EMG 81 Black

Active Pickup

The EMG-81 is a pickup with high output. It is best suited for high volumes and amps with master volume. If the amp is sufficiently overdriven, the pickup produces aggressive to razor-sharp attacks (especially important with a high output pickup, though rare) with plenty of punch and long sustain.

  • Resonant frequency: 2.25 kHz
  • RMS output: 1.25 V
  • Peak output: 1.75 V
  • Output noise: 91 dBV
  • Output impedance: 10 kOhm
  • Current consumption at 9 V: 80 µA
  • Battery life: 3000 h
  • Colour: Black

Further information

Active Yes
Wiring 2 Conductor
Output High
Kappe Yes
Colour Black
Position Bridge

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Our most popular Humbucker Pickups
398 customer ratings:
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4.8 / 5.0
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199 written ratings Read all reviews
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Metal Standard

Richard936, 09.09.2013
What can you say about the EMG 81 that hasn't been written before, in truth not much. The EMG 81 is the standard metal pick up that all other metal pick ups are measured against and in all fairness they fail to match up the 81.

While the cleans are not the best, the distorted tone is fantastic for all types of metal. Ive used the EMG 81 in various guitars, Jackson's, PRS SE's and Ibanez and I have never failed to get a killer tone out of them.

My current Amp is a H&K Tubemeister 18 Head and with a EMG 81 equipped guitar I can get a real great crunch tone with no hum, which is the bonus of an internal pre amp in the 81.

There is a reason the 81 is on some of the classic metal albums of all time and the user list for the 81 is so long, this pick up slays end of story.

The quick connect system is a really good system but make sure you have space in your control cavities for the 9v Battery. You may find that abit of drilling may be required to get the thick cable down to the new jack socket, I've only found this on Ibanez guitars so far.

The quick connect system is also usable for SD Blackouts, so if your are someone who likes swapping pups there is another reason to get an 81.

Pairs well with an 85 or the 60 in the neck position.
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Total
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Classic Metal Tone

23.11.2015
Little more to say than if you are looking for the sound of Metallica, Zakk Wylde, Jim Root (Slipknot), etc., or looking to upgrade your pickups for rock or metal actives then this is most likely where you will start. I bought this for a Hetfield 'Rusty' tribute that I wanted to do with one of my Gibson Explorers.

Plenty of reviews and sound tests online and on YouTube. People will debate the benefits of active and passive, compression with EMG's. For me, they deliver the tone that I want for certain types of guitars while trying to replicate certain bands/artist tones. You really just have to try them to see if you like them.

One thing that no one else seems to have mentioned is while they are traditionally used in the bridge, I have had also had an 81/81 combination in a Epi LP Midnight Custom and found it to be just fine.

Note that I, in my own personal opinion, have found that the 81 responds better to Gibson/Orville/Epiphone Custom models as opposed to Standard models. Tone is generally 'darker' and helps with the 81 being somewhat brighter or having a greater treble response. Again, my own personal preference, and this can always be adjusted with EQ on the amp, or indeed your tone knob.

There is an excellent video demo from EMG for the installation if you are worried about the wiring diagrams. The quick connect system is very straight forward so do not be too nervous if you have never done this before. I do recommend that you experiment with voltage variations - Google 18V modification.

Price, customer service and shipping from Thomann was excellent as always.
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Show variations of this product
EMG 81 Black
(398)
EMG 81 Black

Active Pickup The EMG-81 is a pickup with high output. It is best suited for high volumes and amps with master volume. If the amp is sufficiently overdriven, the pickup produces aggressive to...

  • Active: Yes
  • Wiring: 2 Conductor
  • Output: High
  • Kappe: Yes
  • Colour: Black
  • Position: Bridge
EMG 81X Black
(44)
EMG 81X Black

Active Pickup for Electric Guitar Can be used in neck and bridge, High output humbucker with long sustain, Ceramic magnets, Newly developed preamp with open and dynamic sound concept, Colour:...

  • Active: Yes
  • Wiring: 2 Conductor
  • Output: High
  • Kappe: No
  • Colour: Black
  • Position: Bridge, Neck
EMG 81TW-X Black
(10)
EMG 81TW-X Black
to the product
131 €

Active Pickup for Electric Guitars Dual mode humbucker - EMG81X & single coil in one housing, For neck and bridge, Newly developed preamp with open and dynamic sound concept, Colour: Black, Incl....

  • Active: Yes
  • Wiring: Completely Wired
  • Output: High
  • Kappe: No
  • Colour: Black
  • Position: Bridge, Neck
EMG 81 Chrome
(19)
EMG 81 Chrome
to the product
107 €

Active Pickup The EMG-81 is a pickup with high output. It is best suited for high volume and amps with master volume. If the amp is sufficiently overdriven, the pickup produces aggressive to...

  • Active: Yes
  • Wiring: 2 Conductor
  • Output: High
  • Kappe: Yes
  • Colour: Chrome
  • Position: Bridge, Neck
EMG 81TW Black
(22)
EMG 81TW Black
to the product
111 €

Pickup for Electric Guitar Active hybrid of a humbucker and a single coil, Ceramic and steel magnets, Position: bridge, Humbucker-esque crunch and attack, similar to the EMG 81 but with additional...

  • Active: Yes
  • Output: Medium
  • Kappe: Yes
  • Colour: Black
  • Position: Bridge
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