The EMG 89 is a renowned active humbucker that’s been used by many famous metal guitarists.
In this review, I’ll be assessing whether it’s worth the hype and if it’s suitable for your needs.
- Balanced output for warm, crisp, and tight tones
- Uses both ceramic and alnico magnets to suit different playing styles
- Doesn’t produce a lot of twang
- Not splittable
EMG 89 Active Pickup: Why It’s the Best Choice for Versatile Players
The EMG 89 pickup is designed to produce different sounds for both the neck and bridge positions. It has a balanced output that allows players to achieve warm, crisp, and tight tones. The pickup produces a warmer sound than most active pickups, making it a great choice for those searching for a different tone.
The Right Magnets for the Job
The EMG 89 pickup uses both ceramic and alnico magnets to suit different playing styles. The ceramic magnets produce a tight and focused sound, while the alnico magnets produce a warmer and more open sound. This makes it a versatile pickup that can be used for a wide range of genres, including metal, rock, and blues.
A Humbucker That Can Experiment
The EMG 89 pickup is a humbucker that can be split into a single-coil pickup. This gives players more options when trying to achieve different sounds. The coil can be chosen for each position, allowing players to experiment with different tones.
A Warm and Crisp Sound for Low-End Notes
The EMG 89 pickup produces a warm and crisp sound for low-end notes. This makes it a great choice for players who want to achieve a tight and defined sound. The pickup is designed to produce a balanced output, making it a great choice for players who want to achieve a different tone.
Unleashing the Power of EMG 89 Active Pickups: Features That Will Blow Your Mind
EMG 89 pickups are designed to be active, which means that they require a battery to operate. This design brings a couple of benefits to the table. Firstly, the output of active pickups is higher than passive pickups, which makes them ideal for modern music styles like metal. Secondly, active pickups are more balanced in terms of tone, which means that they produce a consistent sound across the entire range of the guitar.
Neck and Bridge Pickups for Different Styles
EMG 89 pickups come in both neck and bridge positions, which means that you can experiment with different sounds depending on your playing style. The neck pickup produces a warmer and rounder sound, while the bridge pickup is tighter and more focused. This makes EMG 89 pickups versatile and suitable for a wide range of music styles.
Ceramic Magnets for High-End Crispness
EMG 89 pickups use ceramic magnets, which produce a high-end crispness that is perfect for lead guitar playing. This feature makes EMG 89 pickups the best choice for players who want to achieve a modern sound with a lot of high-end detail.
Coil Tapping Options for Lower Output Sounds
EMG 89 pickups come with coil tapping options, which allow you to switch between humbucker and single-coil sounds. This feature is great for players who are trying to achieve a lower output sound, which is ideal for chimey and warm tones.
Comparing EMG 89 Pickups to Passive Pickups
When comparing EMG 89 pickups to passive pickups, it becomes clear that EMG 89 pickups are designed to bring out the best in modern music styles. Passive pickups are great for vintage sounds, but they don’t have the same level of versatility and tone control as EMG 89 pickups.
EMG 89 Pickups Design: The Ultimate in Versatility
EMG 89 pickups are active pickups that utilize a preamp to boost the signal and provide a balanced output. This means that the output from the neck and bridge pickups is similar in volume, allowing for a more even tone when switching between the two. The EMG 89 also includes a main switch that allows you to change between humbucker and single coil mode, bringing a variety of different tones to your music.
A Loaded Control System for Ultimate Clarity
The EMG 89 is loaded with a control system that allows for a wide range of different sounds. The internal circuits are designed to improve clarity and reduce noise, while the battery-powered preamp allows for a longer sustain and a tighter, more modern sound. The control system includes a volume control, a tone control, and a 3-way switch that allows you to choose between humbucker and single coil mode.
A Design that Brings Warmth and Tightness to Your Sound
The EMG 89 pickups are designed to bring warmth and tightness to your sound. The neck pickup has a rounded tone that is great for lead work, while the bridge pickup has a tighter, more focused sound that is perfect for rhythm playing. The EMG 89 also includes ceramic magnets that provide a crisp, clear sound, and a dual coil design that maintains a spread of sound evenly across the strings.
