EMG Vs Bartolini [Difference & Which is better]

When it comes to shaping the sound of your instrument, the choice of pickups plays a pivotal role. Among the plethora of options available, EMG and Bartolini stand out as titans in the realm of pickups. Musicians often find themselves at a crossroads, trying to decipher between EMG vs Bartolini pickups and ultimately deciding which one is better suited for their musical journey.

EMG Vs Bartolini

In this guide, we’ll discuss the distinctions between EMG and Bartolini pickups, explore their unique characteristics, and sonic profiles, and help you make an informed decision on which might be the superior choice for your musical aspirations.

Comparison Table About:

FeatureEMG PickupsBartolini Pickups
Tone CharacteristicsClean, high output, tight bass responseWarm, organic, dynamic, wide frequency range
Power SourceRequires a batteryNo battery required
Output LevelGenerally highCan vary depending on the model
Noise LevelLow noise due to active designGenerally quiet, especially in noise-canceling models
InstallationMay require more intricate wiring due to the active designStandard installation for most models
VersatilitySuitable for various genres, especially high-gain stylesOffers versatility across genres
SustainCan provide long sustain due to high outputGood sustain, but may vary by model
Price RangeTypically higher in priceVaried, with options in different price ranges
Popular ModelsEMG 81, 85, 60MK-1, PBF, 9J, 8S
Artist EndorsementsJames Hetfield (Metallica), Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne)Victor Wooten, Bill Dickens

About EMG Pickup –

Background –

EMG, short for Electro-Magnetic Generator, emerged in the early ’70s, revolutionizing the landscape of guitar pickups. Founded by Rob Turner, the company became renowned for its active pickups that utilized a low-impedance design, providing a high-output, noise-resistant solution to the conventional pickups of the time.

Signature Features –

1. Active Electronics:

EMG pickups are predominantly active, meaning they require an external power source, typically a 9-volt battery. This design choice contributes to a high signal-to-noise ratio, reduced interference, and a consistent output level.

2. Solderless Installation Systems:

EMG pickups are famous for their solderless installation systems. This innovative feature simplifies the installation process, making it more accessible to musicians without advanced technical skills.

3. Signature Series:

EMG has collaborated with numerous iconic artists to create signature series pickups. These pickups are tailored to the preferences and playing styles of renowned musicians, offering fans the opportunity to capture the same tones that inspire them.

About Bartolini Pickup:

Legacy and Artistry –

Founded in 1973 by Bill Bartolini, Bartolini pickups have also played a crucial role in shaping the sonic landscape of various instruments. The company’s philosophy revolves around a meticulous approach to craftsmanship and a dedication to delivering a rich, nuanced tone.

Signature Features –

1. Passive and Active Options:

Bartolini pickups come in both passive and active configurations, offering musicians the flexibility to choose based on their tonal preferences and the sonic characteristics of their instruments.

2. Custom Wound Pickups:

Bartolini is known for its custom wound pickups. This approach allows musicians to tailor the specifications of their pickups, creating a personalized sonic signature that aligns with their artistic vision.

3. Wide Range of Products:

Bartolini offers a diverse range of pickups, catering to various instruments such as bass guitars, electric guitars, and acoustic guitars. This versatility allows musicians to explore a spectrum of tonal possibilities within the Bartolini lineup.

Difference of EMG Vs Bartolini –

a) Tonal Characteristics –

EMG pickups are celebrated for their precision and power. The active design results in a high output with a tight, focused response. This makes EMG pickups an ideal choice for genres like metal and hard rock, where clarity and punch are paramount.

Bartolini pickups, whether passive or active, are renowned for their warmth and versatility. The custom wound options provide a nuanced tonal palette, making them suitable for a wide range of musical genres, from jazz and blues to rock and funk.

b) Articulation and Dynamics –

EMG pickups excel in delivering surgical precision and articulation. The active electronics ensure that every note is well-defined and that players have maximum control over their dynamics. This characteristic makes EMG pickups a favorite among shredders and technical players.

Bartolini pickups offer expressive dynamics, allowing players to convey a wide range of emotions through their playing. The pickups respond well to subtle nuances in technique, making them an excellent choice for musicians who prioritize expressive playing styles.

c) Noise and Interference –

Thanks to their low-impedance design and active electronics, EMG pickups are inherently resistant to interference and noise. This makes them an excellent choice for high-gain situations where unwanted hum and buzz can be problematic.

Bartolini pickups, especially the active variants, also provide a balanced noise performance. While not as inherently noise-free as EMG pickups, they strike a commendable balance, ensuring a clean signal even in challenging playing environments.

Making the Choice: EMG or Bartolini?

Considerations for Your Musical Style –

1. Metal & Hard Rock:

If your musical journey leans towards the realms of metal and hard rock, the precision and power of EMG pickups are likely to be a perfect match. The tight response and high output cater to the demands of heavy riffing and fast, technical playing.

2. Versatility:

For musicians who dabble in various genres and seek a nuanced, versatile tonal palette, Bartolini pickups offer a compelling choice. The custom wound options, especially in the passive lineup, allow for a personalized sonic signature that adapts to different musical contexts.

Installation and Technical Considerations –

1. Ease of Installation:

If you prioritize a straightforward installation process and don’t want to delve into intricate soldering, EMG’s solderless systems provide a user-friendly solution. This can be a significant factor, especially for musicians who prefer a DIY approach to their instrument modifications.

2. Customization and Tailoring:

For players who relish the idea of tailoring every aspect of their instrument’s tone, Bartolini’s custom wound pickups open up a world of possibilities. This level of customization allows you to fine-tune your pickups to match your specific playing style and sonic preferences.

Conclusion –

In the grand tapestry of musical expression, the choice between EMG vs Bartolini pickups is a deeply personal one. Each brand brings its own set of strengths to the table, catering to the diverse needs and preferences of musicians across the globe. Whether you find yourself drawn to the surgical precision of EMG or the expressive dynamics of Bartolini, the key lies in understanding your musical identity and choosing the pickups that resonate with your artistic vision.

Ultimately, both EMG and Bartolini stand as pillars of innovation in the world of pickups, contributing to the endless sonic possibilities that fuel the creativity of musicians worldwide.

Last Updated on November 28, 2023 by Perry Garner

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