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EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set 

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The JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set is a totally new dimension for EMG, the design being driven solely with the input of James Hetfield. After playin...Click To Read More About This Product

Available 08-30-2017

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OVERVIEW

James wanted something not only "new" sounding, but also totally new looking.

The JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set is a totally new dimension for EMG, the design being driven solely with the input of James Hetfield. After playing the 81/60 EMG combo for many years now James wanted something not only "new" sounding, he wanted a set that also looked totally new.

The neck pickup uses individual ceramic poles and bobbins with an enlarged core that gives it a more percussive attack, higher output and a fuller low-end response making it clean & fat and fast attacking.

The bridge pickup uses the same larger/taller core coil but has steel pole pieces, again for a tighter more percussive attack with less mutual inductance for a cleaner low-end,. Based of the EMG 81 but brought to a whole new level.

Both pickups feature an exclusive Black Nickel plated finish and come complete with EMG's revolutionary solderless installation wiring components.

FEATURES
  • New sounding and looking
  • Individual poles and bobbins
  • Enlarged core
  • More percussive attack
  • Higher output
  • Fuller low-end response
  • Black Nickel plated finish
Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
EMGJH James Hetfield Humbucker Set
 
4.6

(based on 19 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (13)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

93%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Improves sound (13)
  • Good quality (12)
  • Functional (10)
  • Easy to use (6)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Concerts (12)
  • Practicing (9)
  • Back-up (3)
  • Recording (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (12)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

amazing tone, amazing look

after reading a bunch of reviews, listening to sounds clips, and doing some test drives, i decided to buy a het set. right out of the box, you know you have two...Read complete review

after reading a bunch of reviews, listening to sounds clips, and doing some test drives, i decided to buy a het set. right out of the box, you know you have two black bars of pure sex and tone waiting to grace your rig. with the solder-less electronics, this is a quick install for you diy'ers out there; however, i'm not much of a risk taker so i brought it to my local guitar tech for the install/set up. hitting that first chord after the install is like falling in love with the instrument all over again. they make bad amps sound good and great amps sound amazing. i paired these pickups with a tusq xl nut & saddles along with a pair of ernie ball cobalt: these pups can sing! you can get perfect cleans to saturated distortion and everything in between.
two things to note:
1. if you are switching from passive to active, your electronics cavity is gonna be tight because of the battery. some minor routing for a battery compartment could solve this but is not required.
2. the black nickle is a little aesthetically clashy when paired with chrome hardware, its dark enough to blend with other black hardware though (in the off chance you can't find black nickle hardware)

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Good for all genres

These look absolutely fantastic in my grey black PRS custom 24. Very clean and easy install although the solder less kit will require you to either cut your old pickups wires a little short ...Read complete review

These look absolutely fantastic in my grey black PRS custom 24. Very clean and easy install although the solder less kit will require you to either cut your old pickups wires a little short from the pickup selector or solder new wires to the post. 4 solders points only no big deal. I had to file the ears down a bit where the height adjustment screws go. So all installed, put back together, tuned up and very excited I sprint to the Marshall jcm 900 4100 half stack and fire it up. Plug straight in front started clean, good tone not great. I'm like well the it's all about the gain with these switch over and fizz fizz fizz. My heart sank. I wanted to love these. Then I learned the secret. Through the MXR 10 band they sound amazing( but what doesn't). They really sound good with a little eq fiddling. Capable of shred,blues and twang.i now own 3 EMG equipped guitars . Jackson RR1EMG 81/85, Fender American standard Strat 81/SA/SA and the PRS with the JH set. If you are looking for all out shred, get the 81/85 or 81/60. If you don't have an equalizer do not get these. Or get these and an EQ!

Reviewed by 19 customers

Displaying reviews 1-19

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(14 of 14 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Other than cosmetic durability...

By Jake Stohr

from South Dakota

Comments about EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set:

Seriously...Buy for perfromance and performance alone. The Black nickel coating will not last... even under light/moderate use... But the tone and sound is still phenomenal!!!!!
These pickups are Freaking awesome sound wise!!! Put them into a Ibaneza 700VBT V style guitar and playing them through a Marshall JVM 410 amp. Only minor changes are needed per channel to achieve a very close Metallica style sound...IMO.
Only thing I knock it for is endurance...

