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Questions about Active Pickups


Jivin
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Hi,

I'm in the process of choosing a species of wood for my explorer, and i'm just a touch confused about the tonal qualities of active pickups (eg, the SD LiveWire's or EMG Actives) in different materials. I've been led to beleive that the wood they are in has far less (if any) effect on the sound than it would on passive pickups. Is this correct? Because that is the way I had understood them (to a certain extent), and its becoming important that i understand because weight aside, I would like to pick a nice peice of wood with the look I want, however I dont want to sacrafice a nice sound to get it.

So yeah, at the moment im planning on the fact the active electronics won't be so drastically affected by the material they are in, however i'm here to learn, so fire away :D

Another question - How does the wiring differ for active pickups compared to passive ones? Would it be an issue to replace an EMG-HZ (in a HZ/HZ config) with an Active EMG-81 in the bridge, therefore having an active pickup in the bridge position and a passive pickup in the neck position?

Thanks in advance,

- Dan

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I've been led to beleive that the wood they are in has far less (if any) effect on the sound than it would on passive pickups. Is this correct?

no it is not correct...think about it logically and you will see it makes no sense

there is so much bull out there about active pickups and the truth is i have them in all my guitars and they all sound COMPLETELY different

it is much simpler to keep it all active,not mix and match.besides,the hz is so noisy compared to the actives that you will not be happy switching to it.the hz is meant to be a cheaper alternative to the active line afaik

anyway if you want a mahogany guitar and want a sound similar to metallica(i know you are a fan)use the 81...for maple body or something like that...85

for alder...take your pick.the difference between the 85 and 81 is mostly bottom end...the 85 has more of it and the 81is more percussive

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Hey wes, I heard that emgs exspecially the 81 dont mix well with a high gain amp like the Peavey 5150. Does the 81 have much gain? I really want to try some actives but if they will feed back thats no good considering the 5150 does a fine job of feeding back by itself :D

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no it is not correct...think about it logically and you will see it makes no sense

there is so much bull out there about active pickups and the truth is i have them in all my guitars and they all sound COMPLETELY different

it is much simpler to keep it all active,not mix and match.besides,the hz is so noisy compared to the actives that you will not be happy switching to it.the hz is meant to be a cheaper alternative to the active line afaik

anyway if you want a mahogany guitar and want a sound similar to metallica(i know you are a fan)use the 81...for maple body or something like that...85

for alder...take your pick.the difference between the 85 and 81 is mostly bottom end...the 85 has more of it and the 81is more percussive

Thanks a lot for your advice wes, thats cleared it up nicely :D

Actually its funny you should advice that, because atm the combo i had in mind was mahogany/EMG-81's anyway, or maybe 81/60?

Still, the problem is im not sure what wood i will be able to get, sicne it will be through a mate of dads who does a lot of cabinet making, it could be i end up with a wood thats not traditionally used in guitars. So we'll see.

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Hey wes, I heard that emgs exspecially the 81 dont mix well with a high gain amp like the Peavey 5150. Does the 81 have much gain? I really want to try some actives but if they will feed back thats no good considering the 5150 does a fine job of feeding back by itself :D

more than likely ui wiill jsut have to turn down some of the gain. my old cort had 81 and 85's and the booster too.. as well as the active q.. now problems there but i like the way i did my ibanez bettwer with my 81 as i got a more versatile tone.

but i posted it here and got bashed so i am not going down that road again

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Unfortunately, there has been a lot of bad information spread about the active pickups. The fundamentals of how they work are no different from a passive pickup - they sense string vibration. The signal is not "generated" by the pickup - it comes directly from the properties of the vibrating string.

Anyway, the EMG 81 is not a middle of the road pickup which means that there are going to be some who don't like it. I just wish those people would just stop at that and not continue on to generate false rumors about them.

I believe that pickups are the biggest factor in the sound of a solid body electric. I don't mean that the wood is not a factor - I'm just saying that it is very important that you pay attention to the pickup selection when you are looking for a certain sound.

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Thanks for hte advice all, and thanks for clearing away the wrong information i'd been given - im really glad i asked in here :D

I've got plenty of time to decide on pickups while i save the 500 odd dollars for them anyway, so there is no rush B)

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