Pickup mods & experiments thread - Jemsite
Pickups & wiring Discussion about pickup types, replacements, recomendations, switching, wiring diagrams and sustainer systems for ANY guitar, JEMs included.

 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
 
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Pickup mods & experiments thread

Hi all!

I've been comtemplating and researching on winding pickups and/or modding them for a while now. I never followed throught with it but after reading LonePhantom's thread on modding the V7/V8 pups I've been reinspired to give it another go. While there are more than enough resources on how to swap magnets, slugs, base plates, half air mod etc. there's not much info on how the mods affect the sound/tone. You can try contacting some pickup makers but they're really reluctant to give up any of their secrets (i guess you can't blame them too much for that). I was thinking since so many people have expressed intrest on the sublect and these mods are pretty easy and inexpensive it would be a good idea to start a thread to compile people's experiences who have done pickup modification.

LonePhantom's blog is a good starting point since he likes to tinker with things like this. To those other tinkerers, would yall share some of your experiences with us aspiring DIY-ers who are interested in winding and modding pickups; did you wind from scratch, mod an existing pickup if so which one, What mods did you do, what materials you used, and importantly how did the mods affect the tone (before and after sound samples if you have them would be great).

I hope we can get some good responces, compile info on people's experiences, and inspire the rest of us to give pickup winding & modding a try. Finally a big advanced THANK YOU to all those who share, I'm sure it will be appreciated by many.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 06:23 PM
 
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Pickup mods & experiments thread

It's funny you linked those sites as they are the exact ones I started with when I first started researching pickup mods.

Yesterday I messed around with an old INF2 pickup I had laying around. It's been so long since I've played a guitar with that pickup I'd almost forgotten what it sounds like. Most of us know what the INF pup sound like, a little bland, not as much power as you'd expect from a high output humbucker (it read 15.95 Kohms).... you know not bad but not great either. So I pulled out an old cheapie pickup with a ceramic magnet and put it into the INF2 as a quick test run. With the ceramic magnet I found it brightened it up a bit and gave it a bit more perceived power. To me it sounds a little better with the ceramic magnet. I know I'll need to give it a few days for everything to fully even out but initial results are good.

I didn't do any sound recordings yet. When I get paid at the end of the week I plan on ordering a range of magnets to swap in and out of the INF2. I'll be trying out A2, A3, A4, UOA5, A6, A8, & A9 magnets. Not sure if I want to go with rough cast or polished magnets yet but I'm leaning toward rough cast. Once I get that going I'll make some sound clips of everything and record my findings here.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 11:52 AM
 
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Re: Pickup mods & experiments thread


Thanks for the links, LP... Great stuff!

Is there a way to tell what kind of magnet is in a pickup if you can't get specs or don't know? Or at least a way to know what kind of effect it will have on the pickup based on a comparison of the magnet's relative "strength" when compared to a known magnet type? Is an Alnico 5 stronger than an Alnico 2? Ceramic stronger than an Alnico 5? etc... Just wondering.

Last edited by FireEagle; 08-13-2014 at 11:58 AM.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Pickup mods & experiments thread

From my understanding there's no good way to do it visually. I asked the same question over on the MIMF forum and here was the response I got...

"Identifying magnets takes a Gauss meter and a good way to charge them to full capacity at the very least. A2 will be a bit hotter than A3 and A5 will be a bit hotter than A4."
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Pickup mods & experiments thread

Here's something I came across on pickup magnets and their tonal qualities.

A2 - Huge mids, rounded top, little treble, lots of dynamics, chewy texture, loose low end, low output, very 'vintage'. With the right wind, it's ample mids make a PU sound 'big'. With the wrong wind (or wood) it can sound muddy or flabby.

A3 - Like an A2, but with more treble and lighter on the mids. Mainly suited for the neck slot.

A4 - Balanced EQ, some consider it bland. No big push in treble, mids, or bass. Medium output. Good middle ground for when an A2 is too warm, or an A5 is too bright and scooped. Lets the PU's and wood's natural tones come thru.

