Reissues - why all Alnico III?

sumitagarwal

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All boutique winders seem to agree that different magnets were more or less common in different years, with several saying A3 was the least common (and typically earliest) with A5 become more common in later years, and with a mix of A2 and A4's pretty typical throughout.

If that's the case, and Gibson tries to give R7, R8, R9, R0's distinct "personalities" with different neck carves (even though in a given year of original bursts there was a wide range) why don't they do anything similar with the pickups, and have Custombuckers with different magnets for different years? I can understand not wanting to do a separate wind for each year since that would be higher cost and more inventory management for them, but just varying the magnets would seem easy enough.
 

bryvincent

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Its interesting Gibson has different pups for the 50s and 60s Standards on the USA line. A2 BBs on the 50s and A5 BB61s on the 60s.
 

BDW60

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All boutique winders seem to agree that different magnets were more or less common in different years, with several saying A3 was the least common (and typically earliest) with A5 become more common in later years, and with a mix of A2 and A4's pretty typical throughout.

If that's the case, and Gibson tries to give R7, R8, R9, R0's distinct "personalities" with different neck carves (even though in a given year of original bursts there was a wide range) why don't they do anything similar with the pickups, and have Custombuckers with different magnets for different years? I can understand not wanting to do a separate wind for each year since that would be higher cost and more inventory management for them, but just varying the magnets would seem easy enough.

I assume Gibson has decided that the A3 does the best job of making a modern reissue do “the sound people have in their heads” in regard to the never ending chase for recorded burst tone. Crisper, more edgy, trying get trim some of the fat, mid heavy, thickness inherent to LPs. I found that to be true with both historics I have owned with custom buckers, especially the low wind CME version.

Just a theory.
 

sumitagarwal

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I assume Gibson has decided that the A3 does the best job of making a modern reissue do “the sound people have in their heads” in regard to the never ending chase for recorded burst tone. Crisper, more edgy, trying get trim some of the fat, mid heavy, thickness inherent to LPs. I found that to be true with both historics I have owned with custom buckers, especially the low wind CME version.

Just a theory.
I get that. Targets an in-demand sound for the intended customer (low to mid gain, looking to hear the natural tone of the guitar and not blast their amp with thick high output), but remains believably "in-spec" compared to the originals.
 

ARandall

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Firstly - a magnet alone does not a pickup make. There are full throaty 57 era pickups just as much as mellow ones (which is the common wisdom)

Winders might make different year type pickups - but they get to recoup the costs of development through extra sales due to better range. Gibson gets to save all of that cost by making just 1 pickup (which technically is just what they did throughout the period anyhow). They have to supply 2 pickups in the guitar, so the less they have to spend on development the better. They have a long history of pickup cost minimisation - its the reason why the PAF became the PAT# and then the T-top in the first place.

If you talk to boutique pickup makers, odds are that if they are all-in for accuracy they have their own formula for how their own magnets are forged. Vintage and modern are different - both physically and in the tone they impart. A lot of price oriented winders find they have to compromise/change specs to account for the variance that modern parts make by comparison to vintage. So al lot of times they pick 1 mag type that best suits what they want to hear in the pickup - and given winding technique is as unique as fingerprints this choice can often be something unexpected.
 

mdubya

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I think the modern definition of what make A2, A3, A5 varies from what that was in the 1950s.

So, modern A2 and A3 may come closer to sounding like vintage? IMHO.

I think A4 is something that was assigned to magnets that could not be defined as A2, A3, A5, etc.

But, again, what is considered modern A4 may come closer to vintage A5 or A2, sound wise. :dunno:
 

MCT

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I think the modern definition of what make A2, A3, A5 varies from what that was in the 1950s.

So, modern A2 and A3 may come closer to sounding like vintage? IMHO.

I think A4 is something that was assigned to magnets that could not be defined as A2, A3, A5, etc.

But, again, what is considered modern A4 may come closer to vintage A5 or A2, sound wise. :dunno:
I have yet to actually see a metallurgic analysis of vintage magnets vs modern magnets. There’s a lot of talk about this very topic, but no data that anyone will share, and you end up having to take winders at their word and using your own ears.
 

mdubya

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I have yet to actually see a metallurgic analysis of vintage magnets vs modern magnets. There’s a lot of talk about this very topic, but no data that anyone will share, and you end up having to take winders at their word and using your own ears.

I read everything I could for several years. I learned enough to move on from that.

I have spoken with several winders and read a lot of hyperbole, too.

But I agree, what ever you like is what is good. :thumb:
 

sumitagarwal

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I was thinking a little more about A3 and the "idealized" view of the original bursts, and how that changes over time since current tastes change the original bursts varied widely. We end up seeing these tastes baked into changing specs and build on the '58, '59, and '60 "reissues".

What I would LOVE to see is Gibson go ahead and offer a top-shelf *ISSUE* model. I.e. a "2022 Les Paul Standard Issue", that is a reflection of the current year's idealized Les Paul. A few years ago it would have been a mega thick neck, but today that trends a bit thinner. There was a time when it would have had A5 magnets, to better drive mid-gain circuits, but today that would be A3 for better clarity on boutique amps and because gain is supremely accessible.

