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previous: Chill What does Alnico 4 sound like in a ... -- 1126648531 View Thread

Re: Alnico 4 tone?

9/14/2005 11:59 PM
Jeff G.
Re: Alnico 4 tone?
I'm probably a bit off the beaten path compared to many, but I don't like AlNiCo 4 AT ALL in the bridge position, for the most part. It's too stiff, and lacks the warmth and character that I like to hear in that position. That said, I think it's a wonderful choice for the neck position since it's tight and semi-big on bottom and has a good bit of bite on top. That's not to say you can't excel with it with the correct formula, but that's my personal taste. To my ears, it's similar to A5 except the mids aren't as pronounced and again, it has a stiffness or lack of liveliness for lack of a better term. The natural warmth of the neck position helps to overcome this.  
Compared to A4, A2 is sweeter with a hint of compression in the tone and good mids. A2 is looser in the lowend too. Compared to A5, the A5 is bigger and a bit less defined in the lowend than A4 but A5 has more warmth/mids and a more powerful delivery across the board. I think of it as a sort of "general purpose" grade.  
Ceramic can sound just fine in the right application. In general, it doesn't seem to me to suit the more "vintage" or "classic" tones however, that's hardly all there is to tone and good tone is where you find it. All else held the same, ceramic can tend to add a grainy character to the tone and it has a beefy lowend feel to it. It can be harsh, but not if a well built pickup. IMO, as you get up in output/DC resistance levels (maybe 10k and higher) ceramic can help hold things together where AlNiCo begins to lose its grip on the tone. It's not for everyone, but it shouldn't be overlooked.  
These are simply my observations based on experimentation. If you can nab an AlNiCo 4 bar or two, it's worth trying for yourself to see what your own ears think.  
Have fun! Good luck.  

Dave Stephens Yeah, on the PAF formula it was dis... -- 9/15/2005 2:17 AM