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Magnets for Guitar Pickups

Magnets for Guitar Pickups

Overview of Guitar Pickup Magnets

If you’ve read our previous blog posts, then you know by now that there are a lot of interesting uses for magnets across a wide range of industries. Another important use is magnets for guitar pickups. A guitar pickup is a transducer that is used to pick up the vibrations from the strings of an electric (or sometimes an acoustic) guitar. They are built into the guitar, and different types of pickups can create different sound styles, from crisp humming sounds to smooth quieter sounds or harsh reverberating sounds. While a pickup is a physically small piece of a guitar, the impact that it has is big. Viona Magnetics can provide all the different types of magnets most used for guitar pickups.

Magnets for Guitar Pickups

How do Magnetic Guitar Pickups Work?

How do Magnetic Guitar Pickups WorkMagnets are really the unsung heroes for electric guitars. For example, a pickup used on a Stratocaster guitar, typically consists of a permanent magnetic pole piece with a single coil wrapped around it. The magnetic poles within the pickup can feel the movement of the metal guitar strings since they are made of magnetic materials, so as you are playing this generates signals within the coil and these signals are amplified. This amplified sound is what you hear when someone plays an electric guitar, which is made possible by magnets.

The two most commonly used types of magnets for pickups are Alnico and Ceramic.

Alnico Magnets for Guitar Pickups

Rod Magnets for Guitar PickupsAlnico Magnets are commonly used for pickups and date back to the 1950s. Alnico magnets come in different grades that produce different sounds based on the level of magnetism. Alnico II is the most common, along with Alnico III and Alnico V. Alnico IV is also used, but usually more rarely than the other three grades. Alnico II is great for a classic vintage sound (warm tone, creamy mids and less output) and responds well to a picking technique, while Alnico V is a stronger grade that is better for a more aggressive sound (higher output, more bass, and clear treble). Alnico III is the weakest grade, and responds well to picking with a clear, soft sound.

Advantage: variety of nice, smooth sounds. Disadvantage: more expensive than ceramic.

Ceramic Magnets for Guitar Pickups

Bar Magnets for Guitar PickupsCeramic Magnets are slightly newer than Alnico in terms of being used for pickups, coming into fashion in the 1970s. Because of this, ceramic magnets can have a more modern sound to them and are often considered as the most aggressive sounding of the magnets used for pickups. They have more of a cut to them and a higher output, making them more ideal for heavier sounding music such as heavy metal. Because they are less expensive than Alnico, they can be more favored for entry-level or budget pickups. Ceramic magnets can be used in a variety of ways, but overall alnico magnets tends to be more popular even despite the price difference.

Advantage: less expensive than alnico. Disadvantage: produce a harsher sound.

Contact Viona Magnetics

Please feel free to complete our quote request form to request a quote for permanent magnets or assemblies. Our knowledgeable sales team will contact you as soon as possible, or you can call us at 1-800-390-5650 for immediate assistance. Whether your needs are for guitar pickups or anything else, we are happy to work with you on your next project. Companies around the world choose Viona Magnetics for our expertise, product range, pricing flexibility, custom solutions, and more. Give us a call!

Chris Ryder - Viona Magnetics

Chris Ryder

Dir, Business Development

Give me a call, let's talk magnets!

Viona Magnetics
349 W John St
Hicksville NY 11801

Tel: 1-800-390-5650
Fax: 1-888-243-9868


Do you need assistance integrating magnets into your custom application?  Viona Magnetics will work with you to develop a custom solution to meet your specific application requirements. We’re here to help you every step of the way.

Give us a call 1-800-390-5650 or click for assistance.

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