• TaoZen

    EMG HZ Appreciation thread...seriously!

    I don't really understand the general dislike of these pickups. They actually sound pretty decent.

    The first guitar I ever heard them in/played thru was my Viper 301. I have had quite a few guitars over the years with different pickups, and the HZ's are very versatile. I can play metal as well as R+B and blues with them.

    I just bought a Viper 300 that someone installed a Duncan Custom in the bridge, and it dosen't sound as good to my ear as the HZ. I'm glad that the guy I bought it from kept the HZ and included it with the sale. I will swap them back asap.

    Maybe they don't have as much push as the actives, but they have character and tone, and if you wanted more gain, you can drive the front end with an OD box.

    • Robotsatemygrandma

      Eh... that's cool that you like them but I hated the bridge HZ I had in my MH300. Overall it was a very muddy pickup and lacked the highs I was looking for.

      Now the Neck HZ is pretty damn good. Nice and smooth and great for dirty blues and smooth jazz tones.

    • espdood

      Whoa, there's a misconception with EMG HZ's. Those that play metal and such dog on them as a whole. Did they not know that there's different kinds of HZ's? The HZ 3's for me were horrible. Most flat sounding pickup I've ever heard. Not much of a high output high gain pickup. HZ 1's have the least output of the HZ line. More vintage sounding. The HZ 4's is where its at. It pretty much screams and give you incredible crunch and cuts through on solos. They do sound a bit thin, but its pretty much modeled after the EMG 81, which also is a thinner sounding pickup than the 85 as I think the 85 sound a bit too fat for my tastes. I guess everyone has their opinion on what's thin and what's fat sounding to them. I did not find the HZ's muddy and too thin at all. I play aggressive metal and I usually demand high gain from a pickup and the HZ 4 is one of my favourites. I really can't speak for Robot and Rex, as I'm quite suprised with their outcome of their HZ 4 experiences.

      I also noticed that the users on this thread that don't like the HZ-4 ended up liking the 85 I'm guessing for "beefier" and bassier tones. Although the 85 has more balls, it was just too thick for my tastes..and the bottom end is too fat. I wanted the 81 sound, but with the brutality of the 85 so I ended up getting the SD blackout.

      I still rate the EMG HZ-4 as one of my favourite all time passive pickups and I've tried virtually the whole Dimarzio line and most of the Duncan line.

    • KFW

      I see no problem with HZ's at all. I personally prefer the Active EMG's, but in my EX-260 I don't mind them. They actually suit the guitar pretty well.

      There's a common misconception that they are the cheap versions of EMG stuff, when actually passive EMG's cost only what, $20 less than Active EMGs? I'd actually be interested in trying a tone test with Active EMG's and then Passive EMG's and see how they truly match up. But that'd be too much effort :lol

      • The Sloth

        To be fair I haven't tried the new ones properly.
        I bought a couple of Ltds a couple of years back which came with the original version of the HZs and before I bought them I thought I wouldn't bother changing the pickups but the bridge pickup just annoyed me. It was quite muddy and had some slight harsh frequencies so I had to change them...but whatever works for you!

    • ESPimperium

      After having the HZ-4/HZ-4A in my old Epi Zakk, i prefer the EMG 81/85 that i had in my EC-500 OW, however the 85 to me is more of a bridge pickup as it sounds too bassy in the neck and too compressed, however the HZ-4A isnt like that and thats the Passive equivelent, its dryer that makes it clearer and more defined. The HZ-4 is a well rounded pickup, it to me sounds a little weak, when compaired to say a Full Shred (SH/TB-10) id say it sounds very simmilar.

      But id still take EMG 81/60 and a 85/60 over a EMG HZ combo.

    • TaoZen

      They came with my Viper 301 and 300, so I know that they are HZ 1's,

      Just suppose if you wanted to buy a set of them used, how would you be able to tell at a glance which ones they were without using a meter to see how hot they were? The HZ 1 and HZ 2 look identical on the website, as well as the HZ 3 and HZ 4. The only difference between them is the layout of the screws on the backside.

      I suppose I should contact EMG and see what they say.

