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Thread: JB Alnico 8 Swap results.

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    Default JB Alnico 8 Swap results.

    So last week, I got a check in the mail from my grandparents for my birthday. Amongst some other things, I decided to start playing around with magnet swaps. I purchased and Alnico 8 magnet from Wymore Guitars (great service and fast shipping, thanks dude!) It arrived late last week and I just now got a chance to swap the magnet out. I initially intended to leave the picukp in the mounting ring so the height would remain unchanged, but that blocked access to the magnet, so I had to remove it from the ring. When putting the pickup back in the guitar, I managed to set the height exactly at the recommended 1/8" - 3/32" recommended in the FAQ. How's that for blind luck?

    Initial impressions:

    Wow. Loud. The A8 magnet makes the pickup louder than before. I suppose that is to be expected, since the stronger A8 magnet is supposed to make for hotter output. The JB8 has plenty of lows, and while big, they're not muddy or woofy like the JB was in comparison. They are big, but tight. The big low end doesn't seem to impede clarity, IMO.

    As far as the mids go, there's a definate difference. The JB had all the crunch in the upper mids, the JB8 has it's mids spread across the whole range, so there's plenty of low mids and mid mids in addition to the high mids, so the spike is gone, and the JB8 sounds thicker by comparison. I kinda like it, but admittedly I'm still in the honeymoon stage at this point. I may change my mind. Also that upper-mid spike makes it easier for the JB to cut throug a band mix. The JB8's lack of that upper-mid spike may work against me when trying to fit into a mix. I dunno. I'll see how I sound with the rest of the band next practice.

    As far as highs go, I definately noticed the rounded off, A2-like highs of the A8. I'm on the fence here. On one hand, that kinda makes the JB8 sound darker than the JB. But when it comes to sustained notes in solos, the rounded off highs definately makes for a sweeter sound. However, when playing palm-muted riffs, it feels like the rounded off highs cause me to loose some of the attack which keeps things tight-sounding. I also don't know how the rounded off highs will affect how I sit in the mix with the band. Again, we'll have hear how things go next practice. I can always (and probably should) tweak the EQ on my amp.

    One thing I noticed while playing which was unexpected was when I switched to bridge humbucker split and parallel with the middle single, (guitar is HSH config), I got a completely different sound. The volume drops dramatically, and there are no lows at all. It was kind of like listening to the guitar through the telephone, or like the intro to Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here". I messed things up during the magnet swap and the JB8 is now out-of-phase didn't I? I was careful to orient the magnet so the poles were the same, but when I pulled the A5 bar out of the pickup, it grabbed the A8 bar, and I might have flipped it around when separating the two before installing the A8 bar. It's not all bad. I kinda like the thin, quiet sound, it's different. But when I think about things, I think I'd do better to get that sound from a pedal, and have a single coil sound available in that postion, not a OOP sound. I really don't want to have to take the pickup back out to flip the magnet around, as I've got the pickup height perfect. I fix the OOP sound by flipping the hot (black) and ground (green) wires, right? Though that will also change which coil I split to, correct?

  2. #2
    Mojo's Minions BloodRose's Avatar
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    Default Re: JB Alnico 8 Swap results.

    Quote Originally Posted by Koreth View Post
    So last week, I got a check in the mail from my grandparents for my birthday. Amongst some other things, I decided to start playing around with magnet swaps. I purchased and Alnico 8 magnet from Wymore Guitars (great service and fast shipping, thanks dude!) It arrived late last week and I just now got a chance to swap the magnet out. I initially intended to leave the picukp in the mounting ring so the height would remain unchanged, but that blocked access to the magnet, so I had to remove it from the ring. When putting the pickup back in the guitar, I managed to set the height exactly at the recommended 1/8" - 3/32" recommended in the FAQ. How's that for blind luck?

    Initial impressions:

    Wow. Loud. The A8 magnet makes the pickup louder than before. I suppose that is to be expected, since the stronger A8 magnet is supposed to make for hotter output. The JB8 has plenty of lows, and while big, they're not muddy or woofy like the JB was in comparison. They are big, but tight. The big low end doesn't seem to impede clarity, IMO.

    As far as the mids go, there's a definate difference. The JB had all the crunch in the upper mids, the JB8 has it's mids spread across the whole range, so there's plenty of low mids and mid mids in addition to the high mids, so the spike is gone, and the JB8 sounds thicker by comparison. I kinda like it, but admittedly I'm still in the honeymoon stage at this point. I may change my mind. Also that upper-mid spike makes it easier for the JB to cut throug a band mix. The JB8's lack of that upper-mid spike may work against me when trying to fit into a mix. I dunno. I'll see how I sound with the rest of the band next practice.

    As far as highs go, I definately noticed the rounded off, A2-like highs of the A8. I'm on the fence here. On one hand, that kinda makes the JB8 sound darker than the JB. But when it comes to sustained notes in solos, the rounded off highs definately makes for a sweeter sound. However, when playing palm-muted riffs, it feels like the rounded off highs cause me to loose some of the attack which keeps things tight-sounding. I also don't know how the rounded off highs will affect how I sit in the mix with the band. Again, we'll have hear how things go next practice. I can always (and probably should) tweak the EQ on my amp.

