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Unread 05-09-2012, 05:11 PM   #1
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EMG® 81 and 85 Pickups ( or other active ) question

I got a new Jackson WRXMG with EMG 81 and 85's and mind you I have never used active pickups before. Sounds like crap! Well mainly because its distorted as hell.

So how do you use these thing? First thing I tried was guitar to amp bypassing my effects. No good, so I then tried %25 volume. That got rid of the distortion ( mostly ) but killed the hi's. Using the high gain input helps a bit but still the worst sound I have ever head out of a guitar in my life. So how do you get a nice clean sound out of these?

I'm using a 5150 btw and I dont use the heavy channel because I do all my effects and distortion with my 2101. So its just a nice clean channel.

I hate to rip out pickups on a new guitar, especial if it has a warranty. I sure hope I'm missing something here.

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Unread 05-09-2012, 05:15 PM   #2
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Try lowering the pickup height a bit.


Otherwise your multi-fx probably can't handle the output of them. A few of the older processors have some trouble with high-output pickups, especially Emgs.
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Unread 05-09-2012, 05:16 PM   #3
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Put in a new battery - then unplug the 2101 and wail on the 5150. I've never had anything but awesome metal tones from EMG+5150 combo.
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Unread 05-09-2012, 05:16 PM   #4
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Why the .... are you using 5150 clean channel for external distortion if it's a known fact that 5150 suck with its clean channel.
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Unread 05-09-2012, 05:18 PM   #5
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Why the .... are you using 5150 clean channel for external distortion if it's a known fact that 5150 suck with its clean channel.
I have to agree with this. Why not use the FX loop of the 5150? Or hell, even better, just use the damn 5150!

Another route is to try the 18V mod. You can either buy you a new harness for $5, or go to Radioshack and buy the parts for even cheaper. It won't lower the output, but it'll clean things up a bit.
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Unread 05-09-2012, 06:24 PM   #6
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Ok first off to settle the wise cracks about the 510, its now plugged in to a practice amp. My point is my B.C rich sounds great compared to this. The 5010 is not the issue it play very well with my old guitar.

I tends to agree it sound like a battery issue. The sound coming out is dead on to the sound of a dying battery operated toy. I have tried a few batteries all that seem to have a good string 9 volts. They can be a month old...

The pickups are very low currently, and lowering them does not seem to change much.

"18V mod" wow that a heavy voltage, I'll have to read up on that but I would still expect this guitar to semi sound well? I may just swing by Music center this weekend and have them look at it.

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Unread 05-09-2012, 06:29 PM   #7
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EMGs need to be very close to strings as they have very weak magnets.
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Unread 05-09-2012, 06:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
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EMGs need to be very close to strings as they have very weak magnets.
EMGs need to be almost kissing the strings.
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Unread 05-09-2012, 06:47 PM   #9
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They are like 1/4 an inch away? Why on earth would they ship out a guitar like that? I give that a try.


--- hmm no good.Just made the sound stronger. I think there is soothing bad wrong here.

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Unread 05-09-2012, 06:59 PM   #10
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Rewire it = DONE!

I find that moving the pickups away from the strings increases dynamics. It's worth moving them around for yourself to see how it works.
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Unread 05-09-2012, 07:00 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ulao View Post
They are like 1/4 an inch away? And on top of that they have covers on them. Why on earth would they ship out a guitar like that? I give that a try.
theyre spose to be close if you dont have a nice loud output on clean, or they sound "flimsy" its a dead battery, also you have to lower the gain with actives, as passive require more, in reference to ur b.c. sounding better. i had dimarzio guitar and emg guitar and every time i switched to the other guitar i had to lower or raise the gain to compensate for the different output between the two. i have the same guitar jackson wxrt mg whatever with same pups but a 90's -2000 model and its my go to guitar for metal.

ALSO too low they will sound like shit. even emg says in their manual emgs can be VERY close to the strings because the preamp boosts the smaller magnet. but on the other hand TOO close and they will clip and distort, so about 1/4 little less is good! sounds like you need a good battery.


AND BTW emgs make my multifx clip if im not careful especially on the overdrive and crap so i just use my amp now.

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Unread 05-09-2012, 07:28 PM   #12
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asilayamazing, yeah I came to that conclusion. My bc is on evos and SD's so I will certainly have to set two levels. Though no matter what I do its just all horrible sound with my warrior. I have 3 amps and they all give that same dead battery sound ( even with a new battery, just bought ). I tried finding a good sound playing with the height of the pups but no dice.

