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Replacing ceramic magnets with neodymium?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Will_White, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    I've got a bridge j pickup that I'm wanting to increase the output of, I'm wondering if replacing the ceramic magnet with individual neodymium magnets on each pole peice would be the ticket and if anyone has done such a mod before and could offer any recommendations. I'm not interested in replacing the pickup just others experience with performing this mod.
  2. El Güero

    El Güero

    Oct 5, 2015
    The easy way would be to add another ceramic magnet to the one that's there. It will know which way to go since opposites attract.

    One possible snag is your route might not be deep enough for both magnets.

    Does your pickup have one ceramic bar covering the bottoms of the poles, or extended poles with two ceramic bars against the sides of the poles?
  3. ubernator


    Oct 30, 2004
    lost angels
    Only if your pickups were handwired by Tony Blair
  4. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    It has one across the bottom of the poles.
  5. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    If you place them so they attract, it effectively "shorts out" the field.

    To double up the strength of a magnet, the N poles of both have to be aligned together, and the S poles of both have to be aligned together. They would try to repel in that case and would require holding them in position.

    Coolhandjjl likes this.
  6. El Güero

    El Güero

    Oct 5, 2015
    Then it would be easy to add another ceramic bar. There's probably room for the extra magnet since Fender uses their spongy thingies instead of springs.

    When messing with the magnets, avoid sliding them while they're touching each other. Try to push together, and pull apart, with as little sliding as possible.
  7. El Güero

    El Güero

    Oct 5, 2015
    Let me guess, you've never done this? Am I right?
  8. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    Can you not get enough output by raising the bridge pickup?

    In other words, the pickup is already as high as it can go without causing adverse vibration effects in the strings, and yet you can't provide enough gain in the amp?

    If the bridge is just weak in comparison to the neck, but strong enough to drive the amp on it's own, then the typical solution is to lower the neck pickup.

    elgecko likes this.
  9. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    It's as high as I can get without hitting the strings when I play (actually the strings hitting poles) I'm not getting any adverse effects from magnetic pull (hence wanting to increase magnet strength.) The bridge is weak in comparison to the neck and lowering the neck pickup changes the tone too much for my taste. It's a P/J.
  10. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    On a particular pickup? No.

    But I have worked with magnets a lot and the way to reduce the field emanating from magnets is to place them "back to bacK", with N of one against the S of the other, and S of one against the N of the other. This is how powerful magnets are typically shipped when shielding is not used.

    To build a single magnet out of two, you have to combine like poles together. This would be a parallel configuration.

    If you are talking about placing the two in series, to make a "longer" magnet, then yes, you place them so two end poles attract.

  11. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    You may want to look at this then:

    Neodymium Rickenbacker 4001 neck pickup modification

    Notice post #5 though.

    Last edited: Jul 30, 2016
  12. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    Thanks, I've seen that thread before but for some reason I thought he was augmenting another magnet, but upon rereading it appears he did what I'm proposing.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2016
  13. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    welcome to the world of P/J setups, that's what they do. the much fatter pickup coil set that's a series humbucker and is further up towards the neck will always be louder than the bridge J no matter how strong the magnets or how overwound the coil.

    i wouldn't bother worrying about "balance", that kind of isn't the point with P/J pickups; the J is just there to "flavor" the P pickup by adding highs and scooping out the mids as you bring it in.
    SamanthaCay, DavC and Will_White like this.
  14. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    That's what I've been finding, I don't have any illusions of being able to get them totally even, just closer like going from series to parallel. Also the J doesn't drive pedals as well as I'd like compared to the P.

    The best tones I've gotten by wiring it in series with a three way switch but that just exacerbated the output difference so I couldn't switch to the bridge pickup mid-song.
  15. I know you said you're not looking at replacing the pickup but... Entwistle make neodymium pickups (Jazz and Precision), they sound very good and they're pretty cheap (at least over here in the UK). They're louder than anything else I've ever heard. Even G&L MFD pickups... so if high output is what you're after, your mod looks right... or you could sell the pickups and get the Entwistle ones.

    Entwistle JBXN Neodymium Jazz Bass / J-Bass Pickup

    don't be put off by the low price... they sound really good.
  16. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    I added 1/16" x 1/8" dia N42 neo magnets to the bottom of the alnico poles on a '50's P pickup to increase the volume and it did, some. Did not try putting them on the top as that would add too much string pull in the neck position.
    I would think that a N42 Neo magnet, 1/4" dia x 1/8" thick on the bottom of each of your pole pieces (replacing the ceramic magnet) would be a good place to start.
    Got the magnets from 'KJ Magnetics' on the web. They have many sizes and are very inexpensive, so getting a couple/few sizes to try does not cost much.
    megafiddle likes this.
  17. ofajen


    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    This probably won't help you much, but I have an SX P and a spare single coil J pickup from the Wishbass. I've considered having that J installed in the P bass.

    My inclination is to have it installed at the location of coil 1 on a MM bass, which ends up being right up near the edge of the pickguard. One of the benefits would be slightly greater volume, along with stronger LF response than the more typical J bridge positions.

    I wouldn't be inclined to wire any sort of blend, just a switched pot to pick one or the other. There would probably remain a bit of a volume difference, though a compressor on the front end with appropriate threshold setting can make this less obvious, and might help your situation if you put it first in the chain?

  18. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    As mentioned earlier, to give existing magnets more strength, or to combine their magnetism, they need to be added 'N' to 'N' and somehow physically bonded together as they will repel.
  19. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    The volume increased for me, just stuck them on the way they wanted to stick....
  20. Antisyzygy


    Dec 8, 2014
    That doesn't seem right.

    Consider cutting a magnet in half, oriented so north and south are in-between your cutting point.

    The north of you new, cut-off, piece should be in the same direction as it was in the whole magnet.
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