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Thread: Alnico 2 vs 5 in a SE Custom 24

  1. #1
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    Alnico 2 vs 5 in a SE Custom 24

    Hey Folks,

    I'm in the process of upgrading my SE CU24 and would appreciate some help in deciding which pickups to purchase. The main generes of music are classic rock, stoner-doom metal (Think sabbath-y tone, but more heavy), and jazz/blues (more on the jazz side). I avoid more "modern" sounding metal genres so not in the market for something with stupidly high output.

    The neck pick up is pretty easy for me. I think I'll get an A5 PAF style neck or the Seymour Duncan Jazz SH-2. I'm a bit stuck on the bridge. I want something decently hot in the bridge, but not sure if I want an A5 or A2 pickup. I hear A2 in Les Paul's is a bad idea since the sound gets a bit too muddy, but I'm not sure if that's because it's a thick piece of guitar or because of the mahogany/rosewood combination. Since the CU24 shares the same wood combination (maple neck, albeit) thick Alnico 2 pickups will sound muddy in the CU24? In general, for the genres of music I listed, what would you folks rather have in the bridge, an A2 or A5? Assume same pickup, just change of magenets.

    Thanks!
    -Rav

  2. #2
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    A2s will give a middier, smoother and "tubular" tone (think Slash/Gary Moore) while A5s will be the standard, punchy and bright humbucker tone. I don't think it's possibly to make a CU24 or even it's SE counterpart sound muddy, unless you got your bass and gain on 10. Since you'll be doing jazz more than blues, I'd suggest A5, because you'll need a brighter tone even when you turn down the tone knob. A5 will cover classic rock and metal territory as well, so A2 might not be necessary. You could try the SD Custom 5, then if you're not happy with the A5, you can fit in an A2 yourself, instant SD Custom Custom.

    That said, I've never heard A2s in Les Pauls being a bad idea though. Lots of Gibson's Alnico humbuckers come with A2s, their standard appointment 490R/T, the Burstbucker I, II and III, even the 57 Classics. It's all about personal preference, everyone's definition of "muddy" are different. And if you're not one to play at full bass and gain, there's no need to worry about mud in pickups. Just go with what you think sounds best.

  3. #3
    Senior Member swede71's Avatar
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    I would go for the Dimarzio Classic rock combo.Super distortion in the bridge and PAF 36th Anniversary in the neck.

  4. #4
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    The only LP I ever owned had a BB3 (alnico 2) in the bridge and you'd be shopping for earrings, 'cause it was piercingly bright. I have no idea why, but the guitar itself had something to do with it, all bridge pickups were bright.

    Super Ds are nice, but they're ceramic.

    Personally I'm finding that my faves for bridge are generally A5, 42 gauge wire, and wound to around 9K - 10K. I can't confirm this with PRS pickups because they never specify which alnico they use. But I'm with you, I try to avoid all out metal tones, so ceramics and pickups with 43 gauge wire I generally try to avoid.

    The Suhr SSV+ in my baritone is fantastic, and I would like to buy another one to try in another guitar. They actually aren't much more $$ than your regular old Dimarzios or Duncans.
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
    05 Custom 22 with DGT pickups ~ 07 Mira with old birds ~ 08 SE Baritone Fralin/Suhr pickups ~ 03 SE Santana

  5. #5
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    Hey folks,

    Thanks for the advice, I decided! I'm going to take maxtuna's suggestion and get the A5, if it's not my taste, I'll switch out the A5 for A2.
    The pickups I'll be grabbing are: http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Electron...umbuckers.html

    A few more things though...

    First Question:
    Potting a pickup refers to sticking it in wax, right? Can you switch out the magenets easily in potted pickups? Hell, is it an easy procedure to swap magnets?

    Second question:
    Anyone know what tonal difference I might expect these two neck A5 pickups?
    http://www.stewmac.com/shopby/item/5400
    http://www.stewmac.com/shopby/product/5408

    Which would you go with for the neck?

    Thanks again!
    Rav

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ravana View Post
    Hey folks,

    Thanks for the advice, I decided! I'm going to take maxtuna's suggestion and get the A5, if it's not my taste, I'll switch out the A5 for A2.
    The pickups I'll be grabbing are: http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Electron...umbuckers.html

    A few more things though...

    First Question:
    Potting a pickup refers to sticking it in wax, right? Can you switch out the magenets easily in potted pickups? Hell, is it an easy procedure to swap magnets?

    Second question:
    Anyone know what tonal difference I might expect these two neck A5 pickups?
    http://www.stewmac.com/shopby/item/5400
    http://www.stewmac.com/shopby/product/5408

    Which would you go with for the neck?

    Thanks again!
    Rav
    A5s cover greater grounds than A2s, which explains why A5 mags are more widely used, in both aftermarkets or quality stock pickups. However, keep your mind open, and don't take our advice word for word. Sometimes magnets don't matter that much, it's the end-product ---tone--- that matters. I started out wanting A5 mags in my pickups, but ended up with a ceramic pickup and I'm still happy with my tone today. No, I'm not a full-time metalhead, I love jazz and blues and country as well, and these pickups do the job for me pretty well too! And most of all, I sound just like myself, no matter which magnet I use in my pickups.

    Just go for the one you think you'll like and don't worry about the magnets first, if you got the right one, you'll save up on the efforts later on. If it's potted pretty tight, it'll be a tiny bit more difficult. I've taken the magnet out of my SE pickup before, not too hard but it might take awhile to get the magnets out, just make sure you don't sever any wires! It'll be a real pain later on...

    As for the posted pickups, you can try looking for clips on youtube or soundcloud etc, it won't give you a solid tonal comparison, but you'll get the idea of how it'll sound like. Have fun!

  7. #7
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    My marsden has a Seymour Duncan antiquity in neck and jb in bridge awesome

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