Had it for a few months installed as per instructions and, after very light use, the bridge pickup paint/coating is already beginning to chip and peal... badly.
The tone and sound of this pickup is totally worth it if your going for ANY kind of Metallica sound, but the finish is poor at best... seriously... i'm ameratuer at best and the bridge pickup makes me look I'm an expert who's been playing it for years...
Buy for tone, not for looks!!!

(8 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Kick @SS !!!!1111!!11!

By AddictedtoKaos

from Ontario, Canada

See all my reviews

Comments about EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set:

Nice looking, sound great. With my standard EMG 81/60s my single rectifer sounded a little thin and buzzy and I found myself needing to use max gain (3->5 oclock) on Modern settings. If I tried raising the bridge pickup any higher I found the 81 just sounded muddy.

After installing these , that thin sound from my Rectoverb is now gone. Its sounds ballsy and tight . I can raise these to the point that they dont touch the strings when mutting and they still sound defined. I also find now that setting my gain to 3 oclock is more than enough.

In Hetield's Part 2 EMG interview for these he explains how he doesnt like to have extra pedals in between his guitar and amp. This may be Papa Hetz solution to boosting an amp without the need of a 808/TS9.Look AwesomeSound Awesomeincludes all required wiring, pots, board, screw, instructionswell packedincludes a black fang pick. I prefer the .95 but i guess james uses the guage included.sound quality for both neck and bridge are awesome
ConsBlack Nickel paint seems to be a little dark as compared to most guitar hardware. Doesnt match the hardware on my ESP Eclipse II. But they still look nicer than the standard EMG covers.The paint is a little cheap. alread have a few small scratches from just installing them. LEAVE THE PLASTIC ON UNTIL YOU INSTALL, and SET UP these pickups. Once you have your pickups installed and your strings on then remove the plastic.Not sure about value as I this is my first set of pickups I purchased. They include everything you need - minus the guitar and amp. Sound awesome. And they are Papa Hetz signature design that he created with the help of EMG.

(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

The Cure For The Skeptics

By ryanwadewilson76

from San Diego, CA

About Me Experienced

Pros

  • Functional
  • Good Quality
  • Improves Sound

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Concerts
    • Practicing
    • Recording

    Comments about EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set:

    I've never been too fond of active pickups merely because they tend to sound "fake". EMGs sound too brittle, and SD Blackouts lack character. I demo'd these pickups in a LTD Snakebyte, and enjoyed them. Once I got my hands on my own Snakebyte, I was able to really get a feel for these pickups.

    The improved low-end response really brings these pickups to life, but doesn't drown out the higher ranges, and the passive characteristics they possess makes them sound more organic and "real" when compared to other active pickups. My favorite part, besides their appearance, is the fact that they're so harmonically rich and make every note stand out, even when you pile on the gain. Another thing to bear in mind is that though they have Hetfield's name on them, you're not gonna be able to only sound like Metallica. You can still dial in your own sounds and tones with these pickups, and they respond wonderfully to EQ changes. They also handle lower tunings incredibly well.

    If you're a skeptic like I am, take these pickups for a test drive. I still love my passives, but these will be my go-to pickups when I desire active pickups in any of my guitars.

    (5 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Well worth the money.

    By Zachary Rock

    from Richlands, NC

    See all my reviews

    Comments about EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set:

    This set went into my Epiphone Les Paul Custom. I was not happy with the sound of the pickups in the Les Paul and it became a wall orniment. My ESPs had the EMG 81/60 combo and thought I would give the Het Set a try. The shine of the Het Set (as opposed to EMG typical flat look) looks amazing in the alpine white les paul. Many people think EMGs are made for metal. I tell you, the EMG 81/60 combo or the Hetfields are the most versitile pickups on the market. I use them for contempory Christian music at my church, blues, clean softer suff all the way to playing my favorite Metallica, Mudvayne and everything inbetween. They will not let you down!
    I have always been an EMG fan. The 81/60 combo has been a staple in my eletrics. The "Het Set" takes them to a new level. While based off of the 81/60 combo, these pickups are not just a different look. The bridge has that added crunch and when needed in leads, slices through the mix. The neck pickup has amazing clean sound and when the distortion is added, wow, thick and heavy does not do them justice.
    So far so good. Easy to install.
    Great value! For under $250 I got a brand new guitar!

    (4 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Great pickups!!

