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Does anyone have any information on the sound properties of the different Alnico types. I know that Alnico 2 gives a different sound that Alnico 5 for instance. I'm going to Google that out but like to hear actual player's opinions and experiences. Rednefceleb. Peace.

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All i know is 2 is a softer, smoother sound/attack than 5. So of the 3 commom types it would be ceramic, A5, then A2 in that order from the most punchy/clear/articulate to the softest spongiest attack and tone. I like them all in the right application/guitar, but none ios better than the other, just different. A lot of people seem to be under the assumption ceramic is bad, but that fact is it's best in some applications. I actually love it a lot of humbuckers, but single could i like with alnico and would choose 2 or 5 depending on whether i need more or less cut and punch.

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Glad to help,

 

A2 - warm, rounded high end, lots of mids, not much treble, loose low end, lots of vintage dynamics, organic earthy tones, low output.

 

A3 - like an A2 but with more treble and less bass.

 

A4 - flat EQ, medium output. no big EQ push, which lets the PU's and wood's tones come thru; some guys find it bland.

A5 - bright, sharp high end, scooped mids, lots of bass. firm low end, relatively high output.

 

UOA5 - unoriented A5, sounds like the middle ground between an A2 and A5, warm but with a little more treble than an A2, lots of dynamics, organic tones, medium output.

 

A8 - warm, lots of mids, some treble but not an excess, firm low end, high output.

 

All A2's, A3's, and A4's are unoriented, along with UOA5's. A5's and A8's are oriented, which means the inner 'grain's in the metal have been magnitized and aligned in one direction when the metal was being formed, which makes a stronger magnet and a more uniform magnetic field. Unoriented magnets have random 'grain' and a more complex and varied magnetic field.

 

Polished magnets have a sharper high end. Roughcast magnets have a slightly smoother high end. Not a huge difference.

 

Alnico mags are numbered by output, more or less, so A2's and A3's are low output, A8's are high. There are A1 thru A12 alnico magnets, but some are rarely if ever cut into the size of guitar magnets.

 

Ranked in order of warmth: RC A2, A2, UOA5, A8, RC A4, A4, RC A3, A3, RC A5, A5.

 

So if you know what magent is in your HB or P-90, and you want to change the EQ, choose a magnet that will move it in the direction you want. On the Duncan forum some common swaps are:

 

JB - can be bright and harsh. Has an A5. An A2 adds mids and takes away some treble.

'59N - can have a boomy bass in mahogany. Has an A5. An A4 or A3 takes away some bass.

'59B - bright and scooped. Has an A5. An UOA5 or A8 fixes both issues.

490R, '57 Classic, PGN - can be dark in the neck slot. Have A2's. An A5, A4, A3, or UOA5 add treble.

498T and Custom 5 - bright and midscooped. Have A5's. An A8 or UOA5 add mids and dials down the treble.

490T, PGB, '57 Classic - bridge PU's that can have an overly rounded high end. Have A2's. An UOA5's and A8's add some bite.

 

P-90's have two magnets in each (same kind of mags as a HB), so you can pair up any two to blend your EQ.

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Thank you Blueman335. Your information is well taken. I am having my Epi Night Hawk pickups rewound by John Benson Pickup winder/re-winder. This is the first time I have had any say in "what goes in my pickups and why". I have another question for BLUEMAN335: I intend having my single coil center P'UP redone in RWRP fashion (Ala Fender). Do you think on switch positions 2 & 4 (with the coil taps activated) that I may have quieter (or quiet) running? Thanks again BLUEMAN335 for your in depth Alnico info. Peace. Rednefceleb

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To Gordy01. I happened to own one of those MusicMan HD130 combos myself. That is one powerful amplifier, isn't it? That amp made me wish I had a full-time "roadie". I was playing covers in nightclubs at that time and luckily I also had a Deluxe Reverb also. That was perf for all the clubs that I played. Outside gigs like The Arco Arena in Sacramento was the 130 watt territory. I noticed Susan Tedeschi plays her Tele thru a smaller MusicMan on the 2010 "Crossroads" DVD. Peace. Rednefceleb.

