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LMAO!!! So, so true :)

You knew you were "cool" when you had the MP1.
i still use it, but only for passing tracks through. the mp-1 loves my 7's and 8's though my vader 412. i am really gassing for an axe fx 2, but i do have a bunch of tonal variety in my recording rig. i am actually looking for a gsp2101 or 2120 and a peavey transfex. i already have the mp-1, a digitech gfx-1 twin tube, and rocktron pro-gap for my "vintage" rackmounts.

back OT, i personally like the character and "dirt" that passive pickups have. i find that EMGs are very compressed and drive preamp sections very hard. this makes switching guitars on the fly very difficult(active to passive and vice versa). i've never been a huge EMG fan, and i wanted to be because of the the whole metallica/zakk wylde hero worship of my youth(circa 1994-6); but after owning several sets and trying to like them, always went back to my dimarzios and duncans. right now, i dropped an 85/81 pair into an RG2EX only because i had 2 of those guitars and i loaded a pair of blackouts(which are wonderful pickups...thank you, FRANK!!!) and both are tuned to B. i put these 2 guitars together because there are a few guitar players who are not comfortable with playing 7's, but want to live in the same sonic footprint and most of those have and affinity towards emg/extreme metal hero worship as well. these guitars give them that option. for me, i'll stick with my 7's loaded with dimarzios.

rich
 

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True, but I think the level of clarity that came from the EMG's complimented his MP-1.
I think, in general, active pickups open up the signal and transfer more of the "tone" quality from your guitar to your rig. I like the different tonal characteristics I get from mixing certain passive pickups with certain woods/guitar models. I do think actives can sound great, as in Vito's case, but there are others, like Reb Beach, who use them and I don't like their tone at all.
I wish there was some way Vito could come back and play electric guitar for the world... but I guess that's another thread and another topic.
 

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my experience is completely opposite of yours. every time i swapped emgs around to different guitars that were opposites of each other, the results were very similar. the sound of the pickup was more apparent than that of the guitar. impe, i have found that passives act more like eq's to either work with or against a guitar's tonal characteristics. that's why i love the tone zone in mahogany and despise it in all other body woods. i did and experiment several years ago where i had swapped the SAME EXACT set of emgs between 4 guitars and have recorded them in the past DI and reamped them. looking at their eq curves on a spectrum analyzer showed differences, but very subtle ones. basswood, alder, ash, and mahogany; all were floyd rose equipped with very similar specs. emgs don't keep me from playing any particular guitar because i am looking for other aspects of it and i try to keep an open mind and not let past prejudices/experiences bias the situation, but in the end i always end up with the same opinion. keep in mind, these are my own experiences, but ymmv.

rich
 

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I've found (for myself), the perfect combination is 85(b)/60a(n). The 85 has more lowend, a little more natural, and a bit more thickness than the 81, eliminating the grief of the shrillness or that "lifeless" tone people talk about.
What about 85 for neck? I find it very trebleless in the guitar I have it on. I wonder if switching 85/81 positions will be better for both neck and bridge.

Any of you tried the 18v mods? Supposed to give a lot more clarity and punch, but I haven't tried it yet!
Any guitars that come stock with a 2 battery option?

This is because a passive pickup utilizes a "natural" magnetic source whereas an active pickup utilizes an electromagnet.
As far as I know active pickups are "active" because they use a preamp. Any source for the info it's an electromagnet?
 

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And I must point out, as I did previously in this discussion, that the physics of the system indicates there is, in fact, a difference between the passive and active pickup response in a guitar body.
I'm sorry, I mean no disrespect here, but as a physics major with one semester left before I earn my BS, I have to point out that this is completely incorrect. A magnetic field is a magnetic field. The source makes no difference.
 

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What about 85 for neck? I find it very trebleless in the guitar I have it on. I wonder if switching 85/81 positions will be better for both neck and bridge.

Any guitars that come stock with a 2 battery option?

As far as I know active pickups are "active" because they use a preamp. Any source for the info it's an electromagnet?
EMG stands for "Electro Magnetic Generator";

"In 1981, EMG active pickups became standard equipment on Steinberger basses and guitars. According to Hap Kuffner, EMG pickups originally had widespread success in Europe, after first exhibiting at the 1983 Musikmesse tradeshow in Germany. The name was changed to EMG, Inc. in 1983[3] ("EMG" stands for "Electro-Magnetic Generator"[5]). As Steinberger guitars became more popular among American metal and rock musicians, so did EMG pickups, and vice-versa.[3]"
 

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I'm sorry, I mean no disrespect here, but as a physics major with one semester left before I earn my BS, I have to point out that this is completely incorrect. A magnetic field is a magnetic field. The source makes no difference.
No disrespect taken Ryan. You are correct that "a field is a field" and in that regard source is irrelevant. However the magnitude and directional vector(s) of the field can make significant differences. Because active pickups generate a significantly stronger field that is precisely regulated by internal circuitry, they behave differently than many passive REM equipped pickups. Granted, in the grand scheme of things the differences are minute, however they are enough to be apparent in tone and feel. Which is why this seems to be such a polarizing (haha - get it?) topic! ;)
 

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No disrespect taken Ryan. You are correct that "a field is a field" and in that regard source is irrelevant. However the magnitude and directional vector(s) of the field can make significant differences. Because active pickups generate a significantly stronger field that is precisely regulated by internal circuitry, they behave differently than many passive REM equipped pickups. Granted, in the grand scheme of things the differences are minute, however they are enough to be apparent in tone and feel. Which is why this seems to be such a polarizing (haha - get it?) topic! ;)
How exactly does the magnitude and direction of the field make a difference, then? How do you know that there even is a difference in direction between actives and passives, that does not already exist between passives? I profess ignorance on the subject.