Available in a Large Number of Styles
The EMG 89 pickups are incredibly versatile and are available in a large number of different styles. This allows players to achieve the perfect sound for their playing style, whether they are playing metal, rock, or any other genre. Some of the benefits of the EMG 89 pickups include:
- A wide range of different tones
- A balanced output for even tone
- A loaded control system for ultimate clarity
- A design that brings warmth and tightness to your sound
- Available in a large number of different styles
Check Out Some Examples
If you’re looking for a great set of pickups that can help you achieve the ultimate in versatility, then the EMG 89 pickups are definitely worth checking out. Here are a couple of examples of how the EMG 89 pickups can improve your sound:
- If you’re playing metal, the EMG 89 pickups can help you achieve a tight, modern sound that is perfect for heavy riffing and shredding.
- If you’re playing a more traditional style of music, the EMG 89 pickups can bring warmth and color to your sound, making it sound fuller and more dynamic.
Best balanced output
If you’re playing a more traditional style of music, the EMG 89 pickups can bring warmth and color to your sound, making it sound fuller and more dynamic
Who Rocks EMG 89 Pickups?
EMG 89 active pickups have been a popular choice among guitarists for years. Here are some of the legendary guitarists who have used EMG 89 pickups to achieve their signature sound:
- James Hetfield of Metallica: Hetfield has been using EMG pickups since the early 80s and has been a long-time user of the EMG 89. He uses it in the neck position of his ESP signature model, the James Hetfield Snakebyte.
- Kirk Hammett of Metallica: Hammett also uses EMG pickups in his guitars, including the EMG 89. He uses it in the bridge position of his ESP signature model, the Kirk Hammett KH-2.
- George Lynch: The former Dokken guitarist has been using EMG pickups for over 30 years and has used the EMG 89 in his guitars.
Intermediate and Beginner Guitarists Who Need Value for Money
EMG 89 pickups are not just for the pros. Here are some intermediate and beginner guitarists who have found the EMG 89 to be a solid choice:
- Ibanez RG421: This guitar is equipped with EMG 89 and EMG 81 pickups, making it an excellent choice for players who want a guitar that can handle both vintage and modern styles.
- LTD EC-1000: This guitar is equipped with EMG 89 and EMG 81 pickups and offers excellent playability and comfortable neck access.
- Harley Benton Fusion-T HH FR: This guitar is equipped with EMG RetroActive Hot 70 humbuckers and offers a killer sound at a budget price.
Testing EMG 89 Pickups
If you’re considering getting EMG 89 pickups, here are some useful models to check out:
- EMG 89X: This pickup is a ceramic humbucker that offers a fat and mean sound.
- EMG 89R: This pickup is a retro-fit humbucker that offers a vintage sound.
- EMG 89TW: This pickup is a dual-mode humbucker that offers both single-coil and humbucker sounds.
- EMG 89X/81X/SA Set: This pickup set offers a range of sounds and is a popular choice for shredders.
- EMG Kirk Hammett Bone Breaker Set: This pickup set is designed to achieve the iconic Metallica sound and is a popular choice for thrash metal players.
- EMG James Hetfield Signature Set: This pickup set is designed to achieve the iconic Metallica sound and is a popular choice for metal players.
- EMG ZW Zakk Wylde Set: This pickup set is designed to achieve the iconic Zakk Wylde sound and is a popular choice for metal players.
So, the EMG 89 is a great pickup for those looking for a versatile guitar pickup. It’s perfect for a wide range of genres, from metal to blues, and it’s great for both lead and rhythm guitar playing. The EMG 89 is a great pickup for anyone looking for a warm, crisp, and tight sound. Plus, it’s loaded with a control system for ultimate clarity. So, if you’re looking for a great pickup, the EMG 89 is a great choice.
Also read: these EMG 81/60 and 81/89 combos are both great, but this is how to choose between them
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Neaera and a content marketer, dad, and love trying out new equipment with guitar at the heart of my passion, and together with my team, I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2020 to help loyal readers with recording and guitar tips.
Check me out on Youtube where I try out all of this gear:Subscribe