EMG 57 Vs 81 Pickup Review [Difference & Which is Better]

Sounds in good music play a very vital role and this quality of sound does not come just by playing instruments. Even though instruments are the basic part of providing quality music, enhancing their sound quality is one major matter to check.

To enhance sound quality, especially on various types of guitar, EMG pickups are the best call so far. Each of their best pickups comes with an ability to be compared with one another. Comparison between EMG 57 Vs 81 is one of the popular matters that most serious music lovers want to learn about.

EMG 57 Vs 81As EMG pickups are best in modifying the sound quality of the strings of electric guitars, you can have various diversities in the tone and sound coming out of those instruments. For thick and louder sounds, no service is greater than the service that EMG pickups provide.

Their active pickups know how to grant accurate thickness to the sound to play heavy genres. Metals and hard rocks are impossible to play with the right consistency of tone without EMG pickups. That’s why it has become a significant topic for us to cover all the possible facts about EMG 57 and EMG 81 pickups.

Their full details and important features will help you to understand which one to pick to make the sound of your electric guitar perfect. Besides, different musicians want the grimness of sound at different ranges and that’s why it is important to know the comparison of these EMG pickups as much as possible. And for this very purpose, we are here to enlighten you with information on EMG 57 and EMG 81.

Detail About EMG 57 Vs 81:

EMG which stands for Electro-Magnetic generator provides pickups that are incredibly good in nature. This brand knows how to meet the expectation level of a heavy metal musician. It is tough to meet the level of tone while it is for the heavy metal genre of music.

To alleviate this situation, EMG pickups are really great. They come as active pickups. It can be positioned on the bridge, neck, or both. People are as much interested to learn about EMG 57 as they are interested to be acquainted with EMG 81. Which one provides the thicker sound quality, has much output, and gains ability? It is featured really well are the most important facts about EMG 57 and 81 pickups that people really want to learn.

About EMG 57 Pickup:

About EMG 57 PIckup

Those who play guitar for heavy genres know pickups from different brands but they must have heard about EMG 57 pickup because of its amazing workability. Bring this amazing vintage-flavored active pickup to the bridge position of your guitar and let it enhance the sound quality of the string of your guitar.

It comes from the EMG brand totally friendly for the usage of the modern sense of music. Besides, this bridge humbucker pickup cannot cope with jazz or blues music genres too, if you know how to fit them in your guitar. Usually, pickups that are made with Alnico V magnets are known as the finest featured pickups of EMG. This EMG 57 bridge pickup comes with a tremendous feature too.

Along with the steel pole pieces, these magnets are responsible for enhancing and mostly, creating a unique tone. You can literally get the PAF quality in the tone for these amazing features. Besides this quality, this pickup is a masterpiece for creating punching sound at moments where needed and defines the unparallel necessity of tone sometimes too.

You can get this pickup wrapped up with several materials. Be it gold, bronze, steel, or black chrome, the modern look makes up for the most vibe situation both for a player and electric guitar. It comes with a back cap made of brushed steel that has a sleek design that absolutely copes with your up-to-date choices of musical instruments. Also, with its beautiful appearance, this pickup is easy to install without facing any hassle with its solderless feature.

As this active bridge pickup EMG 57 comes with several workabilities, it is a little pricy. Though primarily it is made for the bridge position. You can use it on the neck position of your electric guitar and get a twisted sound quality from it. People buy the EMG 57/66 set for defined sound quality.

Together they provide an additional punch to the tone and the whole environment gets changed in a moment. To get maximum alnico sound, you can rely on this EMG active humbucking 57/66 pickup set without any doubt. If you hear a humming sound coming out of your EMG 57 pickup, pair it with EMG 66 active humbucking pickup to get the right track of tone with punch and headroom.

The clarity you get of sound from this pickup is incredible with its throaty mids. You can feel the low-end touch more and the top-end touch less. Also, it has a high-gaining feature with a magnificent amount of output. You can discover new tones with these balanced pickups and for their 10kOhm output impedance, you need to learn to control volume and tone.