    One thing I noticed while playing which was unexpected was when I switched to bridge humbucker split and parallel with the middle single, (guitar is HSH config), I got a completely different sound. The volume drops dramatically, and there are no lows at all. It was kind of like listening to the guitar through the telephone, or like the intro to Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here". I messed things up during the magnet swap and the JB8 is now out-of-phase didn't I? I was careful to orient the magnet so the poles were the same, but when I pulled the A5 bar out of the pickup, it grabbed the A8 bar, and I might have flipped it around when separating the two before installing the A8 bar. It's not all bad. I kinda like the thin, quiet sound, it's different. But when I think about things, I think I'd do better to get that sound from a pedal, and have a single coil sound available in that postion, not a OOP sound. I really don't want to have to take the pickup back out to flip the magnet around, as I've got the pickup height perfect. I fix the OOP sound by flipping the hot (black) and ground (green) wires, right? Though that will also change which coil I split to, correct?
    Yeah, sounds like you have it out of phase. I have a JB8 and it is plenty strong when tapped. reversing the wiring should do it.

    I agree with your assessment. Pretty spot on. Im trying to decide whether or not to keep mine. What do you have yours in? Mine is in my Kramer Bluesbreaker (Japanese released Stagemaster) Ive been digging the pup until today.. I played it back to back with my Baretta loaded with a 598. In comparison, the JB8 isnt as thick sounding and is alot more harsh.

    ** additional note: the JB8 is NOT harsh as I stated above.. It is just more aggresive so it has more crunch and urgency.
    Last edited by BloodRose; 08-26-2009 at 11:27 PM.

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    Default Re: JB Alnico 8 Swap results.

    I have the JB8 in an Indonesian Ibanez RG. Basswood body, maple neck rosewod fingerboard. Minimal resonance, nowhere near what one find on a high grade instrument, like an MIM Fender even, but it's been setup properly and I like how it plays. Ideally, I'd be trying out pickup swaps on a guitar that I love the unplugged acoustic sound of, but I can't afford a PRS right now, so I work with what I have and what I can get.

    I keep hearing that the Ibanez seems to use acoustically quiet woods in their solid body axes, and that Dimarzio pickups work better in Ibanezes than Dunans do. Maybe I should try a hybrid to get back some of that top end?

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    Tone Member SwedishHumbucker's Avatar
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    Default Re: JB Alnico 8 Swap results.

    I love the description of the mids
    Guitars; MIJ Fender Stratocaster E-series and Ibanez RG2570E MIJ 2003

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    Default Re: JB Alnico 8 Swap results.

    keep us posted!

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    Talking You guys are killin' me!

    The more I hang out here the more I just want to snake every affordable used Duncan Trembucker I see on Ebay -
    call up Wymore, get a pile of A8 magnets and go nuts...

    I mean, I'm already going to try the Custom 8, but now it sounds like I might like the JB8 too....

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    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
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    Default Re: JB Alnico 8 Swap results.

    Has anyone tried both an A2 JB and a JB8? I've got an A2 JB that I'm liking a lot. Not sure if an A8 would improve things or not.

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    Default Re: JB Alnico 8 Swap results.

    Following up regarding sitting in the mix in a band context:

    Success! Last night I was at a practice/jam with my fellow bandmates, and I was able to fit into the mix just fine. I'll describe the situation here.

    The other guitarist plays a Schecter C-1+ (mahogany back and neck, maple top, Duncan Designed version of the Distortion for pickups), through a Marshall JC-2000 driving a Marshall 1960AV cabinet loaded with V30s. So he has absolutely no lack of mids to help him sit in the mix.

    I play the aforementioned Ibanez RG through Mesa/Boogie Nomad 100 driving a Peavey XXL 412 Slant, loaded with Peavey Blue Marvel speakers. I can't find much about the frequency response of Blue Marvel speakers on google, but what little I can find suggests they're nowhere near as middy as V30s.

    Last time I had to nearly dime my gain, mids and presence to not be utterly drowned out of the mix by his Marshall at the same volume when the Marshall's mids on 6. Last night, I was able to sit just fine in the mix, with my presence and mids backed down closer to where I have them when I practice alone, and his mids were dimed this time. I consider that a definite success. With the upper-mid spike spread out across the whole range of mids, it is a bit harder to get lead passages to really stick out of the mix, but at least now my EQ knobs have a greater useful range and I'm not vanishing from the mix at all other times, so I don't think it will be too difficult to dial in a sound that cut through the mix for leads just fine.

    I'm very pleased with the sound of the JB8 at this stage.
    Last edited by Koreth; 08-28-2009 at 12:19 PM.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Sanford's Avatar
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    Default Re: JB Alnico 8 Swap results.

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    Mojo's Minions BloodRose's Avatar
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    Default Re: JB Alnico 8 Swap results.

    Very cool! Ive been liking the JB8 in my Kramer, but was afraid how it would do in a band situation. Sounds like I can leave it in and learn its nuances and all. Plus, I'll be running mine thru a Marshall, so Ill get that cut from there too! Thanks for the update!

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