I've been having a bit of a problem recently which I believe requires immediate rectification.
I HATE the sound of my neck position EMG's. i have the 85 and 60 in my two main guitars. For cleans, i think they add a lot of life to my XXX's clean channel (which isn't the best to start with) but for my distorted tones, when I switch to that pickup, the sound I get just...sucks.
I thought about trying the 18v mod, to see if that helps, or maybe using the 81 in the neck position as well. You can kinda hear what I mean in this video:
Entire vid played on an EMG 60 in the neck.
Is there something I've missed that I need to try? I might try to get it recorded eventually, but GHAH this is frustrating.
I have exactly the same thing in my 1527. I originally had an 81-7 in the bridge and a 707 in the neck and hated it. Swapped 'em round and hate it less, but I'm not fond (I foolishly replaced an Air Norton 7 with this, just to rub salt into the wound!)
have you tried the 85 in the neck slot? might give you what you're looking for. the 85 is capable of doing a thick and harmonically rich tone when height gets tweaked, this is a setup I use in my RG321MH and it works out very well. I spend the most time on the neck pickup as it sounds that good (although I can't beat the 81 in the bridge for distorted rhythm sounds) no matter what I use it for (from jazz cleans to shred appropriate tones)
for what it's worth it the 60 does sound really good in the vid, but if it's not the tone you're shooting for then by all means tweak/change until you find it
Although I will always have less respect for a players technique when they have a dampening device, no matter what your name is, Guthrie Govan, Greg Howe or if you're just a youtube guitarist. As a musican I don't lose respect but for the technical ability I do.
Anyway back on topic, I saw someone recommend a active/passive combo. Personally I find that it's too big difference with that. I would rather go all passive but if I were to stay active, a EMG 85 would sound smoother than the EMG 60.