Various AlNiCo Grades like A8, A4, A3, etc. Experience?

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Various AlNiCo Grades like A8, A4, A3, etc. Experience?

Postby Noel on Tue May 05, 2009 5:49 pm

So I got the Carvin CS6C. And exactly as I thought; Fabulously Guitar! Junk Electronics! :roll:

So, been weighing options for pickups. Pretty much settled on a Seymour Pearly neck PU.
For bridge I've been thinking of a Duncan Custom, and I have already bought an A2, A3, and A4 mag for experimenting. I do NOT like the Custom 5.
But, I've been kinda lurking at the Seymour Forum, and a bunch of guys over there advocate A8, particularly in a Custom or JB.
To me a Custom (ceramic) and a Custom Custom (A2) are known values. I know what I'm getting with that, and my main guitar has had a Custom Custom for 10+ yrs. Perfect for that since it's an inherently bright guitar (medium Sen Ash, Maple Neck, Floyd).
This Carvin is a ton of Mahogany with a Maple Cap (gorgeous, BTW) and a Floyd. But this thing when strummed acoustically has more low-mids. The M22T (A5) in it now sounds really weird. Mids have strange 'hole' in them, and the bass is too big. Reasonably tight, but too big.

So I'm ordering a Custom and trying the varous mags, but know nothing about A8. Also, some of the Seymour guys really dis A4 as sterile. But Fralin uses it, and nobody seems to call his pickups sterile. I'm thinking I may try A3 first, but how much output do you loose over A2? I know, alot of questions (and variables), but I'm trying to figure all this out.
Any help much, much appreciated.
1976 Ibanez Destroyer with routed Floyd Rose
2009 Carvin CS6C (Floyd Rose)
1974 Gibson LP Special 55
1987 Laney Pro Tube 30 Wt Head
1986 Keith Reinneger Reinowatt 50 (hot rodded 2204 Circuit)
1974 Orange 4x12 with 2 Weber Silver Bells and 2 Weber-reconed H30 55hz
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Re: Various AlNiCo Grades like A8, A4, A3, etc. Experience?

Postby Wilbur on Sun May 10, 2009 1:21 pm

The variable are the most significant part of the equation. I've been through some mag swaps in the past and through the "what pickups and mags are for me" thing. I'm still not sure I have my ultimate answers. I do know that I've stopped my pickup and mag swaps. I'm really happy with the tones in my guitars these days.

I like vintage wound HBs with A2. An asymmetric wind also works well for me. I even like a hot HB (12k) with A2. I've recently discovered (with a set of Strat pickups) that I like A3 a lot. Again, a low wind count. Bridge around 6k and the others around 5.7 or so.

What you're doing by swapping magnets is really the best way to understand the affects of magnets in the pickups. What I've heard about A8 is it's hot and bright like ceramic but is smoother sounding. Again, it's really hard to quantify that and ceramic can be used in certain pickups and not have that harsh high end.
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Re: Various AlNiCo Grades like A8, A4, A3, etc. Experience?

Postby speedemon on Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:44 pm


I know almost nothing about this, other than what is used in a lot of pickups, and what is in the pickups I like, but I am very interested! Anything anyone can offer would be great, consider this a "bump".
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