Some help with EMG 81/85. Are they real? And installation question

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by GPlo, Sep 8, 2019.

  1. GPlo

    GPlo Tele-Meister

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    I bought a set of EMG 81/85 pickups of Ebay which came in the mail yesterday.
    So first question: I’m probably just paranoid, but is there any way to verify these are real EMG pickups and not some fakes from a cheap chinese clone?

    Here’s a picture
    CC238B1B-EA9A-4875-B0A7-5C25CB97DE7B.jpeg

    Secondly, the pots, output jack and wires don’t seem original to me and kind of low quality. Def. not switchcraft or cts quality.

    C5D4887F-2826-44F5-9DC5-8CF7423B1676.jpeg


    My guess is the pickups are original (I hope!), but the guy kept the other components and bought some cheap replacement parts for the sale.

    Can you help me find a diagram to install these pups with the parts included in the pictures above? Are all the parts I need there? Should I buy some better quality replacement parts?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
  2. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

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    The PUPS look legit.
    The wiring is not what EMG sells on their website.

    The EMG website has everything you need.
    Even diagrams... I think they even have video instructions.

    Great service also.
     
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  3. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Friend of Leo's

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    Just wanted to add a +1 to this, especially about EMG's service. I had a 30 year old set of SA's in an old Strat and the volume pot finally got scratchy. I sprayed some DeoxIT into it and it stopped working. I called EMG, told them what happened, and they shipped me a replacement pot - for free!
     
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  4. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Agree with the others - pickups legit, wiring not. It's worth acquiring the original preamp IMO. It's not much more than a simple gain/buffer device but it does get 'that' tone.
     
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  5. GPlo

    GPlo Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the replies all. That’s a worry of my mind. I’ll do some research on their website

    Wish i would have grabbed another deal now cause it looks like i have to invest some more money into this.

    I’m sorry, I’m probably misunderstanding your reply but are you referring to the preamp inside the pickup housing? Wouldn’t that be the original one?
     
  6. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Since EMG generally sells "no solder" setups, those wiring components are not likely original. Here's a picture of what EMG provides with their Humbuckers...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
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  7. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Definitely trash that jack and get a Switchcraft.
     
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  8. lupowitz

    lupowitz Tele-Afflicted

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    I have a few sets like that, and both the wiring and the pickups look legit. The pu's sport the old classic logo, so they are about 10 years old.Back in the day EMG did not provide a solderless set, but these ones, that you had to solder, but already with the quick connect system, that did not need soldering ot the pickup side.
    I have various offerings from them, 85, 81, 60, Sa, S complet strat set, alnico tele set, all of them with the old classic logo, they all came with the wires and stuff just like the ones on your photo.
    The preamp is already inside the pus, so I don't know what Dacious is reffering to. There is a popular mod, using not one, but two 9V batteries, it supposed to give you even more headroom, but I never tried it. You can also buy various enhancing components, mid boost, bass and high boost, power boost, varying level power boost, series/parallel switching, most coming in a pot format, that can easily be connected to any wiring scheme by replacing one or your only tone pot.
    Oh wait, there is the pa2, that is an additional preamp if you prefer overdriveing your signal by a flick of a switch, maybe that is what Dacious had in mind!

    Final thing: Since you have the quick connect system, try the reverse the pickups, ie. 81 in the neck, 85 in the bridge position. That is what EVH used in his Steinberger. I like the 81 in the neck position, I sometimes put it in to my teles neck posi in tandem with the RT alnico bridge pickup. It sounds fantastic. The 85 is a fantastic bridge pickup, turns my all maple 25.5 inch tremolo steinberger copy into an angry but clear as a bell Les Paul.
     
  9. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have some fake ones, they don't have the fork connector; the leads are hard wired to the pickup. Also they don't need batteries as they are passive.
     
  10. GPlo

    GPlo Tele-Meister

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    Thanks, very useful! I'll try to switch them around, see what I like best. I'll be installing them in a les paul style guitar. Couldn't find any diagrams on EMG's site. It's all solderless or I'm just not looking in the right place. I found this diagram online:

    http://www.sonic.net/~emgman/pdf/2 EMG 1v 1t 3wt.pdf

    Does that look about right?
     
  11. guitrr

    guitrr Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Couldn’t agree more. I’m a 30+ year EMG user, and never understood why everyone didn’t put the ceramic (81) in the neck for clarity, and the alnico (85) in the bridge for warmth.
     
  12. lupowitz

    lupowitz Tele-Afflicted

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    The one you linked is the 1 volume 1 tone 3 way switch version.

    If you want the 2 vol 2 tone version, this is the one you should be using:

    http://www.sonic.net/~emgman/pdf/MasterIndependentVolumes.pdf
     
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  13. GPlo

    GPlo Tele-Meister

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    I forgot to mention I was indeed going for the 1 vol. 1 tone version. The guitar will have some holes in it but that's ok, it's what I call my 'Frankenstein guitar'. I do all sorts of experiments on that thing.
    I'll get myself a nice switchcraft jack and follow the diagram to install this. Thanks for the help!
     
  14. lupowitz

    lupowitz Tele-Afflicted

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    No worries! Report back here how you liked it either way, 85 in bridge or neck. The whole EMG line is pigeonholed into this 'metalhead-cookiemonster music merchants need to apply only' phenomenon, and I don't think it is true. Remember, Bela Fleck uses a single EMG 81 in his elctric banjo, and he ain't now headbanging rocker, fer sure!
     
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  15. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I had a set just like that - long brass coloured shafts on the controls and the whole bit. It’s definitely all legit. Mine even had the white stickers on the bottom of the pots indicating tone and volume and mine were bought new at a reputable dealer - 20+ years ago before the quick connect system - only difference is that mine had wires hardwired to the pickup - that’s the way they all used to be back then.

    I’d say this is an older set just after they started using the quick connect system.
     
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  16. paulblackford

    paulblackford Tele-Meister

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    Wiring is old EMG, down to the T, and V on the pots. It looks like someone bought a new set of pickups, and then bought an old wiring rig. Normally, on the new wiring, both ends of the connector wires plug in. Someone has snipped off one end of each connector wire to hook them to the old harness. As long as those are 25k pots it looks like you have everything you need. There is no additional preamp.
     
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  17. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I never had a separate preamp with my set either. The old wiring harness will work fine with the newer pickups.

    If you do end up replacing the jack, make sure you get the stereo switch craft jack that automatically disconnects the battery when the jack is unplugged - otherwise you will go through batteries like crazy!
     
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  18. GPlo

    GPlo Tele-Meister

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    Thanks I would not have thought of that
     
  19. RoCkstAr256

    RoCkstAr256 Tele-Afflicted

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    Pups look legit, i used to have EMG 81-7 85-7
     
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