Poll: Which Magnet is the best, or which do you use?
Poll Options
View poll results: Which Magnet is the best, or which do you use?
Alnico 1
1 17%
Alnico 2
0 0%
Alnico 3
0 0%
Alnico 4
0 0%
Alnico 5
4 67%
I don't hear a difference at all!
1 17%
Voters: 6.
#1
Hello Everyone!

My Chemistry teacher is letting me do a project on the chemical composition of pickups. So I decided I'd take a poll; what Alnico magnet strength does everyone think is the best? Or are we all just getting played by the companies, and the magnet truly makes no difference? Would love to hear your opinions below. Thanks! 
' ' "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky' - Michael Scott' - Melania Trump
#2
i don't think anyone uses alnico 1, if there even is such a thing (?). more and more companies are using alnico 8 these days, too.

i think it just depends on which you prefer, i'm not sure there's any best, more what's best for the type(s) of music you play and also your preferences.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#3
Different tools for different jobs, to be honest.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#4
I mean, its a bit of a loaded question especially considering things like the wind also play a part in how a pickup will sound. I mean there are some pickups that I would consider sounding kind of warm and creamy that I normally would associate with something like an Alnico 2 pup but later find out it's something like an A5 or even a ceramic.


That being said, I generally prefer UOA5 or A2 for bridge pups and A3 for neck pickups.
Quote by zgr0826
My culture is worthless and absolutely inferior to the almighty Leaf.


Quote by JustRooster
I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
#6
One day while swapping pickups I accidentally spilled radioactive waste on my PAFs. Little did I know that I had just discovered ALNICO X.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#7
Quote by JustRooster
One day while swapping pickups I accidentally spilled radioactive waste on my PAFs. Little did I know that I had just discovered ALNICO X.


Wayne Static's pickup magnet of choice!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#8
codeloud

To be clear- and thus, more helpful- I think your poll question is flawed. You're trying to wring out too much data from a single question and you're operating from the flawed premise that there is either a single "best" or no difference. Because of the various tonal demands of various genres, the myriad of tone-shaping amps and pedals, and the vast panoply of guitarists with different taste in music, such a binary option isn't a realistic possibility.

In addition, I'd bet that most guitarists don't actually know or care which magnets are in their guitars' pickups as long as they like the sounds they produce.* Even if they want to replace pickups with something that sounds "similar to ______", they don't need to know what magnet, since all they have to do is ask for similar sounding pickups.


* that is my nonscientific personal experience. I have a couple dozen electrics, and don't know what magnets most of them contain. I even have some pickups that are made so I can swap out magnets (never have, and probably never will).
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#10
The gospel from the Godfather of aftermarket replacement pickups Bill Lawrence:

http://www.billlawrence.com/Pages/Pickupology/magnets.htm

http://www.billlawrence.com/Pages/Pickupology/Introduction.htm
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

Come and be with me
Live my twisted dream
Pro devoted pledge
Time for primal concrete sledge

#11
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Different tools for different jobs, to be honest.


how come you got a like for that when you effectively said exactly what i said, except later?
I guess you get points for brevity
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I mean, its a bit of a loaded question especially considering things like the wind also play a part in how a pickup will sound.


i thought for a minute there you were making fun of eric johnson, that atmospheric phenomena could affect the tone. ("hmmm, it's hurricane season, that always makes the mids more haunting!")

then i realised you meant how the pickup was wound

Quote by dannyalcatraz
Wayne Static's pickup magnet of choice!


also can have unpredictable effects on your hair
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#12
Quote by Dave_Mc
how come you got a like for that when you effectively said exactly what i said, except later?
I guess you get points for brevity

i thought for a minute there you were making fun of eric johnson, that atmospheric phenomena could affect the tone. ("hmmm, it's hurricane season, that always makes the mids more haunting!")

then i realised you meant how the pickup was wound


also can have unpredictable effects on your hair

I read it back, yeah its a bit confusing.


I was talking about how they're wound not like, the breeze from the wind.
Quote by zgr0826
My culture is worthless and absolutely inferior to the almighty Leaf.


Quote by JustRooster
I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
#13
Alnico 2 has the second highest magnetic pull, strong bass and mids, rolled off top end.  It gives a smooth tone but can sometimes be too boomy or mushy in the low end

Alnico 3 has less pull than A2.  It's got a very flat frequency response.  It's lows are not as low and it's highs are not as high as alnico 2 or 5  but it sounds like it has more top end simply because it's flat response tricks your year.  It is very clear and chimy.

Alnico 4 is similar in pull to A3 but if memory serves me correct has slightly less pull however the difference is small enough that it's not really a factor.  It has less low end and more top end than A3.  It is clear, chimey, and sounds more aggressive than A2 or A3.

