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What are the differences between Alnico pickups?

holgaguy
December 30th, 2008, 09:08 PM
How do II, III and V Alnico pickups compare? What do they each sound like?

Probably would be a good thing to know. :grin:

sjtalon
December 30th, 2008, 09:37 PM
The higher the number, the stronger the magnetic field = more pickup "punch/power".

ALSO:
The higher is brighter (more like a ceramic) -- the lower is warmer/darker and more "mid-rangy"


If you can make heads or tales out of this F.W.I.W. :lol:


http://www.mmcmagnetics.com/ourproducts/main_Alnico.htm

holgaguy
December 30th, 2008, 11:56 PM
Thanks!

Zhangliqun
December 31st, 2008, 12:15 AM
That's more or less true, with the exception that Alnico 3 is actually slightly weaker than Alnico 2. Alnico 3 has a bit more sparkle but otherwise they're very very close in tone and output.

Alnico 5 has more bite, more bass, and more overall output.

tele0053
December 31st, 2008, 12:42 AM
If you go to seymour duncan's site, they've put together a pretty comprehensive sound, and verbal description of the differences.

11 Gauge
December 31st, 2008, 01:04 AM
I have to tell you though - most of those attributes are good only on paper, and don't take into account the guitar, the amp, the playing style, string gauges, effect pedals (alnico compresses quite a bit, so how will it interact with a compressor?), and a zillion other factors.

While it isn't really economically viable in many cases, it really requires that you try some of each type to perceive the differences (or lack thereof) for yourself.

And magnet type is just a single attribute of pickup design - even different manufacturers using the same magnets can produce significantly different sounding pickups...

robt57
December 31st, 2008, 01:39 AM
I am currently doing some swaps to try to educate myself. Tele Neck Humbucker, the 1st donor is a 500T 15k ceramic Gibby HB. I ordered AlNiCo 2,3,4, & 5 bars for the test. I used the PUP with the ceramics first, then pulled the triple ceramic magnets out. I used wood and leather for spacers, no difference. I put in the AlNiCo 2 totally expecting the 15k PUP to sound like dirt clean, it did with the ceramics. It sounds nice though, like a SD SH-1. Not the output I expected, and I have to raise it up quite a bit more than expected.

So lesson 1, hot wound coil(s) does not mean high output. Which puts my AlNiCo III Tele 11.4k neck PUP from an 07 Upgrade HWY1 into prospective for me. I love that PUP, and it seem everyone else does not, so I must be the only one. ;) It does not sound hot.

So next, I will try the AlNiCo 3 and 4 magnets. I have already tried a few AlNiCo V humbuckers, lower/PAF power in my Teles. Good stuff too, pulled every full size bucker in short order, just have not liked it, although the AlNiCo II I am liking. I just think AlNiCO V and Alder is not for me, especially with a maple neck. ;)

sjtalon
December 31st, 2008, 08:58 AM
I have to tell you though - most of those attributes are good only on paper, and don't take into account the guitar, the amp, the playing style, string gauges, effect pedals (alnico compresses quite a bit, so how will it interact with a compressor?), and a zillion other factors.

While it isn't really economically viable in many cases, it really requires that you try some of each type to perceive the differences (or lack thereof) for yourself.

And magnet type is just a single attribute of pickup design - even different manufacturers using the same magnets can produce significantly different sounding pickups...

How true (and a zillion other factors) but I think holgaguyk is comparing apples to apples.

GuitarJonz
December 31st, 2008, 09:11 AM
I'm no expert on this suff, but was surprised by a recent Don Mare post, where he seems to say that the tone of the different alnico magnet types can be manipulated by how strongly the slugs are magnetized. Here's what he said:

"The main thing about AlNiCo is just Gauss - the metals / materials used in the different grades will create different "loads" "inductance " - you can add or remove winds and add the same "load" - so it boils down to Gauss = Strengths

A possible reason Duncan uses II's is because the old A-3 would gauss up to 750 and todays A-2 hits 750 gauss - while todays A-3 only hits 650 -

I have learned to Magnetize my A-3's with the Copper coated Steel Base Plate attached to the pickup - only then do I see the gauss near 700 to 750.

Also a slightly degaussed A-2 would end up like Fully gaussed A-3"