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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.

 

Gotcha, thanks. I bought it so hopefully i'll know in a week if they do what i'm hoping for. I like the 59/hybrid as is, but it's not perfect so It's worth a shot.

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Gotcha, thanks. I bought it so hopefully i'll know in a week if they do what i'm hoping for. I like the 59/hybrid as is, but it's not perfect so It's worth a shot.

 

The way I look at it is: There's 10 types of alnico's commonly available these days (counting polished, roughcast, oriented, and unoriented). What are the odds that the PU manufacturer used the best one for your guitar, wood, amp, genre, and playing style? If you think they always do, you need to get out of the house more often. When you change magnets in a PU, you literally make a new PU. Since that'll only cost you $3 and 10 minutes to do it, why not try it? Sure beats spending $75 to $100+ for an entirely new PU, that still may not be what you want.

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Oh hell yeah ! I agree totally. I say the same thing about many things besides this. For example, people don't realize that if you are the type of player that uses your volume control to go from clean to scream, a treble bleed can make or break a guitar. Most throw one in with a certain value, if it doesn't work they may change the cap to a different value or maybe just give up on it and say they are crap. A LOT of people hate them, but if they let me put one in thier guitar I'm sure i could change thier minds for the most part. But a simple cap and resistor OF THE CORRECT VALUE FOR THAT GUITAR and in my case a pot (to vary the degree of bleed) can literately make a guitar you didn't car much for one you are wild about. But there are truly infinite possibilities for that and the right one in the right guitar will have a TB hater doing a 180. And using a pot (in my case easy because i don't use tone controls so i use the tone pot)to vary the degree of bleed can do amazing things because not only can you change the degree of bleed, but it radically changes the gain structure too.

 

So yeah, i get that and big time. I'm guilty of spending way too much time with stuff like this. But the magnet thing is something i only recently have been messing with. I'm sure i probably should have left it alone tho. Now i will likely spend a lot more time swapping magnets than playing. :D

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So yeah, i get that and big time. I'm guilty of spending way too much time with stuff like this. But the magnet thing is something i only recently have been messing with. I'm sure i probably should have left it alone tho. Now i will likely spend a lot more time swapping magnets than playing. :D

 

The better tones I have, the more inspired I am, the more I play, and the better I play. Any time spent swapping PU's, pots, and mags is well spent. Why settle for so-so tones, when it costs so little to improve them and get what you really want? I hate to be helpless. My advice is: Take control of your tone.

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Well, yeah, thats why i do it. To me great tone and dynamics (especially the latter) are what i thrive on. I built my own amp, not a clone but a design i spent years on to get what i always wanted out of an amp. It took me years but now i have it and it's what i have always looked for. Trust me....I'm with ya on this !

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Sorry if this has been asked before .... Which one is in the current Dot model?

 

Dots have A5's, as do almost all Epi's. I upgrade the PU's in my Epi's, but if I'm selling one and want to improve the tone for the buyer, I'll do a couple things:

 

1 - Scrape as much wax out of the HB's as possible, being careful around the coils. I've taken apart dozens of high quality PU's, and they use very little wax. The least they possibly can use. At the other end of the spectrum, Epi HB's look like bars of soap when you take the covers off. That's overkill. You just don't need 95% of that wax to prevent microphonic feedback. All it does is muffle and muddy the tone.

 

2 - Put an A8 magnet in the bridge HB, to beef it up (more mids and output, and less treble). Same for bridge P-90's, replace one of the A5's with an A8.

 

Epi's started using 'Probuckers' in a few recent models, that have A2's and push-pulls for coil cut, which is a great idea. Don't know if they're buried in wax.

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So then are the Gibson 57's A5's also? What makes them different? The amount of wax? [confused]

 

Gibson '57's have (warm) A2 magnets. Besides using higher quality materials and significantly less wax, they're wound differently. There's a secret art to winding PU coils, using various patterns and tensions, which have a big impact on tone (neat, uniform winding looks nice but doesn't give the best tones). The final sound is a mix of PU, magnet, wood, pots, caps, cord, amp, tubes, speakers, etc. All of them modify the sound to some degree. That's why a PU may sound great in one guitar and very different in the next.

 

In my experiences with Gibson '57's and 490's, the necks seem to be wound a little hot and they can be dark. The bridge has the typical rounded high-end of an A2 PAF, but sometimes even moreso. I fix that by putting an A5 in the neck (suddenly treble and clarity!) and and UOA5 or A8 in the bridge for more bite, and more output. In some guitars '57's can sound great, but I haven't had that in my guitars. I think Gibson perhaps overuses them in so many models, along with the 498T/490R pair (bright thin bridge and dark muffled neck). In those, I make the same mag swaps and then they work together much better because the EQ's aren't polar opposites. Then, they sound very good.

 

To me, the best recent-manufacture Gibson HB's are the numbered Burstbuckers (A2 mags), especially the unpotted ones. BB Pros have A5's and are wound differently, but are still pretty good PU's.

 

The better your amp, the more you'll hear the differences between stock Asian PU's and high-quality ones. If you're playing metal thru a solid state amp and using a lot of distortion and effects, stock Epi PU's maybe be fine. But if you're playing blues, classic rock, or jazz thru a tube amp clean or with a moderate amount of OD, then you'll hear much more depth and definition when you upgrade PU's. At their price point, Epi's not trying to compete with aftermarket PU's that sell for $75 to $150 each, certainly not in a $400-$500 guitar. It's the weakest link on a set-neck Epi. Because of the lingering economy, the guitar market has gotten very competitive, and manufacturers are adding high-quality American-made PU's to more of their models. This is great for musicians. There's not a lot of difference between high-end Epi's with American-made PU's, and the lower-level faded Gibsons. Obviously an $800 faded Gibson LP Studio doesn't have anywhere near the same quality woods or workmanship as a $2,500 LP Std or $3,800 LP Custom.

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  • 7 years later...
On 6/8/2012 at 2:33 PM, Blueman335 said:

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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