    By NortonMD

    from Nebraska

    About Me Professional Musician

    See all my reviews

    Ask me a question

    Pros

    • Easy To Use
    • Functional
    • Good Quality
    • Improves Sound

    Cons

    • Product Desc Is Lacking

    Best Uses

    • Backup
    • Concerts
    • Practicing

    Comments about EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set:

    Put these pickups in my Gibson Les Paul and they were exactly what I was hoping they would be! Im not an EMG guy at all , but I really dig these pickups.Ive always felt that EMGs mask the true sound of your guitar and make any guitar sound the same , but these do not. My Les Paul still feels and sounds like my Les Paul , just hot rodded. Tons of output , very tight and the cleans are great.
    My only complaint is that nowhere in the description does it say whether the included pots are short shaft or long shaft. I had to call EMG and have them send me the long shaft pots because the included pots would not work in my Les Paul

    (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Super Dope

    By freddie holly

    from Nashville, TN

    About Me Experienced

    Pros

    • Easy To Use
    • Functional
    • Good Quality
    • Improves Sound
    • Killed time
    • Not muddy at all
    • Super clarity

    Cons

    • None

    Best Uses

    • Church
    • Concerts
    • Gigging
    • Metal
    • Practicing
    • Recording
    • Whatever

    Comments about EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set:

    I read online about em didnt believe the hype so i went and bought a set i didnt use the neck pickup because the guitar i was working on was a ibanez prestige one pickup the bridge. I set it up did my thing hooked it up to multiple amps i normally play a jcm 800/900 i cranked it up got killer cruncy with lots of lowend dope sound switched to clean and dear god never got that kind of sound from any of my emgs. Emg killed it with this pups its crazy i never write reviews i had to for this one. I play mostly hardcore and thrash and this do the trick. I record all types of music and i laid down some like christian praise and worship and the notes just sang. I have tried tons of pickups dimarzio, pafs, seymours, and other emgs hands down this is the best set i have tried to date.

    (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    amazing tone, amazing look

    By thegame

    from Williston, ND

    About Me Experienced

    See all my reviews

    Pros

    • Crazy long sustain
    • Functional
    • Good Quality
    • Great Sound
    • Improves Sound
    • Rich harmonics

    Cons

    • Dat price

    Best Uses

    • Concerts
    • Serious musical endeavors

    Comments about EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set:

    after reading a bunch of reviews, listening to sounds clips, and doing some test drives, i decided to buy a het set. right out of the box, you know you have two black bars of pure sex and tone waiting to grace your rig. with the solder-less electronics, this is a quick install for you diy'ers out there; however, i'm not much of a risk taker so i brought it to my local guitar tech for the install/set up. hitting that first chord after the install is like falling in love with the instrument all over again. they make bad amps sound good and great amps sound amazing. i paired these pickups with a tusq xl nut & saddles along with a pair of ernie ball cobalt: these pups can sing! you can get perfect cleans to saturated distortion and everything in between.
    two things to note:
    1. if you are switching from passive to active, your electronics cavity is gonna be tight because of the battery. some minor routing for a battery compartment could solve this but is not required.
    2. the black nickle is a little aesthetically clashy when paired with chrome hardware, its dark enough to blend with other black hardware though (in the off chance you can't find black nickle hardware)

    (3 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

     
    3.0

    Good for all genres

    By Benjammin`-rE71-

    from Sacramento

    About Me Experienced

    See all my reviews

    Ask me a question

    Pros

    • Look Fantastic

    Cons

    • Out Of Box Tone Is Trash

    Best Uses

    • All Music

    Comments about EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set:

    These look absolutely fantastic in my grey black PRS custom 24. Very clean and easy install although the solder less kit will require you to either cut your old pickups wires a little short from the pickup selector or solder new wires to the post. 4 solders points only no big deal. I had to file the ears down a bit where the height adjustment screws go. So all installed, put back together, tuned up and very excited I sprint to the Marshall jcm 900 4100 half stack and fire it up. Plug straight in front started clean, good tone not great. I'm like well the it's all about the gain with these switch over and fizz fizz fizz. My heart sank. I wanted to love these. Then I learned the secret. Through the MXR 10 band they sound amazing( but what doesn't). They really sound good with a little eq fiddling. Capable of shred,blues and twang.i now own 3 EMG equipped guitars . Jackson RR1EMG 81/85, Fender American standard Strat 81/SA/SA and the PRS with the JH set. If you are looking for all out shred, get the 81/85 or 81/60. If you don't have an equalizer do not get these. Or get these and an EQ!

