Pickups influence on attack?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by maturanesa, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. Just wondering if a pickup can influence the attack...
    My first thought is "the near the string is from the pup, the more attack because the magnetic field", but stronger magnets dont necesarily produce more attack than weaker mags. I use pickups with neo magnets and i cant say i get more attack versus weaker magnet pups like Bartolini or EMG...
    So,... in your experience, is there any relation between the pups and the attack?
  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Maybe if you have them really close, passives will react to the attack in a different way. But I don't think strings feel any different based on the pickup's pull or anything.
  3. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    "attack" is part of the overall sound, and pickups obviously do affect that.
    i'll bet those super-strong neo magnets are nowhere near the top of the pickup, or the pull would be too much.

    either way, the magnet is just one ingredient in the pickup tone "recipe".
  4. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    People almost always set their pickups too close to the strings.
    They want to be LOUD, which is stupid. We have amps to get gain.
    Set your pickups low and enjoy a plain, rich and quick tone.
  5. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Pickups and attack can be partially related when pickup placement comes into play. But attack is usually most effected by playing style and right hand position.
  6. sotua


    Sep 20, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    IMO, pickups do influence it. But by sound. What you hear influences how you play. You will unconciously adjust your attack to get the sound you're used to hearing/want to hear in your head.
  7. Yes. But even with the magnet at the bottom and steel as a pole neos are in the "stronger" category... but i dont hear any plus in attack in comparison with weaker magnets...
  8. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I find with my own neo pickups, that if I measure the magnet strength at the steel poles, it measures much lower than a Jazz pickup with alnico poles, even though the neos are much stronger. This is probably because it's saturating the steel blades.

    I get about 300G on the neos compared to 700G for the alnicos. The actual neo magnet is about 1400G, and is out of range on my gauss meter.

    But I agree, that stronger magnets have a sharper attack. Ceramics sound harder than alnico which is a little mushier sounding, and neos have a fat low end and bright top end.
  9. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    makes sense about the "stronger magnets" part, but how can you compare magnet materials like that, considering that "alnico" usually means rod magnets right under the strings as opposed to bar magnets hidden underneath for the other types, and thus a totally different kind of pickup?

    also, you're a neo guy, are the neo magnets you use even close to the same physical size and shape as say a ceramic bar magnet?

    doesn't that factor into it as well?
  10. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    When I started making pickups about six or seven years ago, I was using ceramic magnets. These were low impedance pickups. Then a few years later I started making the high Z pickups. They were built the same way, which allowed me to swap the bar magnets in and out. So using the same coils and blades I could try different magnets. I tried some alnico magnets, like you would find in a guitar humbucker, and the neo magnets.

    I decided to go with the neos based on the tone they produced. The ceramics sound thinner, and the alnicos had a softer top end and felt mushier. Naturally you would design a pickup with the magnets in mind, and they can all make fine sounding pickups. For this particular design I liked the neos. I then had to tweak the design to fine tone the tone.

    Some of my other pickups use ceramic and even alnico magnets.

    Yes, the neos are much smaller than the ceramic or alnico magnets I was using. But even then they are much stronger. If I used a same size neo it would be way too strong.

    The magnet size doesn't factor in, but the strength of the magnet does. However, as the surface area of the face increases, so does the strength of the magnet. So larger magnets are generally stronger than smaller one of the same type.

    Another factor is that alnico is metallic, and has a lot of iron in it. So it increases the inductance of the coil. Ceramic and neo magnets do not. They have the same inductance as an air coil.
  11. I dont have a gauss meter but just by placing a metallic object near the pup it sticks harder than other pups a had. You can even stick a metallic object on the strings... But i dont hear any difference in attack versus weaker magnets i been using, just different tone
  12. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

    Dec 3, 2012
    I like this. :) Too close to the strings has an adverse affect on intonation, as well.