EMG, Inc. is the current legal name of a company based in Santa Rosa, California that manufactures guitar pickups and EQ accessories. Among guitar and bass accessories, the company sells active humbucker pickups, such as the EMG 81, the EMG 85, the EMG 60, and the EMG 89. They also produce passive pickups such as the EMG-HZ Series, which include SRO-OC1's and SC Sets. There is also a series geared towards a more traditional and passive sound known as the X series. Their active pickups are most popular among hard rock and metal artists such as Paradise Lost, Slayer, Metallica, Zakk Wylde, Rammstein, Judas Priest, and Primus but also used by others such as Prince, Vince Gill, Kyle Sokol, Steve Winwood, Steve Lukather and David Gilmour.more
Michael Keene was born in in Los Angeles, Ca in 1986. Son to a guitarist/engineer father and vocalist mother, music was in his blood. He picked up guitar at the age of 5 years old and from that point on, there was no getting him away from it. In high school, Michael met future bass player of The Faceless, Brandon Giffin. The band formed in 2004 and released their debut album "Akeldama" in 2006. Michael currently lives in Los Angeles where, aside from his job as lead guitarist of The Faceless, he has a recording studio called "Keene Machine Studios" where he works as an engineer and producer.more
"But I'm using a Hamer V which is really cool and they are going to be building me some more guitars. I love the way the Gibsons sound, but they're just too big for me. The Hamer is a really crunchy-sounding guitar and the EMG-81s that I'm using help to make it sound absolutely amazing."more
Since the formation of Undivide, Leda has used ENGL amplifiers during his time in Undivide and Babymetal. In this live footage of a soundcheck prior to a Sonisphere concert, Leda can be seen using a Floyd Rose variant of an ESP Horizon (modded with a D-Tuna) and the ENGL Powerball amplifier head. Leda's guitar and amp head is visible from 1:43. Leda's ESP Horizon is equipped with a D-Tuna and EMG pickups.more
I have an ESP EC-50 and this guitar absolutely crushes with this pickup in the bridge position. I may get the 24V battery kit to get even more response out of the pickup.
I have this active EMG 81 in both my LTD EC-401B and EC-401. While I find this pickup goes incredibly well in my baritone, and brings a nice amount of attack and compression to it, which compliments that guitar really well; I don't like it being in my other EC-401.
I use said 401 for my pop punk/hardcore band as well as playing other rock, metalcore stuff in between. And while this pickup works remarkably well when you're playing palm muted breakdowns and core riffs, it does NOT do me many favours when I'm writing playing my pop punk riffs and other stuff. The compression that comes with this pickup doesn't tickle my fancy and I don't like that I when I dial back the volume knob for a slightly cleaner tone, it just dials back my entire volume rather than dialling back to a cleaner output.
I also find it much to harsh for my crunch tones and not very dynamic when it comes to clean tones.
All in all, don't take this as a bad review on the product itself. The pickup is a really nice pickup and I like it LOTS in other situations.
I just don't believe it's for ME in the music I write with my band. It is a great pickup if you're playing metalcore with fast, attacky riffs and lots of huge breakdowns. And yes, lots of pop punk bands also use EMG 81's and sound amazing, but I find that for my particular sound, they're just not quite right. Still a great pickup!
I use the 81 in pair with the 85 and it is just the perfect set up for all your metal needs. You can get some blazing hot distortion and some crisp cleans as well. I plan on using them in future shred machines!