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What is the deal with EMG Pickups?!

Discussion in 'Musicians Corner' started by Katalepsy, Sep 2, 2004.

  1. cholo11

    cholo11 WuW

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    Or maybe instead of the Dimebucker, a Bill Lawrence L500XL or an Invader.
     
  2. schenkadere

    schenkadere Obey my dog!

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    I love my Invader.:headbang:
     
  3. LiquidAces

    LiquidAces New Metal Member

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    Hi people I'm actually new to the forum, i just joined because I was doing some googling looking to find out if people found it confusing to play their instrument with malmsteen because he knows all the notes on the guitar as I do in the tuning of E, but when tuned to Eb, we still call A, A - But its actually Ab. Anyway, after reading the post above I felt compelled to join up.

    First of all, malmsteen is one of the most innovative players alive, he may have a few licks that he uses alot, but being able to play 80% of his stuff I can tell you here right now, he isn't only about inversion arpeggio's, diminished triads and "off timed runs". But I see him to be one of the only players that utilises pitch axis, key changes a plenty, and switching between harmonic minor, Aeolian, Dominant Phrygian, Phrygian, Melodic Major, Melodic Minor, and Diminished. His runs are clear and concise, and his music has an amazing style to it. Paul gilbert at one of his clinics said he is inspired by Malmsteen. Malmsteen taught Steve Vai.

    Coming from years of improvisation, I can tell you the problem with some people, malmsteen likes to play 7 notes of the scale in timed sections of 8, but instead of playing 3 notes in a triplet and 4 notes as a quadtuplet, he divides the time for that 8 notes into 7, sometimes holding the note but rarely.

    Tone: Tone comes from the body of the guitar first, then the pickups amplify that tone, and its dependend on the signal clarity how it goes to the amp.

    Having being playing Metallica for 10 years on an ESP with EMG's and an Ibanez with EMG's I can tell you EMG's do produce a pretty clear sound when they are active pickups. But the clearest I've had is when i bought a malmsteen signature guitar, with the HS3 on the bridge and YJM on middle and neck. A little fact for you. Single coil are the only pickups that can send a clean signal to the amp. Malmsteen likes single coils because they don't distort the signal. And he does a post distortion. This means the clarity between the guitar and amp is at its maximum.

    Humbuckers on the otherhand, distort the signal before it gets to the amp. Therefore when you distort that signal it becomes mushy. Heres how you can test it. Goto a music store, grab a malmsteen signature strat, and then grab any guitar with EMG's. Plug into an amp with plenty of distortion. Strum a Dmajor chord, now arpeggiate that chord anywhere on the neck. while distorted. Grab the other guitar and do it. Its mushy as hell on the EMG's. Whilst on the single coil its very clear and precise. I arpeggiate very fast and clarity comes only through my strats. I'm not a die hard strat fan, but i realise for malmsteens style of music, you need to use a strat with single coils on a marshall. If you want satriani's tone you need to use a basswood guitar with a rosewood neck with dimarzio humbuckers. For an example visit my myspace. The neoclassical stuff is written on both my strat that i built myself and my signature malmsteen guitar. The more melodic pop instrumental stuff is played on my JS1000. I use a marshall tone for my strat, and for the JS I use a Soldano.

    I'm also a music teacher and I've got a few students all over sydney now if anyone wants lessons pm me at my myspace pages.

    Neoclassical: www.myspace.com/liquidaces
    Instrumental Rock: www.myspace.com/liquidaces2

    PS I was wondering if you're as good as you claim to be please give me your myspace page because I think with what you said you have to back it up with evidence. I'm expecting you to be as good or better as paul gilbert - who i met.

    Thanks for reading guys.
     
  4. ToastedOveries

    ToastedOveries Stranger in the night

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    malmsteen didnt teach steve vai did he? are u getting him mixed with satriani? i know vai came afrer malmsteen in alcatrazz
     
  5. schenkadere

    schenkadere Obey my dog!

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    Yeah...you got it right.
     
  6. Kenneth R.

    Kenneth R. Cináed

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    I'm not partial to any brand or pickup. I have EMG's (81 and 85) in my Schecter. My Jackson SL has 2 hotrails and a Distortion I believe. My RG1527 has some ibanez made 7 string pickups. Each sounds great. It's not really about one pickup or brand being superior, but about finding the most suitable pickup for the style of playing, wood, etc. The perfect pickup in one guitar will sound like crap in another one.
     
  7. TomAwesome

    TomAwesome I LIKE JUICE!

