Anyone swapped out the EMGs on an ESP for passives? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-30-2010, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
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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?

Cheers,

Chris
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-31-2010, 03:58 AM
 
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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.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 04:06 PM
 
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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...
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 06:06 PM
 
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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.

Cheers,

Race
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-04-2010, 04:27 AM Thread Starter
 
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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.
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