Talk me out of Active Pickups

Rob DiStefano

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The answer lies solely within you, the player and foremost critic of the music you create. All instrument pickups that function as intended are good pickups. Knowing if any pickup will work well for you requires your intervention and anything else is pure hearsay. Enjoy the journey!
 

lupowitz

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I have an assortment of EMG pickups, I like 'em very much.
The great thing about them, that they offer nearly everything in different forms. So if you are familiar of their characteristics, you can pick one that suits you best in an other build option. You can have their most popular humbucker models in P90 form.
The EMG60 is very close to a mini humbucker, originally built for Fender who backed out of the deal, and it can be yours in P90 format.
While most people use it mainly as a neck pickup, I have it in a steinberger copy in the bridge position.
Also, the 81, which is a go to pickup for most metalheads, serves me well in the neck position paired with an alnico T bridge in a tele, but Bela Fleck uses it too in his banjo-guitar freak of nature, and he doesn't use distortion whatsoever.

A few examples of P90 housed versions of their offerings:




 

lupowitz

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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.
Funnily enough, I have the opposite experience. Have a strat with EMG S ceramic pus, the ones that are on the Vince Gill set sans the SPC controll, and never had a quackier strat in my possession, in fact, I rarely use any other position on that guitar.
 

TX_Slinger

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I loved the single coil mode of the neck EMG 89R I had in a nicer korean import. Did Texas blues really well just didn't like the trem system on it.
 

edvard

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My suggestion would be to take your Firebirds and wax pot them (takes care of microphonics), then wire them in parallel (brings the heat down, and allows more sparkle). Win/win except for the tediousness of wax potting.

EDIT: I just looked up Klein's Firebird offerings, and it looks like the wiring is two-wire, so no parallel option available without surgery. But if you're still looking to try something different with the same form factor, find a potted set with four-wire connection and go parallel. I can't say it's the Holy Grail, but it will be different, and in the direction you're leaning.
 

Fenderbaum

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These days you can install rechargeable batteries on you active guitar.
Imagine that.. CHARGE YOUR GUITAR..hah.
I have DG20 on my CAR Gilmour replica. They qre OKAY to me but the passive pickups just have that more classic warm Strat sound in them that actives do not have..
 

hopdybob

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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!

first thought
buy a Behringer EQ700 EQ Pedal witch is a clone of the Boss GE 7

but, L500 not an option?
i use it with a mini toggle switch to set in in series ore parallel (on its own)
4 way switch
N>N+B>B>N+B in series.
adding the mini toggle gives you another 3 positions of sounds.

i don't know if you can say the G&L MFD pickups sound like P90.
but i could not get rid of the bassy voicing of the MFD.
 

ukepicker

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My suggestion would be to take your Firebirds and wax pot them (takes care of microphonics), then wire them in parallel (brings the heat down, and allows more sparkle). Win/win except for the tediousness of wax potting.

EDIT: I just looked up Klein's Firebird offerings, and it looks like the wiring is two-wire, so no parallel option available without surgery. But if you're still looking to try something different with the same form factor, find a potted set with four-wire connection and go parallel. I can't say it's the Holy Grail, but it will be different, and in the direction you're leaning.

I've thought about wax potting. I'm not completely opposed, but I think I'd rather just move them on and try something different.

You're correct about them being 2-wire, but I like the tones just fine in series. Maybe with potting they could benefit from parallel wiring? One of my favorite pickup tones ever was from a custom WRHB in a tele Custom that I wired in parallel.
 

ukepicker

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first thought
buy a Behringer EQ700 EQ Pedal witch is a clone of the Boss GE 7
I'm using a Pettyjohn Filter EQ which I prefer to the noisier graphic EQs.

but, L500 not an option?
I've wondered about that. Will they fit in a P90 route?

I have a set of L90s that are pretty amazing (and would really sound great in this guitar), but they won't fit in a P90 route.
 

Chiogtr4x

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Will active pickups revert to passive status when batteries die?

Just asking as I play with two different bass players ( different groups) that sometimes use active basses.
Both have had their basses die in the middle of a song, and they have to change battery during a quick break.

Frustrating and not very professional ( IMO) and they are both very good players
 

That Cal Webway

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My EMG Vince Gill Stratocaster set sounded fantastic.
The best #3 and # 4 positions I've played

But... The bridge pickup was lacking in sound and feel even with the mid boost engaged.
I don't know why, otherwise a perfect set.
 

hopdybob

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I'm using a Pettyjohn Filter EQ which I prefer to the noisier graphic EQs.


I've wondered about that. Will they fit in a P90 route?

I have a set of L90s that are pretty amazing (and would really sound great in this guitar), but they won't fit in a P90 route.
i remember something that they were made ase P90 replacement.
but found this
Bill Lawrence L-500/L-510/L-6xx humbucker = 1.350"/~34mm Width x 2.80"/~71mm Length
(~3.35"/~85mm long inclusive of the screw tags)

maybe this helps
 

ukepicker

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Post #3: (almost ten years ago!) @Derek Kiernan said that the L500s fit in a P90 route.

Man, does that open up some options I didn't know I had . . . . . .Thanks, Derek!
 

Bird Dog

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The original EMG Strat pickups sound very good. The Tele and HB ones, not so much in my opinion. Most of my axes have Fralin’s. Lollar makes the best sounding Tele pickups I’ve played. I have some Dimarzio and Duncan armed guitars. They are solid brands if you want to pay a little less than Fralin or Lollar charges. You kind of get what you pay for.
 

Swirling Snow

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So... time to talk you out of "active" pickups.

You have a Gibson SG. From the used guitars I've seen, and those in museums, I'd expect your guitar to last three to four hundred years, with proper care.

That's a lot of battery changing.


PS: I had a pair of Bill's L500s. The way they were built, they'll outlast Keith Richards!
 

lupowitz

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My EMG Vince Gill Stratocaster set sounded fantastic.
The best #3 and # 4 positions I've played

But... The bridge pickup was lacking in sound and feel even with the mid boost engaged.
I don't know why, otherwise a perfect set.
Maybe the KH21 set would had have been more to your liking.

It has an 81 humbucker in position of the bridge S pickup, though it is a 2 pot scratchplate, so you loose the SPC controll.

https://www.emgpickups.com/kh20-kirk-hammett-black.html
 

kookaburra

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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.
Had that happen once, but it did that in the last few bars of the last song. Plus, I did have another guitar.

I eventually sold the guitar, but I did properly maintain the battery until I did!
 




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