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EMG Guitar Pickups 

EMG is a company that manufactures electric guitar and bass pickups. They are best known for their active pickupsthat have become very renowned amongst metal and heavy rockplayers over the years.

As well as their popular active pickups, EMG also produce a range of passive pickups. Both their active and passive pickups include single coil and humbucker models

Active vs Passive


  • Require the power of a battery
  • Higher output, making them suited to hard rock and heavy metal play
  • Less dynamics than passive pickups
  • No noise


  • Don’t require the power of a battery
  • Lower output than active pickups but can still be high output
  • More dynamics than active pickups
  • Used for all types of music
  • Passive single coils produce hum

EMG guitar pickups come stock in many guitars from a number of manufacturers such as Schecter, Ibanez, Jackson and ESP. The EMG 81 and 85 set is especially popular in a lot of guitars.

There are many famous players known for using EMG guitar pickups, including:

  • Zakk Wylde
  • James Hetfield
  • Jim Root
  • David Gilmour
  • Prince

A number of EMG artists have signature pickups sets than are available including the JH HET Set (James Hetfield’s signature pickups).

Single Coil Vs Humbucker

Single Coil

  • Very clear clean sound
  • Lower output than humbuckers
  • Passive single coils hum – hum increases with more drive
  • Typically quieter than humbuckers 


  • Higher output
  • Less to no noise
  • Can seem a little less clear than single coils
  • Can be less dynamic than single coils
  • Louder signal than single coils

 EMG pickups can be bought individually, as a set and also as pre-wired custom styles. These are designed to make the installation process much easier by only having to remove the current pickguard on your guitar and replacing it. They use EMG’s solderless install system so no soldering is necessary.