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Alnico vs Ceramic - Which do you prefer?

So I was looking through my rig and my guitars, and I was trying to really "pigeon hole" each guitar into a labeled "sound" if that makes any sense to you
IOW, I was looking at each guitar and taking one or two specific presets, I compared the sounds each made and tried to think of where I could use said guitar in a piece of music.

Besides scale length, trem style, and other unique features (E.g. piezo or a fretless fingerboard) I felt a lot of tonal difference, moreso than wood or neck type, emintaed from the pickups

I used to be a real shred head (any other shredders here???) so super hot, super bright Ceramic pickups were almost essential - my favorite bridge pickups were all ceramic (Dimarzio TZ, EMG 81, Lundgren M, Lace Alumitone DB7) and therefore, I usually paired accordingly, mostly to the suggestions of the pup companies or common practice/popularity (so TZ/AN or TZ/PP, EMG 81+85, SD JB+SH2n [tho I think JB might be alnico IIRC?], Alumitone DB7/Hum 7) and what caught my attention and started me to focus on my sound was pups

So what role do pickups play in your tone? Can you, for example, interchange guitars in a given preset and have a very similar sound come out?
or do your guitars each have a difference sound, purpose, and feel?
Finally, What do you prefer and do you care to describe the tonal characteristics, most specifically, in terms of metal, in both neck and bridge positions?

As for me, I went from Lace, Lundgren, and EMG to Fluence - I think the fluence as all of the tones I want/need and more , and Finally , I actually changed my tastes, or rather my tastes became more refined over the years, and I do like the matched set of Ceramic in the bridge for the super bright clarity and that's very important to my rhythm playing, however when it comes to clean playing, I prefer the sound of the neck position, and/or the middle, and it looks like I do like Alnico for leads/low gain playing...I wouldn't say pickups are as important as the Axe fx iii for the tone and sound, but I definitely prefer the Fluence after listening/trying all of the pickups again

I mean, honestly, at a certain price point [like anything else] everything sounds pretty decent, but FAS heads are a little more particular than many others, huh?

Best wishes and healthy sunday folks!
 

lauke-lux

Power User
One of my guitars has G&L MFD single coil pickups, these are ceramic if my information is correct. They're a lot fatter as SC though, probably close to P90's but more sparkling bright with a very thick low end. They're absolutely great and can attack fat rock sounds to heavy blues and tender jazz.

Well as you see I'm a convinced man for these, but otherwise all my guitars are with magnetic Alnicos.

In addition to the OP's question, I tend to manage 3 sets of presets, same presets per set, slightly adapted to the 3 type of guitars I use : the G&L, a strat type with SC Lollar dirty blondes, and a japstrat equiped with Duncan P-rail SHPR . The output from lowest to strongest is Lollar - Duncan shpr - G&L MFD. Surprising as I'd think the Duncans would have more output.
 
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Wow, Alnico is really much more popular! Very interesting

If you guys want, and if permissible, do you like passives over actives as well? I know the active/passive variable is usually a seperate topic, but since most people seem to lean towards alnico, I’m curious to know if that has any bearing on your choices

I also love singe coils, but I need a hum for my bridge/rhythm!
 

Randalljax

Fractal Fanatic
Wow, Alnico is really much more popular! Very interesting

If you guys want, and if permissible, do you like passives over actives as well? I know the active/passive variable is usually a seperate topic, but since most people seem to lean towards alnico, I’m curious to know if that has any bearing on your choices

I also love singe coils, but I need a hum for my bridge/rhythm!
also if by TZ you mean Dimarzio tone Zone that is an alnico 5 magnet
its actually 1 of the 3 pickups EVH had a choice of for his musicaman sig guitar
the difference in the EVH is that they are Alnico 2 and wound symetrically
 

DLC86

Fractal Fanatic
Good question: I prefer SOAPBAR WITH covers! Metal or plastic, either way, I like the cover! Especially with my actives
I guess your preference is based on looks? It also matters but I was more interested in tonal preferences.
Plastic shouldn't affect tone too much :D
 

DLC86

Fractal Fanatic
Oh, I didnt think covers affected the tone at all...so yes, I thought you simply meant aesthteically, if they do, that is news to me!
Yes, metal ones alter the magnetic field of the pickup, they tend to roll of some treble and tame the resonant peak.

