Metallica’s James Hetfield has been a long time EMG pickup (81-60 models) user. It’s not really a surprise that EMG saw fit to make a Hetfield signature set.
The awesome thing about the new EMG JH set is that Jame’s Hetfield was not content with just taking his 81-60 staple, and throwing them in a box with his picture on it. He worked with EMG to build a whole new pickup set.
Taking the best bits of active and passive pickups, Hetfield had EMG design for him a monster set of pickups that have the clarity and punch of passives, and the active crunch and tone of actives.
Here’s what EMG have to say:
James Hetfield Unleashes New EMG Signature Set at The Big 4
May 13, 2011
History was made April 23, 2011 at “The Big 4” event in Indio California with four of the biggest acts in metal playing together for the first time in the U.S. On this same day Metallica founder and front man James Hetfield unleashed his new EMG JH Set to 60,000 metal-hungry fans.
The JH Set is a totally new dimension for EMG with the design being driven solely with the input of James Hetfield. In early 2009 James Hetfield contacted EMG Pickups president Rob Turner and presented him with a challenge: to create a “stealth” looking set that captures the clarity and punch of a passive pickup and still retains the legendary active tone that molded a generation.
Featuring sleek black nickel plated caps and EMG’s Solderless Installation System™ components, the JH Set consists of the JH-N (neck) and the JH-B (bridge). Both pickups were patterned after the pickups James has used for 30 years but the end result was a completely different animal. The JH-N has individual ceramic poles and bobbins that feature a larger core and are taller than the 60. This produces more attack, higher output, and fuller low end in the neck position. The JH-B uses the same type of core but has steel pole pieces, unlike the 81 that uses bar magnets. This produces the familiar tight attack with less inductance for a cleaner low end.
Here’s a great interview with Hetfield himself, talking about the new JH set.
I’ve been playing EMG pickup for many years, although I have been dabbling in passives for a while now. These look like a perfect combination to me. I hope to review them soon.