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Iron in pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by orange joe, Feb 21, 2016.


  1. orange joe

    orange joe I am serious and don't call me Shirley

    Sep 7, 2012
    Albany NY
    Greetings fellow believers. A pickup winder in Israel is making these pickups with iron bars and neodymium magnets.I have never seen iron in pickups before and was just wondering if this seemed unusual to any of you guys.I wonder how they sound.
    12747980_885079454941429_5183063450431858812_o.
     
  2. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    The Neo magnets are somewhat rare in the pickup market but people have been doing it, but the iron bar is pretty standard. Most rail pickups use this method but ceramic magnets are more common.
     
  3. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    that guy needs to forget about pickups and start making and selling covers!

    gorgeous.

    anyway yeah, iron or (more usually) steel poles are totally normal. besides, you'd have to use something like that with neo as a magnet material, if that polepiece were all neo it would have so much pull it would suck the strings right down onto the pickup! hell, it would be strong enough to lift up the whole bass.

    the neo magnet pickups i've seen use little neo plates that are maybe 1mm thick, stuck on the bottom.
     
  4. JustForSport

    JustForSport

    Nov 17, 2011
    Iron is the primary component of steel, which is the most often used rail/pole mat'l besides magnets themselves. Iron rusts (oxidizes into iron oxide) fairly quickly, and is fairly brittle, so other metals are added to the iron making it 'steel', an alloy with varying rust/oxidation resistance including malleability among other things. Steel rails and poles have magnets (usually ceramic) across the bottom of the steel to energize the steel with the magnetic properties and polarity.
    I think they're not just "iron", but steel like most are.
    Nice looking cover/design, tho.
     
    Antisyzygy likes this.
  5. orange joe

    orange joe I am serious and don't call me Shirley

    Sep 7, 2012
    Albany NY
    I just saw that he said iron bars instead of steel and thought it was odd.thanks for the input guys.
     
  6. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    yeah, that specifically is a little unusual. what are the magnetic properties of "iron" as opposed to some kind of steel alloy?

    is it cast iron? can i fry steaks on it? :p
     
    orange joe likes this.
  7. It looks like steel. Cast iron would be too porous to get it brushed up nicely like it is in the photo.
     
  8. orange joe

    orange joe I am serious and don't call me Shirley

    Sep 7, 2012
    Albany NY
  9. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    It is more than likely steel. Iron was probably use because of a translation error.
     
    orange joe and JustForSport like this.
  10. orange joe

    orange joe I am serious and don't call me Shirley

    Sep 7, 2012
    Albany NY
    That seems to be the most likely explanation.
     
  11. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Let's see: steel is an alloy of iron and other elements, most notably carbon....
     
  12. Antisyzygy

    Antisyzygy

    Dec 8, 2014
    Washington
    Iron is softer and more malleable. Steel is harder/denser.

    Steel is iron with carbon added. The carbon prevents irregularities as well as shifting of these irregularities in the crystalline structure of the iron atoms.

    Long story short when something is "magnetized" all the atoms are lining up in a particular way. Each atom individually has a magnetic field (especially noticeable by us humans in materials containing iron) so when they line up all the tiny magnetic fields add together. When all the fields are jumbled around randomly they cancel each other out.

    In the presence of a magnetic field ferrous metals tend to also become magnetic as the magnetic field is forcing the atoms in the metal to line up. However it's usually not permanent unless you heat the ferrous material and let the atoms settle in to their aligned state. The fact that iron can shift around randomly more easily should kind of explain why it has the property it does.

    Iron will quickly magnetize in the presence of a magnetic field. It will also lose it quicker when the field goes away. Steel takes longer to magnetize, but it will hold it longer.

    In a guitar pickup likely the steel poles are not magnetized on their own. They probably have a permanent magnet somewhere that is magnetizing the steel. I have no idea how iron vs. steel would affect tone. I'd guess there is probably very limited differences between using the two metals in that application. It's just being used to extend the magnetic field from the permanent magnet. Steel just doesn't rust quite as quickly so that's why they probably use it.
     
    walterw likes this.
  13. RoeyHaviv

    RoeyHaviv

    Apr 1, 2011
    Charlotte NC
    Endorsing Artist: Vigier guitars, Pigtronix Effects
    Hey, Ezi made me a pair of MM style Humbuckers in Mahogany for my doubleneck.
    I really like them, they sound exactly like described on the website, very dynamic and articulate.




    I will do a video with more playing but meanwhile, here's the bass overview.
     
    mech and orange joe like this.

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