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    EMGs have their strengths and weaknesses. People like them because they're punchy, powerful, and pretty clear sounding. I'm not sure where people are getting the idea that EMGs are muddy. I don't really like EMGs, but muddy is not a word I'd use to describe them. A lot of people also love them because they're key in getting that "metalcore" sound all the kids love these days.

    They will sound different in different guitars. Different woods, scale lengths, and construction (like bolt-on vs. neck-thru) will all make a difference in the sound. Yeah, it's a hell of a lot less of a difference than with most passives, but it's still there. Zakk Wylde says he can hear a difference between any two of his EMG-equipped Les Pauls.

    That being said, I still prefer passives. I do like the 60 and the 707, but there's still a bit of the qualities I don't like in the 81 and 85. I also think that a good player will sound like a good player and a bad player will sound like a bad player regardless of their pickups, so I think that's kind of a silly thing to argue about. Malmsteen would still be sloppy and Gilbert would still kick ass if they both had EMGs.
     
  8. TomAwesome

    TomAwesome I LIKE JUICE!

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    Really now. Would you mind explaining that a bit further?
     
  9. Kenneth R.

    Kenneth R. Cináed

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    As an electrical engineer, I'll flat out tell you that he's mistaken.

    The magnetic field of a single coil pickup vs the double coil of a humbucker (literally, the purpose is stated in the name): The double coil cancels noise. These days, you can get that done for a single coil via other grounding methods. So really the tonal difference created by the different field types is all that matters. And that's going to be different for everybody. I prefer hums.
     
  10. LiquidAces

    LiquidAces New Metal Member

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    Quoted from http://www.sweetwater.com/expert-center/techtips/d--03/26/1998

    Tonally speaking the Humbucker pickup is characterized as having a fatter, warmer sound as compared to a single coil. A single coil is traditionally considered to have a brighter and cleaner tone quality.

    Really its alot more obvious when you do it in person. I can record something with both my single coil guitar and humbucker guitar and show the difference. Humbuckers end up mushy because they are fatter sounding pickup.
     
  11. LiquidAces

    LiquidAces New Metal Member

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    Oh and regarding teaching, Satriani was Steve Vai's main teacher, but he was friends with malmsteen and got lessons with malmsteen at a young age. Malmsteen believes that Steve Vai surpassed his teacher. Thats just malmsteens opinion. I still believe Satriani is one of the greatests but not the only good guitarist out there. I started playing guitar learning all of metallica - kirk hammets solos. I learnt all their stuff. Then moved onto Pantera's Dimebag. Then Moved to Satriani, Malmsteen... Got into Vai, didn't really dig it. Got into Petrucci, didn't really dig it either. But as a teacher now I'm coming up with new theories and writing a book for educational purposes. If anyone wants to pre order a book let me know.

    Enjoy and keep playing.
     
  12. LiquidAces

    LiquidAces New Metal Member

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    I'm not doubting the facts of the magnetic fields. I do understand how humbuckers work. They are wired out of phase so they cancel noise but as a counter result it results in being a fatter tone. Think about it. The output signal is higher. If you turn up the volume of a microphone and scream into it you get clipping. A bad example but you should get what i mean. The single coil is a lower output pickup. So the signal is more pure, the problem is you still get the hums and EMF. But the great thing with the HS3 and YJM pickups is that they are a stacked humbucker. So you get the best of both worlds because theirs only 6 pole pieces.

    Everyone knows that EMGS are shit for clean tone because they distort the signal. If you plug in an EMG into an amp, turn up the volume and strum an open Emajor Chord really hard, you'll get a distorted sound. Single coils are the only way to get that out clean. I'm not saying your statement is wrong, but i think we're talking about different things.
     
  13. ToastedOveries

    ToastedOveries Stranger in the night

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    shouldnt that happen with any pickup through a tube amp? the sound clips and creates distortion? EMGs just moreso since they are hotter pickups than most, but you'd still get it with a passive singlecoil, you'd just need more volume.
     
  14. razoredge

    razoredge Member

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    both DC and SC pickups play cleanly natural.... and both will distort natural if you want them too as well.

    First let me say when I'm talking about clean I mean really clean, no growl, no bite, just totally smooth.

    For some clean stuff I prefer the sound of M & N single coils for other clean stuff I prefer the sound of N & B hummers or just N hummers. But for glassy jazz clean it has to involve a neck hummer, a single coil has a natural string sound thats got ? a bit of rasp ? Im really getting to like the amplified sound (clean) of my traditional archtop which only has a single floating neck pup which is suppose to be a single but I have to cut the tone to get the warm sound.... might be less necessary if it were a DC... but me donst care. Its one sweet woody sound.

