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Sound Quality

[Perceived output level] Designed to be hot pick-ups. This is disputable. May just be fuzzy sounding. [Tone] Neck pick-up (85) is deep without much tonal balance. Bridge pick-up (81) sounds thin at first and somewhat brittle. [Sonic evaluation] Running through switched set up: Rig 1) 1980 Marshall MkII 100watt head into 2x12. Rig 2) Pirhana preamp through Marshall power amp into 2x12. (various rack effects looped) [For which styles and positions is this pickup (un)suitable] Progressive rock: need big clean sounds as well as over the top scream and crunch


General Comments

[Comments] Playing for 38 years, mostly studio/recording work. Have played through just about everything. Done most of my own guitar mod work, lots of pick-up installs and retros. At first you may not like this pick-up set. It's important to know what these pick-ups are designed for before you buy and install. At average volume levels the neck pick-up volume is much louder than the neck and is somewhat dull sounding. And at average volume levels the bridge pick-up seems thin and brittle. Here's where it's important to recall the EMG marketing for the set: Zakk. After wiring the guitar and playing at low volumes at home I was disappointed. Then I took the guitar into the studio and ran it through a 100 watt Marshall with variac through a 2x12, as well as through a POD directly into the board. These pick-ups work best when amp (or POD) gain is maxed to the point of compression, total harmonic distortion resembling a square wave. Under these conditions the pick-ups provide extraordinary note clarity and drive. As advertised, the 81 bridge pick-up is "razor" sharp, cuts through the mix very nicely, and is fairly smooth, although not "buttery". You can achieve a satisfactory "woman" tone through the neck pick-up under these high gain conditions. If you want to retro a guitar to be your death ax, these pick-ups won't disappoint. They will probably not allow you to achieve a Robben Ford tone with any amp combination or setting. But at max high gain the notes have so much sustain and are so articulate you'll know you're using high-end pick-ups worthy of the stars.... just know that they're designed with one thing in mind.



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