    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Like EMGs, but better.

    By Larry

    from Georgia

    About Me Experienced

    See all my reviews

    Pros

    • Easy To Use
    • Functional
    • Good Quality
    • Improves Sound
    • Solderless Install
    • Solderless Install Tone
    • Solerless Install
    • Tone

    Cons

    • Battery Not Included
    • Short Pots Only In Box

    Best Uses

    • Concerts
    • Main Guitar
    • Practicing

    Comments about EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set:

    Take most of what you know of the EMG sound and throw it out the window. These are almost a completely different animal..in a good way! First off, these have a LOT more character than the standard 81/60 setup. Yes, it still has the sharp bite that you would expect, but it is a lot less harsh and more defined. They have a lot more warmth to them and are a lot more sensitive to EQ changes. If Gibson ever made active pickups, they would probably sound something like this set. Very nice, indeed. I had to take off a star because my Gibson Les Paul required long-shaft pots, which you have to buy seperately...they should really have a short/long-shaft pot option when you order these.

    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    EMGs with balls!

    By Den

    from Rochester, MN

    About Me Novice

    Pros

    • Easy To Use
    • Functional
    • Good Quality
    • Great Sustain
    • Improves Sound
    • Very Clear

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Concerts
      • Recording

      Comments about EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set:

      Normally, I tend to run away from active pickups. But, I've heard so much about these having closer to a passive tone, than other active pickups on the market. And, that intrigued me. I was instantly surprized that they were as full, as they were. Of course they aren't as full as a passive, but they're pretty close. The lows are pretty heavy, but tight enough that they don't get extremely muddy. The have a nice amount of mids, that the 81/85 combo lacks. So, you can get some nice grindy tones, out of them. The sustain on these is overwhelming, for me at least. The pole piece magnets really help them get that nice passive like pick responce. Which allows you the get more feeling, and expression in your playing. If you like the clarity of the attack of the typical EMGs, but want a fuller tone, you need to try these. They're not nearly as sterile, and processed sounding as typical EMGs.

      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      AMAZING TONE!

      By Tricky

      from Reno, NV

      About Me Professional Musician

      See all my reviews

      Pros

      • Good Quality
      • Improves Sound

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Concerts
        • Practicing

        Comments about EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set:

        I'm a lifelong ESP player. I have an ESP Phoenix that is my favorite axe. I've played it with the Seymore Duncans that were stock. After a year, I replaced them with the EMG JH Set. Normally I use the EMG 81's, but I heard so much praise about these, that I figured "why not?".

        All I can say is the hype is true. Using the bridge pickup on my thick, Marshall distortion, the walls rattle more than before. The tone is so heavy, yet more defined than the 81. Using the neck on a clean tone is nothing short of beautiful. These pickups are amazing. Now I get to spend a slew of money to replace the old EMGs in my other guitars. LOL

        (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Hetfield EMG Pickups

        By Maveric Matt

        from New York

        About Me Experienced

        See all my reviews

        Ask me a question

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Awesome Crunch Sound
        • Overdrive AMAZING
        • Purest Clean Sound

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Concerts
          • Practicing

          Comments about EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set:

          Ive watched so many videos of these things before i bought them when i installed them in my PRS Paull Allender Guitar I was like OMG these things are incredible. The pickups have the purest clean sound when you play on a clean channel and then when you play on the overdrive channel these things pack some serious high gain punch that can still clean it up. The EMG 81 Delivers some serious punch and the EMG 60 cleans up everything perfectly. These Pickups are amazing if your want some serious high gain sound that packs a punch but can still give off a nice clean warm tone get these pickups

          (3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Simply AMAZING!!!

          By Josh Bogus

          from Dover, DE

          Comments about EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set:

          overall going with these pickups is a win win. If your looking for that big classic EMG sound but with a little more saturation and harmonic overtones then pick these up imediately.
          I am a EMG endorser. All my guitars have them. This set is basically just like any other when it comes to features. your standard EMG but if thats what you want like me the your good.
          I have to say i was a little weary about this set at first. EMG trying to put a passive tone into the monster that is an EMG 81. Im glad i went and bought them. I love metallica and was sure it could do what i wanted so after installing i went right for the dirty channel on the Mesa and WOW!! this thing blows the 81 away. For me i love the sound of the emg pickups but i always wanted just a little more satuation without having to sacrifce clarity. They nailed it with these!....from the moment i plugged in you could just here the saturation and the harmonic overtones that come with a passive pickup but it was that classic wall of sound that the EMG 81 brings. PERFECT!!!!!!. The neck pickup i think was configured a little different and to me sounds like the EMG 60 which is the combo i use 81/60.......all of this on top of the Black nickel classic look these are awesome pickups!!
          durable black nickel on the outside makes for a classic looking pickup with a killer tone.

