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EMG SA Featured

The SA is an active single coil loaded with an Alnico V bar magnet that provides a vintage Stratâ„¢ single coil sound: bright, airy, with a rich bottom end. With internal shielding and a low impedance preamp, you get virtually noiseless operation at a higher output level so that all the tone makes it to your amp. Additionally, the Alnico V bar magnet allows for the...

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Great single coil tone without the hum featured

Comments I installed the EMG SA in the middle position of my Ibanez RG470. It is surrounded on both sides by an EMG 81 in the bridge and and EMG 85 in the neck. The 81 and 85 aren't splittable humbuckers, so when the 5-way pickup selector is in positions 2 and 4 the SA mixes with the full humbucking sound of each humbucker.

The SA by itself in the middle position very full and rich, and is capable of some nice strat-type tones. Clean tones are bright and clear, even in my basswood bodied guitar. It sounds great for clean hendrix-type parts, and adding some subtle chorus and delay effects to the clean tone just make for an amazing clean guitar sound.

I particularly loved the tone the SA generated when I played on the dirty channel of my Blackstar HT-5, and rolled my guitar's volume knob right down. The gritty clean tone made was very musical and warm, and able to cut right through the mix.

Crank the guitars' volume right back up and a fantastic raunchy sound is at your fingertips. The EMG SA works great for medium gain rock rhythm tones, and just sings at medium and high gain for lead guitar work. If you want high gain rhythm sounds with the SA just kick on your favourite overdrive pedal, and you'll find some nasty sounding tones, although the sound is a little rounder on the edges than your typical bridge pickup. It definitely sounds great though.

The annoying thing that has plagued single coil pickup players is the noise generated by the pickups. working with a bit of distortion results in a frustrating hum that takes away from the single coil tone. The beauty of the EMG active pickup technology is that the typical single coil 60-cycle hum associated with standard single coil pickups is non-existant. You can "have your cake and eat it too" so to speak.

Mixing up the SA with my 81 bridge or 85 neck pickups yeilded in some great lead tones too. Using the 81 for leads might at times be a little too piercing if you are playing higher up the fretboard, but you might not want to kick in the neck pickup as it's too round and thick sounding. Mixing the 81 and the SA results in a slight rounding off of the edges of your 81's tone,giving great sound that isn't too trebly and shrill.

Pairing up the 85 neck pickup with the SA resulted in a slight rounding off of the neck pickup's base tone, giving it a slightly more full feel feel. I found this quite nice for clean chord work, and for lead playing too.

Overall the EMG SA is a great pickup that provides classic single coil tone without the annoying noise that single coils are known for. It's output means that it works nicely both clean, and varying levels of distortion. The SA sounds fantastic paired with some of EMG's humbucker offerings too. I can imagine that the SA would work beautifully in any position in a stratocaster type guitar.

Liked about it Great single coil tone, very strat-like even in my Ibanez RG470.
* No annoying traditional 60 cycle single coil hum.
* Pairs up nicely with my EMG 81 and 85 humbuckers.

Didn't like Nothing to not like really.

Overall satisfaction:

By LonePhantom
Nov 22, 2010
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My opinion on the EMG SA

Comments I installed it without pa-2 booster with a EMG 81 on a Kramer Nightswan custom (yeah with a neck pup).
It sounded as EMG 81 for me, not organic enough, but good enough for the beeing a active.. I didnt get the real twang sound in the 15th/17th fret that is sweet... Maybe i should have bought a PA-2.. My Bad?
I like the Malmsteen strat sound you know, and the Seymour Ducan Quarter Pounder is a Powerful coil for the sound i like. (Malmsteen uses pedals to boost the sound on his pup)

Liked about it The looks

Didn't like Not organic as passive..

Overall satisfaction:

By fireheart82
Mar 03, 2011
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