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  #1  
Old 08.22.09, 4:28 PM
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Alnico 2 vs 3 vs 5

What's the difference in these magnets? These seem to be the most common types used in guitar pickups, and I was wondering if anybody can enlighten me.
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Old 08.22.09, 5:11 PM
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They use a special type of magnet design Al[uminum]Ni[ckel]Co[balt] and are known widely for their more focused attack, treble detail, low end stability, and overall gracious tone. theyre sort of like the brothers to the "Pearly Gate" Humbuckers, and the Burstbuckers and PAFs.

In all honesty; my top pickups are Pearly Gates, Burstbucker 2's, Phat Cats, Alnico 2 [single coils in the Highway 1 Tele], Alnico 5 humbuckers , and a good ol' Gibson Seth Lover PAF.
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Old 08.22.09, 5:12 PM
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alnico 2 is the weakest magnet of the three. lower output, less mids. makes for a more transparent tone. they allow better dynamics, plus they can be raised higher without causing string pull

alnico 5 is the strongest, next to ceramics. basically just more output and more mids in a nutshell, in contrast to A2. bass is more focused, tighter sound.

alnico 3 is the happy medium between the two for those who can't decide LOL
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Old 08.22.09, 6:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New001 View Post
alnico 2 is the weakest magnet of the three. lower output, less mids. makes for a more transparent tone. they allow better dynamics, plus they can be raised higher without causing string pull

alnico 5 is the strongest, next to ceramics. basically just more output and more mids in a nutshell, in contrast to A2. bass is more focused, tighter sound.

alnico 3 is the happy medium between the two for those who can't decide LOL

Wrong!

This is why there is so much misunderstanding in the guitar field.

Alnico 3 is the lowest of the common alnico PU magnets.

A3 < A2 < A4 < A5 < A8

And the rest of what was said is 60% accurate just because it used to be the case. The level of Mids really depends on the winding.

Alnico 3 is not a happy medium. A3 is very low output which can sound syrupy or bright, again depending on the winding. When wound right and for the right guitar it is super smooth and has an incredibly different sustain then the other magnets.

Also, NEW01, get rig of that annoying signature!
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Old 08.22.09, 6:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmiqphuz View Post
What's the difference in these magnets? These seem to be the most common types used in guitar pickups, and I was wondering if anybody can enlighten me.
Alnico 3 is my most favourite neck PU magnet just because they have recently been able to wind them correctly. Boutique PU makers do it right where as machine assembled A3 PUs always end up sounding like mud. Old $$$ PAFs are also sought after because they were done right. What makes A3 PUs so different is that you get the usual sustain and it then dies naturally but at some point it seems to kick in for one last shout.

Usually, the lower output magnet will hump the mid range as you add winds. This is why you often see an A2 hot wound PU with an exagerated level of mid range as compared to treble and bass. This makes for a very articulate PU since it's the combined hi level of mids and bass that make for mud. Hence, this is why low wond A2 and A3 PUs are tricky since you have to wind it so that the mids either surpace the level of bass or that the level of mids is relatively and significantly lower then the level of bass.
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Old 08.22.09, 8:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knives490 View Post
Alnico 5 humbuckers , and a good ol' Gibson Seth Lover PAF.

It should be noted that Gibson used whatever type of bar magnets they had available back in the "glory days" of the PAF.

Alnico 6 was used in the original Danelectro lipsticks.

I've tended to favor a warmer Alnico 2 pickup. It seems to be more forgiving and consistant in tone. Too many Alnico 5 pickups strike me as harsh and are often wound too hot IMO. I do like the JB humbucker but even it can be too aggressive at times.
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Old 08.22.09, 9:42 PM
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I've never heard of Alnico 4, 6, or 8. What tonal characteristics do they exhibit?

Also, I personally prefer Alnico 3 for some reason. I put a set of overwound Alnico 3's in my ash strat and it sounds amazing. It's got a rounder sound compared to the Alnico 5's I used to have. The bass and treble isn't as wide, but the mids really give that extra oomph the ash strat needed.

Alnico 5's always sound scooped to me. It's a good sound, just not mine.

I like Alnico 2's in humbuckers, not so much in single coils.
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Old 08.22.09, 10:36 PM
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It should be noted that Gibson used whatever type of bar magnets they had available back in the "glory days" of the PAF.
I wouldnt doubt that at all! Theyve just got a nice magic, though overplayed now, to them especially in the neck position.
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you gotz da mad skillz dawg.

you mod the titties off pedals, and you just got hair on your balls, what, 2 months ago?

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Old 08.23.09, 2:46 AM
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I always thought alnico 5 was a better all round sound while alnico 2 was more classic voice but less good (though not bad) clean. I got a first act guitar a while ago. I was hell bent on modding it for a P90 before I got it but then I heard the alnico 2 humbucker in it and I've had to really re-evaluate my decision because with some gain it sounds amazing.
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Old 08.23.09, 4:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knives490 View Post
They use a special type of magnet design Al[uminum]Ni[ckel]Co[balt] and are known widely for their more focused attack, treble detail, low end stability, and overall gracious tone. theyre sort of like the brothers to the "Pearly Gate" Humbuckers, and the Burstbuckers and PAFs.

In all honesty; my top pickups are Pearly Gates, Burstbucker 2's, Phat Cats, Alnico 2 [single coils in the Highway 1 Tele], Alnico 5 humbuckers , and a good ol' Gibson Seth Lover PAF.

Pearly gates use AlNiCo 2 magnets.

My fav now is AlNiCo 4; more HiFi sounding so they give a great representation of the guitar you put it in.
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  #11  
Old 08.23.09, 5:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berarduur View Post
Pearly gates use AlNiCo 2 magnets.

Pop Quiz: What makes the Duncan Pearly Gates sound so different then other PAFabbees?
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Old 08.23.09, 9:37 AM
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Quote:
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Pop Quiz: What makes the Duncan Pearly Gates sound so different then other PAFabbees?
Winding man...... I used to love em as they are wound so low!
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  #13  
Old 08.23.09, 3:21 PM
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Winding man...... I used to love em as they are wound so low!
Duncan says it's "slightly hotter than the vintage PU" ... which is what Billy Gibbons wanted so he could get those pinch harmonics to pop out. Check out "My Head is in Mississippi" - ZZ Top.

Given what I said above about a slighty overwound alnico 2 or 3 magnet PU why doesn't the PG get muddy? Why do some "glory day" PAFs chime like the wind regardless of the magnet and some just don't?
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Old 08.27.09, 10:39 PM
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Even though I'm a bit of a metal-head, I've been gravitating towards AlNiCo 2 pickups lately. There's just something about a Duncan Custom Custom in a mahogany body that makes me pop wood in my guitar panties.
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Then swab the inside of the pedal send it to the lab for testing in a week or two they'll be able to tell you.

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Old 09.03.09, 10:33 AM
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For the longest time I've been wanting to put Alnico 2 pickups in my bridge on my PRS Standard 24 to replace the stock HFS. I do like the stock HFS since they do sound great with my Single Rectifier head. But I do think I'll end up getting a tighter more focused tone with the Alnico Pro 2s. Who knows, I'm always changing my mind.
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