23 Guitars with EMG 81 & 60 Pickups – Plus 3 Best Ones

You are currently viewing 23 Guitars with EMG 81 & 60 Pickups – Plus 3 Best Ones

Look, while EMG 81 & 60 are a bit less popular than EMG 81 & 85 pair, it doesn’t mean they don’t offer a killer distorted sound. I mean, guitarists like James Hetfield and Jim Root have used them. That’s the testimonial.

One of my favorite guitars, ESP LTD EC-1000 (Vintage Black) is equipped with 81 & 60, and oh boy, these pickups chug hard. Really mean tones, especially great for playing heavy Metallica riffs for example. And since I really like the heavy tone of EMG 81 and EMG 60 pickups, I was happy to put together this article listing the top-notch guitars with these EMG pickups. I also reveal the 3 best ones. If you have any questions, just check the FAQ section or leave a comment.

Let’s get started!

photo reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Author: Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I also noticed that most guitar websites don’t do a really good job, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website. I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as Songsterr, Musicnotes, GuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar. I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog(I guess that went the right way…).


23 Guitars with EMG 81 & 60 Pickups

To me, ESP LTD EC-401 is the best guitar with EMG 81 & 60 pickups under $1000. It doesn’t lose much to it’s big brother LTD EC-1000 when it comes to playing comfort, it sounds mean, and it has a solid hardware (Grover tuners and great quality ESP TOM bridge).

Price Range Icon Meanings:

$= $450-699

$$= $700-999

$$$= $1000-1199

$$$$= $1200-1599

$$$$$= $1600-

*Consider all links in this post to be affiliate links. If you purchase, at no additional cost to you, we may earn a small commission. It helps us to keep the lights on, thanks! 🙂

ModelPickupsBody StylePrice RangeCheck Current Price (affiliate links)
Harley Benton EX-84 LH Modern EMG – CheapestEMG 81 active (bridge) – EMG 60 active (neck)Explorer$Thomann*
Jackson Demmelition Fury PDT SW – Best BudgetEMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60 HumbuckerExplorer$$SweetwaterThomann
Ibanez RGIB21 – Excellent Baritone ShredderEMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60 HumbuckerModern Stratocaster$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD EX-401EMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60 HumbuckerExplorer$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD EC-401 – Best Under $1000EMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60 HumbuckerSingle-Cut$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD TE-401 BLKSEMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60 HumbuckerTele$$Thomann
ESP LTD EC-1000 Vintage Black – Best OverallEMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60 HumbuckerSingle-Cut$$$SweetwaterThomann
Schecter Banshee GT-6 FR – Excellent Metal GuitarEMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60 HumbuckerModern Stratocaster$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD EC-1000QM EMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60 HumbuckerSingle-Cut$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD EC-1000FREMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60 HumbuckerSingle-Cut$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD EC-1007 EvertuneEMG 81-7H Humbucker & EMG 60-7H HumbuckerSingle-Cut$$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD Viper-1000 EverTuneEMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60TW-R HumbuckerSG$$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD MH-1000 Evertune EMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60TW-R HumbuckerModern Stratocaster$$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD TE-1000 EvertuneEMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60TW-R HumbuckerTele$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Fender Jim Root Telecaster – For Slipknot & Stone Sour FansEMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60 HumbuckerTelecaster$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Fender Jim Root Jazzmaster – Best Premium – For Slipknot & Stone Sour FansEMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60 HumbuckerJazzmaster$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Fender Jim Root Stratocaster – For Slipknot & Stone Sour FansEMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60 HumbuckerStratocaster$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP E-II Eclipse DBEMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60 HumbuckerSingle-Cut$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP E-II Parkway Drive Jeff LingEMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60 HumbuckerModern Stratocaster$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP E-II EXEMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60 HumbuckerExplorer$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP E-II Eclipse QMEMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60 HumbuckerSingle-Cut$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP E-II FRXEMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60TW-R HumbuckerFRX$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP KH-2 Vintage Distressed Black – High-EndEMG 81 Humbucker & EMG 60 HumbuckerModern Stratocaster$$$$$SweetwaterThomann

If you want more guitars with different kinds of EMG pickups to choose from, check these articles: 47 Guitars with EMG Pickups – Plus 3 Best Ones & 21 Guitars with EMG 81 & 85 Pickups – Plus 3 Best Ones.

Our Favorite Music Store in The World!

Why?

– Excellent Customer Service (4.7/5 Trustpilot Score)

– Fast & Free Shipping

– Gear is Inspected, Tested, & Ready to Play When it Arrives to You (We love this)

– Fair Prices

Visit Sweetwater:


3 Best Guitars with EMG 81 & 60 Pickups – My Favorites

Best Budget – Jackson Demmelition Fury PDT

What I like

  • Jackson Sealed Die-cast tuners hold the tune well
  • Thin U neck shape paired with 12″-16″ compound fretboard radius make this Jackson comfortable to play
  • Tom bridge & string through body looks awesome
  • High value for the money
  • Great all-around quality

What I don’t like

  • Upper fret access is not much better than in normal Modern Strat guitars for example
  • The body shape is not for everyone

Who is it for?