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To Gordy01. I happened to own one of those MusicMan HD130 combos myself. That is one powerful amplifier, isn't it? That amp made me wish I had a full-time "roadie". I was playing covers in nightclubs at that time and luckily I also had a Deluxe Reverb also. That was perf for all the clubs that I played. Outside gigs like The Arco Arena in Sacramento was the 130 watt territory. I noticed Susan Tedeschi plays her Tele thru a smaller MusicMan on the 2010 "Crossroads" DVD. Peace. Rednefceleb.

 

 

Yep. LOTS of power in that ol' amp. I had a 4 - 12 box hooked up to it one day, and there were a few people very surprised at what that amp can do. Warm sounds at high volumes also.

It's actually more amp than I can use, but I just can't let it go.

The dual power switch helps; knocking the power down to 65 watts, or full power at 130 watts.

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Great info Blueman !!! But can you add ceramic in there? I have a good idea, but i'd like to see how you'd describe it compared to the rest.

 

Ceramics are high output, with a tight low end, moderate mids, and fairly bright highs. To some ears they have a somewhat sterile, stiffer, in-your-face-sound. That makes them great for heavy distortion and effects, they'll cut thru better than alnicos. That's their strongpoint. Downside is they lack the color and character of alnicos, and aren't as good clean. If you play blues, jazz, country, or classic rock, they're not ideal. For heavy rock and metal, they're very good. Depending on your needs, ceramics may or may not be the way you want to go.

 

Over the years I've wound up with various ceramic HB's and P-90's (yes p-90's! Duncan SP90-2 & SP90-3), and have ended up pulling out all the ceramics and put in alnicos, and gotten some nice bluesy tones. For several dollars, I can turn a ceramic 'metal' HB into a blues HB. A Duncan Custom (SH-5) with an A8 or UOA5 added becomes a great blues/classic rock PU. You can go the opposite way, and put a ceramic magnet where an alnico was. Some PU's have double thick ceramics, and if you go to an alnico (which are not double thick), all you need is a couple regular size spacers and the alnico will fit. A few high output DiMarzio HB's have their ceramic magnets epoxied to the baseplate, and they're a mess to get off (you have to chisel). Other than that, ceramics are easy to remove.

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Thank you Blueman335. Your information is well taken. I am having my Epi Night Hawk pickups rewound by John Benson Pickup winder/re-winder. This is the first time I have had any say in "what goes in my pickups and why". I have another question for BLUEMAN335: I intend having my single coil center P'UP redone in RWRP fashion (Ala Fender). Do you think on switch positions 2 & 4 (with the coil taps activated) that I may have quieter (or quiet) running? Thanks again BLUEMAN335 for your in depth Alnico info. Peace. Rednefceleb

 

Depending on the coil thats active during coil cut, you can have a 'virtual' HB in position 4, maybe position 2 also. If you put in a push-pull on the bridge HB, along with a coil cut push-pull, you get to choose which coil is active and which is shut off (screw or slug). One will give you noise-free.

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thanks, Blueman. Thats pretty much what i hear. I have a ceramic dimarzio in my hawk's bridge and i like it. But i generally like that for the bridge because i use the bridge mostly for hotter stuff and the other positions for cleaner. I do however have a tele with a H bridge and S neck and because it's my only 2 p/u guitar i tend to want the bridge to be more versatile. The bridge is a duncan 59/hybrid which i recall is a A5, and i like it a lot but for the high end which is a bit too thin at times. On the other hand i wouldn't want it to sound dark or any softer. So is there a magnet that would just sorta fill out the top a bit and not change the amount of cut and punch and clarity is has? I fear tho it will muddy the low end if i do find a mag like that because it's already a bit muddy in the lows. Thats what i'm fighting....the low end and high end are so different ! Usually a p/u with a bright high end will have tight clear lows, or a p/u with muddy lows will have round full highs. This one seems not to follow that "rule". Any thoughts?

