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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just installed two EMG 85's into my USA stratocaster.

The job wasn't as straightforward as some of my other installations, and I had to route away part of the body wood near the bridge to accomodate the Humbucker, but after some work, it's done.

Here's some pics:





The sound is quite different on the strat than I'm used too, and is a lot mellower than the percusive pick attack you come to expect from Fenders.

I'll post some soundlinks when I get some time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
On the clean settings it sounds great, lot's of bass, LOT's of low midrange, and enough treble to cut through.

The bridge sounds quite flat, with lot's trebble but suprisingly not much bass or mids, I'm going to experiment with the high to find a sweet spot, as for the neck pickup, It's deep, bassy, but clear, there's a clear wood sound, and enough top end to here all the notes without them smearing together. great jazz tones, esp when combined in the middle

The only problem with the neck is that it's over powering on the bridge, and as a result I'm inclined to install a seperate volume for it rather than an individual tone control, to ballance it out. So far I've been able to get usable hendrix tones by turning up the gain, and some of the old strat sounds are still there, albeit with a lot more midrange and less attack.

Distorted, things get interesting. EMG 85's are known typically for being neck pickups in les pauls, but installed in the Bridge, the sound is a little less harsh than the 81, and with a LOT more low mid Chunk chunk sound.

Upon first installing I was having a hard time playing the guitar generally, so I took the action down as low as it was bareable, and when playing rythem it's a lot more fluid and controlled. you can really say what you want to say, even with the typical USA strat bridge differences.

Experimenting with the tone and volume produces a very usable Clasic Rock / Free sound, and if you're Knopfler fan, it NAILS the old Money For nothing intro tone.

The metallica range of tones are available, but due to the type of guitar and neck especially it's a lot harder to play than it's worth. Distorted, the hendix / SRV sounds generally aren't available. I would describe the general feel and sound, as Gibson, with A little more top end cut through, Distorted the sound of the wood doesn't generally come through either

The Neck is a different affair to the bridge, For rythem it's sound is very usable with the volume down, and there are lots of pinch harmonics available, even on the strat neck. with the gain turned up the solo's are very sweet, fluid, and clear. Without using any reverb most notes in a scale can be heard, and it isn't untill you add extensive FX than the sound starts to smear. Some players don't like the note for note sounds, I generally do, so for me its fantastic

With both humbuckers on, the sound is deep and basy, but with the added cut of the bridge, it's interesting that you can really hear what sound is produced from each pickup, but really I havn't had much reason to use this setting when distorted yet.


Benifits of Actives V Passives?

This is a strange area to debate, as most players who have dabled in active pickups will tell you that they like the sound and feel of them, but can't really say why when it comes to saying why they prefer them over passives.

Me personally I love Passives, and I think a FRED, and a PAF joe would sound great in this guitar, and if money wasn't an issue I'd probably chuck 'em in tomorow for the hell of it. But when it comes down to it, for a main axe, I just love the control that actives give you in the live situation, and the confidence they give you that your sound WILL cut through the mix.

An EVO could probably do the same, but I hate the tone of the evo, the EMG has a similar volume and cut, but seems to do it with more of a clasic sound.

Anyhow, I believe I'll leave them in.
 

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The SA's in my Warmoth strat can very closely emulate a regular passive single coil. I do find that I have to play with the active tone controls in the DG-20 set to do it though. It does not sound like a normal strat with both preamps flat but when I add either/or the EXG or SPC circuits in I can emulate almost any pure strat tone from Hendrix to SRV to almost a telecaster bridge type sound. My fingerboard is ebony, with SS frets and a LSR roller nut so that helps quite a bit with the glassier high end.
 
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