Magnet swaps


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So I've been wanting to try different bridge pickups for my LP and get suggestions.... so I started this thread over at the forum:

I got some pickup suggestions that I'm considering - but I decided to try out the magnet swaps that some suggested - some of which sound interesting. So I'm going to experiment.

I had a Custom and an old JB so i took the ceramic magnet out of the Custom and the Alnico 5 out of the JB and put the A5 in the Custom - turning it into  a Custom 5. I haven't tried it out yet though. I mainly did it to see what it was like to to physically do it, since I hadn't before. It was pretty easy.

I used this as a guide:

It was helpful since I have covered pickups.

Anyway - after reading what people had to say in my topic and then doing a lot of reading I decided to buy an A2 and an A8 magnet. Right now I've got a SD JB in my LP. What I've read is that you can get really good results in a JB with those magnets. Also if I don't like either of those in that, I've got the option of making a Custom Custom, C5 and a C8 - which people have also be raving about. Of course it might just be BS. But I may end up trying it out. Spending $5 for the A5 and $8 for the A8 sure beats dropping another $50 to whatever on another pickup that I might not like (though I think I need to try a less hot pickup one of these days).

I'll post here again after I try out the JB2 and JB8.

So anyone else do any magnet swapping?
I've tried the JB8 in my Schecter over Christmas.  It made quite a difference!  It had a much flatter EQ, a little heavier distorted tone, much fuller when clean and surprisingly much more output without being hotter.  I had to lower it quite a bit compared to stock to get it to balance with the '59 neck.  I like it a lot, but now the neck seems a bit muddy by comparison.

It was so easy to do that I'm surprised I didn't try this sooner.  I ordered a bunch of em on friday.  I think I'm going to try A2 in both pups next. 

I understand some manufacturers use an epoxy on the magnet in certain models.  There's nothing wrong with it but makes for a rougher swap.  Fortunately there appears to be no glues in the SD lineup though, just wax.
I put the A2 in the JB last night and played it a little. Then played it and recorded it a little today. It's an improvement in some ways, but still kind of buzzy, which I guess is just the nature of a JB in this guitar. It's less harsh now and more spongy - or chewy hehehe. ;) I could see it being a really cool pickup in a brighter guitar. I have to really cut the bass on my amp to get it to sound OK to me when recording, which isn't a problem. It's a little different when I'm just playing without recording it.

I'm going to try the JB8 later on - maybe tomorrow or the next day. Going to play around with this one for a bit to really try and get a feel for it.
GoDrex said:
I put the A2 in the JB last night and played it a little. ..................... and more spongy - or chewy hehehe.


A2 = squishy, blurry, note "bloom", sloppy, organic, etc

It's the magical magnet made by elves... but as you attested to, prolly doesn't sound good in a JB wind.

Try it in a pickup with less winds.
Actually I think it would be good, just not in this guitar. If it was a guitar with a Floyd and a maple neck then I think it would rock. It's basically the Warren DeMartini signature model.

I couldn't wait and I had time, so I went ahead and put the A8 in and it turned the LP into a beast. The JB8 is a killer metal pickup. Just from like a half hour of messing with it I can tell the low end is much tighter than the original and it's really loud and clear. Some of the harshness is back - I can't be sure if it's like the original though. Really hard to tell, because I can't instantly swap them. I had to back it away from the strings a lot and it's still loud as hell. I can tell because my amp shows the amount of input. I'd say compared to the original, it's louder, tighter on the lows and more even - you hear each note of a chord very evenly. It's very hot, seems like it's perfect for really high gain and surprisingly the cleans are not bad.

So I think I'll be trying the Custom5 and C8 now since this isn't really what I want in this guitar. I guess then it's time to try something else. I'm thinking a '59.
Well just dropped the C5 in and my first impression is that it's a massive improvement - over all JB flavors and the original Custom (in this guitar of course - I still think the JB, JB2 and JB8 could be great in the right guitar). I think if I had gotten a C5 when I first did this build I never would have touched it. Of course I can't know that for sure hehehe. But it definitely clears up just about everything I didn't like about the Custom. It sounds a lot more like what I expected the guitar to sound like in the first place. Bright and clear but smooth like I imagine when I think of a Les Paul.

Now I'm just going to leave this in for a while. I did kind of want to try the C8 but I don't think more power is what I'm looking for. This seems plenty powerful enough. I'm actually starting to think that the C5/59 hybrid is the way to go.
I've been interested in pickups with an underwind or vintage wind and Alnico eights...

What do you guys think?
I haven't actually tried it, but I'd like to. I think it could be good. I've read about one guy's experience the SD '59 with an A8 magnet - he liked it a lot, but he seems to think A8 is the mojo metal to make everything sound great. Some people claim that the A8 magnet has the sweetness of the A2 with more tightness on lows than the A5. I don't know about the first part, but it was definitely tighter. I felt like the JB8 was a good pickup - you could definitely use it for high gain metal, IMO. It was really powerful sounding and loud. There's a chance the A8 would rock with a less hot pickup. Definitely worth a try. I may try it one day (if I don't get sick of taking pickups in and out of my guitar hehehe).
GoDrex said:
Definitely worth a try. I may try it one day (if I don't get sick of taking pickups in and out of my guitar hehehe).