Also, I thought actives generated a weaker field, as they rely on the preamp to generate higher voltages. I believe this is why they can be set so much closer to the strings without affecting sustain.
 

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EMG stands for "Electro Magnetic Generator"
Just the company name. And it doesn't say electromagnet. I can't say I know how electromagnets are constructed, but there are various mentions of Alnico and Ceramic in the context of EMG, which I think also points to standard magnets.

I recall something similar to what Ryan says, weaker magnets which the preamp compensates for. This allows them to sit closer to strings.
 

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A regular magnet picks up the change in the magnetic field and translates it to a signal, right? If the field is stronger woudn't it better pick up changes in that field? I thought this was the basic logic of active pickups.
 

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A regular magnet picks up the change in the magnetic field and translates it to a signal, right? If the field is stronger woudn't it better pick up changes in that field? I thought this was the basic logic of active pickups.
No, thats the basic logic of a very, very powerful passive pickup.

An active pickup will use a very low magnetic power for 2 reasons.

1 - Low power by means of the way the coils are wound, means less coils of wire, means less capacitance in the pickup which means more high end response as less HF is muted by that capacitance.

2 - Lower powered magnets (the actual magnets under the pickups poles/rails) means the magnetic field isn't pulling on the strings as hard. The pickup can be adjusted very close to the strings without killing sustain, which means the pickup can be very finely adjusted and sustain can be improved.

The disadvantage is a lower output in relation to whatever outside noise is picked up, but thats where the preamp comes in - its job is to boost that very low level electronic signal, and subsequently its higher output, which is significantly stronger than normal passive systems, is less susceptible to outside noise, and will also drive pedals and effects, and amplifiers, harder and more clearly.

Some people like to talk about headroom and dynamics, but thats nothing to do with active design. Some preamps simply don't have a lot of headroom. Plenty of other certainly do, and thats not a problem in active pickups overall.
 

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That makes sense now that you explained it and I gave it some thought. I guess that's why actives don't work when there's no power. Silly me. :D
I only ever had actives in my bass, which I kind of prefer them in bass guitars. I remember picking up a stock Indo RGA42FM at Sam Ash and really liking how the stock actives sounded on that. Makes me want to try the RGA42E with the 85/81 combo.
 

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I hear this from time to time and wonder what makes people think the wood in their guitar has anything to do with how a pickup works. There is nothing about the wood that transfers into the pickup turning a string vibration into an electrical signal.
I agree. the wood and quality transfers into longetivity, sustain, durability, and playablilty. and most all asthetics, and comfort.
this can be mis-translated into the sound of a pickup.

when you play a high quality guitar it makes you a better guitar player.
the pickups themselves make the their own destiny. IMO

I use EMG 81/60 in a Prestige RG2550,
D Activators in a Premium 870Z,
And Dimarzio Super 3 / H3 in an Ibanez Prestige Talon 5 (lol..)

I like both the EMG's and the DiMarzio's
 

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It's not the guitar that makes the player man :D

I mean, Ed Bickert's guitar is an off the wall standard telecaster!
 

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It's not the guitar that makes the player man :D

I mean, Ed Bickert's guitar is an off the wall standard telecaster!
That's correct, but a better guitar, or for better words, a better fitted guitar will make a player better. I know this because I've played for 28 years, and had some real POS guitars growing up. my first guitar was a 1978 harmony with 3 inch action. I could'nt afford anything else.

I did'nt even know what distortion was, or how to make a guitar sound like the guys on MTV. So I learned the hard way. If I'd had someone there to guide me properly I would be a better player today.

Would have been nice to had a $1,000 guitar in 1985 instead of a $50 pawnshop special.

but learning, and moving up to a better guitar I quickly noticed how I advanced using modern technology, and high quality guitars.
 

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It's not the guitar that makes the player man :D
After playing a few high end guitars, I sort of disagree with this statement.

The guitar might not make the player, but certain guitars allow you to do your thing better.

For example, sweep picking on an off the wall Ibanez Gio with 4mm action would give anyone trouble.
 

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A better guitar is simply easier to play. Your skill level doesn't change from one instrument to the next. But this is nitpicking.
 

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can Vettel win the world championship in a Volkswagen?
can Jim Carrey win the world championship in a Formula 1 car?

Its just natural, as we go along, we get better and for many, the equipment just got better too :)
 

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I find it weird that when I play a GIO, my skill is not nearly as good as when I Play my Custom Prestige.

Fact = the tools increase the Skill. in any job.

there is so much more you can do with high quality instruments and effects, then with low quality instruments, and crappy amps. therefore you learn more.
I mean some harmonics are not even capable on some rigs.
 
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