Talk me out of Active Pickups

ukepicker

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In a nutshell:
Looking for your testimonials (for or against) EMG active pickups.
And before we go any further: in my defense, my favorite sound to hear and play is a tele with broadcaster style pickups into a silverface vibrolux.


But my first tele had an EMG active set. And they were decent and 100% silent. I swapped them for keystones and never looked back. Until now.

I need something P90-sized with very very little noise and a nice full-frequency range for my #1. And that has me thinking about EMGs again.


____________________________________

Background:
I've recently moved over to a Boss IR-200 and good headphones, for lots of reasons. My #1 is a 2018 SG Special (soapbar-sized routes). And I've had one heck of a time finding pickups that I like.
Not the stock Gibby "mini humbuckers".
Not the custom handwound humbuckers from my favorite winder.
Not the Lollar P90s.
Not the Klein firebirds that are currently installed.

The frequency range on the firebird pickups is close to what I'm after and I've been able to tame them to something enjoyable with the IR-200 and a few other pedals on my board. They are still a tad noisy - and only because I'm listening on headphones. But mainly, I don't care for the way they roll-off. Hyper-microphonic and bright at 10, not too bad at 8, dull and lifeless at 6. And did I mention they are microphonic? As in "I can't softly touch my volume knob without it clanging through my amp" microphonic?

So now I think that something with basic, clean representation of the strings is all I really need. Most of the tone is in the amp anyway (or, as in my case, the amp model and IR).

So why not go with something very quiet and very accurate?


What has your experience taught you?
 

Milspec

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Okay, the Tonemaster series of amps will not work with them. I suspect that many digital amps have problems with active pickups as well. Some pedals the same.

That said, I have the first generation of the Godin Session Custom guitar which had a "revoicer" button in the circuit. Pressing it, turned the passive pickups to active and I will admit that I really loved playing the neck HB in active mode.

I just don't like full-time active pickups.
 

bottlenecker

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In a nutshell:
Looking for your testimonials (for or against) EMG active pickups.
And before we go any further: in my defense, my favorite sound to hear and play is a tele with broadcaster style pickups into a silverface vibrolux.


But my first tele had an EMG active set. And they were decent and 100% silent. I swapped them for keystones and never looked back. Until now.

I need something P90-sized with very very little noise and a nice full-frequency range for my #1. And that has me thinking about EMGs again.


____________________________________

Background:
I've recently moved over to a Boss IR-200 and good headphones, for lots of reasons. My #1 is a 2018 SG Special (soapbar-sized routes). And I've had one heck of a time finding pickups that I like.
Not the stock Gibby "mini humbuckers".
Not the custom handwound humbuckers from my favorite winder.
Not the Lollar P90s.
Not the Klein firebirds that are currently installed.

The frequency range on the firebird pickups is close to what I'm after and I've been able to tame them to something enjoyable with the IR-200 and a few other pedals on my board. They are still a tad noisy - and only because I'm listening on headphones. But mainly, I don't care for the way they roll-off. Hyper-microphonic and bright at 10, not too bad at 8, dull and lifeless at 6. And did I mention they are microphonic? As in "I can't softly touch my volume knob without it clanging through my amp" microphonic?

So now I think that something with basic, clean representation of the strings is all I really need. Most of the tone is in the amp anyway (or, as in my case, the amp model and IR).

So why not go with something very quiet and very accurate?


What has your experience taught you?

Have you looked at fishman fluence pickups? They have tele pickups and P-90s that are noiseless, active, and made to sound like the traditional pickups. Do they? No idea. Greg koch says they do. Seems like it'd be more likely to be close to your tonal reference point than an emg setup.
 

Killing Floor

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I have and use active and passive and passive+preamp. EMG, Fishman and many others make fantastic sets. They sound great and are less noisy in some environments. Plus, in my own experience, EMG batteries last a very long time.

You'll get responses from folks who love them and folks who "just don't think it's right".

But ask yourself this, would EMG still be selling active pickups 45 years on if they weren't great? Aren't there enough options that they would have been weeded from the market if people didn't love them? I can't guess what you like but I can tell you EMG makes great product.
 

ukepicker

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Fluence is expensive. I've spent enough on pickups for this guitar already.

EMGs are attractive because:
1-they are moderately priced
2-after a rewire, they are quick-changeable. I'm not opposed to trying 3 or 4 or 5 in each spot to find what I like. But I'm a little burned out of spending $300 on a set of disappointment.
 

