EMG pickups - have they no soul?

The other night I saw a certain band, who were all perfectly competent but for me the whole thing was ruined by the guitarist's sound. He had a Gibson Les Paul which had been loaded with EMG pickups. WHY do some people do this? EMG pickups just sound like EMG pickups. You could put them on a shovel and they'd sound the same. They don't seem to transmit any of the natural nuances of sound from the guitar itself, hence putting them into a guitar such as a Les Paul is, in my book, complete sacrilege. Why bother with the Les Paul. Stick them on a piece of crap if all you're interested in is that horrible sound.

I suppose they are OK for digitally processed sounds as they don't really have any soul, and are completely lacking in any vibe. But on a Les Paul going into a tube amp? No thanks!

Sorry... rant over. (For now).

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Hello lads. Thanks for the welcome and that.

The EMG-HZ's are LOUD as loud can be and can do all the bass I've ever wanted. What kind of deep grr you after there Tim?

Welcome all to come over for beer and grill and check out the EMG's if you're in Helsinki for the Eurovision Song Contest next month..

I'm after something with a lot of lows and a decent mid. At the minute I have my tone all the way down and only use the neck Pup and it still sounds a bit thin sometimes.

Go and check a Spector bass, mate. I've got a Legend 4:


Yes, they might be loud, but my point is that they just have their own sound and don't transmit the natural resonance of the guitar, so it is pointless putting them into guitars such as Gibsons because you may as well put them on a cheap guitar and get the same sound.

Well, that's basically bollocks.

Have you heard a Les Paul equipped with EMGs?


Hello mate. Sorry for the silence.

Yeah. A Les Paul with EMG's.. It's a bit sad, I agree. But on a crappo Fender, they sound great. Gilmore's Strat sounds wonderful, as does my 20 yr old Tele. I should know, I've owned it since new. But Fenders are shite anyway. I'd never butcher a Gibson. Heavy metal w***ers may differ.

It might be just me, but I still think that a response like

Well, that's basically bollocks.

is a natural :lol: -inducer. I hope you'll kick around here to add more, Lou.

Lou, I don't agree that Fenders are shite as such, but sometimes their pickups do leave a lot to be desired.

I have been something of a pickup snob in the past, and since EMG's were popular in the 80's, I have always shyed away from them.

But since I have been shocked one too many times in venues that have dodgy wiring, I decided to install some EMGs in to a Warmoth Frankenstrat (it is almost impossible to get shocked using EMGs).

I have to say they sound great! Not vintage, very "Hi-Fi". Using the EQ the guitar can sit back in a mix really well for rhythm, but also cut through when you solo. They a stupidly versitile, and make the band sound much more "produced" like we have a great sound guy on the board.

I would say they make a great choice for a no nonsence, do-everything, guitar.

As for a lack of soul, I think that is a matter of fingers and heart, rather than gear. Too many people buy into the guitar magazine idea of "perfect tone", and forgetting to actually say anything. Why does everyone sound the same these days?

I'm not in love with the way they look, and they don't sound like your father's guitar, but my Frankenstrat is seeing a lot of action over many more expensive "desirable" guitars.

I'm not selling my passive guitars though!


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