EMG Pickups tend to be a pretty polarizing topic on forums and Facebook groups, or more generally, active vs. passive pickups. To me, arguing about it is an exercise in futility – you’ve either tried them in your rig and know if they’re for you, or you haven’t, and you’re listening to opinions of the uninformed.
Like any other piece of gear, pickups are a tool, and being familiar with your tools is the most important thing in finding the sound you’re trying to achieve – and the only way to become familiar with something is to try it out!
So when I got the opportunity to try out the EMG 57/66 TW set, I was stoked and a little nervous – the last time I had active EMGs in my guitar, it was the classic 81/85 set, and I didn’t know how to dial in a sound with them that worked for me. But since that time, I’ve gained an important understanding of how to dial in sounds for the specific gear, and now I was ready.
I quickly discovered that the 57/66 TW set is a completely different beast. They achieve all the goals of active pickups, are very high output as they are meant to be, but I found them to be much more suited for the kinds of sounds that I like to use, and didn’t require really any tweaking of my current tones for me to really like them. They’re also a lot more flexible than their non-TW counterparts – they contain a completely separate coil for true single-coil tones when you engage the single coil mode, which, in conjunction with a multi-way selector switch can give you TONS of options for tones.
You’ll have to judge for yourself, but I was easily able to dial killer tones for heavy rhythm sounds, soaring leads, and sparkling cleans with very little effort with these pickups, all of which you can hear in the video above.