EMG 81

Infobox Guitar Pickup
title=EMG 81

manufacturer=EMG, Inc.
magnettype=Ceramic magnet
EMG 81 is a famous active humbucker guitar pickup manufactured by EMG. It is usually considered a lead pickup for use in bridge position, paired with EMG 85 as a rhythm pickup in neck position (Zakk Wylde is famous for this configuration). It's not uncommon, however, to see a guitar with two EMG 81s in both bridge and neck positions (for instance, Kirk Hammett's EMG-KH21 pickup sets, which include 2 EMG 81 pickups for both neck and bridge positions). The EMG-KH20 has an EMG 81 in the bridge and 2 EMG-S single coil pickups in the middle and neck positions. The EMG 81 pickup is preferred as a lead pickup because of its high output, and smooth control from having a rail magnet. Rail magnets tend to sound smoother through guitar bends because they have a constant "rail" that runs through the pickup, while typical ceramic magnets have poles at each string that lose signal strength as the string bends away from the ceramic pole.

EMG 81 can be recognized by a humbucker form-factor and silver embossed EMG logo.

History and design

EMG-81 was developed in 1979 along with the EMG 85, and, since 1981, it is the model that made EMG famous. Construction is similar to traditional U-shaped pickups, but there are no separate pole pieces; steel bars (rails) are used instead. Alnico magnets have been replaced with more powerful ceramic ones. While nominal output is the same as EMG 85, lower noise ratio gives more gain opportunity. Therefore, EMG 81 is loudest of all EMG pickups.

As most other modern EMG pickups, EMG 81 has 3-wire "quik-connect" output, that comes as a 3-pin male connector on a pickup body and a 3-wire cable to connect it. Easy wire color code scheme that is the same for all EMG products simplifies soldering and installation.

18v Mod

Some guitarists increase the power source from 9v to 18v by adding another 9v battery wired up in series. Many players believe this creates more clarity, articulation and headroom. The pickup is rated at 27v so the mod is harmless and there are even some guitarists, albeit very few, that perform 27v mods although the improvement is questionable over the 18v mod.

Guitars with EMG 81

* Dean Guitars Razorback 255
* Dean Guitars Razorback V 255
* Dean ML Knight
* B.C. Rich Kerry King Signature Wartribe (EMG 85 in neck)
* Epiphone Les Paul Custom Midnight
* Epiphone Les Paul Prophecy EX
* Epiphone Limited Edition G-400 Electric Guitar with EMG Pickups
* ESP Eclipse II
* ESP Eclipse II Standard Series
* ESP Eclipse Limited
* ESP FX (EMG-60 in neck)
* ESP Jeff Hanneman Signature (EMG-85 in neck)
* ESP JH-1 (EMG-60 in neck)
* ESP JH-2 (EMG-60 in neck)
* ESP JH-3
* ESP KH-1
* ESP KH-2
* ESP KH-2 Relic
* ESP KH-3
* ESP KH-4
* ESP Truckster (EMG-60 in neck)
* ESP LTD Deluxe M-1000
* ESP LTD Deluxe EC-1000
* ESP LTD EC-2005/EC-500
* ESP LTD EC-400 (EMG-60 in neck)
* ESP LTD EC-400 (EMG-60 in neck)
* ESP LTD EC-500 (EMG-60 in neck)
* ESP LTD EX-400 (EMG-60 in neck)
* ESP LTD EX-400BD (EMG-60 in neck)
* ESP LTD F-2005/F-500
* ESP LTD FX-400 (EMG-60 in neck)
* ESP LTD "The Grynch" (EMG-60 in neck)
* ESP LTD KH-602
* ESP LTD KH-603
* ESP LTD M-400
* ESP LTD MH-400 (EMG-85 in neck)
* ESP LTD M-1000
* ESP LTD MP-600
* ESP LTD Viper 2005 Limited (EMG-85 in neck)
* ESP LTD Viper Deluxe 1000
* ESP LTD Viper-400
* ESP LTD VP-2005/VP-500
* ESP M-II Custom (EMG-60 in neck)
* ESP MX Custom Shop
* ESP Viper Standard Series
* Fender Jim Root Telecaster (EMG 60 in neck)
* Fernandes Revolver Pro-81
* Gibson Les Paul Raw Power [Bridge pickup]
* Gibson Les Paul Studio II EMG
* Gibson Les Paul Zakk Wylde
* Gibson SG Special II EMG
* Godin Freeway EMG
* Godin LG EMG
* Ibanez MTM1 (EMG-60 in neck)
* Jackson DKMG Dinky
* Jackson DKMGT Dinky
* Jackson DXMG Dinky
* Jackson RR24
* Jackson SLSMG (After July 2006)
* Jackson WRMG Warrior
* Schecter Guitar Research Hellraiser guitars
* Schecter Guitar Research Devil Spine
* Schecter Guitar Research Devil Custom
* Washburn X50Pro FE
* Baphomet - UVA Instruments

External links

* [http://www.emginc.com/downloads/wiringdiagrams/EMG-Hseries.pdf EMG data sheet] (an Adobe PDF file)
* [http://www.emginc.com/displayproducts.asp?section=Guitar&categoryid=6&catalogid=1 EMG 81 displayspecs]

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