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Activ/passive P-ups


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hey y'all,just wondering what are the pro's and cons of active/passive pickup's,all i no is that active uses,normally,a 9v battery,wich i'm guessing boost the power and sound?well i'm not sure anyway,just need some info as i'm strggling on wich to buy


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  • Low impedance output (meaning less high end loss with long cables, effects, etc.)
  • They sound different to passives*
  • They're quieter than passives (if designed correctly)


    • They require a power source, and don't work with a dead battery
    • They sound different to passives*

    (* this can be a pro or a con, depending on which sound you prefer)


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Another pro is that active pickups can be very clean when you want a clear, clean tone, or dirty as hell when you want badass distortion. With high-output passive pickups, for example the Dimarzio SuperDistortion, their un-distorted sound is actually quite wooly and distorted.

Some people have trouble finding a middle ground of mojo with actives because they tend to sound very hi-fi, but Buddy Guy and others have gotten by fine over the years with their actives. Another pro is that you can still hear individual notes quite well under heavy overdrive with actives, that's why a lot of metal-heads love 'em.

I'm debating between an EMG 85/60A set for my new Les Paul Classic, or throwing some Fralins or Rio Grandes at it. I love the full sound from my EMG-SA equipped Strat, so I'm leaning more towards the active side. We'll see what happens when I save enough for either conversion in a couple months.

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wow,that har really cleared my mind,i'm going with the active,i'm a stu hamm fan/metal head lol.i love the high end treble tone,so i'm assuming that for a better two handed tapping tone,active p-ups are the way to go for clarity?thanks alot guys,much appreciated

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