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Monday, 30 April 2012

EMG Active Preamp for 81/85 pickups Stripboard Veroboard

I recently got a LTD les paul type guitar and it came with the EMG-HZ passive versions of the 81/85 pickups so I searched the internet for a schematic of the preamp circuit and found one, made a verolayout for it and then put it in my guitar and it's pretty cool - here is a song I used the guitar with the preamp in


  1. Hey Paul,

    Thanks for the circuit.
    Would you believe I found the same circuit and spent an hour putting together a stripboard design and building it. Now I discover that you had done the work already (and beat me - my layout was 14x8!).

    My immediate reaction is that the gain is maybe too high - I might play with that.
    How have you found the battery life ?

  2. I'm sure if you change the value of R7 you can limit the gain somewhat however I found it to sound the same as my already active pickups however I was using the EMG HZ versions with this circuit.
    the battery life is about the same as the old EMG pickups (not too great)
    with the new versions of the EMG pickups they have done a lot to really increase battery life.
    I really need to draw up the schematic for this one, if you're talking about the one I think you are then it's correct however I reverse engineered from a blown pickup because I wanted to be certain plus I had a blown pickup!

    1. hey paul, could you send more info on the emg 81 preamp circuit to my email address?
      it looks like a cool project, thanks sn

  3. For the connection is: coil in 1 hot wire and coil2 in ground wire of an HB for example?


    1. I've added a little diagram to instruct you on how it should be wired

    2. thanks a lot Paul! Do you know the K value of emg passive coils? 5-6k or lower?

  4. Is suitable also for bass?
    thanx again!!

    1. it's suitable for anything really however there is another more general preamp for guitars http://www.paulinthelab.com/2012/05/fet-line-buffer-veroboard.html

      here is the EMGHZ data sheet - they are high impedance (that's what the HZ stands for) http://www.emgpickups.com/content/wiringdiagrams/EMGHZ-35-40-45.pdf

      hope this helps

  5. Very kind Paul. I'm going to build the emg version and make some test with a 7-8k hb
    thanks again

  6. Hello Paul!

    Could you tell us what happens, if the humbucker is put in series and gets only into input "coil 1"?
    ..or what happens if the humbucker is coil tapped?

    thanks a lot!

    1. there is a diagram on how to connect it - it will not work if it is not connected that way.

  7. hi Paul, in a real humbucker installed in a guitar, which is coil 1 and which is coil 2? Is Coil 1 the upper coil of the real humbucker?, or no matter? Thanks. Mauro (mhmoras@ovi.com)