JH Set Review

manufacturer: EMG date: 02/16/2015 category: Pickups

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The sound is very similar to an EMG 81/60 combo while distorted. It has much smoother and usable clean tones. Overall I find the tones to be pretty balanced.
 Sound: 9.2
 Overall Impression: 9.2
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (5) 43 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.3
JH Set Reviewed by: syntheticocean, on july 18, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 239

Purchased from: American Musical

Sound: The sound is very similar to an EMG 81/60 combo while distorted. It has much smoother and usable clean tones. Overall I find the tones to be pretty balanced. I'm as happy with these as I am with the 81/60's and even happier with them clean. I couldn't be any happier than I am right now. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Generally EMG pickups last the life of the guitar from my experience. I don't see any reason why these would be any different. I have only owned these pickups for 2 weeks, however I have not had any problems. // 9

Overall Impression: I absolutely love the look of the pickups. I was going to put a 81/60 combo in the guitar, but I saw these were about to be released. I purchased them without seeing any official reviews and I have no regrets. I'm not crazy about the fingerprints. However I expected this long before I got them due to the fact that they were glossy. I put them in my custom Warmoth build that I just finished. The set came with both a bridge, and neck pickup. // 10

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overall: 8.7
JH Set Reviewed by: unregistered, on october 13, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 230

Purchased from: Online

Sound: 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. // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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! // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 9

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overall: 9.7
JH Set Reviewed by: mazerfaka, on october 21, 2011
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 239

Purchased from: Sam Ash, Hollywood.

Sound: 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. // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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! // 10

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overall: 8.7
JH Set Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 28, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 239

Purchased from: sam ash

Sound: Strong output but rolls off nice, used with Baron K88 KT88 tubes. Tone is now more midrangy less bass to counter heavy bassy amp. Sounds nice and balanced on both pups. Cleans up nice on neck pup. Aggressive tight attack on both on high gain. Tracks notes and riffs tight. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Seems ok required 4 hours to remove old from Epiphone and install new, with stew mac battery box mounted vertical /slant in cavity plastic cover plate. I believe this is worth the trouble as to facilitate battery changes without removing plate and not have battery movement into pots etc. This should remedy any reliability issues. // 9

Overall Impression: I like all so far for my Epi 2007 Standard Plus. Slight chip out or route of cavity to accommodate box was necessary. Overall I'm impressed, would like to know what to clean smudges off pickups with. These even look fairly cool in honey burst guitar as they kinda match rosewood. I left creme surrounds in place. // 8

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overall: 9.3
JH Set Reviewed by: T4D, on february 16, 2015
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 124

Purchased from: ebay

Sound: Well first I must say I have been looking for different pickups I have around 12 guitars with EMG 81 or 81X in the bridge and a mix of 85 and 60 in the neck but lately I've been getting into my other guitars with passive pickups a Dimebag with a Dime Seymour Duncan and Les Paul with JB and Jazz Seymour Duncan pickups and a Strat with a DiMarzio Distortion and a YJM singles so put a bid in for JH set cause the marketing said stuff like "active pickups with a passive sound" I HATE Marketing BS, but won at a cheaper price so put them in my PRS.

I played metal a lot but I'm old so blues and jazz get in my playing a lot nowadays too, first YES you get that string life of a passive set for sure but WOW there LOUD I mean REALLY LOUD you will back down the volume if you just had a passive guitar pluggin' in !! not as loud as Seymour Duncan blackouts but in that area, compared to a 81/60 set there less tight and focused more full of life and more string sound or should I say more room to hear the strings over tones, hard to explain but I when straight into playing blues with these things I would saying using 81 for blues could be a little extreme but possible, but these things are right at home with that type of playing style, the neck could even be a jazz pickup since it's a lot more warmer, clear & natural sounding, but still with a lot of power. OH Metal sounds super too using a Eleven rack, Marshall JCM 900 & Peavey 5150, I don''t think anyone would disagree these work really well at maximum volume! 

Very impressed at these pickup for:
1. How different that are to other EMG's.
2. How good they sound I'm sold, great pickups! // 10

Reliability & Durability: There EMG you can buy 20+ year old ones from eBay and they still rock solid. you would have to work pretty hard to break EMG pickups. // 9

Overall Impression: They look just super cool as hell, they a fresh new sound from EMG and there great, there by far in my opinion the most widest range pickups from EMG has released you could easily do Jazz, Blues with these and obviously metal I would have at least one guitar in my collection with these pickups in no matter what. BUT I give it a 9 because there freak'n LOUD! I'm sure someone switching to and moving from the guitar you have these installed would get a bit WTF sometimes, YES there louder then EMG 81's but so cool too =) // 9

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