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Thread: Alnico 4 vs alnico 5

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    Senior Member joyouswolf's Avatar
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    Default Alnico 4 vs alnico 5

    What are the tonal differences between the alnico 4 vs alnico 5 magnets?
    Thanks and peace.

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    Mojo's Minions BloodRose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alnico 4 vs alnico 5

    The difference is subtle. I had a custom 5 in an Explorer and the 5 was getting a tiny bit flubby in the lows. I put a 4 in and it retained the same basic tone, it just rolled a little off of the high end and low end. It didnt seem to bulge in the middle like a 2 would.

    So, not a huge difference, but a good way to fine tune..
    Believe me when I say that some of the most amazing music in history was made on equipment that's not as good as what you own right now.

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    Default Re: Alnico 4 vs alnico 5

    JB4.... might keep the peaks at bay.

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    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alnico 4 vs alnico 5

    A5 polished - lots of treble and bass, mid-scooped. fairly high output. the most common alnico.
    A5 roughcast - like above but with a smoother (less harsh) high end. great for bridge PU's
    A5 unoriented - warm with lots of dynamics. like a cross between a polished A5 and an A2. great vintage tones. some of us that went to A8's for the warmth, have since taken to UOA5's, which have more character & response.

    A4 polished - balanced EQ, more subtle. doesn't push any part of the EQ spectrum like most other mags do. useful when an A5 is too bright or scooped, and an A2 is too rounded on top. medium output.
    A4 roughcast - like above but with a smoother high end. for bridge PU's.

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    Default Re: Alnico 4 vs alnico 5

    I personally have no use for the a4 now that I've discovered the unoriented a5. The uoa5 is fatter and tighter under heavy gain. The a4 is perfect for an aged vintage sound though, if I was a low gain player I'd definitely consider loading up a guitar with a4s.
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    Default Re: Alnico 4 vs alnico 5

    Quote Originally Posted by Franknfilms View Post
    I personally have no use for the a4 now that I've discovered the unoriented a5. The uoa5 is fatter and tighter under heavy gain. The a4 is perfect for an aged vintage sound though, if I was a low gain player I'd definitely consider loading up a guitar with a4s.
    Lindy Fralin's preferred magnet in his PAF's and P-90's are A4's.

    I'm a lower gain player, and think UOA5's are excellent, and still use some A4's, particularly RC A4's in the bridge slot. Depends on the PU and guitar. Great thing is that with Dennis at Addicition FX, we have so many magnet choices now.

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    Senior Member joyouswolf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alnico 4 vs alnico 5

    Thanks everybody.
    Great guidance given by all.
    YOU ROCK.

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    Mojo's Minions Ed Hunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alnico 4 vs alnico 5

    isn't A4 the mag that has no copper? or is it the one that has no cobalt?

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    Default Re: Alnico 4 vs alnico 5

    A3 has no cobalt. You could call it Alnicu.
    In 1861 as Confederate forces were about to fire on Fort Sumter, the Blue and Gray had far more in common than the blue and red today. What fellowship can "the truth shall set you free" ever have with "what is truth"? Barring a major epidemic or nuclear attack to explode the postmodern myth that the reality outside our heads depends for its very existence on what we think of it, secession is coming...

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    CountFunkula
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    Default Re: Alnico 4 vs alnico 5

    Quote Originally Posted by Franknfilms View Post
    I personally have no use for the a4 now that I've discovered the unoriented a5. The uoa5 is fatter and tighter under heavy gain. The a4 is perfect for an aged vintage sound though, if I was a low gain player I'd definitely consider loading up a guitar with a4s.
    I disagree. UOA5 is fatter, but a lot looser than A4 in my experience.

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    watch where you point that sword Phantasmagoria's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alnico 4 vs alnico 5

    No idea about the unoriented A5's but the A4's in my new handwound Sin pickups produce really tight, deep & punchy bass...

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    Default Re: Alnico 4 vs alnico 5

    Quote Originally Posted by blueman335 View Post
    Lindy Fralin's preferred magnet in his PAF's and P-90's are A4's.

