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Thread: AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

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    John Mayer's Mankini ImmortalSix's Avatar
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    Default AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

    I have a 335 that needs new pickups. I like the fullness and bassiness that the guitar imparts, and I like a tight bottom end (don't we all )

    I want a bristly sparkly but not shrill high end. I am talking about a sound that is mostly clean and compressed with a touch of sparkly gain.

    There will be basically no or very low gain and likely a ****load of compression being thrown at these.

    A sound I have been trying to dial in with this guitar is the pop and soft rock tones. Think Gavin DeGraw. (not a guitar player, just the guitar sound I like in pop and soft rock)

    Am I looking at AlNiCo 2 or AlNiCo 5?

    Thank you.

    Also, try and keep it "2 vs. 5" and not "You should get a Jazz and a '59," I am not looking for model recommendations, only magnet-that-the-pickup-is-based-on recommendations.

    Thanks,
    Hunter

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    Mojo's Minions Christopher Caruana's Avatar
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    Default Re: AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

    i would say an alnico II or a diguassed (or how ever you spell it) Alnico V
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    Tone Member benji657's Avatar
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    Default Re: AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

    where's blueman?!
    "He who is a legend in his own time is ruled by that legend."
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    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
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    Default Re: AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

    I'm a 335 man myself, and use a variety of PU's & magnets in mine. The only magnets I haven't been happy with in my 335's have been ceramics (too bright & sterile) and A2's (see below).

    When I think of sparkle, I think A5. That's the magnet I turn to when I want to bring life to a PU. In most PU's, A5's have a tight low end.

    If you're adding a lot of compression, I don't know if an A2, which already has a rounded high end, is going to have enough treble left. They're famous for a shortcoming at the other end: a loose, spongy bottom. Depends on the PU, but some already sound compressed. I like to have the volumes more or less equalized between bridge & neck PU's, and that's another place where A2's seem to thwart me, their low output.

    Whereas A5's have been pretty flexible for me in a number of guitars and PU's, I haven't kept an A2 in anything, as there's always a magnet that does the job better, whether neck or bridge, high or low output. I want to have A2's in something, but whenever I use one, it's only temporary, as it seems that I'm settling for a less-than-ideal tone.

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    John Mayer's Mankini ImmortalSix's Avatar
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    Default Re: AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

    Quote Originally Posted by blueman335 View Post
    I'm a 335 man myself, and use a variety of PU's & magnets in mine. The only magnets I haven't been happy with in my 335's have been ceramics (too bright & sterile) and A2's (see below).

    When I think of sparkle, I think A5. That's the magnet I turn to when I want to bring life to a PU. In most PU's, A5's have a tight low end.

    If you're adding a lot of compression, I don't know if an A2, which already has a rounded high end, is going to have enough treble left. They're famous for a shortcoming at the other end: a loose, spongy bottom. Depends on the PU, but some already sound compressed. I like to have the volumes more or less equalized between bridge & neck PU's, and that's another place where A2's seem to thwart me, their low output.

    Whereas A5's have been pretty flexible for me in a number of guitars and PU's, I haven't kept an A2 in anything, as there's always a magnet that does the job better, whether neck or bridge, high or low output. I want to have A2's in something, but whenever I use one, it's only temporary, as it seems that I'm settling for a less-than-ideal tone.
    Thank you man, that is just the kind of post I was looking for

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    Skaforlifeologist super rad stuff's Avatar
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    Default Re: AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

    so what pickups are you going to put in there?
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    John Mayer's Mankini ImmortalSix's Avatar
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    Default Re: AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

    Quote Originally Posted by super rad ska View Post
    so what pickups are you going to put in there?
    I think I am going to go with a nickel covered Jazz bridge (I have always wanted one and I think it will be perfect) and either a GFS Mean 90 neck or a Phat Cat neck (depending on what my used / trade search turns up.)

