Metallica Guitarist Unleashes EMG Pickups Signature Set

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EMG Pickups has released a James Hetfield signature guitar pickup series with the design being driven exclusively by the guitarist for Metallica.

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 Pickups JH Signature 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, guitarist for Metallica. 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 EMG Pickups Signature Set consists of the JH-N (neck) and the JH-B (bridge). Both guitar 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.

About EMG Pickups

The original concept and intent in designing the first EMG Pickups was to create a pickup that translated an instrument’s tone more realistically with improved characteristics; making the instrument play and sound more musical. EMG has created a line of pickups that speaks to what musicians in the real world are asking for: versatility, reliability, responsiveness, and great all around tone. The company continues to create guitar and bass pickups used by many of the world's most famous musicians.

For more info and video (including interviews with James Hetfield) please visit

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Scott Ferrara
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