    I'm a lower gain player, and think UOA5's are excellent, and still use some A4's, particularly RC A4's in the bridge slot. Depends on the PU and guitar. Great thing is that with Dennis at Addicition FX, we have so many magnet choices now.
    Can't remember where I saw it, but somebody uncovered some old Gibson order sheets for magnets and revealed that nearly 70% of the stock in the late 50's were Alnico 4. So, it stands to reason a great number of the coveted PAF's from that era were A4. Makes sense. They impart a very even character and the wind, therefore, determines the peaks and character, more or less. I'm sure a good 'ol '59 set with A4's in a Les Paul would probably get you closer to the real deal than the stock versions.

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    Default Re: Alnico 4 vs alnico 5

    Alnico 4 has proven itself as a nice, even, clear sounding magnet for neck humbuckers.

    But out of all the magnets, I think it has the least character....sorta hi fi or bland....not sure how to describe it.

    For bridge humbuckers, the A5 and A2 are historically the best, but in the past few years, we've started to hear about the different ways of dialing in A5, by degaussing them, or using roughcast or unoriented roughcast. And also the beefiest versions, the ceramic, A8, and now A9.

    Ultimately, I think the most serious pickup junkies will find the sort of wind they like, and discover their favorite magnets. I think we've probably learned a whole lot by being on this forum....I know I have.
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker IanBallard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alnico 4 vs alnico 5

    Quote Originally Posted by Gearjoneser View Post
    Alnico 4 has proven itself as a nice, even, clear sounding magnet for neck humbuckers.

    But out of all the magnets, I think it has the least character....sorta hi fi or bland....not sure how to describe it.

    For bridge humbuckers, the A5 and A2 are historically the best, but in the past few years, we've started to hear about the different ways of dialing in A5, by degaussing them, or using roughcast or unoriented roughcast. And also the beefiest versions, the ceramic, A8, and now A9.

    Ultimately, I think the most serious pickup junkies will find the sort of wind they like, and discover their favorite magnets. I think we've probably learned a whole lot by being on this forum....I know I have.
    If I ever had the moolah and a guitar to suit them, I'd love to order a '78 matched set with an A4 neck and A8 bridge (EVH/Kojak special?).

    The lack of character could be the case, but the wind is one factor that could give a "flat EQ" magnet its magic but really, since we know that a lot of the prized PAFs were A4, we really have to consider that the guitars themselves were what made them sound so good.

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    Mojo's Minions LtKojak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alnico 4 vs alnico 5

    Quote Originally Posted by Gearjoneser View Post
    Alnico 4 has proven itself as a nice, even, clear sounding magnet for neck humbuckers.

    But out of all the magnets, I think it has the least character....sorta hi fi or bland....not sure how to describe it
    What you see as an issue I see it as a feature.

    If you don't touch the tone controls in your amp to accomodate the p'up, your ears being used to a certain curve, considering that as the standard to the other should compare, I give you right, it's a bit "flat"... or with "least character".

    But if you just EQ your amp to accomodate the "new" p'ups, you'll discover a whole new personality, or "character". I approach this trying to see things with the eyes (and ears) of a child, which everything's new and yet to be discovered.

    HTH,
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    Default Re: Alnico 4 vs alnico 5

    I put an a4 into a 59 neck just to see what it's like and it's still there . Very even eq wise but I find it's less boomy and sits better in the mix than the stock a5

    Maybe its the way I eq my amp but I don't find it sterile or too even at all
    Last edited by cheameup; 05-21-2011 at 02:24 AM.
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    Default Re: Alnico 4 vs alnico 5

    I see it's EQ as an asset too, but so far only for neck pickups like a 59n.

    When I tried it in bridge pickups, it had a harder edge on the low end, where I prefer the tubbier bouncier low end of A5 or A2. I yanked the A4 right out and put the A5 back in, when I tried it with a C5.
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    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alnico 4 vs alnico 5

    Quote Originally Posted by LtKojak View Post
    What you see as an issue I see it as a feature.

    If you don't touch the tone controls in your amp to accomodate the p'up, your ears being used to a certain curve, considering that as the standard to the other should compare, I give you right, it's a bit "flat"... or with "least character".

    But if you just EQ your amp to accomodate the "new" p'ups, you'll discover a whole new personality, or "character". I approach this trying to see things with the eyes (and ears) of a child, which everything's new and yet to be discovered.

    HTH,
    +1. Every magnet doesn't need to have a big EQ push in a certain direction. Sometimes it's nice to have a more neutral magnet and let the natural tone of the PU and wood come out.

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