Original post by joeln87:

Ok.. i have heard of people changing ( duncan custom ceramic) magnets in pickups. To alcino 5 magnets? can any one tell me how to do this i want to experiment with my custom, becasue it is pretty harsh sounding.

Im gunna order duncans for the mccarty i think.. Can i get a 4 conductor 59 from any duncan dealer?

and out of the blue.. where do yall get those brushed pickup covers!?

thanks guys

Jim Collins:

A humbucker has only one magnet. It is a bar magnet that sits underneath the coils, between the two rows of pole pieces. Changing the magnet is a simple matter of removing it, and inserting a new one. Of course, you must make sure to orient the new magnet in the same manner as the previous magnet. (Changing magnets on a Fender-style single coil is another matter, altogether. In those pickups, the polepieces are the magnets. Any attempt to change those carries with it the risk of ruinging the pickup.)

Remove the tape that wraps around the pair of coils. (If the pickup has a cover, you'll have to remove the cover.) You can leave the last inch or two of tape on the coils -- it will make it easier to rewrap. On the bottom of the pic, you'll see four phillips screws. Loosen each, but do not remove. When they are loose, push up on them. This will break the seal between the coils and the base. Look underneath the coils, between the two rows of pole pieces. That is the magnet. Pull it out with a needlenose pliers. Insert a new magnet. Tighten the screws, and rewrap the tape.

A word about magnet orientation. Magnetic north runs along one row of pole pieces, and magnetic south runs alongside the other row. Magnetic polarity makes a difference. If you put the magnet in backwards, and wire it up as normal, it will be out of phase.

Where are you going to get the alnico V magnet? From a different Duncan pickup?

It is possible that a dealer may stock a four-conductor 59, but be prepared to order it.


If you put the magnet in backwards/out of phase, is that the same as the Peter Green/Gary Moore mod?
I am planning on waxing the magnets in a set of Les Paul pickups to tame the squeal, so will this out of phase issue only effect the middle position?

Jim Collins:

The Peter Green mod has two parts. First, the neck pickup is out of phase with the bridge. The second part is that the neck pickup is mounted backwards. The fact that the neck pickup is out of phase does not have an effect on the tone of the neck pickup, alone. It only comes into play when both pickups are used, together.

Mounting the neck pickup backwards -- with the adjustable coils pointing toward the bridge -- will have a slight effect on the tone of the bridge pickup, when used alone. The adjustable pole pieces are higher than the slugs, so they will place a slight emphasis on a different part of the string.

To wire one pickup out of phase with the other, you can either flip the magnet, or you can wire it backwards. Don't do both, or it will be in phase with the other pickup. If the pickup has the traditional single lead with a braided shield ground, you can't wire it backwards -- you must flip the magnet. If the pickup has three or four conductors plus ground, you can wire it backwards.