EMG 89 Pickup - easy mod

  • I just wanted to share my findings on the EMG 89 pickup. A couple of month ago, someone asked me about the pickups in the "show your latest guitar" threat.

    I own a Cort G290 custom that I bought used about 6 month ago. It comes with a set of EMG, a 89 at the bridge and two SA single coils.

    I bought the guitar because I was curious on the EMG pickups and I liked it so much that the Cort is currently the guitar I play most of the time.

    The challenge comes with the 89. It is literally two pickups in one - a SA like single coil and a humbucker, inspired by the 85.

    Both modes sound very authentic to me - unfortunately including the very, very different volume levels.

    First, I lowered the 89 most distant to the strings. That gave me a still very hot humbucker in comparision to the single coils in middle and neck. I never used the bridge single coil though, too much of a volume drop.

    Then I studied the wiring scheme of the 89 and found out that there is single coil output (white) and one humbucker output (blue). Switching is done by connecting one of them to the final output wire (orange). That´s quite different from any passive splitting scheme...

    I disconnected the blue wire and added a pot . I then experimented the volume drop at different settings and found that 24 kohm is my resitor value of choice. I disconnected the pot and added two 47kohm resistors in parallel into the signal flow, to get the approximate value. (I guess a simple 22kohm would do the job too).

    That´s does the trick. I raised the bridge pickup to a position a par with the other single coils and I have a very balanced and nice single coil strat tone. (If you never heard about the Cort G290, it has a swamp ash body with thick maple top, maple neck and rosewood fretboard - gorgeous!). Switching to humbucker now adds some volume and of course changes the sound from rocknroll to ROCKnROLL... ,-)

    I have no clue why EMG does not level the two modes of the EMG 89 better, but anyhow, here´s a good practice to get over this...