          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Amazing pickups!

          By Natesalot123

          from Susanville, CA

          About Me Experienced

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Chunky
          • Deep
          • Functional
          • Good Quality
          • Improves Sound

          Cons

          • None

          Best Uses

            Comments about EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set:

            Put these in my 2008 Les Paul and they sound great. Only thing to remember is that the stock pots are too short for LP style guitars.

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            This set really delivers!!!

            By SVT

            from Guadalajara, México

            About Me Experienced

            Pros

            • Easy To Use
            • Functional
            • Good Quality
            • Improves Sound

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Backup
              • Concerts
              • Practicing

              Comments about EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set:

              I bought this set as an improvement to my secondary guitar, installed them on a FrankenStrat, quite impressed how the experiment turned out, now I have 2 main guitars (can't decide)

              The only issue I had was the output jack not fitting properly on the output rout, I had to change the jack plate for a plain one, closest thing to a solderless install.

              About sound, changed my perception of Active pickups, I still love passive humbuckers, but I had the idea active pickups provided a lifeless sound.

              Bridge pickup is so bright, perfect for crunch and absolutely ready for heavy distortion, Neck pickup is just what I needed for clean tones.

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              upgraded my les paul

              By mickdog

              from Lakehurst, NJ.

              About Me Experienced

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Good Quality
              • Improves Sound
              • They Sound Awesome

              Cons

              • Difficult to install

              Best Uses

                Comments about EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set:

                Very tight fit. Volume and tone pots barely fit my arch top les paul. Hard to install considering it was a solderless kit. EMG could have spared another 4 inches of wire. Also could have supplied some type of battery pouch. I had to cut foam and pad the battery so it wasnt bouncing around the cavity. Once it was installed, the pick ups shred. The sound is great.

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                EMG's with a kick!

                By Up north Mark

                from Northern Michigan.

                About Me Experienced

                See all my reviews

                Ask me a question

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Easy To Use
                • Functional
                • Good Quality
                • Improves Sound

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Backup
                  • Concerts
                  • Practicing

                  Comments about EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set:

                  Already had EMG's so install was a snap, installed in my ESP JK-1 these things were an incredible improvement over the stock 81's that came in it. All the things you'd expect from EMG and more. The tone first off is very smooth, lots of output yet very clear and a nice range. Notes are very defined and the pickups articulate the sounds great. They are very tight but not overly compressed and they have more output than the 81 with more clarity. Roll the volume back and they chime very nicely clean. They actually have a similar quality to very high end passives with the punch of actives. I've read some negatives on the finish and so far I've not had an issue. If you like EMG pups but want a little more of your guitars tone to shine through look no further, these will not disappoint.

                  (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Great Sounding

                  By gtbusa2002

                  from New Port Richey, FL

                  About Me Experienced

                  See all my reviews

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Functional
                  • Good Quality
                  • Improves Sound

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Concerts
                    • Practicing

                    Comments about EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set:

                    I swapped out EMG 81 and 85 for these. I was very impressed with the overall tone and dynamics. They don't sound compressed.

                    (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    3.0

                    Look great, sound great , then oxidate..

                    By xedhead

                    from Dallas, TX

                    About Me Experienced

                    Pros

                    • Improves Sound

                    Cons

                    • Poor Quality

                    Best Uses

                    • Concerts

                    Comments about EMG JH James Hetfield Humbucker Set:

                    Nice tight sound with the bridge pickup. Distortion felt more saturated than an EMG 81 which to me was perfect. Great clean sound, never had so many people compliment me on my sound after a show(clean and dirty wise). My only real complaint would be with the bridge pickup cosmetically. It is composed of ceramic and steel. The steel components led to some oxidation issues. The exposed pole pieces rusted and turned orange. Not pretty. Over all pretty much a EMG 81/60 combo with higher output. My recommendation stick with what Het originally used, the 81/60 combo or try the 81/85 combo. I am personally gonna stick with dual EMG 81 pickups in my guitar.

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