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81

One of the most popular EMG’s, the 81 is the one that started a revolution. Utilizing powerful ceramic magnets and close aperture coils, the tone was designed with detailed... >

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One of the most popular EMG’s, the 81 is the one that started a revolution. Utilizing powerful ceramic magnets and close aperture coils, the tone was designed with detailed intensity, incredible amounts of high end cut, and fluid sustain. Traditionally used in the bridge position of your guitar, this humbucking pickup will make your leads slice right through even the densest mix. When used in both neck and bridge positions the sound can only be described as blistering. Other recommended pairings include the classic 81/85 setup and the versatile 81/60 combo. EMG's solderless installation makes swapping your guitar pickups easier than ever.
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In the Box

Package Includes EMG's exclusive Solderless Install System:

1 25k volume pot
1 25k tone pot
1 battery bus
1 stereo output jack
1 two pickup in/out bus
1 pair mounting screws and springs
1 pickup cable
2 connect cables
1 output cable
1 battery cable

81

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Customer Reviews

Items 1 to 10 of 22 total

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Great Upgrade

Infamous Doug Taylor /Reviewed 9/26/2017

I bought this pickup along 85 with chrome covers and they sound amazing
,look amazing, and installed so easy and made my epiphone lespaul custom pro silverburst sound incredible. The Folks at Emg were helpful in answering all my question. I am now innthe process of upgrading my second epiphone les paul traditional pro 2 with a emg 81 and 60. Adding Emg pickups to a guitar is like adding a supercharger to a car making a great guitar even greater Thanks to Allison for always being helpful and i would recomend any EMG PICKUPS to any player of any genre they have a pickup for you!

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Great sound

Iggy Sarraff /Reviewed 8/2/2017

I been using EMG since mid 90's. My experience with the 81 has been a guitar pickup that finally has some serious "Cojones" love their sound and sustain.

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my favourite pickup

Oddgeir /Reviewed 6/15/2017

just a great (the greatest) pickup, and it wrecks in the bridge

it is raw and searing, but not harsh in any way

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Great Sounding Pickup, Standard for a reason

Jason /Reviewed 3/27/2017

I got a Schecter C-1 Platinum that has the 81/85 set pre-installed. It's no surprise that so many manufacturers put these pickups on their guitars as standard equipment. The 81 has a very aggressive, but tight sound with a focus on the mids and highs. The standard configuration is to have this in the bridge position, which when combined with high gain, gets a really aggressive rhythm sound. I decided to move mine to the neck position (and the 85 to the bridge), and it did not disappoint.

The thing the haters don't realize about these pickups, is that you can back off the height of the pickup, and it will give you more headroom, and get a more natural sound out of it, while retaining the overall clarity these pickups are known for.

EMG has an excellent range to choose from with a wide variety of tones, but the 81 & 85 pickups are true classics that will stand the test of time!

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Fantastic Choice!!

Mesoreptile /Reviewed 6/23/2016

This is the first active PU I have tried, purchased from its long history of pro users, reputation and quality. Very happy with the sound- installed in a bolt-on alder body custom made guitar that formally had a S-D TB12 that was simply not the sound I wanted- replaced it with the EMG-81 and its a completely new guitar now. Sounds amazing, the clarity of note definition, crunchy consistency and sustain is out of this world. I like that even as the pickup fades in volume (from sustaining) it keeps the crunch and clairity unlike many other pickups that loose the distortion as they sustains to silence. Powerful loud and consistent. One of the best sounding pickups out there! Sounds Awesome on clean channel also so can be used for a wide variety of musical styles.

The install was fairly easy- I choose to have a battery box routed and installed so there is a bit of extra cost involved for this choice, but the battery can be placed inside the electronics cavity (if it fits) with no modifications necessary (battery box is simply for ease of access and to keep the electronics cavity free of clutter). The solider-less system is the best option I have seen, the plugs fit nice and tight and secure with a minimum of surplus wire to get in the way.

Overall great product, great price (includes all the wires, Volume and Tone pots and output jack), and easy install- Perfect choice for any style of music.