Volcanicash01

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Apr 8, 2022
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Mayenne France.
In a nutshell:
Looking for your testimonials (for or against) EMG active pickups.
And before we go any further: in my defense, my favorite sound to hear and play is a tele with broadcaster style pickups into a silverface vibrolux.


But my first tele had an EMG active set. And they were decent and 100% silent. I swapped them for keystones and never looked back. Until now.

I need something P90-sized with very very little noise and a nice full-frequency range for my #1. And that has me thinking about EMGs again.


____________________________________

Background:
I've recently moved over to a Boss IR-200 and good headphones, for lots of reasons. My #1 is a 2018 SG Special (soapbar-sized routes). And I've had one heck of a time finding pickups that I like.
Not the stock Gibby "mini humbuckers".
Not the custom handwound humbuckers from my favorite winder.
Not the Lollar P90s.
Not the Klein firebirds that are currently installed.

The frequency range on the firebird pickups is close to what I'm after and I've been able to tame them to something enjoyable with the IR-200 and a few other pedals on my board. They are still a tad noisy - and only because I'm listening on headphones. But mainly, I don't care for the way they roll-off. Hyper-microphonic and bright at 10, not too bad at 8, dull and lifeless at 6. And did I mention they are microphonic? As in "I can't softly touch my volume knob without it clanging through my amp" microphonic?

So now I think that something with basic, clean representation of the strings is all I really need. Most of the tone is in the amp anyway (or, as in my case, the amp model and IR).

So why not go with something very quiet and very accurate?


What has your experience taught you?
EMG s are a bit soulless compared to most ordinary wound pickups, I found anyway. I could not split the hummers either. They remain boxed it the cupboard. EMG 89’s I think.
 

Si G X

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P90-sized with very very little noise


I'd go with these over active.
 

drmmrr55

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Gotta go with the consensus here. My only knock against active pickups is the battery. That said, you answered your own question, of course go with active pickups. They sound great, even when not playing high gain, and they are silent, what more needs to be said?
 

ukepicker

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You mentioned your like of Keystones. Even more versatile is the Lawrence Wilde L48 blade! Fully noise free, warm, and a great pickup! I install in my share in teles

If there were Wilde pickups for a soapbar route, I'd be all in.
I have an L45 in my stash - a remarkable pickup indeed!
 

fretWalkr

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Nothing with a battery for me. I was playing with a guy whose battery died in the middle of a set. He had to stop and replace it. Rest of the group had the choice of play on without him or wait for him.

Passive pickups work fine for me . But I prefer the tone I get from low output vintage style PUs.
 

Daytona.57

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Calabogie, On, Canada
I have an Epiphone SG Prophecy EX, that was stock with EMG 85 neck and 81 bridge, 14" radius, and find that I like the EMG pickups. I use the guitar primarily for slide in open E tuning and the pickups are mid range, articulate and silent. The battery has a housing on the back of the guitar and it is easy to change the battery. I can achieve the Derek Trucks slide tone.

I play plugged into a Pro Jr IV with a 1x12 cab and Roland Cubes and there are no issues with solid state.

I bought it used from a big box music chain for $300.00, and it was a steal of a deal.
 

Festofish

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They’re not for me but I only know that because I tried them.
Wink wink nudge nudge say no more?
 

Dismalhead

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I've had a few guitars with active electronics and/or pickups, and yes, some active pickups sound spectacular.

My problem is that I don't usually notice the batteries dying until my rig has gradually sounded more and more like crap for an hour and a half and then it finally dawns on me that something is really wonky and off. Then I don't always have a spare.

It's like I'm not responsible enough for batteries, and I have learned to accept that.
 

teleplayr

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They sound great when using effects.

Never had an issue with active pick-ups, or batteries. Just remember to unplug your guitar when you're not using it.
 

somebodyelseuk

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Dave Gilmour used 'em for the majority of his career on his main guitar - the red one.

I have a couple of guitars with EMGs. Only thing 'wrong' with 'em is that because each individual pickup has a built in pre-amp, they don't sound the same on the 'in-between' positions - something to do with the coils not loading each other - but whatever the reasons, they don't do the 2 and 4 positions on a Strat, like a passive pickup would, presumably the same applies to Teles, twin buckers, etc.

Other than that, forget the 'sound sterile' blah, blah, blah... it's the player who sounds sterile, not the pickups.
 




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