    I totally hate the sound of a bridge pup by itself clean... single or double. Surfs cool but I dont play any surf... yet

    If your thrashin or chunkin with distortion it has to be on bridge only hummer for me, singles just dont have the sound I want for riff distortion. However I love the sound the likes of Malmsteen, Hendrix, Vaughan, Clapton, Puleo and so many others get from their Strats under distortion, but it doesnt work for me when Im playing and have to hear it coming from me.

    Im also finding a bridge hum alone for gain solos is way to piercing so depending on the guitar I switch to both or a two pup combination.

    Myself unless its a Paul copy I have no desire to buy another dual humbucker guitar, I say this because my buddy at the local music store has a used lefty Epiphone Paul with the nicest curly maple top in cherry burst that Im really liking the sound and feel of... damn him... I have too many guitars... lol. Seriously though otherwise the DSS layout with a Floyd is the only sound for me. I may even take the router to my Kramer yet to add a second SC. Its a H & S w/floyd but not quite enough Strat sound when I want it.
     
  15. Kenneth R.

    Kenneth R. Cináed

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    1. Most people (intelligent ones I should say, not "most" in the usual sense) don't use microphones cranked to 11. Whatever tonal difference you perceive as sucky for clean tone is preferential and due to the magnetic differences I already addressed.
     
  16. LiquidAces

    LiquidAces New Metal Member

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    You'll find, where it is almost going to distort on clean with single coils, the clean won't be as clean with humbuckers.

    By the way i like both! For different things. I hate people that try to push you to one product, I have dimarzio, and EMG, i had semour duncans too. They're all different.

    But for certain styles its best to use what works. For fast shredding the two clearest players are malmsteen and gilbert, both who use maple necks on alder body guitars. Tone mainly comes from there. The rest is pups, amp and then the player.

    I am a bit over rosewood necks, they look cool as hell. But once u get over the visuals you start realising that music is all about the sound.

    Look at metallica for example. We all love hetfields mahogany explorer's and here we are thinking he records all his ballady stuff on that, but he doesn't he uses a telecaster. Why not? Sound is more important. I can play metal on a strat and still be cool. i don't need a BC rich. But a BC rich makes metal look cool.
     
  17. schenkadere

    schenkadere Obey my dog!

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    Just like anything else...you gotta know how to use 'em.
     
  18. razoredge

    razoredge Member

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    I have found what most people call clean is not what I call clean, I like using glassy clean guitar parts here and there, even in my metal, I never go for that half gain clean, I go for the crystal clear electric guitar sound... with a chorus so maybe that makes it an exageration but that is a sound I love just as much as balls to the wall crunch. Blues... all natural guitar sound (no chorus), maybe some grit after awhile for improv but Ill always start clean so you can hear the guitar and the expression that is applied by the pick hand.... much harder than with gain actually.... so Im still working on it.......... lol
     
  19. TomAwesome

    TomAwesome I LIKE JUICE!

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    That's more along the lines of what I was thinking.

    So you're saying that a different EQ means it's not a clean signal? You can EQ a humbucker just about any way you want. There are a lot of really bright ones out there. A fatter EQ curve doesn't mean that the signal isn't clean. Things shouldn't get "mushy" unless the pickup is crappy or your amp doesn't handle a little extra bass very well.

    I'd think that as long as it wasn't hot enough to get unwanted clipping, a hotter pickup would have a cleaner signal because the signal/noise ratio would be tipped in favor of the signal. Besides, there are a lot of low output humbuckers. A pickup isn't going to overdrive an amp on its own just because it's got two coils. If the amp is set up so that hitting a chord on a low output humbucker equipped guitar causes it to drive the amp and clip a little (which sounds good anyway depending on what you're doing), it probably wouldn't be too difficult to do the same with a single coil, unless it was really low output even for a SC.

    EMGs don't necessarily distort the clean channel. EMGs actually don't have as much output compared to a high output passive humbucker as a lot of people seem to think. I've heard plenty of instances of EMGs sounding pristinely clean on clean settings. Who strums chords really hard when they want a pristine clean sound anyway? The reason people who hate EMGs for clean tones feel that way is mainly because it's a sterile sound with no character.

    Single coils do have a really nice glassy clean sound that's hard to mimic with humbuckers. However, I think you're confusing cleanness with brightness and presence.
     
  20. Kenneth R.

    Kenneth R. Cináed

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    This is just flat out untrue. You've probably only played LiveWire or something like that. Jazz? Eh?
     

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