Pickup question about magnets

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Pickup question about magnets

Postby robertmendeziii » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:41 am

Does ceramic mean louder and more gain than say Alnico II or V. What I mean is, is just because a pickup has a ceramic magnet,does that mean its going to be hotter and dirtier than a good Alnico V pickup. EX. Michael Schenker has a pickup out called Lights out. Its a ceramic magnet. But considering he is more on the classic side of rock, even with a ceramic magnet would the pickup still sound classic rockish, or does the ceramic automatically put it in the gibson 500T sound. I like hard hitting pickups, not the smooth sounds like seymours seem to have to my ears. I like rock and metal to be loud and dirty. not so much smooth and clean. Im looking for a big, kind of fat, Articulate sound. The emg's im using just dont seem to get me that sound. So for a big chunky and articulate sound what would be best. Gibson 500T. Seymour Crazy ALNICO 8? Michael Schenker Lights out. (Oh, and I know lots of people love the Seymour JB, and always suggest it but to me its just to soft). Thanks, love to hear what ya'll have to say.
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Re: Pickup question about magnets

Postby fillmore nyc » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:30 am

robertmendeziii wrote:Does ceramic mean louder and more gain than say Alnico II or V. What I mean is, is just because a pickup has a ceramic magnet,does that mean its going to be hotter and dirtier than a good Alnico V pickup. EX. Michael Schenker has a pickup out called Lights out. Its a ceramic magnet. But considering he is more on the classic side of rock, even with a ceramic magnet would the pickup still sound classic rockish, or does the ceramic automatically put it in the gibson 500T sound. I like hard hitting pickups, not the smooth sounds like seymours seem to have to my ears. I like rock and metal to be loud and dirty. not so much smooth and clean. Im looking for a big, kind of fat, Articulate sound. The emg's im using just dont seem to get me that sound. So for a big chunky and articulate sound what would be best. Gibson 500T. Seymour Crazy ALNICO 8? Michael Schenker Lights out. (Oh, and I know lots of people love the Seymour JB, and always suggest it but to me its just to soft). Thanks, love to hear what ya'll have to say.

I think the main purpose of a ceramic mag is to be able to produce a hot pickup that still retains clarity. It pretty much tells the story with the differences between the 3 Duncan Custom pickups:
(The Custom) http://www.seymourduncan.com/products/e ... ncan_cust/
(The Custom Custom) http://www.seymourduncan.com/products/e ... ustom_cus/
(The Custom 5) http://www.seymourduncan.com/products/e ... _custom_5/

For the most part, ceramic mag pickups have a cutting, defined sound, and actually benefit from a hot coil wind to keep them from being too bright.
Alnico mag pickups are somewhat softer sounding (than ceramic) and as you go down the alnico scale, the become even softer... an alnico 2 mag will be softer and more "aged", or vintage sounding than an alnico 5 mag.

I think a pickups perceived "hotness" has to do with the combination of top end clarity and output, which is pretty much defined by how much coil wind it has and what magnet is used. A real high output pickup that has a cutting top end will sound "hot", where the same pickup without the top end definition will sound looser and somewhat warmer... it may sound hot, but without the treble definition, it starts leaning away from a metal sound and more toward a "vintage" sound, although it will still be noticably hotter than anything actually vintage... like the way a Duncan Custom Custom sounds.

Overwound alnico mag pickups tend to start becoming less defined, with a looser bottom end and less treble than ceramic, and can be downright muddy sounding if they're wound too hot.

An older design, but a favorite of metal players is the Bill Lawrence XL500, which I believe is essentially the same as Seymour Duncans SH-13 Dimebucker. Now THATS a cutting, ballsy pickup!!
http://www.seymourduncan.com/products/e ... imebucker/

I remember when those Bill Lawrence L500 and the XL500 pickups first came around... man, they were different from just about anything at the time. LOTS of output, lots of bottom end, but retained great clarity. The blade design is great for string bending as well, as long as a vintage appearance is not important.
The L500 is not as hot as the XL500, but its still hotter than a vintage pickup.
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Re: Pickup question about magnets

Postby Motor City Pickups » Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:18 pm

Alnico magnets soak up eddy currents differently, and much more than Ceramic so the perceived top end on ceramics will be protruded where as the alnico will soak up the top end...Which is the lesser 2 evils is what your shooting for with tone really/
Peace, Wade
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Re: Pickup question about magnets

Postby lidesnowi » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:18 pm

I wonder if it is possible to do a split magnet configuration Humbucker,like having a
ALNICO 2 on the high E B G strings and a ALNICO 5 on the low DAE strings?
Like a Humbucker variant of this http://www.seymourduncan.com/products/e ... o_for_str/
Crazy idea maybe :shock: i got a lot of em :lol:
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Re: Pickup question about magnets

Postby Tone Slinger » Sat Aug 07, 2010 7:52 pm

Damn Fill, that post of yours is about as good of a pick up description, as I've ever heard. You know your stuff.

Michael Schenker has used a SD 'Custom' before. Michael likes a certain 'protruding' mid type frequincy. The ceramic magnet 'custom' has that.

I know, when a player who say's that they DISLIKE SD pu's, that they dont 'sing' very well :D .
Rip Ben Wise (StuntDouble) & Mark Abrahamian (Rockstah)
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Re: Pickup question about magnets

Postby fillmore nyc » Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:11 pm

Tone Slinger wrote:Damn Fill, that post of yours is about as good of a pick up description, as I've ever heard. You know your stuff.

Muchas gracias, mi hermano!!

La ringrazio molto, mio fratello!!

非常感謝你、我的兄弟!!


:lol: :lol:

(Thank you very much, my brother!!)

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Re: Pickup question about magnets

Postby joepete » Fri Aug 13, 2010 7:02 am

I have a les paul with the ceramic 500t and I love it! IT definately has the biting cut which is great for getting that little bit extra crunch out of an old amp. THey seem to compress or sustain I should say just a bit more then regular alnico II pafs which is great also for lead. They also clean up well with the volume knob. they are much better then emgs in my opinion for the type sound you originally spoke of.
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