EMG 81 and Evolution: tonal difference? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-16-2005, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 88
EMG 81 and Evolution: tonal difference?

I am aware that this type of question is asked ad nauseum, but I have honestly exhausted myself with searches over the last week.

I have an RG470 (2002 model, I think, with basswood body(?)), which I have installed the EMG 81/85 combo. It is pretty nice. Balanced, loud, pretty clear. Something odd: people speak of harmonics "leaping" from the fretboard...this is not the case for my setup. Not sure why.)
I play through a Classic 30, J-station and a litttle Marshall MG15 DFX (Ok, don't laugh--I am working on getting a nicer tube amp!).

My style/tone preference is Vai-ish (he IS a freak!), Malmsteen-ish, Van Halen, Lynch...more 80's type of rock/metal. I don't particularly like the modern Mesa sound, and prefer a more Marshall-y tone. I prefer a bit brighter over bass-y. I also like to hear all of the notes in a chord, if possible. I HATE mush!

I feel that sometimes the dynamics of my playing are lost in the EMG. It is as if the pickup is attempting to balance the sounds too much.
Some use the term "sterile", and I believe this may be an accurate term.

I have been considering the Evolution for several reasons.
(FYI: my other guitar is a Malmsteen strat with HS-3's, which are very low-power pickups. I love this guitar, but purchased the RG to create a different beast using higher powered humbuckers.)
People describe it (Evolution) as articulate, balanced, tight and powerful.

My playing is usually on the faster side, with articulate Malmsteen-ish fast runs and rhythms. Therefore, I require a pickup that is articulate and tight.

Anyway, here are the questions: Can anyone describe the tonal difference between the EMG 81 and the Evolution? Would it be worth it to make the change?

I know, it is only a ~$70 investment, but I have family to take care of, so I prefer to have every dollar count (which is why I still do not have a great amp).

Thanks in advance,
pedalinbob is offline  
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-16-2005, 06:06 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 31
Re: EMG 81 and Evolution: tonal difference?

I've owned both although I had the EMG in a fender strat and I have the Evo in an Ibanez RG. I don't feel I can really make an accurate comparison, but it sounds like you allready did plenty of research on this anyway. Check out the reviews on Harmony Central, they are usually pretty good. To me the EMG seemed a little bit heavier on the low end and the Evo doesn't seem to have much of a low end at all (e.g. palm mutes aren't very "powerful"). Overall though, I like the EVO's sound better (but that might because Ibanez rules!). In all honesty dude, I'd think about saving your money and getting a better amp. The MG15 is a fine practice amp but you'll be amazed at the difference in sound you'll get out of going from say... an MG15 to an MG250. In my opinion, the amp demonates the sound more so than the pickups will so that might be your first place to look for a new sound.

Hope this helped -Joe
TexicanHippy is offline  
post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-17-2005, 09:20 AM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Somerville, MA
Posts: 6,200
Re: EMG 81 and Evolution: tonal difference?

It's worth pointing out that all of the guys you mention as influences don't use particularly high-powered humbuckers... I mean, Vai does now, but in the 80's he was playing PAF's, which are much lower in output. So, if you're looking for a P&W era vai tune, maybe a PAF neck and a Steve's SPecial (based on the Blaze II) or PAF bridge? The Evo is a much more powerful, contemporary sounding picking, with a strong, accented upper midrange, while the PAF's are smoother and more balanced.

Drew is offline  
post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-17-2005, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 88
Re: EMG 81 and Evolution: tonal difference?

Interesting...just when I think I know what I want, another choice comes along!

My choices so far are Evolutions, Evo bridge and Air Norton neck, or PAF Pros.

They all sound like thay are quite defined/articulate. The PAF Pros caught my eye early on.

pedalinbob is offline  
post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-24-2005, 04:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 30
Re: EMG 81 and Evolution: tonal difference?

the air norton is nice in the neck .can't go wrong there.
Mo Fo is offline  

air norton , air norton neck , basswood body , evo bridge , fender strat , malmsteen strat , norton neck , paf pro , paf pros , palm mute , practice amp , tube amp , van halen

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