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Can't decide between Blackhawk and EMG81

Discussion in 'Backline' started by Flow Of Time, Dec 1, 2014.

  1. Flow Of Time

    Flow Of Time Member

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    Give me some arguments for either one…
     
  2. Rex Rocker

    Rex Rocker Call me Hugo!

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    What kind of tone are you after?

    I'd say th 81 is the safer bet and works well with a lot of people's high-gain playing styles, records well, and is cheaper and easier to find used. I think most of the forum is going to recommend that one as well.

    I'm sure the BKP crowd will step up and say something about the BH. It sure has an awkward name to say outloud.
     
  3. CraigJohnsJr

    CraigJohnsJr MASSiVE- Guitarist

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    Bare Knuckle pickups have a much more clear and open tone to them. There are lots of comparison videos on YouTube. Check those out. They're also much more dependent on the sound of your guitar than EMG's. To exaggerate, (I repeat, to exaggerate,) every guitar with EMGs sounds like EMGs, where as two different guitars with the same BKPs will sound different. I personally have BKP Juggernauts in my guitars and love them. Lastly, keep in mind that BKP's are passive, so you'll need 500k pots, where as you'd need 25k for the actives. Between the two, I'd say Black Hawks.
     
  4. CraigJohnsJr

    CraigJohnsJr MASSiVE- Guitarist

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    Black Hawks: Clear, open, passive, expensive.
    EMGs: Classic EMG sound, active.

    Also, you can email Tim at Bare Knuckle and tell him exactly what you want out of a pickup and he'll point you in the right direction.
     
  5. mikah912

    mikah912 Member

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    Best argument for the EMG is that it's pretty cheap to find an 81/85 set gently used, and if you don't like 'em...sell 'em and try the Blackhawk.
     
  6. MatrixClaw

    MatrixClaw Member

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    Never tried the Blackouts, but I have a strong dislike for EMGs. That being said, they sound phenomenal in my Eclipse II. Everything else I've had them in? Not so much.
     
  7. Aceshighhhh

    Aceshighhhh Member

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    I actually have a set of Black Hawks in one of my 7's and I don't really dig them. Really ice picky high-end even with just straight riffing, but my guitar has a maple neck so that might also be contributing. Planning on trying out a set of the Paul Waggoner signature PU's soon
     
  8. mickrich

    mickrich Member

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    I did a reamp job for an EP for Red Seas Fire a couple of weeks ago.
    He used Mayones guitar with BKP Blackhawks and it sounded amazing.
    Jumped out of the amp, but he is such a good player that any pickups would have sounded good.
    I am not of fan of EMGs at all.
     
  9. Vice//Versa

    Vice//Versa Dude among dudes

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    I beeen playing 81s for a couple years and I do like them a lot but I've looking around for PUs that take my guitar to the next level. I hear people complain about EMG's a lot, particularly the 81, but then they praise new EMG models that sound marginally different. Besides, guys like Collin Richardson craft some of the best tones and they always seems to use an 81.

    I've considered getting a pair of Bareknuckle nailbombs or juggernaut but I just haven't heard a lot of quality clips.
     
  10. Jaymz

    Jaymz Stymphalian Productions

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    EMG 57. Job done ;)
     
  11. Flow Of Time

    Flow Of Time Member

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    Thanks for your answers guys. My problem is, that I really love the EMG sound in the mixes I hear with them, but I hate how they play. Everything feels stiff.

    So I hoped, that maybe the Blackhwak could deliver a best of both worlds
     
  12. BearOnGuitar

    BearOnGuitar Member

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    If by stiff you mean lacking dynamics I highly suggest trying the 24v mod/battery pack. I received mine already, still waiting for my EMG equipped guitar to arrive though. I will report back on how well it works as soon as I get to try it out.

     
    #12 BearOnGuitar, Dec 3, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2015
  13. guy in latvia

    guy in latvia Member

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    Blackhawks sound really good in warm body guitars like mahogany, in brighter guitars, stay away!
     
  14. Rex Rocker

    Rex Rocker Call me Hugo!

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    The "lack of dynamic" thing is not solely due to the preamp clipping. Yes, it adds up a lot to the stiffness, but the fact that inside the cover the pickup has blades instead of poles also give the attack a much smoother and less percussive response. I highly suspect that's part of the reason the 57 users report the 57 "feels" more dynamic (along with other things, obviously). The Hets, for example, have a very different feel to the attack compared to the 81 to me, which some people report "feels more like a passive", even though the preamp clips a whole lot more because the Het is hotter. I feel snobby for saying this, but guess "feel" is something that doesn't really come across clips all that well. The EMG 81 is a sum of its parts.
     
  15. MatrixClaw

    MatrixClaw Member

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    Honestly, I hate EMGs because of what they do to palm mutes. They even out the sound so much that its like there's a compressor completely annihilating the low end. It CAN work great in some instances, but for less cookie-cutter music, it tends to make the guitars sound really unrealistic and overly processed, especially if they're then run into an amp simulator, instead of a real amp. Even with the 18v mod, they still sound off. Cool if you're going for that sound, but aside from my ESP, the only other instance where I've found they work well is really chuggy 7/8 string stuff, as that compression is something I'd usually apply anyway to keep the low end from getting out of control at such low frequencies.
     
  16. Flow Of Time

    Flow Of Time Member

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    I tried a BlackOUT equipped guitar today and I didn't find them as stiff as 81s. Maybe that's due to the fact Rex mentioned above. But I preferred the tone of the 81.

    I guess I'll go with the Blackhawks though, I think I wouldn't be happy with a pickup I don't enjoy playing, even if it sounds awesome..
     
  17. guy in latvia

    guy in latvia Member

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    I don't really mean to turn this any more into an active vs passive thread, but the biggest difference between them in my experience is the low end. Actives always have a boomy exaggerated low end, great for 6 strings where it gives those huge palm mutes, but in low tunings or 7/8 stringers it just starts making a horrible mess of things.
     
  18. Flow Of Time

    Flow Of Time Member

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    Got myself a pair of Blackhawks! Now I just have to learn how to swap pickups.. ;)
     
  19. Rex Rocker

    Rex Rocker Call me Hugo!

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    Yeah, TBH, now that I got a Duncan Distortion for another guitar, I'm starting to feel like giving passives a try for the rest of them, lol.
     

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