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thanks, Blueman. Thats pretty much what i hear. I have a ceramic dimarzio in my hawk's bridge and i like it. But i generally like that for the bridge because i use the bridge mostly for hotter stuff and the other positions for cleaner. I do however have a tele with a H bridge and S neck and because it's my only 2 p/u guitar i tend to want the bridge to be more versatile. The bridge is a duncan 59/hybrid which i recall is a A5, and i like it a lot but for the high end which is a bit too thin at times. On the other hand i wouldn't want it to sound dark or any softer. So is there a magnet that would just sorta fill out the top a bit and not change the amount of cut and punch and clarity is has? I fear tho it will muddy the low end if i do find a mag like that because it's already a bit muddy in the lows. Thats what i'm fighting....the low end and high end are so different ! Usually a p/u with a bright high end will have tight clear lows, or a p/u with muddy lows will have round full highs. This one seems not to follow that "rule". Any thoughts?

 

Right. A PU with bright highs will have tight clear lows, because that describes an A5. Likewise, one with round full highs will have muddy (loose) lows, which is classic A2. The '59/Custom hybrid is a great PU and just went into Duncan production this year. Both coils are from bright PU's ('59B and C5), and the unbalanced part of it also adds some highs, so it can be bright and thin with the stock A5 magnet. Since A5's have the brightest, sharpest high end; your choices are warmer magnets. A8's are popular, they still have treble but not as much, and they have more mids, the low end is tight. Lots of punch. A4's are like a tamer A8, with less output and a little flatter EQ. I'm partial to UOA5's, for the vintage dynamics, but they're on the warm side (not as warm as A2's), and the low end isn't real tight (not as loose as an A2). Those are your options. I'd try an A8 first and see what you think. It will fill in the high end and you won't give up a tight low end. They're very good clean too.

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Right. A PU with bright highs will have tight clear lows, because that describes an A5. Likewise, one with round full highs will have muddy (loose) lows, which is classic A2. The '59/Custom hybrid is a great PU and just went into Duncan production this year. Both coils are from bright PU's ('59B and C5), and the unbalanced part of it also adds some highs, so it can be bright and thin with the stock A5 magnet. Since A5's have the brightest, sharpest high end; your choices are warmer magnets. A8's are popular, they still have treble but not as much, and they have more mids, the low end is tight. Lots of punch. A4's are like a tamer A8, with less output and a little flatter EQ. I'm partial to UOA5's, for the vintage dynamics, but they're on the warm side (not as warm as A2's), and the low end isn't real tight (not as loose as an A2). Those are your options. I'd try an A8 first and see what you think. It will fill in the high end and you won't give up a tight low end. They're very good clean too.

 

I read your description of the A8 and it sounded to me like the ideal change. Then at the end you suggested it yourself. So it's probably a good sign. Thank you sir ! Now where can i get one? I'll try Ebay but if you have any suggestions i'm all ears. Also, do you know what dimensions to get for the 59/hybrid? (assuming they come in more than one ?)

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I read your description of the A8 and it sounded to me like the ideal change. Then at the end you suggested it yourself. So it's probably a good sign. Thank you sir ! Now where can i get one? I'll try Ebay but if you have any suggestions i'm all ears. Also, do you know what dimensions to get for the 59/hybrid? (assuming they come in more than one ?)

 

A8's became commonly available several years ago, and took things by storm; been tried in many bridge PU's (high, low, and medium output, and also in P-90's). It's a great middle ground between A5's and A2's, leaning towards the A5 side. On the Duncan site, most of us get our magents from Addiction FX, who is on eBay. They have the biggest selection and the lowest prices (several dollars per magnet). With any of them, you'll want to get the 'standard' size, fully charged. These will fit any HB and P-90.

 

A more recent magnet introduction is the UOA5, again a middle ground between A5's and A2's, but leaning more towards the A2 side. Medium output, warm, with a more organic/earthy sound, and lots of complex dynamics. Great for blues and jazz.

 

Both of these are great options for bridge PU's where an A5 is too bright or thin, or an A2 is too rounded on top and lacking treble.

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There are A1 thru A12 alnico magnets, but some are rarely if ever cut into the size of guitar magnets.

