#1
I know that there's obviously differences between alnico V pickups that cost $50 and ones that cost $500, but what makes them different? I'm getting a guitar with Alnico V pups (Agile AL-3000), but the one I have right now also has alnico v's (Epi LP Special II), and I'm curious to know what about the pickups would set them apart from each other.

I've never tried another guitar with Alnico's, so how would they be different? What I'm hoping for is just having clearer definition with chords while distorted, but I'm pretty sure that's mostly in my amp anyways. :/ Also hoping for better picking-volume dynamics. My pickups now don't get very loud. I've tried a friend's Jackson Kelly and those pickups had really great response to picking dynamics.

Also, how would different quality Alnico V's be different construction-wise? I guess it can be in the coils... but how would it be so much better? If it's coiled differently, does that mean that I could just take my pickups in the Epiphone LP and just coil them differently?

I know I'm ignorant, haha, but please bear with me.
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#2
All AlNiCo 5's are the same similar strengths.

The wire that's wound on the bobbins makes a bigger difference.
#3
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100423222603AAQzZlN

actually, there's my question right there. what makes the gibson ones so much better? and how does wiring by hand beat machinery? I would think that machinery would be more precise...

/baffled


Quote by dark Mass
All AlNiCo 5's are the same similar strengths.

The wire that's wound on the bobbins makes a bigger difference.


okay, so then if I just took another wire and used that on the magnets in my pickups now, would that bring it to pseudo-Gibson quality? If that's true, then pickups must be really overpriced... but it'd be really cool.
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Last edited by Apples on Cacti at Dec 23, 2011,
#4
How it's wound plays into the tonal qualities of pickups.

Plus cheap pickups use lower quality components to begins with and lower QC standards.
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#5
Quote by Apples on Cacti
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100423222603AAQzZlN

actually, there's my question right there. what makes the gibson ones so much better? and how does wiring by hand beat machinery? I would think that machinery would be more precise...

/baffled


okay, so then if I just took another wire and used that on the magnets in my pickups now, would that bring it to pseudo-Gibson quality? If that's true, then pickups must be really overpriced... but it'd be really cool.

Sure, if you've got the patience and equipment to wind several thousand coils of wire round the bobbin

The thing is pickups are not about precision, guitars are musical instruments, not machines. Everything contributes to the sound of a pickup, the strength, shape and size of the magnet, the material the wire is made of, the number of winds, the tightness of the winds, the pattern of the winding. The term Alnico 5 simply refers to the material the magnet is made of, an alloy of iron, AL-uminium, NI-ckel and CO-balt alloy. The different numbers refer to different rations of those metals.

If you constructed a pickup with evenly spaced, perfectly straight windings you'd get a very uniform and consistent magnetic field around it, and ultimately that's not going to be very interesting. If the winds are uneven and there's spaces between the winds then you'll get all sorts of little fluctuations in the magnetic field and odd eddy currents. Sonically that's going to result in a much more harmonicaly unpredictable and ultimately interesting sound.
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#6
Quote by steven seagull
Sure, if you've got the patience and equipment to wind several thousand coils of wire round the bobbin

The thing is pickups are not about precision, guitars are musical instruments, not machines. Everything contributes to the sound of a pickup, the strength, shape and size of the magnet, the material the wire is made of, the number of winds, the tightness of the winds, the pattern of the winding. The term Alnico 5 simply refers to the material the magnet is made of, an alloy of iron, AL-uminium, NI-ckel and CO-balt alloy. The different numbers refer to different rations of those metals.

If you constructed a pickup with evenly spaced, perfectly straight windings you'd get a very uniform and consistent magnetic field around it, and ultimately that's not going to be very interesting. If the winds are uneven and there's spaces between the winds then you'll get all sorts of little fluctuations in the magnetic field and odd eddy currents. Sonically that's going to result in a much more harmonicaly unpredictable and ultimately interesting sound.


This is an extremely good way of putting it. Not to mention, when you come across someone so experienced with the instrument that he can control all those little nuances of their sound, it's truly magical.
#7
What steven seagull said. It's not the magnet that makes the difference (unless obviously talking about alico vs ceramic etc), it's how it's wound.
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#8
Quote by steven seagull
Sure, if you've got the patience and equipment to wind several thousand coils of wire round the bobbin

The thing is pickups are not about precision, guitars are musical instruments, not machines. Everything contributes to the sound of a pickup, the strength, shape and size of the magnet, the material the wire is made of, the number of winds, the tightness of the winds, the pattern of the winding. The term Alnico 5 simply refers to the material the magnet is made of, an alloy of iron, AL-uminium, NI-ckel and CO-balt alloy. The different numbers refer to different rations of those metals.

If you constructed a pickup with evenly spaced, perfectly straight windings you'd get a very uniform and consistent magnetic field around it, and ultimately that's not going to be very interesting. If the winds are uneven and there's spaces between the winds then you'll get all sorts of little fluctuations in the magnetic field and odd eddy currents. Sonically that's going to result in a much more harmonicaly unpredictable and ultimately interesting sound.


Huh. Okay, thanks a lot. Sounds interesting, actually, I'd love a chance to be able to wind my own pickups one of these days.

So how would the sound be different between different quality AlNiCo V pickups?
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#9
There's a few guys in the Gear Building and Customising forum who wind their own pickups, CorduroyEw has his own buisiness.

http://www.rockmonkeyguitars.com/

Alnico V pickups will usually be fairly bright with fairly tight bass response and crisp attack, those are some of the characteristics that the magnet will give the pickup. This vid actually has some good info on the different grades of Alnico http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRxuq7fK5B8


More winds on the pickup will make it hotter, the manner of the winding will determine some of the more subtle characteristics. For some applications you'd want a uniform, fairly even tone but cerrtainly for me personalyl i like pickups that "breathe" a little, if they're not too hot and there's some unpredictability in the winding then you'll get more space in the sound. It'll still be loud and clear but maybe won't be so harmonically dense.

I think two examples would be something like a Duncan 59, which as a vintage-type Alnico 5 pickup compared with a Dimarzio Tone Zone.

They both have Alnico 5 magnets, but whilst the 59 is fairly low output the Tone Zone is a much hotter pickup with a much "denser" sonic picture, you can actually hear how busy it is tonally and how little space the sound has to breathe in comparison with the 59.
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#10
Wow, okay, my new Agile AL-3000 just came around today (christmas ftw baby), and I can feel the difference. Most notably the higher gain settings; my LP Special II pickups, despite being really nice for the price, seem to begin making the crackling noises around lower gain settings. However, my AL-3000's pickups have really awesome smoothness even on lower gain settings, which I thought was really cool. There also is some difference in picking dynamics that I can tell, although it isn't as great of a dynamic as my friend's Jackson. That could probably be solved with pickup height, I'll play with that later. Anyways, thanks for all the info, it has helped me understand and become more interested in the pickup field of guitar. It's a fascinating place, I've found.
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Play the blues in five easy steps!
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1) Be black
2) Have very horrible things happen to you
3) pick up a guitar
4) ???
5) Play blues