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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Ceramic or Alnico

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by SpareRibs, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. SpareRibs

    SpareRibs Tele-Meister

    Jan 9, 2011
    I have a Squier Strat made in Korea. How can
    I tell if the pickup magnets are ceramic or alnico. They
    almost cover the pickup bottom completely,
    Is there a way to tell the difference by looking?

  2. Epi-Lover

    Epi-Lover TDPRI Member

    Jan 1, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    That sounds like ceramic, 2 long bars of magnet and plain nickel or chrome plated pole pieces.

    I personally don't have any problem with ceramic. I have a set in my MIM Tele and in a Japanese Squier Strat. They are both great sets of pickups. Let your ears be your guide.

  3. SpareRibs

    SpareRibs Tele-Meister

    Jan 9, 2011
    Only one magnet, covers almost whole bottom. It does seem to have
    plain pole pieces

  4. Codinho

    Codinho Tele-Meister

    May 11, 2009
    Nashville, TN
    I think that we're trained to think that alnico is always better, but I like ceramics as well. A lot of the G&L high end pickups are made with ceramics and they sound great.

  5. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Friend of Leo's

    May 14, 2008
    WNC Isothermal Zone
    If magnets are glued along the underside of the p'up, it's ceramic.

  6. gogirlguitars

    gogirlguitars Tele-Holic

    I always pull out the ceramic pups from any guitar. Does anyone know what the difference really is? Apart from the G and Ls mentioned why don't high end pup makers use ceramic magnets?

  7. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

    Peavey Super Ferrites are ceramic, and incredibly toneful.


    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Not always the case, but ceramic magnet pickups seem to show up in less expensive lines of guitars. Are they cheaper to manufacture? Is there a sound quality difference? I know Seymour uses some ceramics in various pickups. My MIM Strat has ceramic pickups and it has more output than my Tele with O.C. Duff Bigboy/SD Jerry Donohue combo. And they sound just like a Strat should. Except now I have to have one of those Mavericks from the Episode Two.

  9. cobrat

    cobrat Tele-Holic

    Nov 25, 2009
    New York
    Actually, Gibson also uses hot ceramic pickups(496R & 500T) in some of their mid-higher end guitars...including the Gibby Explorers, Flying Vs, the $7k Gibson Korina Flying V, and from I heard some high-end Les Pauls.

    My Gibby explorer has the hot ceramic pickups mentioned above whereas my Korina Flying V has alnico pickups.

  10. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

    Feb 7, 2011
    Lewes De.
    Ceramics are cheaper that's why budget p/ups use them.Both sound good , but different.

  11. ASC67

    ASC67 Friend of Leo's

    Jul 3, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN.
    Harmonic designs uses ceramics on their pickups.

  12. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

    Feb 7, 2011
    Lewes De.
    I have some Bartolini single coil p/ups that are ceramic and they sound wonderfull.

  13. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 29, 2007
    Brisbane Australia
    For what it's worth this is Chris Kinman's opinion.

    33) I've heard that all magnetism is the same and that Alnico magnets can be substituted with Ceramic magnets. Is there a difference?

    Yes, there definitely is a difference. I use Alnico for what I believe to be very valid and important reasons. I do not use Ceramic (Ferrite) magnets in my AVn pickups because my products are intended to be true-to-form replacements. Alnico has certain properties that I believe are necessary in achieving authentic Fender sound. Ceramic (Ferrite) magnets have different properties even though the magnetism may be the same.With respect to noiseless Fender type pickups Alnico has complexity and richness of tone. Ceramic magnets and the associated steel poles generate a highly transparent sound but somewhat devoid of midrange complexity (tone).

  14. e-merlin

    e-merlin Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 13, 2004
    Garden City, KS
    They are just plain incredible! I generally prefer Alnico when it comes to Strat or Tele pickups, but Super Ferrites are in a league of their own.

  15. Codinho

    Codinho Tele-Meister

    May 11, 2009
    Nashville, TN
    I believe it's because ceramics allow you to have hot pickups with out getting too dark. Alnicos can get darker the more you wind them, but ceramics retain a lot of their brightness. So they're great for heavy distortion.

    People like alnico because they sound more vintage-y.

  16. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

    Feb 7, 2011
    Lewes De.
    While we're here, why doesn't anyone make AlNiCo poles feed by ceramic magnets ?

  17. KenH

    KenH Tele-Holic

    Jun 30, 2010
    Set a multimeter to 20K and measure from one end to the other. If there is no continuity, it's ceramic. I think ceramics get a bad rap. If the pickup is properly designed for the type of magnet it can work out well.

  18. callaway

    callaway Tele-Holic

    Jun 6, 2009
    Blacksburg, VA
    Actually, many high-end pickup makers use them, including Joe Barden. For cheap pickups, the reason to use ceramic is that it's cheaper. But for someone who knows what they're doing, it's the combination of every part of the pickup design that produces the final sound. The magnetic material used is chosen because it provides some favorable characteristic in combination with everything else.

  19. surfco

    surfco Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 24, 2009
    Leo Fender's Magnetic Field Design pickups are ceramic and sound great.
    Like Bill Lawrence said, a good ceramic pickup is a GOOD ceramic pickup.

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