Maybe you’ve always wondered what some parts of a humbucker do, maybe you want to get some solid ground under your feet before attempting a magnet swap or maybe even a hybrid, or maybe you’re simply curious. In any case, I want to make this article your stepping stone.
I love guitars. I love pickups. I love to tinker. So why not combine that? That must have been my thought when I started making my first hybrid pickup – that and the thrill of doing something that hadn’t been done before. I’m always looking for new dimensions in my tone and I believe the two hybrids I’ll describe in this article got me to the point where I believe I have very little need to tweak nowadays.
The Alt 8 is one of Seymour’s more-recent offerings and the first of their production humbucker line to be designed around the A8 magnet. The A8 has a unique flavor, one that seems to span the gap between Alnico and ceramic magnets in that it has Alnico sweetness in the highs and ample mids, but also has a tight low end similar to a ceramic.
If you’re a regular forum visitor you may already know that the Custom Shop will sometimes build a limited run of pickups just for forum members. Best of all, forum members get to participate in the design of them! Past pickups have included the medium output Brobucker, the Crazy Eight (SD’s first ever Alnico 8 pickup), and the StraBro90 (a Strat pickup wound to sound like a P90). This time out, MJ at the Custom Shop has graced us with the Fugly Bucker. No, I’m not joking. That’s it’s real name.
One of my Les Pauls was in need of new pickups, and I decided to step out of my comfort zone. I usually get PAF-style pickups and I occasionally go a bit hotter, but I decided to try the Seymour Duncan PATB-1 and PATB-2 pickups. I asked Seymour Duncan to change the magnets though. Instead of the Alnico 5 for the PATB-1 and the ceramic for the PATB-2, I chose Alnico 8 magnet bars for both.
In Tinkering with pickups 101 we went through some fairly simple modifications that can alter the tone of humbucker pickups. These were fairly simple, and didn’t really risk damaging the pickup. The following modifications do carry some risk of damage, but only if you are not careful.
Please understand that performing the next modification is something that you are doing of your own risk. We cannot be held responsible for any damages caused as a result.