Things We Liked about / Pros:

  •  It is one of the best and most fresh active humbucker bridge pickups and provides the clearest possible tone
  •  With its Alnico V magnets, you can get PAF tone, unique sound quality, and extraordinary defined and punching tune
  • This pickup comes with a sleek modern design to impress the updated heavy metal musicians and for its solderless feature, you just need to plug and play for installation
  • You will have a 25k volume pot and 25k tone pot and also can use this pickup in neck position or you can pair it with another best active EMG pickup

Things We Didn’t Like About / Cons:

  •  Of its immense output, some people cannot understand how to control the volume and tone sometimes

About EMG 81 Pickup:

EMG 81 Brushed Gold Pickup

EMG provides the most convenient pickups ever and EMG 81 is one of the truest examples of this statement. Once you adopt EMG 81 active humbucker pickup, you will fall in love with it instantly. You will then know that this is the sound you are searching for from a device and your pickup hunting will come to an end. In fact, EMG 81 active pickup started revolutionary progress in the EMG brand for its amazing features. You need to position this pickup on the bridge of your electric guitar.

To expect brighter sound quality with utmost clarity, true musicians of heavy music genres rely greatly on EMG 81 active pickup. But if you want a rare tone coming out of your beloved guitar, you can also place this pickup on the neck position of your guitar. You will find a suitable grim tone in this act of alteration. However, the feature of the EMG 81 active pickup might not be the same as other EMG active pickups as their features vary from one another to some extent.

With its ceramic magnets, this EMG 81 bridge provides an intense sound quality that will leave you startled. Besides, this pickup is featured aperture coils. This feature helps to eliminate the buzzing sound from the electric guitar. These ceramic magnets and aperture coils are truly responsible for top-notch sound quality. Besides, EMG offers various versions of EMG 81 pickups for the convenience of music lovers. If you want to pair this pickup with another EMG pickup, then there is no better option than EMG 85. Besides, it can be paired with EMG 60 too to get the best out of this duo.

Moreover, there is a chance that you can use EMG 81 both in the neck and bridge position together at the same time. This trick is for an excellent brighter and blistering sound that many musicians require to meet their range of tone in metal or hard rock songs. Apart from this, EMG 81 pickup alone provides an immense amount of top-end cut. Besides, its fluid sustaining efficiency is worth mentioning as it contributes to intensifying the sound quality to the greatest extent. This significant tone can be determined even through the densest range of music.

This EMG 81 active bridge pickup is devoid of pole pieces. It is for the betterment of the sound quality as these polepieces intend to put a bad impact on the performance of leads. Even in distortion, you will not see EMG 81 pickup slipping its consistency of crystal clear tone. But there is a chance that you might get tired of this consistency of brighter sound. Still, you can alternate its position to have diversity in the sound quality of these pickups. However, its exact amount of output impedance makes the EMG 81 active pickup really interesting.

Things We Liked about / Pros:   

  • The EMG 81 active pickup comes with amazing brighter sound quality with the feature of placing it in the bridge position of your electric guitar
  •  To make your strings sound robust, bombastic, and strengthened, EMG 81 active pickup excels other active pickups of the EMG brand
  • With the accurate amount of output impedance, the leads get their best environment to play metal and hard rock music
  • Featured with ceramic magnets and aperture coils for the improvement of tone and the absence of polepieces enhance and intensifies the sound quality

Things We Didn’t Like About / Cons:

• The consistency of the EMG 81 pickup’s sound might bore you at some point.

Difference Between EMG 57 Vs 81: Which One You Should Pick?

Even though we have a very ideal vision of the EMG brand and its pickups, their pickups have more or fewer downsides too. But with all these downsides, we are here to identify the better one among EMG 57 active bridge pickup and EMG 81 active bridge pickup. As both of these pickups are from the same brand, you might think that they have the same configuration, output, and sound quality. But in reality, this fact is not true and we have already proved it in our former segments where we discuss these pickups in detail.

