Item # 301511 | Customer Ratings: ( 5 Based on 20 reviews)

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EMG -ZW Zakk Wylde 81/85 Humbucker Set
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Professional upgrade pickups.

With scorching riffs and remarkable stage presence, Zakk Wylde has earned his reputation as heavy metal's premier lead guitarist. From Ozzy Osbourne, Pride and Glory, and now Black Label Society, Zakk has always used EMG active pickups. The Zakk Wylde model features the EMG-85 and EMG-81, as used on his signature bull's-eye Les Paul guitar. Installation is literally a snap-it's solderless, just use the included Quck-connect cables.


Although the EMG-85 pickup has more measurable output than the 81, its frequency response and string interface are different. The 85 uses two Alnico magnet-loaded coils with a wide aperture to maintain a beefy low end and a fatter top end. Because of a more natural tone, it works great as a rhythm and blues pickup because it has loads of output but isn't muddy. It's a perfect choice as a rhythm pickup in combination with an 81 in the bridge.

The midrange has great definition and doesn't get foggy or muddy in the rhythm position. The EMG-85 works best if you like the natural distortion that comes from overdriving the front end of your amp. Under any condition, the humbucker responds accurately to your technique.


The EMG-81 pickup is a high-output pickup designed especially for the lead guitarist. The 81 is at its best for high volume overdrive and amps with a master volume. Whether you're playing power rock 'n' roll, or overdriving your amp, there's a razor sharp attack, and incredible sustain for brilliant soloing. If you're looking for exceptional qualities in a rock pickup, the EMG-81 is the one.

Distortion during lead passages is consistent, sustain is long and the breakup fades smoothly. The ceramic magnet in combination with wide aperture steel poles lend a quick attack but the tone stays nice and fat at the same time. Perfect if you're the only guitarist in the band, and need to switch from rhythm to lead and still keep the band moving. Another great thing about the EMG-81 humbucker is it's quiet. If you're playing at really high gain the last thing you need is noise.

EMG -ZW Zakk Wylde 81/85 Humbucker Set Features:

  • Package includes:
    2 Pickup Quik-connect cables
    1 Output Jack Quik-connect cable
    1 Output Jack
    4 interconnect Quik-connect cables
    1 Battery Quik-connect cable
    1 B152 Input/Output Buss
    2 ea. Long Shaft Volume & Tone controls
    1 ea. Shrink tubing (1 red / 1 black)
    2 sets of screws and springs
    1 collectable Zakk Wylde pick

EMG -ZW Zakk Wylde 81/85 Humbucker Set Specifications:

  • EMG-85
    Resonant Frequency: 2.45
    Magnet Type: Alnico
    Output Voltage (String): 2.1
    Output Voltage (Strum): 4.5
    Output Noise @ 60Hz: -89 dBV
    Output Impedance: 10 kOhms

    Resonant Frequency (kHz): 2.00
    Magnet Type: Ceramic/steel
    Output Voltage (String): 2.0
    Output Voltage (Strum): 4.5
    Output Noise @ 60Hz: -91 dBV
    Output Impedance: 10 kOhms

    Current @ 9V: 160 microamps
    Battery Life: 1,500 hours
    Maximum Supply: 27V DC

Product Reviews
(Based on 20 reviews)
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Viewing Reviews 1 - 3 of 20 |
  • Freakin' Great Pickups !!

    As reviewed by Chris on 3/26/2009

    Bought this set of pickups not knowing which guitar I would put them in. Held them for a few months and decided to install them in my Warlock when changing strings. Wow !! I should've done this sooner. The output is wonderful.Pinch harmonics are easy with these!! This is a great set of pickups and an easy upgrade. Takes a little thinking if you don't have a Les Paul setup with the volume and tone controls. But there are diagrams on their website to help you with whatever configuration your guitar is. If you want to improve your sound and clarity of your guitar,you can't go wrong with these.

    19 of 19 people found this review helpful.
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  • Amazing when figured out

    As reviewed by Kenny on 5/25/2010

    So it took me about a day to figure out the wiring and I finally hooked everything up to my ZW les paul custom and only got good sound out of one of the pickups. Took it to local guitar center in Fredericksburg and one of the tech guys (Markus) popped it open and fixed it for me in a matter of seconds. No ground wire to toggle switch! and now it sounds amazing. Very high output and does pickup alot of nuances but you can use the zakk wah like I do to bass up the tone of the 81 and rid of some noise. They are expensive but well worth the money. Good for any Zakk or tone buff

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
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  • Pros and Cons

    As reviewed by SlayerVaifan on 12/26/2010

    I was fooled into thinking EMG thought of everything as far as installing these in any kind of guitar. But I guess that only means they gave more then one wire diagram. My poor Dean Dime Shadow ML paid the price for lack of length in wire. But if you have a les paul or guitar similar you will be in luck. If all your knobs and switches are close to each other then you will be fine but like in the dean you maybe SOL like I was (assuming you are not a master at splicing wires). I did end up installing them in a Kerry King warlock and they sound great, the best I have ever heard by naked ear. I am almost on the verge of buying another set. But beware of where you want to install these.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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Questions about the -ZW Zakk Wylde 81/85 Humbucker Set (301511)

PO Box 4769
Westlake Village, CA 91359
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