Bare Knuckle Pickups Forum

At The Back => Time Out => Topic started by: GuitarIv on March 10, 2017, 11:59:42 AM

Title: Your favourite active pickups?
Post by: GuitarIv on March 10, 2017, 11:59:42 AM
For obvious reasons I'm posting this in the off topic section as it's not about BKP. I usually wouldn't start such a thread if it was about a different pickup manufacturer, but as BKP doesn't offer any active pickups I hope this little fauxpas is forgiven haha  :grin:

So as the title says, what is your favourite active pickup brand/model? I started using Seymour Duncans back in the day and fortunately took the chance and ordered my first BKP after a few years of playing, the Holydiver. Been hooked ever since. Never really was a fan of actives, however selling lots of my cheaper and surplus guitars that had passives in it and eventually getting EMG equipped axes through a few trades I've done I had my precious BKPs sit in a drawer whilst I was trying to figure out which guitars to keep and which ones to get rid of.

So of course I played the 81 for a while. I always respected that pickup for what it is, a mean metal machine that gives you lots of consistency and compression with tight palm mutes and attack. Trade offs are as we all know lack of dynamics, warmth and openess.

One day I saw a demo for the 57/66 set EMG had put out a while ago and everybody was raving about them. So having a Les Paul with the 81/60 combo at home I took the chance and ordered a set, the EMG solderless system promised a quick swap and I could always sell them later on when I'd finally order the right Bareknuckles.

I was very surprised, in a positive way. First thing that struck me was the string seperation and the added dynamics. The 81 in comparison is very dry and feels stiff and big chords have a tendency to become somewhat mushy, the 57 is warmer and spongier feeling, yet still tighter than the 85 and has shedloads of output. The midrange is pronounced, you hear all the notes in big chords, the pickup reacts very well to changes in pick attack and the volume and tone controls on the guitar. I'd describe it as an active Holydiver (which I still own and very much love). The 66 is what I'd call an upgraded version of the 60, good for cleans, bluesy leads and sweeps under high gain.

So after having only one more guitar to sell after finally settling on my keepers I decided to keep the set. I toyed around with the EMG SA single coils for my Strat as well (in combination with the SPC Presence Control these little fokkers will take you into modern metal territory), but apart from the plus of having zero noise I might as well throw in some humbuckers in there as the clean and crunch tones aren't really what you'd expect from single coils. And that's not what I want in this guitar, I want a Strat.

So the 57/66 will live in my Jackson Randy Rhoads that already came with a battery department, I'll order a Slowhand Bridge pickup for the Strat as I already own the Middle and Neck Versions which came in a set with the Holydiver and the LP is getting the Riff Raff/Mule combo. This should effectively give me a broad range of sounds all the way up to Hard Rock/80ies Metal with the EMGs in the Jackson doing their job whenever I feel like doing more modern stuff.

As I get older the more I come to the conclusion one should keep an open mind, passives as well as actives have their strengths and weaknesses, a tool is a tool and as long as it suits the music one should use it.  :azn:

p.s.: anyone have some experience with the new Fluence pickups from Fishman? Those would be next on my "to do" list

Title: Re: Your favourite active pickups?
Post by: one on March 11, 2017, 10:10:31 AM
I have no idea about the Fishman to help you but your post made me curious. I'm not an active pups person, I have only owned two pairs, the SD blackouts and the EMG 81TW and 89 which come in my Lag Arkane 1000 with a SA in the middle. I liked the blackouts better but sold that guitar and kept the one with the EMGs. Though I don't hate them, I'd like to try something else. I've read hundred of positive comments about the 57/66 and only a few negative ones, so I'm curious about that pair.

What puts me back about swapping pickups more often is the solder thing, but I think my EMGs have that solderless thing too you mention, right? how hard is to change them so? I have 0 electronic skills.

Edit: just so I vid about the solderless system, still a pain for a person who hates handicrafts as me.
Title: Re: Your favourite active pickups?
Post by: darkandrew on March 13, 2017, 12:24:37 AM
I'm still not entirely convinced by my 57/66 set. I know I started out as a bass player and I know my technique is fairly sloppy but I just find them too unforgiving. Everytime I play my Nailbomb equipped Eclipse I just remind myself of how much better suited to my playing style they are. Don't get me wrong, the 57/66 set can sound very good (and I know what you mean about the active Holy Diver comparison - I think I wrote the same thing when I first reviewed them on here) but I just can't seem to get on with them!
Title: Re: Your favourite active pickups?
Post by: gwEm on March 13, 2017, 11:37:44 AM
The EMG 60 is by far my favourite

I do like an 81 for certain metal tones, and the 58, yes 58, can sound quite organic. But honestly, I have doubts about them all.
Title: Re: Your favourite active pickups?
Post by: GuitarIv on March 14, 2017, 09:46:53 PM
One: the solderless system is actually very easy to install, even if your LAG doesn't have quick connectors on the pickups (in which case you'd just have to disconnect the old pickups and connect the new ones, would take a minute) the manual gives you a good description on what to do. In some cases soldering the switch might be necessary but there are techs to do that if you're not handy with a soldering gun anyway :)

Darkandrew: I don't find them to be unforgiving, the saturation and "juiciness" feel exactly the way I like it, but then again I tend to EQ my amps very dry and mid heavy anyway, so maybe it's my technique or maybe they just fit my playing style better. If you feel more comfortable with the Nailbombs, that's cool!

Gwem, never heard of the 58, maybe I'll give it a try one day. And yeah, I was very skeptic as well, but the 57/66 was really a huge improvement. Additionally there's the new models called "super 77" and "fat 55" EMG brought to the table, these seem to be passives with an outboard preamp. Soo many pickups to try, so little time and money  :cry: