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EMG ARZIR20FB
EMG pickups on the ARZIR20FB Enlarge sprite

EMG is an American company that specializes in producing high output active guitar pickups.

For many years, their signature models, the 81 and 60, in addition to the 85 and 89 models, have been synonymous with the more extreme forms of heavy metal. Their pickups are characterized with high treble and midrange, and strong pick attack.

They have been favored by Metal bands for their aggressive sound and high output, but have been criticized for having poor clean tone and and inorganic, artificial sound due to most of the output coming from the pickup's preamp, rather than the magnetic pickup itself. -Subjective opinion above: Both David Gilmour and Steve Lukather, among other, have warm and smooth tones using the EMG.

EMG active pickups

Six string pickups

EMG 60
Brand:EMG
Model no.:60
Construction:Humbucker/
Active
Position:Neck
Magnet:Ceramic
Description:Popular active pickup. Used in neck position, usually with EMG 81 in bridge position.


EMG 81
Brand:EMG
Model no.:81
Year introduced:1981
Type:Active
Construction:Humbucker
Position:Bridge and Neck
Magnet:Ceramic
Resonant frequency:1.63 KHz[1]
Used in:RGR4620E
EMG 81
Description:One of the most widely used active pickups. Utilizing powerful ceramic magnets and close aperture coils, the tone was designed with detailed intensity, incredible amounts of high end cut, and fluid sustain. Usually found in the bridge position with a EMG 85, EMG 60 or a second EMG 81 in neck position.


EMG 85
Brand:EMG
Model no.:85
Year introduced:1981
Type:Active
Construction:Humbucker
Position:Bridge and Neck
Magnet:Alnico 5
Resonant frequency:1.87 KHz[1]
Used in:RGR4620E
EMG 85
Description:Popular active pickup, slightly more sophisticated and well rounded than the EMG 81. Used in the neck position, often with the 81 in bridge position. Featuring close aperture coils loaded with Alnico V magnets, the 85 is a powerful guitar pickup with exceptional tone and versatility. The Alnico magnets of this model provide a muscular growl and smooth lead tones enabling you to play everything from the blues to the most extreme metal.


EMG 89
Brand:EMG
Model no.:89
Construction:Humbucker/
Passive
Position:Bridge/ neck
Magnet:Alnico V
DC resistance:10 KΩ
Description:Featuring two pickups in one, the 89 houses separate preamps and coils for a custom humbucker and single coil sound at your fingertips. Loaded with Alnico V magnets, the humbucker sound is rich, warm and powerful, but still clear and articulate, similar to the EMG 85. The single coil mode, accessed via the included push pull pot, delivers the traditional Strat single coil sound: bright, airy, and chimey, and is very similar to the EMG SA. In either mode, the clean sound is gorgeously pristine and has a lot of presence. Used equally in bridge and neck positions. Whether you are playing hard rock or jazz, you can get it all with this beautifully balanced and versatile pickup.


EMG SA
Brand:EMG
Model no.:SA
Construction:Single coil/
Active
Position:All position
Magnet:Alnico 5
Description:Single coil, active pickup. Usually found in the neck & mid position with a EMG 85 (like the Reb Beach signature model WRB3, or the RG2660ZE more recently). Three SA pickups can also be used in a "SSS", Stratocaster-like configuration.


Seven string pickups

EMG 707
Brand:EMG
Model no.:707
Construction:Humbucker/
Active
Position:Bridge and Neck
Magnet:Alnico 5
Description:Seven-string version of the EMG 85.


EMG 81-7
Brand:EMG
Model no.:81-7
Type:Active
Construction:Humbucker
Position:Bridge and Neck
Magnet:Ceramic
Resonant frequency:1.45 KHz[2]
Used in:RGR4627FXE
EMG 81-7
Description:Based off the popular EMG 81, the 81-7 utilizes powerful ceramic magnets and close aperture coils to produce a detailed tone with incredible amounts of high end cut, and fluid sustain. Generally used in the bridge position, often with an EMG 85-7 in neck position.


EMG 85-7
Brand:EMG
Model no.:85-7
Type:Active
Construction:Humbucker
Position:Neck and Bridge
Magnet:Alnico 5
Resonant frequency:1.87 KHz[2]
Used in:RGR4627FXE
EMG 85-7
Description:The 85-7 is based on one of EMGs first pickups, the 85. Featuring close aperture coils loaded with Alnico V magnets, the 85-7 is a powerful seven string guitar pickup with exceptional tone and versatility. The Alnico magnets of this model provide a muscular growl and smooth lead tones, enabling you to play everything from the blues to the most extreme metal. Typically used in the neck position, often paired with an 81-7.


Eight string pickups

EMG 808 (neck)
Brand:EMG
Model no.:808
Construction:Humbucker/
Active
Position:Neck
Magnet:Ceramic
Used in:RG80E
Description:Eight-string version of the EMG 85


EMG 808 (bridge)
Brand:EMG
Model no.:808
Construction:Humbucker/
Active
Position:Bridge
Magnet:Alnico 5
Used in:RG80E
Description:Eight-string version of the EMG 85


Nine string pickups

EMG 909X
Brand:EMG
Model no.:909X
Construction:Humbucker/
Active
Position:Bridge and Neck
Magnet:Alnico V
Description:Based on the original 707, the EMG 909X gives players all the tone and presence they demand in a 9 string guitar pickup with the added headroom of the X series preamp. The EMG 909X eliminates muddy low strings that often lack rich harmonic character and definition. Featuring Alnico V loaded, wide aperture coils, EMG beefs up the tone of the low strings while maintaining a balanced and articulate upper register. This, along with the X preamp, provides the responsive and dynamic control that nine string players love. This pickup will articulate every note, chord, and harmonic you ask of it. Used equally in the bridge and neck positions, the EMG 909X pickup will forever change how you hear and play your 9-string guitar.[3]


EMG HZ passive pickups

EMG H4
Brand:EMG
Model no.:H4
Construction:Humbucker/
Passive
Position:Bridge
Magnet:Ceramic
DC resistance:13.65
Description:Passive bridge humbucking pickup.
Well balanced, with tight bass, glassy mids, and crunchy highs.


EMG H4A
Brand:EMG
Model no.:H4A
Construction:Humbucker/
Passive
Position:Neck
Magnet:Alnico 5
DC resistance:13.65
Description:Passive neck humbucking pickup.
Well-balanced, with solid bass, pronounced mids, and fat highs.

Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 EMG H, HA, 58, 60, 60A, 81 & 85 data sheet [PDF], EMG Inc., archived October 2010
  2. 2.0 2.1 EMG 60-7, 81-7 & 85-7 data sheet [PDF], EMG Inc., archived April 2018
  3. 909X product page, EMG Pickups, Inc, archived October 2015.
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