I did a magnet swap in my Duncan '59 bridge pickup

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by SoCalSteve, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. SoCalSteve

    SoCalSteve Member

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    There's been alot of experimentation with magnet swapping by some Seymour Duncan forum members and following various threads helped me work up the nerve to dismantle my pickup and give it a try.

    BTW, it's really a pretty simple mod. Took more time slackening the strings and removing my pickguard and pickup than swapping out the magnet.

    I got a set of '59's as part of a trade deal a few months back and haven't been totally enamored with the bridge pickup. Too trebly/thin an high notes and too scooped for my tastes.

    I was given some advice to put an unoriented, rough A5 magnet in it as a way to round out the highs and add some mids.

    I was a little skeptical but figured it'd be worth it to spend a couple of bucks and hopefully get what I wanted out of the pickup.

    The UOA5 was just as described - less sharp highs and some added mids. I have some standard riffs I play when setting my tone and the difference with the new magnet is unmistakeable.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012
  2. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    "unoriented"?

    what's the difference?
     
  3. JKjr

    JKjr Member

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    Enquiring minds want to know...
     
  4. SoCalSteve

    SoCalSteve Member

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    Unoriented is something about the "grains" being magnetized in any direction as opposed to a preferred direction of oriented ones. Unoriented are weaker and seem to even out the frequencies I guess.

    I'm not really up on the technicals.

    Evidently an unoriented alnico V sounds alot like alnico II according to Tim Shaw.

    The UO A5 is supposed to have the characteristics of an A2 but without the spongy lows. This pickup definitely still has the tight lows while smoothing out the treble bite and adding some mids. It's more balanced, really.

    Played some more and I really like the result.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012
  5. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    so it's sort of "weakened"?

    my understanding of magnets is that the individual molecules are supposed to be "oriented" so that their individual magnetic fields all face the same direction, that's what makes it a magnet in the first place. if none of the molecules are oriented, you've just got a dead bar of metal.

    so maybe it's partially unoriented?
     
  6. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    also, how did the actual output compare with the stock magnet? was there a volume loss?
     
  7. SoCalSteve

    SoCalSteve Member

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    I think it's just a different way of magnetizing it - they're also called isotropic magnets. It's still got normal polarity. You're asking the wrong guy! I just went by recommendations from current users of different types of magnets with this specific pickup. I also bought an A4 that I may try in the neck.

    No volume loss.
     
  8. Sensible Musician

    Sensible Musician Member

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    most a5 bars we guitar tinkerers see are made with a special casting technique that makes them pre-oriented. you can swap north/south, but you can NOT magnetize front to back instead of edge to edge. it's like it has a built-in grain like a board. you can think of either end as the head or the heel, but you can NOT change the fact that the grain runs in that direction

    a2 and others will orient in the direction you magnetize them. the mags he's talking about have the same [composition? i don't know the word, but it's the same proportion of the metals] as normal a5 but it is called "rough cast" because they don't do the process that causes the orientation. if you just ask a regular magnet supplier (not a guitar-specific outfit like mojo or guitar jones) for a5, it will be oriented, and a2 won't be. it's some convention? when i was making a lot of pickups - before it was cool : ) - i got my stuff from master magnetics they will answer the phone and talk to you all day if you want
     
  9. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    well i didn't know that!

    good stuff, thanks!
     

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