I asked just because my new guitar (being built by a trusted luthier) is almost ready and I'm still undecided if I want those covers on or off.
 
I’m the OP so don’t feel bad if you derail my thread to tell us about you r custom
Who is it? Do we know them?
What is the spec sheet and mockups ?
Share if you want to dude
if it lessens brigtness either get plastic covers or none ;)
 

DLC86

Fractal Fanatic
I’m the OP so don’t feel bad if you derail my thread to tell us about you r custom
Who is it? Do we know them?
What is the spec sheet and mockups ?
Share if you want to dude
if it lessens brigtness either get plastic covers or none ;)
I think very few people here could know him, he's known in my area, but my area is several thousands miles away from most of you :sweatsmile:

Anyway, the guitar will have the shape of a tele but not much more than that.

Mahogany body with black korina top, two humbuckers and a hexaphonic pickup, no pickguard and floyd rose rail tail bridge.
Quarter sawn maple neck with carbon reinforcement rods and Schaller locking tuners.
Maple fretboard with custom inlays, compound radius and medium-jumbo SS frets.
Everything will be satin finished, the body in a semi-transparent black-grey burst with matching headstock.

Can't wait to play it, I'll post some pics as soon as I have it in my hands. ;)
But it might take some time due to the current lockdown..

PS: this is the top

IMG-20200224-WA0005.jpg
 
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Alnico... but I think thier a little picky with the right amp
Picky how ? Which tonal profile?
I think very few people here could know him, he's known in my area, but my area is several thousands miles away from most of you :sweatsmile:

Anyway, the guitar will have the shape of a tele but not much more than that.

Mahogany body with black korina top, two humbuckers and a hexaphonic pickup, no pickguard and floyd rose rail tail bridge.
Quarter sawn maple neck with carbon reinforcement rods and Schaller locking tuners.
Maple fretboard with custom inlays, compound radius and medium-jumbo SS frets.
Everything will be satin finished, the body in a semi-transparent black-grey burst with matching headstock.

Can't wait to play it, I'll post some pics as soon as I have it in my hands. ;)
But it might take some time due to the current lockdown..

PS: this is the top

View attachment 65576
sounds and looks pretty great
 

MaVo

Member
Alnico 5. I play the DiMarzio Breed Bridge Pickup in my Ibanez JEM and RG together with a 250 kOhm Logarithmic Potentiometer and a 0.022uF capacito in parallel. This combination enables me to control the amount of distortion and sensivity of an amp like the Friedman Brown Eye really precisely without losing the high frequency content.
 

Randalljax

Fractal Fanatic
I think very few people here could know him, he's known in my area, but my area is several thousands miles away from most of you :sweatsmile:

Anyway, the guitar will have the shape of a tele but not much more than that.

Mahogany body with black korina top, two humbuckers and a hexaphonic pickup, no pickguard and floyd rose rail tail bridge.
Quarter sawn maple neck with carbon reinforcement rods and Schaller locking tuners.
Maple fretboard with custom inlays, compound radius and medium-jumbo SS frets.
Everything will be satin finished, the body in a semi-transparent black-grey burst with matching headstock.

Can't wait to play it, I'll post some pics as soon as I have it in my hands. ;)
But it might take some time due to the current lockdown..

PS: this is the top

View attachment 65576
that will be a beauty
and your going to laugh but before this whole virus started i had a guitar speced w local build

custom Modern Tele think ESP
mahogany body
quilt maple top
maple neck. Ebony fingerboard
25.5 scale quarter sawn compound radius 12 -16
custom inlay
luminlay side dots
black /grey smoke burst satin finish
pickups. bare knuckle
 

DLC86

Fractal Fanatic
that will be a beauty
and your going to laugh but before this whole virus started i had a guitar speced w local build

custom Modern Tele think ESP
mahogany body
quilt maple top
maple neck. Ebony fingerboard
25.5 scale quarter sawn compound radius 12 -16
custom inlay
luminlay side dots
black /grey smoke burst satin finish
pickups. bare knuckle
OMG our guitars will be almost twins :D
Initially I had considered a palemoon ebony fretboard but we couldn't find a piece that matched well the grain of the top so I sticked with the maple.

You just gave me an idea for the side dots, I hadn't thought about luminlays. Thanks! ;)
 
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