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Unread 05-09-2012, 07:31 PM   #13
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Hmm... Are they both giving you that kind of trouble? I'm starting to think that it's a defective pickup or some problem with the wiring.
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Unread 05-09-2012, 07:37 PM   #14
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Does the 2101 have a setting for the signal from actives?

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Unread 05-09-2012, 07:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ulao View Post
asilayamazing, yeah I came to that conclusion. My bc is on evos and SD's so I will certainly have to set two levels. Though no matter what I do its just all horrible sound with my warrior. I have 3 amps and they all give that same dead battery sound ( even with a new battery, just bought ). I tried finding a good sound playing with the height of the pups but no dice.
is the red wire to the battery connector loose? ive had this happen with 3 sets of emgs i usually end up replacing it with .99cent radioshack battery connectors. can you upload a pic of the cavity maybe theres something wrong thats easy to see.

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Unread 05-09-2012, 07:46 PM   #16
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here's a list that I ran through in order to get my emg'd ibanez up and running rather smoothly (I might be saying things you've already done or have been mentioned though)

first: check that the batter;y is fresh and that there are good connections from the emg's to the rest of the guitar. if the emg's are grounded to the bridge or the back of a pot then remove it. they're designed to be self grounding. also, any bad connections mean you're going to get a bad sound

second: assuming all's well, set the entire guitar up. what worked well for me was to set the action as low as I could with the following condition: the guitar had to have zero buzzing/fretting out and any note I played had to be ringing clear as if my electric relied on it's "acoustic" voice. emg's are far more sensitive and will pick up any buzzing or fretting out that a passive pickup may miss, and sounds bloody awful to my ears

after all that, then I made pickup height adjustments. mine are actually similar to how a passive set would be placed, yours might be different.

that's how I got my six string to work with emg's. granted it took two setups to get all the gremlins out but after that it's been working without fail since

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Unread 05-09-2012, 08:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
Hmm... Are they both giving you that kind of trouble? I'm starting to think that it's a defective pickup or some problem with the wiring.
Both pickups are funky, My brother made the same suggestion, said he had that before.

Quote:
Does the 2101 have a setting for the signal from actives?
I swore it did, but can not find it. Either way its by passed for now.

Quote:
is the red wire to the battery connector loose? ive had this happen with 3 sets of emgs i usually end up replacing it with .99cent radioshack battery connectors. can you upload a pic of the cavity maybe theres something wrong thats easy to see.
Good thought, I have battery sleeves laying around, Ill test it. ( no go here, good connections )

thx Phlegethon, ill try some of that.

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Unread 05-09-2012, 10:44 PM   #18
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Wow so embarrassed, I blame Jackson LOL, so what was it? Well anyone that has or played a warrior will know what I meant when I say the jack is hidden. Yes each time ( 10 that I count ) I plugged my phono jack in it was not in all the way.
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Unread 05-09-2012, 10:57 PM   #19
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^I had the same problem when I first used EMG's stereo jack.
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Unread 05-09-2012, 11:08 PM   #20
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Wow so embarrassed, I blame Jackson LOL, so what was it? Well anyone that has or played a warrior will know what I meant when I say the jack is hidden. Yes each time ( 10 that I count ) I plugged my phono jack in it was not in all the way.
ya till its broken in its kinda wierd, i really dont like it on the bottom hits my thigh an gets loose an blah . unless you have it on the top like the V's?


i didnt even think of that!! lmao. i did that though the other day when i was installing in a different guitar an doing a quick test lol


EDIT: BTW if you dont know keep it unplugged so it doesnt drain your battery!!! i always forgot when i first got them.

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Unread 05-09-2012, 11:26 PM   #21
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EDIT: BTW if you dont know keep it unplugged so it doesnt drain your battery!!! i always forgot when i first got them.
Yeap sure do. I really do like the jack up there much better. Helps if I forget to loop my cable for stage performances.

Yeah its funny I didnt think of this because this is what it sound like when my pedals bump out of jack.
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Unread 05-10-2012, 02:42 AM   #22
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i think the warriors are sweet mahagony with maple neck + emgs = metal!

ive had that guitar for years and i think about selling it but i can never bring myself to do it, i dig em.

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Unread 05-10-2012, 03:08 AM   #23
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i think the warriors are sweet mahagony with maple neck + emgs = metal!
I think his is Basswood. :P
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Unread 05-10-2012, 03:51 AM   #24
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I think his is Basswood. :P
EEWWWW!!!!

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Unread 05-10-2012, 06:25 AM   #25
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edit: Nevermind..
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