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More magnet swapping

Ed A

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 16, 2001
Messages
4,686
Interesting stuff Dave, its amazing that the magnet swap could take your guitar from much darker to much brighter. Its also surprising that the Alnico II was brighter than the Alnico V. Then again ones Gibson, ones Duncan, the compostion probably different.

Man this could open a WHOLE can of worms for me... Ive been known to spend hours flipping capacitors around and rotating pots. What happens if I get a handful of magnets and start experimenting with them in my double-white PAFs, shit chances are if I try enough of them, Ill improve the tone. Nah, I gotta chill for a while...
 

Robert Sherman

New member
Joined
Jul 23, 2001
Messages
424
I read the post, and it did seem a little dismissive. It may be that its been tried so many times before, that it was old hat to him. I don't know, and I don't pretend to know his motivation or attitude. But you'd think that with all the equipment and resources available to the folks over at SD, somebody would have thought of this already. I'm guessing that Seymour and Seth Lover probably got the paf thing about as close as you're gonna get. Didn't Seth Lover have something to do with the original pafs?
 

Dave Paetow

Les Paul Forum Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2001
Messages
13,524
Ed
I bet the Duncan alnico V is somewhat 'aged', so it probably is a bit mellower than a full power one. It is amazing, actually. There is a vast difference going from the stock antiquity magnet to the gibson alnico II. I wonder how a really aged alnico V would sound? Hmmm.....
 

Unmensch

New member
Joined
Jul 19, 2001
Messages
1,035
I think the SD folks smell a PR disaster in the making with that thread. They probably just want it to die without making anyone mad.

I dont claim to be a tone guru, but I do happen to have PAFs for comparison. So here's my take. The stock antiquity has a watery delicate smoothness that I don't hear in real PAFs. PAFs have more inyoface presence and clarity, which is also cool. So I guess that means that I like Antiquities for the way they DIFFER from PAFs! Now if only they weren't so dark...
 

Dave Paetow

Les Paul Forum Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2001
Messages
13,524
They offer different versions of Antiquity Strat pickups, but only one version of the Humbucker. They should come out with one that has a bit more high end snap and clarity.
 

Unmensch

New member
Joined
Jul 19, 2001
Messages
1,035
Dave I think that would be cool. The 57 Classic magnet got rid of the mud, but took away the "watery" thing too.
 

toni

LPF Tone Chaser
Joined
Jul 26, 2001
Messages
1,103
I think stock Antiquities lacked some bass and volume, some warmth, but everything else was there...
The moded Antiquity (with Classic 57's alnico II) is much better to my ears, but is a little bit brighter, but i got an idea, i'll try something tomorrow, and let you know if it works.
Unmensch, what do you mean by "watery" ?
 
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Unmensch

New member
Joined
Jul 19, 2001
Messages
1,035
Heya Toni, watery is probably a stupid word to describe tone. I was reaching and missed with that one. Mostly its the Antiquitys soft attack and smoothness that I was talking about. I know some people don't like the softness, but I have a use for that sound in some of my stuff.
 

toni

LPF Tone Chaser
Joined
Jul 26, 2001
Messages
1,103
Unmensch,
I noticed that i lost some of that soft attack too.
Maybe that"s what Dave was talking about, a somewhat 'hard' sound with the Alnico II compared to Alnico V...
 
R

RICH

Guest
Well if you ask me, some of the posters over at duncan were plain out douche bags. I have never in my life ever heard anybody who owns real PAFs say that an antiquity out of the box was a dead ringer. Those assholes over there are convinced they are buying real PAFs out of the box, so any other experimentation is useless and should be left up to seymour. Man, I don't give a rats ass for PAFs, and even I can hear the difference. Man, the day I let anybody have the FINAL say on what my tone should be, I'll take up golf. BTW, I put an alnico 5 from a duncan 59 into the cream seth I have a few months ago. It was cool as hell, but I didn't leave it that way because it was a neck pickup, and I'm saving the magnet for a bridge pickup seth or antiquity with a hotter wind in double cream when I find one.
 
