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Zakk Wylde Raves About EMG Pickups And How They’re Like Microphones for Guitars


Zakk Wylde, the metal maestro behind Black Label Society and a familiar face from his time with Ozzy Osbourne and Pantera, recently got real about his love for EMG pickups. In his chat with Premier Guitar, he didn’t just talk gear; he shared why he’s all about EMGs and how they’re like the secret sauce for guitarists, much like a killer microphone is for singers.

Wylde’s affinity for EMG pickups traces back to a serendipitous encounter before his iconic stint with Ozzy Osbourne. It was during his teaching days when a student introduced him to EMG-equipped guitars. Initially skeptical, Wylde was soon immersed in a transformative experience when he plugged his ’78 Marshall combo and hit the open G chord. The sonic clarity and richness he encountered were akin to a revelation, prompting him to reconsider the conventional wisdom surrounding pickups.

Zakk Wylde Raves About EMG Pickups And How They're Like Microphones for Guitars

In his words, he raves, “I thought, ‘Wow, that’s what that amp was supposed to sound like!’ I could hear all the highs, lows, mids. And the clarity — I could hear everything. Whereas on my guitar, what you hear was all muffled, and just sounded like there was a film over it.”.

He continues to make his point about the beauty that is EMG by sharing more of his insight. “When you think about it, the pickup is your microphone. When you’re singing out of a $12,000 Telefunken mic in the studio, you can hear the clarity of that thing, compared to a little mic you buy for $100. For me, that’s why I’ve always used EMGs,”, says Wylde.

This explains why Zakk’s Wylde Guitars Warhammer models feature an EMG 81 in the bridge position and an EMG 85 on the neck. Ultimately, Wylde’s point about EMG pickups is they help guitars and guitarists achieve a killer sound that can make all the difference during a live performance or recording session.

Ash Burnett

Hailing from Chicago, IL - Ash made his break into journalism at the age of 23 writing music reviews for a local website. Now in his late 30's and after being pulled closer towards the technical side of the music and live gig industry, he founded Shout4Music to write thorough microphone reviews.

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