Alnico swap on ESP LH-150 humbuckers?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by AndyPanda, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Meister

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    Anyone here have any experience with the ESP LH-150 humbuckers? I have them in an ESP LTD EC-256FM which is Les Paul shaped mahogany body with a very thin maple top and set mahogany neck w/rosewood board. They sound fairly decent but have ceramic magnets and I'm thinking of swapping the magnets for Alnico 2 hoping for more vintage cleans.

    I know a lot of people put the Duncan JB and 59 pickups in these guitars (both alnico 5 I believe) - seems to be a highly loved combination but the stock ESP humbuckers are already quite hot with the ceramics and I was thinking alnico 2 would be a nice change.

    I suppose it would be fun to get a set of each and see for myself what I think of alnico 2 vs 5 (vs ceramic) - but hoping someone here may have already tried this.
     
  2. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Meister

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    Well haven't had any responses to this thread ... and meanwhile I just learned that my pickups are actually G&B pickup company (Korea). So I'm not sure if they are actually LH-150 or not. Mine had covers and when I take the covers off there is no "ESP Design" or any indication of model. The brass backing plate has G&B Pickups stamped on it but no model number.

    Anyway these pickups have Ceramic magnets. I have a pair of Alnico 2 magnets arriving in a few days and I'll see what difference it makes. I left the cover off on the neck pickup and it does seem to have a bit more sparkle with the cover off.
     
  3. tamer_of_banthas

    tamer_of_banthas Tele-Meister

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    is there any particular sound you are trying to reproduce? i can only speak for my own tastes, but i definitely did not like the seymour duncan JB and 59 offerings when i tried fitting them to one of my semi-hollowbody guitars. sounded like they had an overly flat EQ and "felt" very brittle to play through. i was not a fan.
     
  4. 63 vibroverb

    63 vibroverb Tele-Holic

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    I recommend Alnico 4 - the best magnets for humbuckers from my experience.

    Alnico 2 gets too spongy/syrupy, and Alnico 5 is too hollow/trebley/bassy
     
  5. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Meister

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    Well those pickups both use alnico 5. I was trying to get a more vintage sound. Warmer and less harsh and I don't need the pickups to be really HOT (I have a Klon type pedal for oodles of gain if I want to drive the amp hard) so I was thinking of Alnico 2.

    Interesting. I have been reading about the differences between AlNiCo 2-3-4-5 and 8 but seems like all I ever see being used by the mainstream is 2 and 5. I might have to order a set of A4 magnets to experiment with.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
  6. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Meister

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    Also curious if ordering Alnico 4 -- would you go rough cast or smooth? How about unoriented A5?
     
  7. 63 vibroverb

    63 vibroverb Tele-Holic

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    If the guitar is naturally dark, I would go smooth. If it's naturally bright, go roughcast. Or you could do a smooth in the neck pickup for a little more clarity, and a roughcast in the bridge pickup for a little more mids and less highs.

    Unoriented A5 is just a small step towards A5 from A4, but not as extreme in the EQ as normal A5.
     
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  8. tamer_of_banthas

    tamer_of_banthas Tele-Meister

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    have you considered just snagging a cheap set of used gibson 490s and seeing if those work for you? try them out for a month or two and if they don't suit your fancy, put them up for sale and then consider some of the more boutique options.

    at least then, you can send an e-mail to whoever will be winding the pickups and use those gibsons as as baseline for your recommendations (i.e. "more bass than a 490R"). pretty much everyone has played through them, at one time or another.
     
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  9. Mincer

    Mincer Tele-Holic

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    Actually a 59 is really scooped, and the EQ of a JB is all about the high mids.
     
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  10. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Meister

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    Just thought I'd report back. I put the Alnico 2 magnets in last week and I've been totally loving the sound. I had meant to make some before/after recordings but I'm not really a good enough player yet to be able to play the same thing twice exactly the same way to do a fair comparison. It certainly isn't too dark - at least not for my tastes with my amp - the harsh/edgy thing that bothered me before (stock ceramics) is gone but it still seems to have plenty of output and brightness. I played it for a few days without the covers and then I put the covers back on - I'm leaving the covers on. Couldn't be happier with the results of the magnet swap.

    These particular humbuckers say "G&B pickup company" but don't have any markings to indicate LH-150 or "ESP Designed" (perhaps those markings were only on uncovered pickups?). The DC resistance is 8.5k neck and 14.5k bridge
     
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