Also gives them an opportunity to boldly highlight a color of the year, like how Pantone has their color of the years. Frees them up from the constraints of historical accuracy but of course in many years the idealized LP would be historically accurate in most respects (everyone already agrees that some things, like bridge placement, neck angle, or tuning key material, are maybe best not replicated anyway).

But what do I know about Product management and marketing.
 

ARandall

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I think you'd need a divination and clairvoyance team for that. Otherwise you'd be making the ideal 2021 guitar right now.
 

MCT

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I read everything I could for several years. I learned enough to move on from that.

I have spoken with several winders and read a lot of hyperbole, too.

But I agree, what ever you like is what is good. :thumb:
Could you point me to some of those sources?
 

ARandall

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I have yet to actually see a metallurgic analysis of vintage magnets vs modern magnets. There’s a lot of talk about this very topic, but no data that anyone will share, and you end up having to take winders at their word and using your own ears.
Each winder comes up with this sticking point too. So they have to do it themselves. One of those things you have to do in order to start the business I guess.

Since there seems to be an underlying trust issue (based on your use of language), maybe you could go out and spend the money getting the magnets and having them tested and post the results here for all to see.
You know, arbitrary source of info and all....
 

mdubya

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Could you point me to some of those sources?

I can't remember all of the sources I have read.

I have spoken to James at Rewind quite a bit and he always comes across as being as honest and straight froward as anyone.

Jon at Throbak is very approachable but does not always agree with what other winders say. So, is Jon correct or sticking to his marketing line? He winds nice pickups either way.

The idea that modern Alnico and vintage Alnico is different I believe comes from articles I have read. Same goes for the purity of the copper wire, consistency or inconsistency of both the wire size and PE coatings. It goes on and on. Slug magnets and pole screw metallurgy all makes a difference.

Wolfe is approachable. Many winders over the years have been very approachable. Some are no longer in business.

I have a voicemail on my phone from Tom Holmes. What a great guy. That guy will talk your ear off if he is in the mood. I am not sure if his info is as up to date as current winders, but he sure put in the work over the years.

I always say if I wanted something specific, tone wise, I would call James or Wolfe and tell them want I want and let them make a recommendation. They would know better than I would how to get there.
 

MCT

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I can't remember all of the sources I have read.

I have spoken to James at Rewind quite a bit and he always comes across as being as honest and straight froward as anyone.

Jon at Throbak is very approachable but does not always agree with what other winders say. So, is Jon correct or sticking to his marketing line? He winds nice pickups either way.

The idea that modern Alnico and vintage Alnico is different I believe comes from articles I have read. Same goes for the purity of the copper wire, consistency or inconsistency of both the wire size and PE coatings. It goes on and on. Slug magnets and pole screw metallurgy all makes a difference.

Wolfe is approachable. Many winders over the years have been very approachable. Some are no longer in business.

I have a voicemail on my phone from Tom Holmes. What a great guy. That guy will talk your ear off if he is in the mood. I am not sure if his info is as up to date as current winders, but he sure put in the work over the years.

I always say if I wanted something specific, tone wise, I would call James or Wolfe and tell them want I want and let them make a recommendation. They would know better than I would how to get there.
I’ve spoken with James (and Jon, and others, all of whom are very fine people). I guess I was wondering whether there was any objective metallurgic analyses/data you got about vintage magnets vs modern forumulations?
 

mdubya

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I’ve spoken with James (and Jon, and others, all of whom are very fine people). I guess I was wondering whether there was any objective metallurgic analyses/data you got about vintage magnets vs modern formulations?

At some point, yes. But as I said, I have kind of left that stuff behind, so I cannot remember or provide links and source to what I saw or read.
 

MCT

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At some point, yes. But as I said, I have kind of left that stuff behind, so I cannot remember or provide links and source to what I saw or read.
Ah- maybe I’ll stumble across it at some point
 

mdubya

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Ah- maybe I’ll stumble across it at some point

It most likely would have originated right here, if you dig deep enough.

MLP has been a hot bed for PAF repro drama over the years. :eek2:

Seriously, you could not even type out some of the winders and ex winders names without it being censored.
 

Duane_the_tub

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I was thinking a little more about A3 and the "idealized" view of the original bursts, and how that changes over time since current tastes change the original bursts varied widely. We end up seeing these tastes baked into changing specs and build on the '58, '59, and '60 "reissues".

What I would LOVE to see is Gibson go ahead and offer a top-shelf *ISSUE* model. I.e. a "2022 Les Paul Standard Issue", that is a reflection of the current year's idealized Les Paul. A few years ago it would have been a mega thick neck, but today that trends a bit thinner. There was a time when it would have had A5 magnets, to better drive mid-gain circuits, but today that would be A3 for better clarity on boutique amps and because gain is supremely accessible.

Also gives them an opportunity to boldly highlight a color of the year, like how Pantone has their color of the years. Frees them up from the constraints of historical accuracy but of course in many years the idealized LP would be historically accurate in most respects (everyone already agrees that some things, like bridge placement, neck angle, or tuning key material, are maybe best not replicated anyway).

But what do I know about Product management and marketing.
I love this idea, but you know damn well the you-know-whos would get completely hung up on any deviation whatsoever from "vintage specs."
 

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