If you are after affordable metal machine with EMG 81 & 60, Jackson Demmelition Fury PDT is one of the best options. It’s smooth playing, has a solid hardware for the price, and overall quality is good.

Check Today’s Price on


Best Overall – ESP LTD EC-1000 Vintage Black

What I like

  • Great metal tones
  • Stunning looks
  • Spot on the action and smooth neck make this axe comfortable to play
  • Works well with small hands too
  • Versatile
  • High quality
  • Tons of different color options are available
  • You can get LTD EC-1000’s with tons of different extra features from piezo pickups to Floyd rose

What I don’t like

  • Upper fret access is not great
  • The use of plastic nut feels a bit cheap for this price

Who is it for?

I’ve been lovin’ this guitar since I first tried it out a couple of years ago. With this axe, you get excellent value for money. It’s built for metal but can handle different music too. For people who mostly play metal, but want to explore other genres too, this guitar is definitely worth the money.

And another awesome thing is that there are so many different versions of this guitar available. Versions with:

  • Evertune bridge
  • Seymor Duncan pickups
  • Floyd Rose
  • Piezo pickup
  • etc.

I know, it can be hard to decide which one, but it’s awesome that there’s an LTD EC-1000 for almost everyone. It’s an awesome, versatile metal machine, and this version with EMG pickups is one of the best options out there (the one with the Fishman Fluence pups is awesome too).

You can read my full review of ESP LTD EC-1000 here.

Check Today’s Price on


Best Premium – Fender Jim Root Jazzmaster

What I like

  • 12″-16″ compound radius makes riffing near the nut and shredding near the body smooth
  • EMG 60 & EMG 81 ensure mean tones
  • Comfortable & easy to play
  • Locking tuners, stays in tune like a beast
  • Great all-around quality
  • Usually comes with a hardshell case
  • Premium feel

What I don’t like

  • Synthetic Bone in a $2k guitar? I would replace that ASAP.
  • Expensive

Who is it for?

If you are after a guitar that has a premium feel to it and like Fender. This Jazzmaster has a really smooth playability with a modern C neck and a compound radius. It’s a premium instrument for sure. But… it has a synthetic bone nut. I even prefer a plastic one over those. This doesn’t ruin the guitar, and it still sounds and feels good. But I would change that nut ASAP for a Bone or Tusq one. This improves the tone and sustain. Still, this guitar has that spark for me, it’s so smooth playing and mean sounding.

Check Today’s Price on


FAQ

Are EMG 81 and 60 Any Good?

EMG 81 & 60 are an excellent pair for thrashy metal sound. To me, they offer a better old-school metal and clean sound than the more popular EMG 81 and EMG 85 pair. I also find EMG 81 and 60 more versatile than many other EMG pickup combos. Still, they are definitely made for metal.

Is The EMG 81 For Bridge or Neck?

EMG 81 can be usually found from the bridge position.

Is The EMG 60 For Bridge or Neck?

EMG 60 can usually be found from the neck position.

What’s The Difference Between EMG 81 and 60? – Specs of EMG 81 and 60

Here are the specs and differences between EMG 81 and EMG 60:

SpecsEMG 81EMG 60
Logo ColorSilverGold
Magnet TypeCeramic/SteelCeramic
Resonant Frequency (KHz)1.632.20
Output Voltage (String)3.003.00
Output Voltage (Strum)4.504.50
Output Noise (60 Hz)-100-101
Output Impedance (Kohm)1010
Current @9V (Microamps)400400
Battery Life (Hours)600600
Maximum Supply (Volts DC)2727
I got these specifications from EMGs PDF.

So the key differences between EMG 81 and EMG 60 are the magnet type and resonant frequency.

Who Use EMG 81 & 60?

Here are some great guitarists who use EMG 81 and EMG 60 combo:

  • Richie Faulkner/ Judas Priest
  • Samy Eelbanna/ Lost Society
  • Jim Root/ Slipknot
  • Matt Bachand/ Shadows Fall
  • Dino Vidovich/ Sages
  • Greg Tribbett/ Mudvayne, Hellyeah
  • Phil Demmel/ Machine Head

James Hetfield previously used EMG 81 and EMG 60, but nowadays he has his own EMG signature pickups. In my opinion EMG 81 & 60 are still one of the best pickups for playing Metallica.


Conclusion

Honestly, EMG 81 and 60 pair is my favorite pickup combo from EMG. Hands down. I say this even though I own ESP LTD MH-400 with EMG 81 & 85. To me, EMG 81 & 60 just offer better old-school metal tones and better-sounding cleans. That’s why I like them more. And even though I’m a passive pickup guy, I can’t deny that buying ESP LTD EC-1000 with EMG 81 & 60 is really tempting.

I hope this article helped you out, and maybe you even decided to get one of the guitars featured. If you have any questions, leave a comment, I and the GND team are here for you.

Now go, my son, and Rock!

Leave a Reply