P 90 magnet swaps?

Discussion in 'Tone Zone' started by wildeman, Jun 2, 2018.

  1. wildeman

    wildeman Well-Known Member

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    Anybody swap mags in your epi p90s? I have four of them and from what ive read they are A5 mags, I'm thinkin i might do some experimenting.
     
  2. Tweed26

    Tweed26 Well-Known Member

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    I haven't swapped magnets in an Epi pick up, but I've swapped other brand P-90s before. I got into magnets when I installed Biltoft P-90s in my Casino. Pete promotes swapping and when you buy pickups from him, he'll send you an extra set of another type. I ordered A5s, but optioned for A2s and purchased a set of A3s, just to experiment with. Here's a chart that he had on his website that I found very helpful.

    [​IMG]

    Personally, I prefer A2s or a combination of A2/A3, not only in my P-90s (my Casino's Lollars are A2) but my Humbuckers, too. They are a lower output, more vintage sounding. Mixing A2 or A3s with an A5 works, but the difference will be less noticeable, as the A5 will overpower the lesser value magnet. A lot of what you'll end up liking will depend on the style of music and/or guitar type. Some people are even shortening magnets to shortcut to that "in-between" tone. My guess is the Epi P-90s are A5 but could even be A8s. Plenty of places to by magnets, eBay, Vintage Vibe (Biltoft), Stew Mac, etc.
     
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  3. wildeman

    wildeman Well-Known Member

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    Cool, thanks for the chart. I'm gonna get some magnets and go for it. I also have a Duncan antiquity, a TV Jones T90 and a gfs vintage alnico to compare to. Ill be using my Epi Jr for a mule.
     
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  4. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    I swapped A5 for Rough Cast A2 in my PRS SE Soapbar bridge pup, and it cut that little shrill off. I was about to swap the whole pup, but the magnet swap brought the pup where I wanted it.
     
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  5. Walker

    Walker Active Member

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    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
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  6. Walker

    Walker Active Member

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    Here is a chart I found on magnets. I've never seen alnico 6 magnets.


    A2 - lots of mids, little treble, low output, can have a loose low end. Very popular because it adds lots of character to the tone.
    A3 - also low output, but brighter than an A2. Like a weaker A5, without the strong low end.
    A4 - balanced EQ, doesn't shift the EQ like other alnicos; to some guys this is bland, but it can be ideal for warming an A5 bridge PU, or brightening an A2 neck PU.
    A5 - fairly high output, lots of treble & bass, scooped mids, tigh low end. Great in the bridge or neck slot, which is why it's the most popular alnico. If it's too bright in the bridge, try it with one or two 250K pots.
    A6 - lots of mids, not much treble, high output, firm low end. Good for taming an overly bright bridge. Too dark for neck HB's. Hard to find.
    A8 - like an A6 but with more treble. Used to add mids & boost output. Players now use this magnet in PAF, medium, and high output bridge PU's. Too dark & powerful for neck HB's.

    Listen to your current PU's, and if there's something you don't like, look at the other alnicos and see if there's one that does what you want. Have a A5 or ceramic bridge PU that's too bright? Try an A2, A4, or A8. Neck A2 PU that's too dark & muddy? Try an A3, A4, or A5. Have an A2 bridge PU but need more output and a tighter bottom? Try an A8.

    With P-90's, and HB-sized P-90's, you have twin magnets, so you can blend EQ's and output to really dial in what you want. Lots of territory to explore here.
     
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  7. Walker

    Walker Active Member

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    I've even swapped pole magnets in Fender single coils. Magnet swaps are FUN!:dude:
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
  8. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't mixing say an A2 and A4 give you an A3 ?

    Would that table apply to humbuckers too ? Hmmm ... thinking about it, the magnet switch is less user friendly on a covered humbucker though.
     
  9. Walker

    Walker Active Member

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    It was originally about humbuckers. Humbuckers have one magnet. The info works on all pickups, including Fender style pickups. Although Fender style pickups use slug magnets and you can ruin a vintage Fender pickup if it isn't a molded plastic bobbin. Most modern Fender pickup you can press out the sluggs. I've converted Squier ceramics to alnico.
     
  10. Fullmoon 1971

    Fullmoon 1971 Well-Known Member

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    Alnico 3 are actually the lowest output of the alnico family. They make for a great flute like woody tone in neck humbuckers (I have have these in a few of my guitars) so I'd imagine they should the same in P-90's.

    I'm actually in the situation at the moment, as you know I' restoring/rebuilding a 3xP-90 semi at the moment, the 3 p-90's I've just got for it are all A5 magnet wound between 8-9K. I'm thinking of Unoriented A5 Bridge (generally smoother than standard A5), A4 Middle & A3 Neck if I'm not happy with the sounds.

    Walker comments above sound about right to me "a3/a5 combo in neck P90s and a2/a5 or a4/a5 in bridge P90s"

    here's a good article on Alnico magnets.
    http://romainpickups.com/alnico-magnets-explained/
     
  11. wildeman

    wildeman Well-Known Member

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    Ordered some A 2,3 and 4 mag's to mess with, im also gonna mess with shimming the pickup up. Here's my test mule. 20161203_104637.jpg
     
  12. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    Nice Mule ! Have fun.
     
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  13. wildeman

    wildeman Well-Known Member

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    Okay, i have some findings. The test mule Jr. is a '97 Korean one with a stock pickup, the other 3 Epi p90's i have are later/ current Chinese made one's. The newer one's have substantially more windings on them reading 12.2 to 12.4 ohms with A5 magnets, the '97 had a much more traditional wind of about 7.5 ohms and ceramic magnets.
    So far i have tried A2 and A3 in the '97 pickup and it sounds so damn good with the A3's i think they're gonna stay. Im still gonna try the overwounds with different mags too but this cheap little guitar is transformed into a serious instrument.
     
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  14. wildeman

    wildeman Well-Known Member

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    Oh yeah i also put a A4 mag in a Epi '57 bucker i had layin around, jeez could they use more wax!
    Im gonna try it in my Sheraton probably.
     
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  15. wildeman

    wildeman Well-Known Member

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    Cool, just scored another set of Korean ceramics for 27 bux shipped! They're both around 7.6 ohms, with chrome covers no less. Another 7 bux for magnets and ive got a nice vintage set for 35.00.
    I'm still smiling about my Jr.
     

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