FREE 2-Day Standard Ground Shipping (edit) Get Details

More Info About Free 2-Day Standard Ground Shipping

Close Window
Price Drop

EMG EMG-81 Humbucking Active Guitar Pickup Black

Item #: 
1273887998253
  • Write a Review

The EMG-81 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... Click To Read More About This Product

Choose Style:
Black
  • White

    $105.00 Top Seller

    In stock

  • Black

    $99.00 Top Seller

    In stock

  • Ivory

    $89.95 Price Drop

    In stock

Price:
$990.00

QUESTIONS?
Connect with an expert instantly.

Call us: 866-498-7882

 
FREE STORE PICK UP Available Today Denver, CO (5.5  mi) Change Pick Up Store


,
SUN:11AM-7PM
MON-FRI:10AM-9PM
SAT:10AM-8PM
  • Free Shipping
  • International Shipping
  • Easy Returns
Overview

The EMG-81 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 is it's quiet. If you're playing at really high gain the last thing you need is noise.

Features
  • Package includes:
  • EMG's exclusive Quik-Connect cable
  • Prewired split shaft volume/tone control set
  • Output jack
  • Battery clip set
Specifications
  • 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: 80 microamps
    Battery Life: 3,000 hours
    Maximum Supply: 27V DC
  • Customer Reviews
Loading....

Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
EMG-81 Humbucking Active Guitar Pickup
 
4.6

(based on 82 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (67)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (8)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (3)

89%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Good quality (9)
  • Improves sound (8)
  • Functional (5)
  • Easy to use (4)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Concerts (4)
  • Practicing (4)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (7)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

KILLER PICKUPS!

I have an dozens of guitars and every last one them include EMG pickups and Floyd Rose tremolo. The EMG 81 makes a killer bridge pickup and a very nice neck pickup. If you're...Read complete review

I have an dozens of guitars and every last one them include EMG pickups and Floyd Rose tremolo. The EMG 81 makes a killer bridge pickup and a very nice neck pickup. If you're more metal than it would be good to get one in the neck and one in the bridge but if you prefer to be more versitale then get and 81 in the bridge and a 60 in the neck. (EMG 60s are better than the 85s because the get clear cleans and heavier distortion when needed)

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Heavy metal, nothing else

This pick-up is really really really awesome... if you are playing metal. And metal only. I put this thing in my epiphone sg for when I was in a metalcore band and...Read complete review

This pick-up is really really really awesome... if you are playing metal. And metal only. I put this thing in my epiphone sg for when I was in a metalcore band and it did exactly what I wanted it to do. It sounded perfect for metalcore, chugging, and just heavy music in general. But, when I left that band to join a new softer sounding indie band that uses a lot of clean tones, it was awful. The pickup was really bright on clean channels in a bad way. I had to play softly and be sure not to strike the strings to hard because if I did the sound would crack and sound bad. Bottom line, this pickup is really awesome if you are playing in a metal or hard rock band. But if you want to play some blues or country or softer stuff, FIND ANOTHER PICKUP!

Reviewed by 82 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

Back to Top

Previous | Next »

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

The first, the best

By Owlish

from Tyler, TX

About Me Experienced

Pros

  • Good Quality
  • Improves Sound

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Concerts
    • Practicing

    Comments about EMG-81 Humbucking Active Guitar Pickup:

    Great pickup for my kind of playing.

     
    5.0

    Excellent lead pickup

    By Michael

    from Lexington, KY

    About Me Experienced

    Pros

    • Brings Out The Wood Tone
    • Cuts Thru The Mix
    • Good Quality
    • Great Clarity
    • Improves Sound
    • Very Quiet

    Cons

    • None

    Best Uses

    • Concerts
    • Practicing

    Comments about EMG-81 Humbucking Active Guitar Pickup:

    This is the second time I've owned an EMG 81 pickup so I have a bit of perspective now and the first time I have wrote a review. I love the tone. It is quiet, searing, roars and cuts thru any mix. It is very clear and unlike many reviews, I don't find it to be sterile at all, I think it brings out the differences in the wood combinations each guitar uses. I have one in my Dean Deceiver Single Cut with a Flame Maple top, set mahogany neck, ebony fretboard and EMG 85 in the neck. With the Dean, the pickup is louder, has more gain, more snarl and more bite than the Ibanez Art 500 EMG that I had an EMG 81/60 Combo in before selling the guitar. I think the I can tell difference in the lack of a flame top and a rosewood fretboard on the Ibanez left it sounding a bit more tame and with not as much gain. But it still put out notes with a lot of clarity and was very quiet. I am undecided if I'm totally sold on active pickups as a continual habit, but I love the sound I get out of the EMG 81 in my Dean and in my Ibanez.

    (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Gives your guitar a new life.

    By Vladimir

    from Northridge, CA

    Comments about EMG-81 Humbucking Active Guitar Pickup:

    For a while now, I've been thinking of buying a new guitar because I wanted one that came with stock EMG's since the guitar I have has dual humbucker pickups and I wanted a new sound without all that fuzz and more punch. But I already have a lot of guitars in my house, so unless it was a really beautiful guitar I don't think I'd buy another one. Point said, I went to guitar center a month ago and saw a LTD with EMG 81/85 and when I played it, It was just amazing! The sound was soooo crisp, so heavy, and most of all. It was just CLEAR heavy distortion. I mean this is the sound that I was looking for in a guitar! but I didn't buy the guitar. What I did was that I ordered the EMG 81/85 set, and I slapped them onto my Yamaha RGX guitar, and I gotta tell you. These pickups gave my guitar new life. It's like if I'm playing a totally different guitar now. Even the clean sounds very bright and clear. There's no fuzz at all. Every penny was definitely worth it. Just don't get frustrated when you're installing them. It takes time. The upside to them, is that they are solderless. So you don't need to make a mess and burn yourself. Just read the manual for the specifications of your guitar. They're all there, you just have to find the setup for your guitar. The only thing you might need to solder will be the toggle-switch on your guitar. The rest is very easy to install! :) Trust me, after you buy them. You won't wanna go back to humbuckers.

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    versatile humbucker

    By Mike

    from TN.

    About Me Experienced

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Clean Clear Tones
    • Good Quality
    • Improves Sound

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • All Types Of Music

      Comments about EMG-81 Humbucking Active Guitar Pickup:

      First time using this type of humbucker system in my guitars. I was very pleased with the tone and sound. I'm not a shredder or a metal player, mostly just Rock music but this pickup is surprisingly clear. If you want to overdrive the pickup, it can be done at the amp. Meaning that it not muddy on a clean setting and not to distorted on the dirty channels. All notes can be heard and ring out. I've read that this pickup was for thrash metal only and not bluesy types of rock and roll, well they are wrong! This pickup cuts through and spices things up, brings an added presence to the mix. By-the-way, they are so easy to install. Not more hot iron or soldering connection to fight with. PLUG and GO!!!!! My old les paul has new life and I was able to keep my Gibson 57 Plus in the neck. Works with all types of pickup combination. It seems that EMG makes pickups now for all. Check out their website, you'll be amazed. A long way from the late 80's. Still hate the Battery.

       
      5.0

      Excellent

      By Chris

      from New York

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Functional
      • Good Quality
      • Improves Sound

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Backup
        • Concerts
        • Practicing

        Comments about EMG-81 Humbucking Active Guitar Pickup:

        I got this with the EMG 60 pup to install on an instrument that had passive Emg HZ's. It s not difficult to install so long as you pay close attention to the diagrams.

        The 81 is a great pickup to use for high gain playing. I like it for that high cut tone. If you like high gain heavy playing, the 81 is a standard choice. Heavy chunky rhythms and searing highs that really cut through. It also offers nice harmonics and more sustain.

        Amps I play through are an Orange Tiny Terror and a Blackstar HT 20 head. The 81 pushes these amps great for a whole new meaning of heaviness.

        Although known for high gain playing, Clean, the 81 has a very nice chimey tone with good range.

        All in all a great active pickup.

