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EMG, Inc. is the current legal name of the company with seat in Santa Rosa, California, started in 1976 manufacturing guitar pickups, which have always been called EMG pickups. "EMG" stands for "Electro-Magnetic Generator". The company was originally called "Dirtywork Studios"; this name was changed to "Overlend" in 1978, and then to the current name in 1983.

EMG has over the years garnered a reputation as the most popular manufacturer of active pickups for electric guitars. Their pickups are standard equipment on some high-end models from guitar manufacturers such as ESP Guitars and Jackson Guitars. EMG active pickups tend to have much higher output than passive pickups of similar design because of the on-board preamp. The high output has made them popular with hard rock and heavy metal guitarists because they overdrive the input stage of guitar amplifiers more dramatically than a lower output pickup could.

In addition to pickups, EMG inc also have a line of guitar/ bass accessories, mainly for altering the guitars EQ settings, and designed to work with EMG pickups. This can be seen in companies such as Schecter, who ship almost all of their basses with EMG EQ shaping circuitry,

Players and bands who use or endorse EMG pickups include Southern Hostility, Cannibal Corpse, Nickelback, Tom Morello, John Campbell, David Gilmour, Steve Lukather, Reb Beach, Prince, Metallica, Slayer, Machine Head, Metallist, Les Claypool,Kurt Ballou,Zakk Wylde, KMFDM, Dave Kushner, eX CaVe, Judas Priest, Deftones, Dir en grey, Rammstein, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, Still Remains, Claudio Sanchez, Vince Gill, Evergrey, Slipknot, Dethklok and Gamma Ray, amongst many others.

It should be noted that EMG active pickups (Such as the 81) are filled with black epoxy, which disperes if the cover is pryed off/removed, thus destroying the pickup coil. It is unknown whether this is a gimmick or to prevent companies such as Seymour Duncan (With their rival Blackout range) from copying EMG's winding etc.

EMG Inc have two distinct product ranges; EMG (standard series), with its respective sub categories, and EMG Select (branded as 'Select, designed by EMG').

These are the 'flagship' pickups developed and distributed by EMG as high quality, pro choice pickups. Made in the USA, these pickups are the items of choice for many musicians from Metal to Jazz genres. All are active pickups, except for the HZ series.
  • EMG 60/81/85, well-known combo of lead/rhythm active high-output humbucker pickups.
  • EMG 81TW , same as the EMG 81 only it now has the Push/Pull coil-tap option to switch it from humbucking to single coil.
  • EMG HZ series, passive humbuckers that try to sound close to famous active 81/85.
  • EMG SA , Single coil active pickups notably for Stratocasters and similar guitars.
  • EMG 89 , A split coil version of the EMG 85. It has two preamps inside two EMG SA guitar pickups creating a sound similar to the EMG 85.
  • EMG 60A, Similar to the EMG 60, but uses alnico magnets.
  • EMG H , A single coil active pickup in a humbucker housing. It uses ceramic magnets.
  • EMG HA , A single coil pickup that is identical to the SA except that it is housed in a humbucker style enclosure.
  • EMG 707, 7 string active humbucking pickups.
  • EMG 808, 8 string active humbucking pickups. Featured in the new Ibanez 8 string RG2228, and are likely to be featured in future 8 string guitars.
  • EMG P series, active bass single coil pickup, Precision bass-style.
  • EMG J series, active bass pickup single coil, Jazz bass-style.
  • EMG PJ series, a combo of EMG-P and EMG-J.
  • EMG HB series, active bass humbucker pickup, Steinberger-style.
  • EMG MM series, active bass humbucker pickup Music Man Bass.
  • EMG CS series, active bass humbucker pickup Traditional Sounding.
  • EMG DC series, active bass humbucker pickup low end empahsis.
  • EMG HZ series, passive version of the EMG-CS pickup.


The Select series (sold as 'Select, designed by EMG') is the low cost, entry level pickup version of the EMG standard series. They are similar in design to the EMG standard series, but with less precise manufacturing, lower quality materials, and a slightly different design. All the pickups in this series are passive.
  • Select SEHGpassive humbucking pickup.
  • Select SES passive single coil pickup.
  • Select SEHBpassive humbucking pickup.
  • Select SEP passive P-Bass style pickup.
  • Select SEJ passive Jazz-Bass style pickup.
  • Select SEPJ passive Jazz and P-Bass style pickup combination pack.


There are several "signature" pickups or pickup combos custom-made for these guitarists:
  • Chad Kroeger (Nickelback)
    • EMG-81, EMG-85, EMG-60, EMG-ACS.
    • EMG-81, EMG-85, EMG-40HZ, EMG-T (Set), EMG-60 , EMG-ACS.
    • EMG-40HZ .
    • EMG 81-60 Combo.
    • EMG 81-85 Combo.
    • EMG-DC with an EMG-BTC preamp.
    • EMG-81/85, zakk wylde set, EMG-HZ.
    • EMG-DG20 package.
    • EMG-VG20 package.
    • EMG-SA.
    • EMG-KH20, EMG-KH21 packages (81's in both Bridge and Neck).
    • EMG-KFK signature set (81 Bridge/85 Neck with EMG PA2 - Preamp Booster).
    • EMG-SAV, EMG-SLV, EMG-SL20 package.
    • EMG-HZ.
    • EMG-81/85 Combo.
    • EMG-81/85.
    • EMG 81/85 EMG SA
    • EMG-ZW signature set (81 Bridge/85 Neck).


    Several guitar manufacturing companies made custom signature guitars that include EMG pickups:
    • Stephen Carpenter (Deftones)[1]
      • EMG 81-7 — ESP STEF-B7, LTD SC-60, LTD SC-607B
      • EMG 60, EMG 81 — ESP Truckster, LTD Truckster.
      • EMG 81 — ESP KH Series.
      • EMG-ESP LH-300 — LTD KH Series.
      • EMG 81 — ESP RZK-1, LTD RZK-600.
      • EMG-HZ H-4 — ESP ALEXI LAIHO, LTD ALEXI-600.
      • EMG 707 — Schecter Jeff Loomis C7 FR.
      • EMG-ZW 81/85 — Gibson Les Paul Custom Bullseye, Camo, and Buzzsaw
Some company information may be courtesy of their Wikipedia entry, which is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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