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A Very Flexible Sounding Pickup

Michael /Reviewed 1/19/2016

I have a 1988 Gibson SG Showcase Edition, which is a reissue of the 1962 LP/SG. Except it has the EMG 81s rather than a Gibson humbucker. When I bought the guitar (I bought it used), I didn't know anything about EMG pickups and I figured that I could always replace them with a good set of Seymour Duncans. Until I plugged in the guitar and cranked the amp some. I was very impressed with the sound. Okay, I don't play "metal" or even hard rock of any sort. I'm more of a blues player and I like the crunchy sound I get from my modestly overdriven Marshall amp. This SG with these EMGs gives me a fantastic sound, with all the flavor and expression I could hope for. Setting the PU selector to the bridge pickup gives me a fantastic Clapton like sound that he got with his Les Paul played through a Marshall combo on the Blues Breakers "Beano" album. Set it to the neck pickup and I get a super fat, yet articulate sound that is just awesome. On the middle selection, I can get the same sound Clapton got on several cuts when he played his famous SG with Cream -- just a sweet, lyrical quality that I'd often struggled to dupllicate in the past. Bottom line, the EMG 81 is one flexible pickup. I can get most any humbucking sound out of it that I want, which is more than I can say for even my Les Paul (with stock pickups).

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None more metal, only....

Mac /Reviewed 12/3/2015

There is a reason that the EMG 81/85 set is just as prevalent today as they were in 2004, 1994, and 1984. They work. They always sound great, I have never had one short out on me, they don't have any exposed pole pieces to rust, It doesn't take a team of scientists to calculate the height of adjustable poles to get the perfect string-to-string balance, and they are much more flexible and dynamic than haters will admit. I have guitars with passive pups, some older, some newer designs, hell I even have a favorite aftermarket model passive. It almost sounds as powerful as an 81. That particular setup (81/85) is, IMOP, the perfect pickup set for hard rock, hardcore, metal, and a few hundred other sub--genres I won't bother with. The one thing that most people wouldn't expect is that they CAN be used to get a more vintage, soulful '70s style solo sound too. I was tearing my fingers up while recording, trying to get part of a solo down with a very old-school, raw guitar sound. I was killing my fingers trying to get a smooth 22nd fret full-step bend using an SG for the bluesy, raw solo sound, my drummer asked why i didn't just use one of my usual guitars (my main axes are B.C.R. DLX JVs with EMGs) I tried to explain why it wouldn't sound right, then decided to show him the difference. Half an hour later with some amp adjusting and finding the right volume/output level on both pickups, I recorded a solo that no one would ever believe didn't come from an old PAF loaded Gibson. I have been playing around more and more since then and all of the dynamics haters say EMGs don't have, well I have found them.

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Best of EMG

Kristian /Reviewed 8/11/2015

This was my first EMG, as I have always been a passive pickup guy. But finally got sick of soldering & decided to try out the 81 in my trusty superstrat. I can honestly say the EMG 81 gave me instant tone, straight out of the box, I could not believe it. Best of all, it took less than 15 minutes to install the puppy into place. Highly recommend this pup.

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Best pickup for metal ever!

Nick /Reviewed 5/27/2015

I bot this pickup with an EMG 60, this pickup sounds excellent bridge or neck, great heavy sound, and serious distortion so you can shred up a storm. the only problem I had is that because I play a v the cable that went to the jack was way too small, but you can use your existing jack if you already have active pickups. In the end this pickup is trusted by many musicians and by me myself, I recommend this pickup to any; heavy metal, thrash metal, death metal, or black metal players out there. Thank you EMG!

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Classic for a reason.

Benzo /Reviewed 5/13/2015

The best, most consistent sounding pickup I've ever used. I have may sets of 81's. Some from the 80's some new sets.They all sound excellent and have the distinctive EMG 81 sound and feel. Just hot enough to provide the right amount of overdrive and compression in the front end of a amp. Backed off they have an even bark that has a sweet fusion of clarity and compression. A very expressive sound that provides fluid legato and focused crunch that sits in the sweet spot in a mix. Been playing for over 20 years struggling with passives that are so inconsistent sounding from set tot set. Fads come and go in the pickup industry but the EMG 81 has proven it's here to stay.

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