S

Snags

Guest
Frankie is a rank amateur. I have seen Kreig at his finest, and Frankie isn't worthy to even think about pulling Kreig's little finger.
 

tonejunkie

New member
Joined
Jul 25, 2001
Messages
269
Here's what I found....

To begin, I would like to express my thanks and gratitude to those of you too numerous to mention for making me aware of this Antiquity mod. I have found it to be a a very fruitful venture, and one I'm not sure I would have discovered on my own, and certainly not for a long time if I did. I would also like to express my gratitude to the Forum in general. It's a wonderful thing to have a community of divergent and like minded people sharing views, ideas and information. We certainly all benefit.

Over the past 2 or 3 weeks I have been following the various threads concerning the Antiquity/Alnico II mod. At first I was reluctant to try it--I wasn't sure if it was something that would be right for what I was looking for (I'll get to that later), but when I read some of the comparison reports to the sound of the Antiquity/Alnico II (my abbreviation for the change to the full strength Alnico II) to the sound of old PAFs, I began to think it might be worth a try. This was around the time Gaston G posted "We nailed the ol' Burst tone", and I began simultaneously following the threads and doing my own mods. So here's what I did, and here's what I found.

First, I tried a Seth Lover to see if I would like it and to see if it would be the same as the Antiquity/Alnico II. I tried it and found I wasn't a Seth lover (ok, I like bad puns). I thought it sounded very different than the Antiquity (even though I hadn't tried the mod yet), and it wasn't for me. Yes, it's a good sounding pickup, but it wasn't what I was looking for, and it sounds nothing like the Antiquity/Alnico II as it turns out. It doesn't surprise me that EdR and 60Burst got bad results from swapping magnets on it--what they heard was a different pickup.

Second, I tried the magnet swap with the Antiquity using the following parameters: I was working with 3 different Les Pauls, a 97 R8, an 01 R8 and a 30th Anniversary Gold Top. I was using about 7 Antiquitys, 3 neck, 4 bridge. The production years ranged between 1994 and 2001. (I don't think any one has mentioned this, but I realized the first two digits of the serial # is the year of production) The DC resistance values were as follows:

1) 7.62 neck (1994)
2) 7.58 neck (1995)
3) 7.62 neck (2001)
4) 8.08 bridge (1994)
5) 8.27 bridge (2001)
6) 8.30 bridge (2001)
7) 8.77 bridge (1997)

All of the full strength Alnico II magnets came out of 57 Classics, 4 from the Historics and 2 that were after market I bought in 1994.

Here's how I would characterizes the guitars:

The 97 R8 weighs maybe 8lbs 14oz. It has the stock tailpiece, Centralab pots with oil in paper caps. It is a very resonate guitar, sounds loud and full acoustically. It has more upper mids and high end, although I would not characterize the guitar as trebly. The sound has changed very much over the past from playing. It had a certain rigidity at first, particularly acoustically, that has softened and become more round and smooth. It vibrates like crazy. I know it doesn't have all the more accurate appointments of the newer models, but it does sound killer. It looks very much like the photo of Bobby Lee's R8, but I've managed to make the top much more amber/orange.

The 01 R8 is one I bought from a Forum member. It weighs 8lbs 12oz. It too is very resonate and LOUD acoustically. It also has a nice midrange quality to it, although it has way more bottom end (not muddy). It's a very aggressive sounding guitar, much more than the 97. It also has some of the rigidity to it (similar to the 97 when it was new) that will change with time. It has less high end to than the 97, so it is not as bright a guitar, but let me emphasize it is by no means a dark or muddy guitar, not even close. It also has oil in paper caps with new CTS pots (Centralabs forth coming).

The 30th Anniversary Gold Top is much different than the Historics. It weighs somewhere in the low 9lb range, but I am not sure exactly. It is not a heavy guitar, but there is a noticeable weight difference between it and the Historics. It probably is closer sounding to a production Standard model, not nearly the midrange of the other two. I wouldn't call it thick or chunky sounding, but it is a little thicker sounding than the others. It has all standard pots, caps, tailpiece etc., but it has had Antquitys in it for several years now (the 7.58 neck and 8.08 bridge).