Alnico 5 has the highest pull.  It has an aggressive upper midrange peak that provides a lot of bite..  It has the widest frequency response.  Bass is tight and punchy.  Although it produces more top end and higher highs than A3 and A4 it often sounds like it's got less because of the upper midrange peak.

Each commonly used alnico has characteristics that make it best for some applications and worst for others.   A5 is the most popular because it's got the most output and bite.  A2 comes in second in the popularity contest because it sounds the fattest and warmest.  A3 and A4 are significantly less popular because they provide less output however a lot of people love them because of their clarity and open tone.

I don't know that A1 is real.  I've certainly never used it.  A8 is real and although it's very uncommon there are a few pickups that use it.  I don't know much about it even though I experimented with it a little about 10 years ago.  It sounded similar to A4 but had a bit more power.  The drawback 10 years ago was the price.

Edit: I voted A1 just to see the poll results.
Not taking any online orders.
Last edited by CorduroyEW at May 19, 2017,
#15
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I read it back, yeah its a bit confusing.


I was talking about how they're wound not like, the breeze from the wind.


oh no it was my fault for not reading it properly, i just thought it was funny
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#16
It really depends on the guitar, pickup position, and what kind of pickups, I don't really have a stock 100% full time preference for any type of magnet either way. I use Ceramic, Alnico 5, Alnico 2, Neodymium to my knowledge in my collection. Ceramic is the most common but that's because it's a very common choice.
My Current Mains
- 1996 Fender Jag-Stang with EMG Pickups
- 1998 Fender Jaguar with Cool Rails
- 1982 Hondo Paul Dean II (DiMarzio Super II X2)
- 2010 "Fender" Jazzmaster (Home built)
- 2013 Squier VM Bass VI (stock)
#17
Quote by Mad-Mike_J83
It really depends on the guitar, pickup position, and what kind of pickups, I don't really have a stock 100% full time preference for any type of magnet either way.  I use Ceramic, Alnico 5, Alnico 2, Neodymium to my knowledge in my collection.  Ceramic is the most common but that's because it's a very common choice.

Bill Lawrence designed the pickups for the Gibson L6S with three ceramic magnets in each. Completely different sound from what we've come to expect from ceramic-based humbuckers. Construction and design of the pickup makes a major difference.
#18
Quote by Dave_Mc
how come you got a like for that when you effectively said exactly what i said, except later?
I guess you get points for brevity


Yup.

also can have unpredictable effects on your hair


In fact, Wayne actually did use a couple of those Alnico X magnets for his daily grooming. Here's a morning selfie he took, before using them:
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#19
To say there are "other factors" to consider is an understatement. Nobody looks at pickup magnets in isolation. It's like body wood, assuming you believe in that sort of thing: You don't pick the wood before you've chosen the approximate kind(s) of guitar you want, and once you've done that your choices of wood are going to be defined by what woods those models are available with, and not your first consideration when picking between them unless you're picking between two otherwise identical models. Likewise, you don't look for a pickup magnet when you're buying a pickup: You look for a pickup for a certain application and if you want a lipstick coil you'll probably end up with AlNiCo 6, if you want a PAF you'll end up with whatever's inside the particular PAF you think sounds best.
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
Youre officially uber shit now.

Quote by StewieSwan
3d9310rd is far more upset than i 

Quote by Bladez22
I'm a moron tho apparently and everyone should listen to you oh wise pretentious one
#21
Fascinating.
One of the main flaws of multi-pickup guitars is the difference in sound between bridge and neck pickup. If you adjust your amp to get the right sound from the bridge pickup, your neck pickup might sound too bassy; or it's the other way around when you adjust the amp that the neck pickup sounds right. Also, a pickup in the neck position generates a much stronger signal than the same pickup in the bridge position. This is caused by the amplitude of a vibrating string which reaches, normally, its maximum at the center of its speaking length.

5. The position and the angle of the attack is where You, the player, takes over.

Experienced players can create all kinds of sounds, just with their right hand technique. About a year ago, I was playing at a blues jam, and during the break, a young player asked me, "How do you switch so fast from the bridge pickup to the neck pickup, sometimes in the middle of a fast phrase?" I told him, " I don't", and showed him my guitar. He couldn't believe it, my guitar had only one pickup - the neck pickup. I told him all about the hot and the sweet spots on a string.
#22
^ spam post *reported*