Therefore, a general question of which one is better for your electric guitar might arise in your head by this time. For a clear answer, we need to go through the comparison of their characteristics and features, and then we can get to a conclusion.

1) Sound Quality:

If you are looking for the best pickup that provides the best sound quality then both EMG 57 and 81 active pickups compete in the same range. To some extent, the sound quality depends on the choice of a musician, and thus it can vary from person to person. If you are into heavy metals and rock genres and love the grim sound with the intensified tone, then EMG 81 is really a good one. Then again, for crystal clear, and warm sound, you can go for EMG 57 active bridge pickup.

2) Versatility:

The versatility of a pickup is what a true musician looks for the most. A pickup should not only be a static device, it should cover up other segments of a musical instrument too. In this case, both EMG 57 and EMG 81 bridge pickups are great as you can alternate their positions and place them in the neck of your electric guitar to testify to their versatility. Besides, both these pickups can be paired up with other pickups to enhance the utmost sound quality. But a special fact about EMG 81 is that it can be set both in neck and bridge position at the same time to have an utter diversion of sound quality.

3) Output Impedance Ability:

emg 57 output impedance ability

Both EMG 57 and EMG 81 active bridge pickups come with 10k Ohm out impedance ability. However, you will feel little difference in the amount of output between these two EMG pickups. According to many users, EMG 57 comes with an insane amount of output and that’s why some problem occurs regarding that. We see EMG 81 pickup does not allow any kind of exaggeration regarding the amount of output and it comes with the exact amount of that.

4) Current Frequency & Battery Life:

It is an important fact for the musicians to learn if the pickup they are choosing comes with the right voltage of current or not. Most of the active pickups of the EMG brand provide 9V current (80 microamps) and EMG 57 and EMG 81 are no different than that. Besides, they can run 3000 hours straight if you allow them to. So, regarding their current frequency, their battery lifespan is worth a check.

5) Special Features:

As we have said before that EMG brands. Their pickups are different types of magnetic. Whereas EMG 57 pickup comes with alnico v magnets, EMG 81 comes with ceramic magnets. The significance of alnico magnets is they can offer tremendous clarity in the sound. But ceramic magnets are not far from providing this benefit too. It knows how to provide a sharp sound through the strings of an electric guitar.

6) Output Noise:

EMG Output Noise

There is a significant difference between EMG 57 and EMG 81 in terms of output noise. Whereas EMG 57 active bridge pickup provides -100 dBV, EMG 81 active humbucker bridge pickup provides -91 dBV.

You may also read: P90 Vs FilterTron Pickup Difference

So, Which One Should You Pick?

From the comparison of the characteristics of EMG 57 and EMG 81 pickups. It is clear that both these pickups have a discrete personality. They both come with robust features which will never dissatisfy you. But if you are a person of attention to detail, then the slightest variation can matter to you to the great extent.

Therefore, to be clearer about the comparison, if you want a clear sound with top-notch and well-configured magnetic. Then EMG 57 active bridge pickup should be your call. And, for immense consistency in the grim sound, look for EMG 81 active bridge pickup.


Question: Do EMG’s all pickups sound the same on an electric guitar?

Answer: To be more defined, most of the pickups of EMG brands come with different tonal features and they provide different tones and sound quality too. One pickup of the EMG brand will definitely vary from the other on an electric guitar. Even though the difference might seem slight and very insignificant.

Question: Are EMG 81 pickups any good?

Answer: They are in fact very versatile and provide the perfect vibration to the strings of an electric guitar. Even Zakk Wylde, a famous metal musician, uses this incredible EMG 81 pickup for his band.

Final Words:

Hopefully, you enjoyed this article by reading about EMG 57 vs 81 Guitar pickup reviews. You must need to read clearly the comparison between both pickups. Now you are able to choose the perfect pickup for the guitar. Thank you.

Last Updated on January 25, 2023 by Perry Garner

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