I swapped magnets in all of the Antiquitys except for the 7.62 (1994) neck pickup in the Gold Top. My main focus was on improving the sound of the two Historics, so most of the test was done with them; however, I tried most of the Antiquity/Alnico II bridge pickups in the Gold Top for sake of comparison. I swapped out the neck pickups between the two Historics as well. My method was first to listen to each pickup stock (weakened magnet) in both Historics and at least one other stock bridge pickup in the Gold Top (as it already had one). Next, I would change the magnets and swap pickups between the guitars. I listened to the Antiquity/Alnico II 8.08 and 8.77 and maybe one other in the Gold Top. I listened to all 4 Antiquity/Alnico II bridge pickups in the Historics, and both neck Antiquity/Alnico IIs as well. As I was trying to narrow down what I liked best in what, the pickups may have gone back and forth at least a half dozen to a dozen times in some cases. (Remember my motivation here was ultimately to get the best sound out of each guitar.) I tried almost every possible combination available to me.

Here's what I observed:

1) The stock Antiquitys are very dark and soft sounding, but that doesn't mean they necessarily sound bad. For example, the 8.27 stock was a very good sounding pickup. It sounded good in everything, but it was perticularly good in the 97 R8, almost to the point that I thought about leaving it in that guitar without the mod. If my only choices were between it, the 8.08 and the 8.77, stock or moded, the stock 8.27 would have won hands down in the 97 R8, Ultimately I tried everything in the name of science.

However, it's clear that not all Antiquitys are demagnetized to the same degree. I seemed to notice that the stock newer ones seemed stronger. This was particularly clear in the case of both the 8.27 and the 8.30 (2001). The older ones like the 8.08 (1994) seemed weaker. I think this was even true in the case of the 8.77 (1997)

2) The Antiquity/Alnico II mod seemed to have two effects: In some cases it caused the pickup to sound completely different than it did stock. This was evident in both the 8.77 and 8.08 bridge pickups. In other cases the pickup retained some of its original characteristics after the mod but got more bass or high end, for example. I would say that both the 7.58 (1995) and 8.30 fell into this group. The 8.27 fell somewhere in between--it changed a lot but was still recognizable--in particular it got a lot more high end. Of course they all sounded stronger but that varied according to what I said before about original magnet strength. The 8.30 had a stronger magnet to begin with, so it only sounded slightly stronger after the mod. In no case would I say the pickup sounded worse after the mod than before. Which brings me to the rub....

3) Every pickup, both before and after the mod, sounded VERY different in each guitar. On the whole I would say the difference was greater after the mod. Now I also have to mention that all the Antiquitys sounded different, period. For example, the 8.77 bridge pickup was probably my least favorite of the group, whereas the 8.27 was the best, both pre and post mod. The 8.3 was also one of my favorites (after the mod). In some cases the Antiquity/Alnico II pickup sounded awful in a given guitar. The 8.77 sounded bad in both Historics after the mod, but it sounded good in the Gold Top. In other cases the mod caused the pickup to sound better in a different guitar than it had previously. The 8.27 sounded best stock in the 97 R8, but the Antiquity/Alnico II 8.27 ended up sounding great in the 01 R8 (it actually sounded good in that guitar both ways). The Antiquity/Alnico II 8.30 ended up the best in the 97 R8, but it also sounded very good, but very different, in the 01. In EVERY case there was a lot of guitar/pickup interaction. How good the pickup sounded was greatly affected by what guitar it was in.

4) (ADDENDUM) Leaving the pickup cover on or off matters. After listing again to the Antiquity/Alnico II 8.27 I ended up putting into the 01 R8, I began to notice the same troublesome high frequencies I heard from it before in the 97 R8. In the course of all my magnet swapping, I began to leave off covers out of convenience, especially since I moved some Alnico IIs around in the Antiquitys. It hit me that I had originally listened to that pickup with the cover on before the mod, but had left it off after the mod. Realizing this could be the cause of what I was hearing, I put the cover back on and found out I was right. The pickup regained much of its original flavor and lost the annoying high frequencies. I have long heard the debate as to whether or not removing the cover improves the tone. In some cases I think removing the cover helps. It is a tone filter (see Beauty of the Burst), so removing it can give more clarity, brightness and definition; however, if any of the qualities are present in excess, leaving the cover on may be the right answer. It may be best to listen with the cover both and off both before and after the mod to see what works best.

