As a first sharp comment, there is no definitive difference between these two types of pickups. How some pickups are more suitable for one musical genre than others will depend on the composition of the magnet, but also other equally important issues such as the size of the wire, the number of turns, the resistance to current or the size of the magnet and coil.
Having said this, we can remove with one stroke those who are looking for a quick conclusion: the Alnico pickups can serve you if you want a more organic tone, while the ceramic pickups can serve you for a very direct and precise tone. But such a statement does not have to clarify our doubts when choosing. Do you need more information? Read on …
What are the most commonly used pills on the market?
Without a doubt, the most used material is Alnico, which is found in 80% of guitars, mainly Fender Guitars and their most famous models like Stratocaster or Telecaster. And you may ask yourself, what is the Alnico? Don’t worry, a few lines below we’ll explain it to you.
On the other hand, the ceramic is presented as the main alternative and appears in guitars from low to high range as may be in this second case, the G&L Guitars (one of its signs of identity and certainly a success in their case).
Alnico is an alloy of different metals (ALuminium + NIckel + CObalto) and, although there are many different numbers, the most used are Alnico II and Alnico V.
Pads containing Alnico II magnets generally emit around sound. The bass and treble are usually soft, offering a warm, vintage tone. The Alnico II is an ideal choice for jazz musicians looking for a clean tone.
The Alnico V contains more cobalt and less aluminium and nickel than the Alnico II, which increases their magnetic properties. This often strengthens the Alnico V pads, providing a brighter tone than the Alnico II and offers a stiffer lower end. They produce a wider range between treble and treble with a bit of medium range. Alnico V pickups are generally good versatile magnets and perfect for musicians looking for a little extra clarity while using high gain without sacrificing a clean organic sound.
There are rumours that ceramic is a material with worse results than Alnico, but it only arises from the fact that some low (and very low) range brands have used ceramic in their pads. The truth is that ceramic also exists in high-end guitars such as the already mentioned G&L Guitars with really positive results).
Let’s talk about these qualities. Often ceramic magnets create more powerful magnetic fields than Alnico magnets with higher performance. Very wide tonal varieties and a greater dynamic range than most Alnico pickups are offered (remember, only in higher ranges). Rock musicians may prefer them for stronger attacks.
We can find pronunciations and quick bass response. Strong magnets allow the pickup to retain articulation and clarity, even when the extreme gain is present, making it an excellent choice for fast-paced metal.
Written by Michael Adams
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