    • ESPimperium

      Also for the purpose of the thread add in EMG HZ bass pickups as well.

    • fickle19

      I agree, I like the hz's more than the actives I have tried. I have never tried an 85 in the bridge though. Seymour Duncan FTW!!

    • Justinschut

      I liked the H1's in my EX351. I gave some HZ's to my friend to put in his Jackson Rhoads and it sounds mucho better now :)

    • frantik

      I'm not a fan of H-4'z either and why does Alexi from COB use one lol.

    • MikeC

      +1 with what SV Standard said.
      I have a set of these pickups in my Jackson and it just isn't what I want in a pickup. No matter what I do I just can't seam to get anything really heavey with these. The cleans are good with these, but I don't play on clean often.
      I have to dissagree with these sounding better then as 81 though. The 81 is a great pickup, as is the 85 EMG's. All in all, I give these pickups a 3 out of 10 for my type of playing.

      • espdood

        +1 with what SV Standard said.
        I have a set of these pickups in my Jackson and it just isn't what I want in a pickup. No matter what I do I just can't seam to get anything really heavey with these. The cleans are good with these, but I don't play on clean often.
        I have to dissagree with these sounding better then as 81 though. The 81 is a great pickup, as is the 85 EMG's. All in all, I give these pickups a 3 out of 10 for my type of playing.

        Which Jackson do you have them in? Jackson mostly uses the H3's in their guitars, but not sure if they recently started using the HZ-4's this year. If they are the H3's, I completely agree with you. If they are the H4's, I'm gonna have to disagree with you.

    • Shreddy

      I loved the HZ in my alexi untill i got my viper with an 81 and an 85.

      • TaoZen

        Just contacted Rick Hunt, the Engineering Technician at EMG Pickups, and newer HZ's have barcode stickers on them telling which ones are which.

        Back in 02' when my vipers were made, ESP bought them in bulk, no stickers on them so the only way you can be sure of telling older HZ's apart is putting a meter on them and referring to the spec sheet.

        Sadly enough EMG has no further info on guitar makers and which type was used which year...

        Very nice guy, and got back to me quickly.

        Just thought you would like to know what I found out.

    • Joe_Bradburry

      i love the HZ-H4 bridge pickup. my buddy has an EX-260 with the HZ set, and the tone from the bridge pu greatly surpasses the tone of my seymour duncan sh-6 distortion pu. so, about the SD blackouts. they have more output than active EMG's? do they have similar tone?

    • BlowitUp

      i could be mistaken because i threw out the pickups.. but i dont know if they changed in years or what not, but when they first came out in 04ish, they put those in the F200 when it was first released, but only in black color. by far the worst sounding pickups i have ever played... i bought the F after seeing my hero JH up on stage with one when Frantic was first played live. i immediatly bought 81/60 set and fixed the problem, and my HZs were active... not passive... completely watered down shit. am i halucinating? or just dumb?

    • Bridge The Void

      I love the active EMG's, but haven't really tried the passives. I was thinking of getting some H-4s for my Ibanez's though, so I could have a similar tone which is splittable and sans-batteries...dunno though.

      Active EMG's are not only for balls-to-the-walls metal. I use an Eclipse with an 81/60 combination for my main band, and my singer would slay me if I even suggested playing metal :p I love the 60, perfect clean tones and when blended with the 81...lots of versatlity.

    • the_emptier

      i have an HZ in my alexi. and i must say it really is a cool little pickup. of course it doesnt stand up to an 81, but for a passive it's great. i really don't need a change for a long time i dont think. just a new amp for now. but if you need a new pickup then go for an 81 or something, HZ's are good, but 81's have a lot more grit and power. and i was only testing different pickups through a 15w fender amp. on the clean channel, and i could tell the 81 had a lot more "attack" when playing rhythm/lead

      • daddydoomsday

        I think the only pickup that sounds like a passive 81 is the dimebucker. I had the h-4 for a while and it was ok, the dimebucker was a pretty good passive that sounds pretty close to my other guitars with 81's. Still the 81 is my favorite that I always go back to.:hat


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