Quote by K33nbl4d3
To say there are "other factors" to consider is an understatement. Nobody looks at pickup magnets in isolation. It's like body wood, assuming you believe in that sort of thing: You don't pick the wood before you've chosen the approximate kind(s) of guitar you want, and once you've done that your choices of wood are going to be defined by what woods those models are available with, and not your first consideration when picking between them unless you're picking between two otherwise identical models. Likewise, you don't look for a pickup magnet when you're buying a pickup: You look for a pickup for a certain application and if you want a lipstick coil you'll probably end up with AlNiCo 6, if you want a PAF you'll end up with whatever's inside the particular PAF you think sounds best.


guitar body wood does definitely exist...

sorry

seriously, though, agreed. There probably is a kind of characteristic tone to most magnet types, at least if they're used in the most usual way, but at the same time it's normally not the best plan to look at them in isolation either, as you said.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#23
spam post has been deleted (saying this just in case anyone thinks Dave is accusing 33db being a spammer )

I think the composition of the magnet affects the tone, but there are too many other factors involved that influence the tonal qualities of a pickup probably more than the magnet.

It's like people think of ceramic pickups as being very high output and very compressed and kinda flat sounding, but my Gibson SG has some early Bill Lawrence designed ceramics which are actually have a very detailed and articulate sound that manages to be very dark and thick sounding but with a whole lot more clarity than you might expect from a sound that bass-heavy.

I tend to think of the pickups as a whole rather than arbitrarily determining a certain magnet type as my favourite. I mean, how alnico V magnets sound in PAF type humbuckers and how they sound in fender style single coils, P90s, lipstick tubes, de-armonds, gold foils, gretsch filtertrons/hilotrons etc... all will vary drastically because the construction and specification of the pickup is going to be very different.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#24
Quote by Dave_Mc
guitar body wood does definitely exist...
That's odd, I though all guitars looked like this


But yeah, I just felt it was kind of an unclear phrasing to say that there are other things that also play a part or that matter more, because it's generally something a pickup buyer simply has little if any reason to look at at all. When we're discussing pickups, we characterise them by the output and frequency response, and if we're feeling nerdy the construction and the wind. Are the magnet choices relevant to a pickup maker looking to achieve a specific sound? Sure. Maybe even to an overzealous modder looking to do something irresponsible. But outside of My Les Paul or Seymour Duncan forums I think even the most irredeemable of corksniffers would hesitate to say a pickup has "a distinct AlNiCo 3 sound to it". Or, I hope they would. They probably wouldn't. But they would, undoubtedly, be full of shit.

Since I started writing this Blompcube came in and mentioned ceramics which I guess is a more forgivable distinction to talk about when discussing sounds because I know ceramics are generally stronger magnets than AlNiCos but yeah, even then it isn't the defining aspect of a sound, it's only an aspect which has a certain reputation because it's generally been used in a specific few applications (that is, cheap pickups and hot pickups).
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
Youre officially uber shit now.

Quote by StewieSwan
3d9310rd is far more upset than i 

Quote by Bladez22
I'm a moron tho apparently and everyone should listen to you oh wise pretentious one
Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at May 20, 2017,
#25
Quote by Blompcube
spam post has been deleted (saying this just in case anyone thinks Dave is accusing 33db being a spammer )

*sets bottle of pills down and wipes eyes*
#26
Quote by Blompcube
spam post has been deleted (saying this just in case anyone thinks Dave is accusing 33db being a spammer )


hahahaha

I sometimes quote the post (but removing the offending bit) to avoid that, but i forgot this time
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#27
Quote by K33nbl4d3
That's odd, I though all guitars looked like this


But yeah, I just felt it was kind of an unclear phrasing to say that there are other things that also play a part or that matter more, because it's generally something a pickup buyer simply has little if any reason to look at at all. When we're discussing pickups, we characterise them by the output and frequency response, and if we're feeling nerdy the construction and the wind. Are the magnet choices relevant to a pickup maker looking to achieve a specific sound? Sure. Maybe even to an overzealous modder looking to do something irresponsible. But outside of My Les Paul or Seymour Duncan forums I think even the most irredeemable of corksniffers would hesitate to say a pickup has "a distinct AlNiCo 3 sound to it". Or, I hope they would. They probably wouldn't. But they would, undoubtedly, be full of shit.

Since I started writing this Blompcube came in and mentioned ceramics which I guess is a more forgivable distinction to talk about when discussing sounds because I know ceramics are generally stronger magnets than AlNiCos but yeah, even then it isn't the defining aspect of a sound, it's only an aspect which has a certain reputation because it's generally been used in a specific few applications (that is, cheap pickups and hot pickups).


yeah. i mean, there are a few things where maybe you could notice (alnico 2 can be mushy on the bass if it's too high output), but yeah other than that there are too many variables. as you said, most likely full of it if claiming a very definite, characteristic tone from a magnet type.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?