EMG are an American company that specialize in producing high output active guitar pickups.
For many years, their signature models, the 81 and 60, in addition to the 85 and 89 models, have been synonymous with the more extreme forms of heavy metal. Their pickups are characterized with high treble and midrange, and strong pick attack.
They have been favored by Metal bands for their aggressive sound and high output, but have been criticized for having poor clean tone and and inorganic, artificial sound due to most of the output coming from the pickup's preamp, rather than the magnetic pickup itself. -Subjective opinion above: Both David Gilmour and Steve Lukather, among other, have warm and smooth tones using the EMG.
One of the most popular active pickups, first introduced in 1981. Usually found in the bridge position with a EMG 85, EMG 60 or a second EMG 81 in neck position.
Bridge and Neck
Popular active pickup, first introduced in 1981. Used in neck position, usually with EMG 81 in bridge position, but some users have found it works very well in the bridge, sometimes with better results than the 81.
Single coil/ Active
Single coil, active pickup. Usually found in the neck & mid position with a EMG 85 (like the Reb Beach signature model WRB3, or the RG2660ZE more recently). Three SA pickups can also be used in a "SSS", Stratocaster-like configuration.
Based on the original 707, the EMG 909X gives players all the tone and presence they demand in a 9 string guitar pickup with the added headroom of the X series preamp. The EMG 909X eliminates muddy low strings that often lack rich harmonic character and definition. Featuring Alnico V loaded, wide aperture coils, EMG beefs up the tone of the low strings while maintaining a balanced and articulate upper register. This, along with the X preamp, provides the responsive and dynamic control that nine string players love. This pickup will articulate every note, chord, and harmonic you ask of it. Used equally in the bridge and neck positions, the EMG 909X pickup will forever change how you hear and play your 9-string guitar.
Featuring two pickups in one, the 89 houses separate preamps and coils for a custom humbucker and single coil sound at your fingertips. Loaded with Alnico V magnets, the humbucker sound is rich, warm and powerful, but still clear and articulate, similar to the EMG 85. The single coil mode, accessed via the included push pull pot, delivers the traditional Strat single coil sound: bright, airy, and chimey, and is very similar to the EMG SA. In either mode, the clean sound is gorgeously pristine and has a lot of presence. Used equally in bridge and neck positions. Whether you are playing hard rock or jazz, you can get it all with this beautifully balanced and versatile pickup.