    I hardly ever use my neck pickup on that guitar during gigs, it's so bassy, and that guitar gets gigged more than it gets recorded by a long shot. I debate whether I should keep it HH since it is a 335, and my only guitar with a neck humbucker.

    On one hand I like the diversity of all my guitars, but now I realize that I am slowly converting every bridge pickup to a humbucker (335, Strat, Jackson, '51) with single coil necks (Strat, Jackson, '51, PRS) --- and I can't figure out if I really like certain sound or if I am just too narrow with my playing and sounds.

    Just thinking out loud here

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    Skaforlifeologist super rad stuff's Avatar
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    Default Re: AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

    Quote Originally Posted by ImmortalSix View Post
    I think I am going to go with a nickel covered Jazz bridge (I have always wanted one and I think it will be perfect) and either a GFS Mean 90 neck or a Phat Cat neck (depending on what my used / trade search turns up.)

    I hardly ever use my neck pickup on that guitar during gigs, it's so bassy, and that guitar gets gigged more than it gets recorded by a long shot. I debate whether I should keep it HH since it is a 335, and my only guitar with a neck humbucker.

    On one hand I like the diversity of all my guitars, but now I realize that I am slowly converting every bridge pickup to a humbucker (335, Strat, Jackson, '51) with single coil necks (Strat, Jackson, '51, PRS) --- and I can't figure out if I really like certain sound or if I am just too narrow with my playing and sounds.

    Just thinking out loud here

    i'd say go phat cat neck. phat cats are really cool pickups, kinda like a p-90 but not as harsh but still aggressive. i'm betting your gravitating towards singles in the neck is because they aren't boomy in there, vs humbuckers which are quite susceptible to such a drawback.
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    Default Re: AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

    I had a good set in a Epi L5S using a AlnicPro2 as bridge and a sh-2N in the neck. it was jazzy and had a good warm crunch tone,too. But I am getting as Ants set humbuckers. those will work either in an Orville LesPaul or a Duesenberg Starplayer semi like a ES335
    . at next tuesday I will know more and tell you if you interessted ... some here say Seth or Ants are perfect for Semis. a Sh1-N can be too boomy - a pearly gates neck A2 - is very sweet and crispy and warm when driven. Both my experience. Bluesman335 has of course tons of more experience - and his comments are always a pleasure to read!
    regds Claus

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    Toneologist
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    Default Re: AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

    Howdy,

    I love the '59s in my ES-335. Check my posts. Good luck!

    Eggman

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker jimijames's Avatar
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    Default Re: AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

    A2 really depends on the wind too, and the loose bottom thing is only apparent under really really heavy gain. I like the bass of A2 more than A5, it's not overpowering compared with the other frequencies, and the treble is very sweet and smooth. Degaussing will bring each magnet closer to the other in terms of frequency response, but they each retain their character. Fully gaussed A5, to my ears at least, has a lot of that ice-pick thing going on.

    For what you want, I would recommend degaussed A5 or very vintage, low wind A2 (sub 7.5k in the neck, asymmetrically wound 8.4-ish K in the bridge)

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    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
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    Default Re: AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

    Quote Originally Posted by ImmortalSix View Post
    I hardly ever use my neck pickup on that guitar during gigs, it's so bassy.
    I used to have that problem too. I got tired of only using 50% of the PU's on my guitar. Get the bridge EQ'd so it's got some body, and the neck PU sounds like it's in a closet. Or brighten the neck, and the bridge sounds like nails on a chalkboard.

    For me, the solution to this age-old problem is to bring the PU's closer in EQ. I darken the bridge with either two 250K pots (if it has an A5 or A4) or with a warm A8 or A6 magnet (with 500K's). Besides getting a richer, fuller bridge tone, I increase the treble on the amp, making the neck brighter and better defined. I want to make the neck as bright as I can, without ruining the bridge.

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    Mojo's Minions TattooedCarrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

    Seth Lovers were perfect in my 335, I loved them. The 57 Classics were great too - both of those are are A2.

