EMG, Inc. is the current legal name of a company based in Santa Rosa, California which manufactures guitar pickups. Founded in 1976, the company was originally called "Dirtywork Studios". The name was changed to "Overlend" in 1978 and then to the current name in 1983. However, its products have always been called EMG pickups. "EMG" stands for "Electro-Magnetic Generator".
EMG has over the years garnered a reputation as the most popular manufacturer of active pickups for electric guitars. Their pickups are standard equipment on some high-end models from guitar manufacturers such as ESP Guitars and Jackson Guitars. EMG active pickups tend to have much higher output than passive pickups of similar design because of the on-board preamp. The high output has made them popular with hard rock and heavy metal guitarists because they overdrive the input stage of guitar amplifiers more dramatically than a lower output pickup could.
In addition to pickups, EMG inc also have a line of guitar/ bass accessories, mainly for altering the guitars EQ settings, and designed to work with EMG pickups. This can be seen in companies such as Schecter, who ship almost all of their basses with EMG EQ shaping circuitry,
Players and bands who use or endorse EMG pickups include: Atreyu, Shadows Fall, Cannibal Corpse, Dethklok, Opeth, Shinedown, Black Stone Cherry, Steve Lukather, Reb Beach, Prince, Metallica, Slayer, Machine Head, Les Claypool, Zakk Wylde, Judas Priest, Deftones, Rammstein, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, Vince Gill, Slipknot, Nevermore, Nickelback, Tom Morello, David Gilmour Title Of Injustice and many others.
EMG Inc have two distinct product ranges; EMG (standard series) are the 'flagship' pickups developed and distributed by EMG as high quality, pro choice pickups. Made in the USA, these pickups are the items of choice for many musicians from Metal to Jazz genres. All are active pickups such as the 81 and the 85, except for the HZ series
The Select series (sold as 'Select, designed by EMG') is the low cost, entry level pickup version of the EMG standard series. They are similar in design to the standard series, but with less precise manufacturing, lower quality materials, and a slightly different design. All the pickups in this series are passive.