Choice of Pickup Magnet

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between Alnico 2,3,4 and 5 grades commonly used in pickups? Whilst they do not themselves have a tone, Alnico magnets have different percentages of aluminum, nickel and cobalt which alters the magnet’s strength, which does affect the tone of and dynamics of the pickup it is installed in:

Alnico 2 – the 2nd weakest, gives warm and rich mids, looser and warmer lows and softened highs giving vintage dynamics and flavour due to the lower magnetic pull on the strings. Depending on the guitar, it can sometimes get mushy and dark sounding in a neck humbucker but is great in a bridge installation where it can tame any bite and give a tight and bright tone

Alnico 3 - the lowest in strength and similar to Alnico 2 but tighter and clearer with less output. IT also has less edge and gives more treble, slightly scooped mids and softer-yet-tighter lows. Great for a neck humbucker where it has a flute-like woody tone with great clarity and really good for fattening up the bridge

Alnico 4 – has a flatter tonal balance which lets the guitars tone really shine through, but can sound bland to some and tends to work better in Gibsons than Fenders. Tone and strength-wise it sits between the 2 and 5. Alnico 4 gives more refinement, rounder lows and less output than a 5 and tighter lows and crisper highs than a 2

Alnico 5 - the strongest used Alnico giving more output, strong tight lows, more scooped mids and sharper treble bite. The 5 is the boldest and punchiest here giving real bite and sparkle, breaking up the amp much earlier than the other Alnicos

So magnet choice is mostly down to your own personal tastes as each player and each guitar is different. So why not take a look at our standard range of pickups here and give your guitar a new lease of life and if you want a combination not listed contact us here and we are only too happy to help

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Custom Pickups

The range of handwound / scatterwound pickups listed for sale in the shop section are limited by design to avoid confusion of choice for potential customers

Custom windings be it hotter or more "vintage" windings, modifications to coil shape, differing magnet strengths (Alnico 2,3,4,5 or 8) can always be accommodated, usually at no additional cost. If you have a specific sound or goal in mind please contact me and I can advise

Additionally, the traditional cellulose fibreboad I use for flatwork is now UK sourced and laser cut locally giving me the opportunity for fine tuning design and specifications to give consistent quality, tone and pickup longevity

Added 18th February 2016


5 Way Telecaster = 4 way mod plus dark tone

Added 19th October 2015

A struggle to obtain reasonably priced 4-way switches which I have been using a lot recently prompted an experiment with 5-way switches usually used on Strats

Unlike the 4-ay mod, no additional wiring is required just adding a 2nd capacitor which brings a highly usable 5th sound of the neck pickup with the tone rolled off.  I prefer a .022uf capacitor but this can be varied by changing the capacitor value

The new sound gives the very early vintage Tele "dark tone" on clean settings or a really creamy "woman tone" in lead mode. This isin addition to the usual 4th "humucker" (both pickups in series) sound

I now use this on all my Tele builds as it detracts nothing from the traditional Tele sounds in the first 3 positions, but makes for a much more versatile guitar (for traditionalists the 3-way switch is of course a no-cost option)


"Clapton" style mid-boost Strat

Added 9th July 2015

Just finished installation of a GuitarFetish active mid boost in a new Custom Built Strat, fitting in the place usually held by the neck tone pot. It requires a 9 volt battery power andhere I routed out a separate battery cavity but this will fit under the pickguard without requiring any bodymodification

In bypass "0" position as you would expect it is totally unobtrusive, but moving through positions "1" to "4" progressively fattens the sound up adding real vertsatility to the Strat sound and is virtually noiseless in action.

Downside?  You lose your separate tone control for the neck and middle pickup, but as its essentially a Tele circuit (1 master volume, 1 master tone) you do gain a tone control for the lead pickup as well as spades of phatness

The cost of the parts is around £30 and after market fitting is around £30