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Anyone ever swap magnets in their pups? I tried an A8 in the Dimarzio Slammer pup that came in my Cali, but I didn't like it and put the A5 magnet back in. I'm tempted to try an A2 magnet in there but don't know whether it's worth the trouble, because if I try it, I'll also probably have to re-pot the pup as well. I'm just being lazy about it, so wondering if anyone tried it and what the results were. 

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Just leave and try another pup if you want. More than likely its not going to yield what your after. Sounds like your just bored. LOL 

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And if there's anyone who knows bored, it's Shawn!

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I’ve done it many times. I’ve mixed them too. A aln 3 with aln 5 shuffling the deck to get a different tone. Peter Bilthof builds them that way. Got a bridge pup that’s got to much bite... slide out 1 side and trade a 5 for a 2.  Potted pup’s require a heat gun (that’s what I use). It’s fun tonal tinkering. I’m also one of the crazy’s that will roll multiple sets of tubes to get what I think is the best tone.  Just always loved doing that kinda stuff...

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Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  The Seymour Duncan Custom, Custom Custom, and Custom 5 are the same pickup with different magnets, which worked in that case.

In other cases, the results are less than satisfactory. When pickups are designed, they are tested and voiced with that particular magnet in it, so while you can achieve a change, it might not always be better.

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18 hours ago, bubs_42 said:

Just leave and try another pup if you want. More than likely its not going to yield what your after. Sounds like your just bored. LOL 

You're probably right. I often look back at the little things that occupy my time and wonder why I wasted time (and money) with such stuff. Still, it's sometimes fun to tinker.

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You shouldn't have to repot the thing after. Loosen the bottom plate, hold the tape out of the way, and slide the magnet out. I had to do it recently to flip polarity from N to S. It was hell cutting through the chromed nickel cover but the weld to put it back doesn't look too too bad.

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Posted (edited)

A8 is for death metal, Black metal or djent IMHO.

If it’s the 16 or 17K Slammer... try a rough cast Alnico II. Alnico 8 is just overkill for most applications... this is a magnet that is avoided by most pickup manufacturers.

The JB2 is a GREAT pickup... a JB with an A2 magnet. Totally saves the JB from being a nasally, bubbly and noisy pickup. The Alnico II magnet moves the resonant peak downwards... the nasal turns into the honk. With JBs... single notes are thiiiiiin but with the JB2, single notes have sufficient thickness.

Don’t worry about losing the wax... potting is over rated. The unpotted Seth Lover is a wonderful pickup! If you DO lose too much potting and are worried... just solder a cover on there. That cover will protect the coils from mechanical vibration (which is the true purpose of potting IMHO, not in reducing feedback).

That 16-17K Slammer is merely a JB with a brass baseplate FWIW. Baseplates DO affect tone, so it’s a little warmer than a JB with a nickel silver baseplate.

Try a rough cast Alnico II... it might be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Edited by zenmindbeginner
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Don’t worry about losing the wax... potting is over rated. The unpotted Seth Lover is a wonderful pickup! If you DO lose too much potting and are worried... just solder a cover on there. That cover will protect the coils from mechanical vibration (which is the true purpose of potting IMHO, not in reducing feedback).

Gotta pipe in ... Mechanical vibration IS the source of feedback, not volume-driven harmonic feedback most of us love, but the shrill uncontrollable stuff most of us don't. The vast majority of the time in which I'm fixing unwanted feedback issues in a humbucker in my shop, it's a covered humbucker that's acting up ... and the feedback source is typically the cover .... specifically the top flat of the cap vibrating. Potting is HUGE in preventing this. But if you don't want to pot, use 3M/Scotch double stick foam tape, a piece between the cap and the bobbin tops and press the cap FIRMLY against the pickup top. Fixed.

My last potting job to curb uncontrollable feedback was last week, ironically a pair of Seth Lovers haha. Touring blues artist from NOLA, not a lotta gain but a lotta high volume with natural tube overdrive. Source of the feedback? Vibrating pickup caps. Pure paraffin, in a double-boil set-up on my kitchen stove, 140-145 degrees via candy thermometer, each pickup submerged one at a time for a few minutes. Still sound like a great pair of Seth Lovers. Just no more WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE ...............

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And thanks for the A2 in a JB information, I've been debating trying that for a while now. Isn't DeMartini's sig pickup basically a JB with an A2?