    To me, the A5 has too big a bottom and too shrill a high, great for dirty rock, but not as much clean IMO. The A2 is typically more musical and more mild-mannered overall.

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    Toneologist Fikealox's Avatar
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    Default Re: AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

    A bit off-topic, but I just coincidentally stumbled across one of your 333 clips on youtube, Carrot. Awesome stuff - really made me want a hollow body

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    Something Cool uOpt's Avatar
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    Default Re: AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

    I end up liking A2 better, but only in very high quality pickups.

    An A2 neck pickup that regular production and fully potted can be mighty boring.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker jimijames's Avatar
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    Default Re: AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

    Quote Originally Posted by ImmortalSix View Post
    I hardly ever use my neck pickup on that guitar during gigs, it's so bassy
    Sorry to use the same quote as a previous post, but if you find neck pickups too bassy... Then you owe it to yourself to try A2 in the neck position. The reason I like it with low winds in the neck is because the lower the wind, the less midrange you get. Because A2 is naturally middy, coupling it with a low wind results in an exceptionally balanced pickup. In order for A5 to sound balanced, to my ears, you need to degauss it, and have it in an 8k+ wind for the neck and mid 9k for the bridge to get a balanced sound

    edit: +1 for uOpt, A2 in a high quality unpotted pickup is like nothing else you'll hear - and you'll then understand why people like it so much. I have a 7.2k unpotted neck pickup with A2 in an SG, and it's as good for slide as it is for jangle chords and spirited rhythm work.
    Last edited by jimijames; 01-21-2009 at 02:07 PM.

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    Mojo's Minions Christopher Caruana's Avatar
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    Default Re: AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

    Quote Originally Posted by blueman335 View Post
    I used to have that problem too. I got tired of only using 50% of the PU's on my guitar. Get the bridge EQ'd so it's got some body, and the neck PU sounds like it's in a closet. Or brighten the neck, and the bridge sounds like nails on a chalkboard.

    For me, the solution to this age-old problem is to bring the PU's closer in EQ. I darken the bridge with either two 250K pots (if it has an A5 or A4) or with a warm A8 or A6 magnet (with 500K's). Besides getting a richer, fuller bridge tone, I increase the treble on the amp, making the neck brighter and better defined. I want to make the neck as bright as I can, without ruining the bridge.
    i had that problem with an overly bassy neck pup too in my LP. I had an A2P in the bridge and a '57 classic in the neck. I lived the tone from the '57, but HATED the sound cuz when i got the bridge A2P sounding good, the '57 would sound dark, muddy and bassy. So I bought the A2P neck since its sound is matched to be paired with the bridge A2P and I love it. would another option would be to use a pup with an A5 mag in the neck, such as the A2P in the bridge and maybe like a '59 in the bass?
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    PRSlustologist Luke Duke's Avatar
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    Default Re: AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

    Hunter I definitely think you are on the right track a jazz bridge, but I think you'd be best off with a double jazz setup. The covers are going to tame some of the bell tone and high end, but they are still going to have that jazz specific clarity. By going to a P90-ish pup in the neck you are going for a bit ruder or raunchier sound in some ways.

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    Mojo's Minions TattooedCarrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Fikealox View Post
    A bit off-topic, but I just coincidentally stumbled across one of your 333 clips on youtube, Carrot. Awesome stuff - really made me want a hollow body
    Seth Lovers in that, A2!!

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    25's Nemesis Benjy_26's Avatar
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    Default Re: AlNiCo 5 vs. AlNiCo 2

    discussing magnets can be fun and some people can do it ad nauseum, but all the discussion is about as useful as **** on a boar hog if you don't take into consideration the total construction of the pickup as a whole. I've played tight, bright alnico II loaded pickups and mushy, loose, dull alnico V pickups that looked the same and had about the same resistance.
    Ain't nothin' but a G thang, baby.

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