EMG is a company that is globally renowned as one of the finest manufacturers of metal pickups. Each of their items is a mean machine for hard rock and metal music, and that what makes them strong – when you buy EMG, you know what you will be getting.
But it still takes skill to distinguish the one that suits you to a tee. The majority of EMG pickups is great, but that also makes it difficult to find the ones that are really great. And that’s where we step in with our list of best EMG pickups for metal. The rundown awaits below.
What Are the Best EMG Pickups for Metal
The EMG 81 is a high output humbucker pickup crafted with high gain and high overdrive amplifiers in mind. It’s an active piece of equipment that includes a Quik Connect cable, a prewired split shaft volume and tone control set, a classic output jack , a battery clip set, as well as classic screws and springs.
The pickup features some sleek looks, typically the elegant black finish that seamlessly blends into every guitar, yet offers an amazing tonal boost.
The pickup was made for metal, but also with great consideration of lead guitar playing. Therefore, it packs a mean punch of gain and extra power and operates in the most effective way when placed into the bridge pickup position.
The EMG 81 should always be mixed with another humbucker pickup to provide extra versatility and allow you to focus on both rhythm guitar and lead playing. The sound itself is crushing as always, with a well rounded low end, an extra punchy middle section, and a particularly bright and prominent treble segment for those lead lines we have just mentioned.
Continuing the rundown, we bring you what is widely considered as the brother of the EMG 81 model – the EMG 85. This one is more of a rhythm guitar pickup and represents the perfect match for the 81 when placed in the neck position. Note that the 81 + 85 combo is used by none other than Mr. Zakk Wylde.
As for the features, it’s classic EMG stuff here – a Quik Connect cable, a prewired split shaft volume and tone control set, a classic output jack , a battery clip set, as well as standard screws and springs.
The sound is beefy, meaty and sludgy – perfect for stomping metal riffs. Once again, this is a pickup that needs to be combined with another model, this time around a little something to provide you with a soloing edge. Apart from that, it’s massive bass, strong mids, and a mellow treble section.
Finally, the one that can cover it all – the EMG 60. This pickup offers a fine performance across all fronts without dropping a ball for a second both in the solo and rhythm department. It is worth noting that Metallica frontman James Hetfield uses the EMG 60 in his signature models, so that’s the type of playing you should utilize with the 60 model – both rhythm and lead, but still more on the rhythm side.
Each of the sonic frequencies is covered and packed with crunch – the bass section is warm and strong, the mids are loaded with punch, while the treble section is very strong and cuts through every other instrument with ease, allowing your guitar to be heard during solos in every environment.
And that would steadily conclude our broadcast on the matter of the best EMG pickups for metal. EMG is a company that focuses on hard rock and heavy metal in the first place, so there’s not a lot of place for errors in the first place. But for top-notch results, the three listed pickups will do a killer job and help you to deliver an amazing punch.
If you want to go metal, go EMG, they will blow you away. Metal horns up, highly recommended.