The mag swaps I do around here for clients are typically ditching ceramics in high gain pickups in favor of A2s or A5s in an attempt to give guys better chances of getting grind/pushed/gritty tones. Ceramics do clean clean and dirty dirty nicely, but the middle road stuff can be so characterless, vanilla meh. A2s in particular are great for fixing that.

I've found you can't magically turn a shitty pickup into gold with a mag swap, but you can take an already quality pickup like a SD or a Dimarzio and subtly tweak its flavor more to your hands, ears and tastes.

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1 hour ago, Jeff R said:

Don’t worry about losing the wax... potting is over rated. The unpotted Seth Lover is a wonderful pickup! If you DO lose too much potting and are worried... just solder a cover on there. That cover will protect the coils from mechanical vibration (which is the true purpose of potting IMHO, not in reducing feedback).

Gotta pipe in ... Mechanical vibration IS the source of feedback, not volume-driven harmonic feedback most of us love, but the shrill uncontrollable stuff most of us don't. The vast majority of the time in which I'm fixing unwanted feedback issues in a humbucker in my shop, it's a covered humbucker that's acting up ... and the feedback source is typically the cover .... specifically the top flat of the cap vibrating. Potting is HUGE in preventing this. But if you don't want to pot, use 3M/Scotch double stick foam tape, a piece between the cap and the bobbin tops and press the cap FIRMLY against the pickup top. Fixed.

My last potting job to curb uncontrollable feedback was last week, ironically a pair of Seth Lovers haha. Touring blues artist from NOLA, not a lotta gain but a lotta high volume with natural tube overdrive. Source of the feedback? Vibrating pickup caps. Pure paraffin, in a double-boil set-up on my kitchen stove, 140-145 degrees via candy thermometer, each pickup submerged one at a time for a few minutes. Still sound like a great pair of Seth Lovers. Just no more WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE ...............

Oh that gave me such a tone nerd idea... experimenting with a small rectangular piece of maple veneer between the cover and bobbins instead of wax or tape. I already take out the metal spacers and put tea tree oil toothpicks in their place. I’m always lookin’ for that woody tone. lolz

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Several times I have seen copper stripes attached to the bottom of neck pickups. That might also be something for the playground.

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14 hours ago, JGale said:

You shouldn't have to repot the thing after. Loosen the bottom plate, hold the tape out of the way, and slide the magnet out. I had to do it recently to flip polarity from N to S. It was hell cutting through the chromed nickel cover but the weld to put it back doesn't look too too bad.

First off, thanks everyone so far for chiming in. This is interesting stuff.

Regarding the potting, as I've already noted, I tried the mag swap with an A8 (which I thought was a horrible result). Having never tinkered with a pickup before, I just unwrapped the tape and pushed the magnet out, which loosened the wax that was already in there. After deciding that I didn't like the A8, I put the A5 back in, and, because of the dry wax that had fallen out during the tinkering, the pickup now sounded a lot more open than it originally had. I kind of liked it at first, but then it began to squeal a bit, which led me to believe it was due to the absence of the wax. Not being one to solder, I didn't disconnect the pickup during the mag swaps, and I wasn't about to disconnect it now to re-pot it. So I pulled it out of the cavity, unwound the tape again, and I melted bees wax onto a spoon and spoon-fed the wax into the space between/under the coils where the magnet slides in. I just kept feeding wax into it until it poured out the other side and then became filled. After taping things back up and reinstalling, the squeal was gone and never came back and the pickup sounds great again. So, yeah, that wax must certainly keep things quiet.

To address the other comments about the covers, the higher-output Dimarzio Slammer pups on my Cali didn't come with covers, so there's nothing for me to tinker with there. 

To address the A2 magnet option, don't the pickups in the EVH Wolfgang use A2 magnets? I thought the pickups in that guitar sounded much weaker than the Cali, despite the fact that I liked its other characteristics. I suppose that guitar sounds great with high gain or a 50+watt amp cranked up, but I have neither and I prefer the sound of the Cali. But if I were to try an A2 in the Dimarzio, will it become a lot weaker? I would love it if it would thicken up the single notes and add a little clarity. I just don't want it to get too weak. I still want to be able to get the same harmonics without having to use really high gain. I don't like buzz-saw tone or fuzz. I like clarity with power, if that makes sense. The natural break up that comes with power is the tone I like. I don't like high gain pedals or distortion-in-box. 

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Okay, zen, I ordered that A2 rough cast magnet. I'll report results when it arrives and I get a chance to swap magnets.

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