A5 - Lots of treble and bass, scooped mids. Sharp high end. Tight low end. Relatively high output. The most common alnico (in it's polished and oriented form).

A8 - Moderate treble, good dose of mids. Firm low end. High output. Could be considered to be a bulked up A4. Suited for the bridge slot. Works in high and low output HB's and P-90's.

A6 - Like an A8, but with less treble. Very rare.

UOA5 - Sounds like a cross between an A2 and A5, with the best of both. Lots of warmth and dynamics, but with a dash of treble and decent output. Another middle ground option between A2's and A5's.

Roughcast - Pitted and lumpy surfaces create a more varied magnetic field. Any roughcast maget has smoother highs, with less harshness. Shifts the EQ slightly downwards. More subtle than an unoriented mag. Usually best in the bridge slot, whereas polished mags work better in the neck (sharper highs).

Unoriented - The internal 'grain' is random (instead of aligned in one direction), making for a complex magnetic field. Highs are softened and tones are more dymanic and 'vintage'. A2's, A3's, and A4's are always unoriented. A5's are almost always oriented.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 06:21 PM
 
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Re: Pickup mods & experiments thread

No worries guys, those Seymour Duncan articles I've written are basically a summary of everything that I've tried. The only thing I haven't tried is combining coils from two different pickups, a la the 59/Custom Hybrid. My Carpal Tunnel Syndrome related shaky hands put me off working on this. I think I might give it a go soon though when I'm having a good day, and have a couple of pickups that may work well combined.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 06:35 PM
 
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Re: Pickup mods & experiments thread

just want to say, love your work LonePhantom! Those are awesome articles.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 08:34 PM
 
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Re: Pickup mods & experiments thread

Thanks mate
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-19-2014, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Pickup mods & experiments thread

I've started my magnet swap experiments on my INF2 pickup and I must say it's been alot of fun. It's very quick and easy, anyone who can use a screwdriver can do this. So far my findings in a general sence are pretty spot on with what I found & posted earlier about tonal qualities of the different magnets. Along with the stock A-5 magnet I've tried out A-2, A-8 & Ceramic 8. I'm still waiting on some other magnets to come in the mail so I can finish up my experiment. As of now the A-8 is my favorite of the bunch.

I did notice that when switching from a weaker to a stronger magnet (A-2 to A-eight) the changes were immediate; but when switching from a stronger to a weaker magnet (ceramic to A2) it took about a day for things to adjust and hear the differences.

In total I'll be trying out 9 different magnets (A-2, A-3, A-4, A-5, A-6, A-8, A-9, & Ceramic). When I get everything all finished up I'll start a new thread to post my findings & sound samples. A question on that... You yall like me to post sound clips and let everyone take a guess at the magnet types or go ahead and tell all from the begenning?
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-19-2014, 09:42 PM
 
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Re: Pickup mods & experiments thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by madasahatter View Post
I've started my magnet swap experiments on my INF2 pickup and I must say it's been alot of fun. It's very quick and easy, anyone who can use a screwdriver can do this. So far my findings in a general sence are pretty spot on with what I found & posted earlier about tonal qualities of the different magnets. Along with the stock A-5 magnet I've tried out A-2, A-8 & Ceramic 8. I'm still waiting on some other magnets to come in the mail so I can finish up my experiment. As of now the A-8 is my favorite of the bunch.

I did notice that when switching from a weaker to a stronger magnet (A-2 to A-eight) the changes were immediate; but when switching from a stronger to a weaker magnet (ceramic to A2) it took about a day for things to adjust and hear the differences.

In total I'll be trying out 9 different magnets (A-2, A-3, A-4, A-5, A-6, A-8, A-9, & Ceramic). When I get everything all finished up I'll start a new thread to post my findings & sound samples. A question on that... You yall like me to post sound clips and let everyone take a guess at the magnet types or go ahead and tell all from the begenning?
I'd love to know the results of your experiment, but please don't make me guess......... I failed miserably when we did that on LonePhantoms V8 thread.......LOL.

I have a brand new set of INF3&4 pickups that have never even been plugged in. I'd be very interested to hear what the A8 does for the bridge and what the A6 does for the neck.
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