        (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Great pick up

        By DavidToDefy

        from Woodland Hills, Ca

        About Me Experienced

        Pros

        • Easy To Use
        • Functional
        • Good Quality
        • Improves Sound

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Backup
          • Concerts
          • Practicing

          Comments about EMG-81 Humbucking Active Guitar Pickup:

          I have this pickup as a stock pickup on my Schecter Damien Elite Solo 6, and this pickup is versatile, great tone and many of my favorite artists use EMG, so why would I use anything else? EMG for Life!

           
          5.0

          BEST PICKUP EVER

          By David Tucker

          from Woodland Hills, Ca

          Comments about EMG-81 Humbucking Active Guitar Pickup:

          This pickup packs that punch I crave! The EMG 81 has never let me down because my pinch harmonics come out clean, and i love the high gain. A ton of my favorite guitarists use EMG's, which drew me closer to them.

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Most neutral pickup on the planet

          By GuitarGuy1

          from White Haven, PA

          About Me Professional Musician

          Pros

          • Easy To Use
          • Functional
          • Good Quality
          • Improves Sound
          • Neutral
          • Smooth

          Cons

          • None

          Best Uses

          • Any guitar
          • Any Type Of Music

          Comments about EMG-81 Humbucking Active Guitar Pickup:

          I've been using EMG 81/60 pickups for a long, long time. They are extremely neutral ... meaning, they don't color the sound. I want to hear the wood of my guitars and the amps, not a coloration of such. I play primarily through ENGL E670 SE EL34 heads as well Mesa Mark V heads and these pickups just sound incredible with them. Plenty of bark and bite when you need it, yet mellow when you back off. And they are very quiet. Pair these up with an EMG Afterburner and you will never go back to using floor pedals for boost ever again. 100% guitar and amp. That is the way it should be. If you need pedals to make your guitar/amp/pickup sound good, you have the wrong setup.

          (3 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

           
          3.0

          Heavy metal, nothing else

          By tanner125

          from Lexington, KY

          About Me Experienced

          Pros

          • Good Quality
          • Good With High Gain
          • Heavy Chugs

          Cons

          • Bad Clean Tones
          • Difficult To Use
          • Hard To Install

          Best Uses

          • Metal

          Comments about EMG-81 Humbucking Active Guitar Pickup:

          This pick-up is really really really awesome... if you are playing metal. And metal only. I put this thing in my epiphone sg for when I was in a metalcore band and it did exactly what I wanted it to do. It sounded perfect for metalcore, chugging, and just heavy music in general. But, when I left that band to join a new softer sounding indie band that uses a lot of clean tones, it was awful. The pickup was really bright on clean channels in a bad way. I had to play softly and be sure not to strike the strings to hard because if I did the sound would crack and sound bad. Bottom line, this pickup is really awesome if you are playing in a metal or hard rock band. But if you want to play some blues or country or softer stuff, FIND ANOTHER PICKUP!

          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Never would have known.....

          By Funkstroke!

          from Tracy, CA

          About Me Experienced

          Pros

          • Cuts Through Nicely
          • Functional
          • Good Quality
          • Improves Sound

          Cons

          • Clean Tones Challenging

          Best Uses

          • Leads

          Comments about EMG-81 Humbucking Active Guitar Pickup:

          On a whim I picked up a cool looking Godin Redline 1 with a single EMG 81 in the bridge. So out of character as I've been playing Fenders and Ibanez's w/single coils and have a LP copy with Duncan 59/JB. Never had any experience with active pickups, but was completely blown away by the clarity of tone and especially how well it cuts through the mix. Talk about turning heads! Had to do a few tweaks to my amp Eq and pedal levels to get better control, but it's really growing on me. Even sounds decent clean through my tube amps-real nice bite that cuts through for funk (tele on steroids). So far I've been able to play everything from funky rhythm to Living Colour and even had to try some Metallica! The 81 simply excells with any kind of Drive or Distortion. Be careful as you may make your cats explode!!

          Displaying reviews 1-10

          Back to Top

          Previous | Next »

          You are changing the Ship-To country.

          Our product catalog varies by country due to manufacturer restrictions. If you change the Ship-To country, some or all of the items in your cart may not ship to the new destination.