Removing one magnet from MIM Strat pickups?

grumphh

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What would be the outcome of that?

Would the pickup have less output?
Would the output be the same, but the sound either muddier or more shrill?
Both of the above?

(For those who don't know them, MIM strat PU's have two bar magnets at the bottom (like P-90's) magnetizing iron/steel polepieces.)

Basically, i love my MIM Strat, but not the pickups - which is not entirely unheard of :D
So i just would like to know whether removing one magnet is a viable option or not :)
 

grumphh

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You are now tasked to do so and report your findings. Good talk.
I am not going to pull apart a working pickup if the outcome is dismal sounding - and the question should be easy to answer (for anyone techy who knows about pickups).

Lesser magnet strength with everything else unaltered affects the pickup how?
 

CheopisIV

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They will sound worse. You'll get 1/2 the magnetic strength out of them so expect thin and shrill with very low volume.
 
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lpfan1980

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I own 2 MIMS and a US try it you might get a funny or cool sounding Strat use an old pickup though in case of damage :p
 

cooljuk

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You could try adding a bunch of extra magnets like Page's dragon Tele bridge pickup.








Of course, something ruined the sound of that guitar, in his recollection. Maybe that was it?
 

grumphh

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I own 2 MIMS and a US try it you might get a funny or cool sounding Strat use an old pickup though in case of damage :p
Problem is, i want a cool sounding strat :D
It is a perfectly useable guitar as is - but its tone falls just short of the "i'm fully satisfied" mark.
Iow, while i play it and have fun, i constantly fiddle with the pickup heights, which i do not usually do.
By far most of my guitars have "set and forget" pickup heights.
 

grumphh

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You could try adding a bunch of extra magnets like Page's dragon Tele bridge pickup.








Of course, something ruined the sound of that guitar, in his recollection. Maybe that was it?
:D Lots of things to try, i am sure - but all i really want is a tonal slight shift to something less brash, which is how i would characterize the sound of these pickups.

It just looks like simple mods really won't bring thes pickups to that point, so i guess i'll have to bite the bullet and just get some new pickups.

But thx for the great suggestion of adding magnets, rather than taking them away :D
What would you predict the outcome of adding magnets would be? Higher output voltages? Tone shift?
 

cooljuk

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Adding magnets would probably weaken the existing magnets, increase inductance and give you an uneven string balance and frequency response. I wouldn't recommend it.

If there was a simple mod to make terrible sounding pickups sound better, everyone would know about it and be doing it already.

The combination of materials, design and construction result in the total sound of a pickup and you'd have to improve the materials, design, and construction to improve that sound.
 

JohnK

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What would be the outcome of that?

Would the pickup have less output?
Would the output be the same, but the sound either muddier or more shrill?
Both of the above?

(For those who don't know them, MIM strat PU's have two bar magnets at the bottom (like P-90's) magnetizing iron/steel polepieces.)

Basically, i love my MIM Strat, but not the pickups - which is not entirely unheard of :D
So i just would like to know whether removing one magnet is a viable option or not :)
It would sound the same as if you had lowered the pickups. You end up with a weaker magnetic connection between the strings and the pickup.
 

grumphh

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Update: I have added some small disc shaped magnets* to the neck pickup, and it has changed the tone/frequency response to something that i like far better than the standard/unmodified tone.


* I have no idea what they are, the magnets came off cigarette rolling paper packs (i smoke tobacco *gasp!*, and roll my own)...
...in Germany some brands of rolling paper actually have a tiny magnet lock on the packs (yes, really), so when i was there i just bought six of those and put the magnets on top of the pole pieces of the neck pickup - in one orientation they weakened the pickup and made it sound worse, but when flipped the output increased and it sounds better.
"Better" obviously being subjective - let's say, i like them better now :)

They are now superglued to the polepieces :D
 

CheopisIV

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More than likely an N28 to N35 (neodymium). It'll boost them significantly from the (most likely) ceramics underneath.
 

grumphh

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More than likely an N28 to N35 (neodymium). It'll boost them significantly from the (most likely) ceramics underneath.
For being so small magnets they felt fairly strong, so yes, probably something modern :)
And yes, to the best of my knowledge the MIM standard strat PU's only ever came with dual ceramic magnet bars at the bottom, but what would i know, i just read that on the net :) .

I am still not certain whether the output is actually boosted, or it just is the lesser distance to the strings* that makes the pickup louder - however, even if it were just the reduced distance that makes the pickup louder it also still sounds better **(still subjectively) compared to the unboosted pickup raised as high.
It takes away some of that "stridentness", that never let me get a proper balanced tone from the pickups, if to close to the strings, it got harsh, and if to low it got muffled, and even the point inbetween was just not exactly what i wanted from a strat...

Only "problem" is that now i have magnet pull on the A string - but only above the twelfth fret, and i hardly ever touch the low strings that high on the neck, so in fact no real problem for me, and i'll gladly trade the better overall tone for that :)

* The magnets do add ~1.5 mm of height to the polepieces or appr. 3 full turns of the adjustment screws....

** Tbh, i am comparing them to some old SD SSL-1's that i have in another guitar, and this little mod at least got the MIM neck pickup closer to that kind of tone - not exactly the same of course, but it now sounds "more scooped" yet with non-harsh highs which was the direction i wanted the neck PU to go :)
 

TM1

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The magnets in those Strat pickups are ceramic bars. If cost is the issue you might want to look at either Stewmac or Mojotone’s stuff..
 




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