EMG Humbucker Pickups
If you're unfamiliar with the difference between active and passive humbuckers, it's quite simple to understand: passive pickups are the original style - they have treble and bass controls, but they have no additional features to boost your signal. Passive pickups are what you'll usually find on guitar models, and EMG passive humbuckers are some of the most popular on the market. Two best-selling EMG models are the H2A Vintage Hot Passive Humbucker (ideal for guitarists who are gunning for a classic 60s/70s-style tone) and the H3 Passive Humbucker (great for overdriven metal sounds).
While passive pickups are found more often on guitars, EMG is actually best known for their active pickups. In this section alone, you'll come across way more active humbucker pickups than passive models. Active humbuckers have battery-operated onboard electronics that let you cut or boost your tone. This makes active pickups a favorite among metal guitarists because it gives them more leeway to control their sound even at high volumes. For an affordable pickup that comes with a high rating, check out the EMG-85 Humbucking Active Guitar Pickup. Available in black, ivory and white colors, this pickup uses 2 Alnico magnet-loaded coils with a wide aperture. To experience the 85 at the peak of its powers, use the natural distortion that comes from overdriving your amp's front end.
Honestly, EMG's catalog of active humbucker pickups is so long, your best bet is to jump in and see them for yourself. Speaking of Zakk Wylde and James Hetfield, they both collaborated with EMG to create their own signature active humbucker pickups and both models can be found in these pages. The simple truth is that EMG humbucker pickups have been preferred more often than not since 1976, and you'll quickly understand why after hearing what they can do for your guitar performance.