Ok, my brain is starting to shut down here, but my point is: if you tried the Antiquity/Alnico II and it didn't work, it may just be that guitar and that pickup. I wish I could try this with about 20 or so pickups because there's a lot of variation. If you have any questions I'll be glad to respond, or if I left out anything I'll post later. Hope you enjoyed it...I did.
 
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Dewey

The Czar
Joined
Jul 15, 2001
Messages
557
Tonejunkie, I agree with your observations, and have a couple of my own based on similar observations. Lately we've read so many post's and threads on this magnet swap with the Antiquities, and many a post had similar information as to readings and p/u strength etc. I became curious about my pafs that I have in my '99. As these particular pafs read 7.99k for the zebra and 7.5k for the white. After reading the Duncan pages with his p/us listed as "bridge" and "neck" most often the ohm readings were higher for the bridge. And I think Ed A. gets great results with this setup in his guitar.
....Anyway, I unsoldered, measured ohms and swapped the neck/bridge in the guitar. Needless to say it didn't have the same p/u characteristics as it did before the swap. My point here is that in my particular guitar, be it the weight, which BTW is pretty light, the wood, the strings, electrics and the tailpiece, these particular pafs sound great with the lower ohm white in the bridge, and the higher zebra in the neck. It has absolutely nothing to do with my preferences either! They just bond with this particular guitar the way they are. If I had to do any p/u selection in the future for any guitar, it would be the same long process. I have had a few pafs in addition to the '57 classics in this guitar and none of them sounded the same, some may have sounded good, but it just has the "magic" with this combination...and for ME that is, I might add. So I say,.. it's a precise way of finding what sounds just right in YOUR guitar, try many combinations, be flexible with your choices of both p/u's and mods. Find YOUR guitar's particular tone, and when you do YOU will hear it;) It just has that magic voice that could only come from just the right combination. Many people have found this nirvana tone. Ed A. loves the way his guitar sounds....and you know what....I believe him! ;)
 

tonejunkie

New member
Joined
Jul 25, 2001
Messages
269
yea nicholas,

It was, and, believe me, it was worth it. Actually I'm sure the 01 is finished. The 97 is, but I wouldn't be surprised if I don't get more pickups and try them in the 01.

The 8.27 sounded killer on both guitars, but after the mod, the added high end along with the brighter sounding 97 produced too much treble that I couldn't get rid of, either by adjusting the pickup height or the tone knob. The 8.30 had more bottom end to it, so it ended up balancing better.

Conversely, the added high end of the 8.27 off set the extra bottom end of the 01. Unfortunately, the low end of the 8.30 produced a really unique tone on the 01 that I kind of miss.

I forgot to mention before that the tone I was shooting for with the 97 would be best characterized by "Spoonful" off of "Fresh Cream".

I also forgot to mention that the reason I didn't change out the pots or the neck position magnet on the 30th Anniversary Gold Top is that it gets a great jazz sound that I didn't want to mess with. In this case, the softness of the stock Antiquity is a good thing, and I don't think the added clarity of the mod would help.
 
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toni

LPF Tone Chaser
Joined
Jul 26, 2001
Messages
1,103
Tonejunkie,
...a lot of hard work !
a real research project !
...i think we can conclude that it is impossible to predict the tone of a pickup.
some will sound smooth, some will sound harder, some sweeter, some darker and some brighter etc,,,
We have to try them first.
...and the primary tone from the guitar itself is a major factor. As you said,there is no BEST pickup. The best pickup only exist for a specific guitar.
I thinks that's why old burst's were so good right of the box. These old PAF's matched (as a general rule) the voice of these guitars. For some old Bursts. it even means the magik tone.
Did you try Alnico V ? Dave Peatow and Big Al and LHakim prefer them to alnico II in the Antiquities...
It seems that it sounds better than Alnico II !
thanks
 
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tonejunkie

New member
Joined
Jul 25, 2001
Messages
269
Yea, I want to try that but I don't have any Alnico V magnets or pickups with Alnico Vs. If I get my hands one, I'll try it. Any suggestions?
 
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