Blackstar HT5RH with no distortion pedal.....freakin badass.....guitar player for 20 years.
    Am on the fence with these....gonna ne a total groupie n get a Snakebyte, however I think they'll sound killer cos it's MADE FOR JAYMZ anyway lol. Can anyone describe the tones in more detail?
    they do awesome megadeth tones from RUST IN PEACE . the 60's have nice cleans as thats what they were made for. the 81's are a little fatter than the original 81's and more output, like using 18v instead of 9v. tone is like old megadeth mixed withnew metallica
    Just installed these on my Les Paul last night and have to say I was disappointed that I had to bore out some of the inside of the guitar to get the tone and volume controls for the neck pickup installed because the pots were too short to fit. Aside from that little snafu, I'm thrilled with the way they sound - great sustain and intonation. Can pick up harmonics, natural or artificial, at any volume level like you're playing through a cranked up tube amp. The space required for installation in the guitar is a little tight once you get the battery and everything else in, but totally worth it.