 

The reason for this being: magnets have all sorts of industrial applications, and electric guitars are only one of them. To get odd alnicos, you usually have to place a large order (like $500 worth) to get them cut to guitar PU size. We'd love to try out some A1'a and A7's; have no idea what they'd sound like, but I've never seen them offered in the right size.

 

I have a few A6's, which are like an A8 with less treble, and A9's, which are surprisingly bright. A10-12 would probably be too strong and have too much string pull (and kill sustain).

 

I'd also like to find some really rough roughcast A8s (for a smoother high end) and some polished UOA5's (for a sharper high end in the neck slot, to replace A2's). There's always something else to try.

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A8's became commonly available several years ago, and took things by storm; been tried in many bridge PU's (high, low, and medium output, and also in P-90's). It's a great middle ground between A5's and A2's, leaning towards the A5 side. On the Duncan site, most of us get our magents from Addiction FX, who is on eBay. They have the biggest selection and the lowest prices (several dollars per magnet). With any of them, you'll want to get the 'standard' size, fully charged. These will fit any HB and P-90.

 

A more recent magnet introduction is the UOA5, again a middle ground between A5's and A2's, but leaning more towards the A2 side. Medium output, warm, with a more organic/earthy sound, and lots of complex dynamics. Great for blues and jazz.

 

Both of these are great options for bridge PU's where an A5 is too bright or thin, or an A2 is too rounded on top and lacking treble.

 

Oh boy, now you have me thinking about the U0A5 ! I'm big into dynamics more than anything. I'll sacrifice other things for that. I looked at his offerings and saw "Alnico 5 humbucker unoriented magnet". Thats the U0A5 you mentioned correct? It also said 2.444'' long x 0.492'' wide x 0.125'' thick.... is that right? This is for a F spaced model by the way. Should be long enough by my estimation but not sure about the thickness or width.

 

EDIT: heres the page.. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Alnico-5-humbucker-unoriented-magnet-2-444-long-/320902448110?pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item4ab746c3ee

 

Then theres this which says fully charged while the other one doesn't. don't get that? anyways, here... http://www.ebay.com/itm/Alnico-5-1-pcs-A-5-1pc-A-5-Unorientd-Magnetized-/220649535487?pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item335fbcb7ff

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Oh boy, now you have me thinking about the U0A5 ! I'm big into dynamics more than anything. I'll sacrifice other things for that. I looked at his offerings and saw "Alnico 5 humbucker unoriented magnet". Thats the U0A5 you mentioned correct? It also said 2.444'' long x 0.492'' wide x 0.125'' thick.... is that right? This is for a F spaced model by the way. Should be long enough by my estimation but not sure about the thickness or width.

 

EDIT: heres the page.. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Alnico-5-humbucker-unoriented-magnet-2-444-long-/320902448110?pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item4ab746c3ee

 

Then theres this which says fully charged while the other one doesn't. don't get that? anyways, here... http://www.ebay.com/itm/Alnico-5-1-pcs-A-5-1pc-A-5-Unorientd-Magnetized-/220649535487?pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item335fbcb7ff

 

Right, A5 unoriented magnet. 'Standard' size works for everything, so it's simplest just to get that (I believe it's 2.5x.5x.125). If you don't get them fully charged, you have to have the equipment to do it yourself.

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Thanks Blueman. I'm going to get the one in the second link. When it says un-oriented does that also mean i can put it in any old way? On the few magnets i have swapped i alwys use another magnet to see how the stock one is oriented then test the replacement to make sure it goes in the same way. But i assume with the un-oriented you can just throw it in any old way?

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Thanks Blueman. I'm going to get the one in the second link. When it says un-oriented does that also mean i can put it in any old way? On the few magnets i have swapped i alwys use another magnet to see how the stock one is oriented then test the replacement to make sure it goes in the same way. But i assume with the un-oriented you can just throw it in any old way?

 

Unoriented refers to the internal grain in the metal, whether it's aligned or random, and has nothing to do with the magnetic poles. That stays the same. Treat them like any other magnet. Remember, A2's, A3's, and A4's are unoriented too.

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