Well you gotta love the process of a build or a mod... what would we be on this board for anyway if we didn't enjoy it?
true - I just wish there was a quicker and easier way to try these combos out. But it's ok. If I wait a day or so I don't mind changing them as much.
I'm glad the C5 was the ticket!  From what I've read, the C5 in a Les Paul is a winner (besides dual A2-Pros for those going for a Slash sound).  I'm still not swapping my BB Pros just yet, but the '59 (or Jazz) neck with the C5 bridge would be the ticket if I do.

Begone black cloud over Gary!  :rock-on:
I'm not a big fan of Slash, but he sounds OK to me. I just don't think A2Pros would work in this guitar. It think it would mush up - at least for the sounds I like. But I could be wrong. I don't think I've ever used a low output humbucker.

The C5 is definitely great in this guitar. Been playing with it more today and it's very nice. The buzz saw tone is pretty much gone. Sounds sweet on leads but doesn't pierce into your brain. Low end is audible and reasonably tight. If I turn the gain down I can sound just like AC/DC - what's not to like?  :laughing7:

I may end up keeping it in eventually, but I have a few more experiments to try first.
Hybrids are a beast unto themselves, but I'm not abject to trying one.  My small electronics skills should be up to the task.

The only reason SD can't do production model mismatched coils is the Dimarzio patent.  But the guys on the SD forums have been schooling me on its merits.
Yeah I stumbled upon this thread:

And now I have to give it a try. I ordered a '59 that should be here soon. The thing is I need to try the '59 on it's own first to see what that's like. But I like the theory behind the mismatched coils. And an 11k pickup sounds about right to me. It's hot, but it's not Custom or JB hot.

Now that I've done the magnet swaps a bunch of times, I'm pretty confident I can handle swapping the coils.
posted this over at the SD forum - - the first part is in responce to people talking about a volume difference...

Well I just tried out the C8 for a bit and I can tell you that it is louder than the C5. My amp has a trim for the input and I had to lower it to get a good level. So I'd say it's definitely a bit louder - and it's louder than the Custom as well.

I liked it OK - but for me, in this particular guitar, I like the C5 better. I feel like the C8 starts moving toward some of the things I didn't like in the Custom. But in my guitar and to my ears it's better than the Custom. If I hadn't tried the C5 first, I would have been extremely pleased by the improvement over the Custom (here's the thread I started a little while back about my bridge pickup search: )

The C8 is a very cool pickup. Much like when I tried the JB8, the low end is very tight and everything sounds very clear. Though when I first plugged in I felt like my tone knob was down a little, but it wasn't. I don't think that it's that the highs were lower, but that the output is more compressed than that C5 (which I had been using for about a week). I don't think it's as compressed as the Custom, which I didn't like in this guitar. So I feel like it's a more focused pickup than the C5. It was great for heavy riffs and drop D tuning. With the C8 though I couldn't quite find that AC/DC like tone that the C5 just does almost automatically. It definitely seemed more modern to me.

So... I like the C5 in this guitar a bit better, mainly because I feel it's less compressed and feels more dynamic. In my guitar it gets me closer to the sound I like. Still I can definitely see why people like the C8. It's tight and very powerful and clear. Sounded great clean (much better than the Custom). If you feel like the Custom is harsh, then this could be a big improvement for you that will save you some cash. Definitely worth a try.

I forgot to mention that I didn't think it balanced well with my Jazz neck pickup....
Last night I made a '59/C5 hybrid and put it in the LP. I think this is the one I'm going to keep in. Played a little bit with it today and I'm pretty impressed. It seems like it has all the characteristics of the C5 that I like, but with some added flavor that's hard to describe. So far I really like it. It sounds great no matter what kind of amp type settings I try (I have a Fender Cyber Deluxe). I think it may just be the perfect LP bridge pickup - at least for this guitar and my ears.

Now I have another hybrid sitting around - what should I do with that one? hehehe. :laughing7:
Nice man!  Have you tried the spare hybrid in the neck?  I was wondering how it's brother would sound matched up in the neck....or a '59/Jazz hybrid neck  :evil4:
Cool Gary.  Do you mean Custom-5 (SH14) or Custom (SH5)?  I have the Custom-5 in the bridge of my strat... jeez I never play that thing since I got my LP.  It doesn't even have strings on it  :doh:
No I haven't because I've always been pretty happy with the sound of the Jazz in the neck and felt no need to go messing with it. It's a big pain to do also - since my original pickups are covered. I have to get the dremel out and cut the solder to get the covers off and then go from there. So I think I'm done messing with pickups with this guitar. I'm pretty certain I've got the LP tone I wanted for this guitar.

I really need to built a new guitar to use some of what I learned from all this. I have a bunch of humbuckers with nothing to do hehehe ;)
dbw said:
Cool Gary.  Do you mean Custom-5 (SH14) or Custom (SH5)?  I have the Custom-5 in the bridge of my strat... jeez I never play that thing since I got my LP.  It doesn't even have strings on it  :doh:

What I did was take a C5 (which was my original Custom with the ceramic magnet taken out and a Alnico 5 magnet put in) and mated it with a SD '59 bridge pickup. I took the slug coils off of the '59 and the C5 and swapped them  - - so it becomes a hybrid of the two pickups.

So I have a left over hybrid - except the difference is the left over one is sort of different than the one I'm using. The screw coil on the left over is the '59. The one I'm using is the other way around. I think it would make a small difference, more noticeable if you split it.