Anyone swapped out the EMGs on an ESP for passives? - Jemsite
All Other Guitars (including Prestige) Discussion about other Ibanez Guitars not covered in the above topics. Includes J-Custom, USA-Custom, Prestige subforum.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-30-2010, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Brexit
Posts: 687
Anyone swapped out the EMGs on an ESP for passives?

Finally got sick of the inherent clipping associated with the standard EMG 81 pickups on my ESP MII, a stunning guitar (in that its a dream to play) let down by the sterile and kind of unnatural sounding pickups. Replaced the bridge pickup with a D-sonic I had lying around, and have ordered a Dimarzio Liquifire for the neck. The difference is already staggering with just the D-sonic, subtle natural undertones and complex harmonics generated whilst chording are abundant, quite shocked by how restrictive the EMGs were in this guitar.

People claim that the 81's can do clean or blues very well but I have to disagree - guessing that the logic of the release of the X series EMGs with the higher headroom and wider frequency response range is evidence enough that the standard pickups have these inherent 'faults' which limit their use.

For my other ESP (a Custom shop Horizon) I'll try the X series EMGs, in particular swapping out the muddy 85 at the neck for a 85X.

Anyone else got any 'good news' stories to tell concerning the replacement of actives with passives?


chris101 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-31-2010, 03:58 AM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Hellsinki, Finland
Posts: 80
Re: Anyone swapped out the EMGs on an ESP for passives?

I also took away the EMGs off my M-II neck-through for sounding too much like, well, EMGs. I've had both SD Alternative 8 and DM Steve's Special on the guitar since and they both rock, but in a bit different fashion. The SD made the guitar a harsh middley-trebly thrash-metal machine whereas Steve's Special gave it a deeply scooped modern metal growl. Not to mention crispy clean tones. Nice!

I just bought a LP Classic on which the previous owner had installed EMGs. Funnily the guitar sounded exactly like the M-II before until I replaced the EMGs with Blackouts (a temporary fix 'til I get 500k pots). I'll report back when I've changed the pickups on the LP... Should be a less-than-subtle difference.

The EMGs found a new home on a Jackson Soloist though, at 18-volt and the guitar tuned to drop-C. The Blackout was just a bit too tough there.
akosunen is offline  
post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 04:06 PM
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Argentina
Posts: 2,221
Re: Anyone swapped out the EMGs on an ESP for passives?

Before spending money on new pickups give the 18 volt mod a try. I did it on a couple guitars (an Exlplorer and a LP) and the results were great. "EMG clipping" was pretty much gone and they sounded so fat it was ridiculous...
marianozz is offline  
post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 06:06 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,081
Reviews: 130
Re: Anyone swapped out the EMGs on an ESP for passives?

Having had EMG's and performed the 18-Volt mod, I'd still go with a set of Dimarzio D-Activators every time. There's just something more musical about them. I haven't tried the D-Activator-X pickups yet, but I'm assuming they would be higher gain, like SD Blackouts or Dave Mustaine Pickups.

I have some clips of the D-Activators posted in the gear reviews section--check them out.


racerevlon is offline  
post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-04-2010, 04:27 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Brexit
Posts: 687
Re: Anyone swapped out the EMGs on an ESP for passives?

I also tried the 18volt mod and it still wasnt as good as a good set of passives, fitted a Liquifire at the neck and it now sounds fantastic, not at all sterile or processed -with massive headroom.
chris101 is offline  

esp mii emg

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Jemsite forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address

IMPORTANT: You will be required to activate your account so please ensure that your email address is correct.

If you do not receive your activation check your spam folder before using the CONTACT US form (at the bottom right of each page).

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
EMG passives on RG? g1ahn All Other Guitars (including Prestige) 1 04-12-2010 06:05 PM
Passives for my rg for metal christiancoker1 Pickups & wiring 5 12-30-2009 12:56 AM
Dimarzio passives or Seymour Actives? IBNZ_RG Pickups & wiring 1 08-09-2009 09:19 PM
FT or FS- EMG 81-85 set for your passives darksoul Classified Ads: Guitars and Gear 8 09-11-2008 10:39 PM
Swapped Out My Ibanez Thrash All Other Guitars (including Prestige) 6 04-24-2006 01:27 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome