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Ceramic mag in a aired pickup?

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  • Ceramic mag in a aired pickup?

    I wound up with an extra Air Norton and am thinking about bridge position possibilities. With the stock A5, these are supposed to be a bit dark and not too strong at the bridge. Probably be going into an Orville LP with a pretty balanced voice, slightly scooped but not a particularly bright guitar.

    Wondering if the extra output and hotter treble of a ceramic might be a pretty good fit for this. Usually ceramic pickups are a bit stiff for my taste, am thinking the air spacing could soften the attack like it does for alnico. If it can make an A5 sound & act almost like an A2, what might it do for a C8?
    Would airing bring it closer to alnico feel but keep some extra brightness & output, sort of a middle ground?

    Anybody tried this, or have an opinion?
    .
    "My hovercraft is full of eels."

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  • #2
    Re: Ceramic mag in a aired pickup?

    I have not tried a magnet swap in a humbucker with "air technology", but I think it's worth trying in your case. The "air technology" should soften the magnetic field a little, no matter what magnet you are using, so I guess if you put a C8 magnet in it, the output will be slightly lower compared to the same magnet in a non-aired humbucker, and it will affect the attack slightly too. It's worth giving a try. Let us know how you experience it if you do the magnet swap!
    "You can buy muscles (stero´ds), but you can't buy "cojones". (quoted: Bas Rutten)

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    • #3
      Bumping this 2017 thread in case anybody else has thoughts on this. Perhaps even experience.

      I know DiMarzio is making quite a few ceramic pickups that are said to sound a bit less fierce & massive - and perhaps even to feel a little less stiff - than would generally be expected from ceramics. Pretty sure air gaps are responsible for this.

      So, it likely tames the highs and lows a little. Curious whether it softens the attack also?

      Still have that Air Norton in the parts box; am considering it for bridge position on a poplar bolt-on HSS.
      Wondering if ceramic might mitigate the vowel tone and bump up the output.
      .
      "My hovercraft is full of eels."

      .

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      • #4
        Found this frankfalbo comment from 2006...

        "Ceramic doesn't 'air' the same as Alnico. Ceramic is a more rigid field, so it's more like simply lowering the pickup. It just reduces output a little. It is not the same transformation that you get from Airing or degaussing Alnico."

        Based on that, I think the change I was hoping for - getting more output plus the chunk and scream of ceramic, yet with a softer sort of attack and the bouncier alnico feel - is not going to happen.

        Maybe I should think about A8 for the AirNorton instead... Some extra juice & beef, likely the air tech would mitigate the clank ofA8 a bit, and might it gentle the attack character too.

        Anybody ever tried degaussed A8s?
        .
        "My hovercraft is full of eels."

        .

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        • #5
          i havent. seems most people use a8 when they want a big thick sound with lots of output, cant hurt to try though

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jeremy View Post
            i havent. seems most people use a8 when they want a big thick sound with lots of output, cant hurt to try though
            I do like the fatness of A8. It has pretty aggressive treble though, and feels a bit stiff.
            I'm thinking the air gaps might help with this; by most reports the effect is pretty similar to the results of degaussing.
            .
            "My hovercraft is full of eels."

            .

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            • #7
              Have you tried using it as-is before coming to the conclusion that it won't be hot enough?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ErikH View Post
                Have you tried using it as-is before coming to the conclusion that it won't be hot enough?
                Not this one. I wound up putting the other Air Norton in neck position, paired with a Breed Neck at the bridge.
                I like the Air Norton there, so I got another when it came up used. This time I'm thinking bridge position again though.

                Don't need a whole lot of output - my first instinct was actually for a Duncan 59B. But my 59s are all 2-conductor and I'd prefer position 2 split.
                Might give the AN a try, as is. Also have an AT-1 with similar EQ but more power, perhaps a bit too much to match vintage output singles.

                Part of my present concern is that the guitar has a 250K volume because of the singles.
                Am thinking the DiMarzio vowel tone might be even more pronounced in that situation. The AN does have a bit of "waugh" in its voice.
                Reasoned that ceramic's aggressive treble could help offset that a bit, along with extra beef in the lows for this lightweight bolt-on guitar.
                A bit more output wouldn't hurt but this time it wasn't the primary goal.
                .
                "My hovercraft is full of eels."

                .

                Comment


                • #9
                  Maybe an A4 is what you want. Polished.

                  Sent from my SM-A115A using Tapatalk

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                  • #10
                    A9 is brighter, more aggressive, and slightly stronger than A5. You could give that a try. It doesn't have the stiff, synthetic feel of ceramic.
                    Last edited by Clint 55; 01-12-2021, 06:33 PM.
                    Originally posted by NegativeEase
                    I'd wager that Clint can best GuitarStv at Wat and WAAAT... but not Watts.

                    I think in the International System of Units (SI) a "WAT" is defined as a derived unit of 1 Clint besmirchment per hour

                    and WAAAT is defined as a derived unit of 1 Clint kilojoule of described Nirvana transgression per post.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by eclecticsynergy View Post

                      Not this one. I wound up putting the other Air Norton in neck position, paired with a Breed Neck at the bridge.
                      I like the Air Norton there, so I got another when it came up used. This time I'm thinking bridge position again though.

                      Don't need a whole lot of output - my first instinct was actually for a Duncan 59B. But my 59s are all 2-conductor and I'd prefer position 2 split.
                      Might give the AN a try, as is. Also have an AT-1 with similar EQ but more power, perhaps a bit too much to match vintage output singles.

                      Part of my present concern is that the guitar has a 250K volume because of the singles.
                      Am thinking the DiMarzio vowel tone might be even more pronounced in that situation. The AN does have a bit of "waugh" in its voice.
                      Reasoned that ceramic's aggressive treble could help offset that a bit, along with extra beef in the lows for this lightweight bolt-on guitar.
                      A bit more output wouldn't hurt but this time it wasn't the primary goal.
                      Do this. Put it in with the stock A5. Leave the tone pot disconnected from it but connected to the singles. If it’s too dark, swap the volume for 500k and leave tone pot connected to just the single-coils so they aren’t too bright.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Clint 55 View Post
                        A9 is brighter, more aggressive, and slightly stronger than A5. You could give that a try. It doesn't have the stiff, synthetic feel of ceramic.
                        Does it have the clank and unwavering mids of the a8? Because I’m looking for an A5 vibe that’s got an edge similar to a ceramic but not the over the top a8 sound.

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                        • #13
                          I started to recommend the regular non-aired Norton but I hope the OP has already figured it out, this is a 2-1/2 year old thread.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bowtomecha View Post
                            Does it have the clank and unwavering mids of the a8? Because I’m looking for an A5 vibe that’s got an edge similar to a ceramic but not the over the top a8 sound.
                            No, it doesn't have the clank of A8. I'm pretty sure it would be a step in the right direction. It has an A5 vibe with added upper mids which make it sound a tad edgier but without most of the synthetic clank of ceramic or A8.
                            Originally posted by NegativeEase
                            I'd wager that Clint can best GuitarStv at Wat and WAAAT... but not Watts.

                            I think in the International System of Units (SI) a "WAT" is defined as a derived unit of 1 Clint besmirchment per hour

                            and WAAAT is defined as a derived unit of 1 Clint kilojoule of described Nirvana transgression per post.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by devastone View Post
                              I started to recommend the regular non-aired Norton but I hope the OP has already figured it out, this is a 2-1/2 year old thread.
                              OP here. I revived the thread coupla days ago because I have another Air Norton.
                              This one's probably going into an HSS bolt-on with vintage output singlecoils.
                              Have actually considered doing the half-air mod to bring it closer to a full Norton.
                              I appreciate the suggestion, devastone.

                              Originally posted by Clint 55 View Post
                              No, it doesn't have the clank of A8. I'm pretty sure it would be a step in the right direction. It has an A5 vibe with added upper mids which make it sound a tad edgier but without most of the synthetic clank of ceramic or A8.
                              Thanks, Clint. Sounds like a cool option. A9 never even occurred to me.



                              This guitar is a parts box project so I'm looking to brainstorm any and all ideas.
                              That includes recommendations to try the AN as is, or to use something else entirely.

                              Several other good humbuckers on hand to choose from: Demon, Perpetual Burn, RioGrande BBQ, Suhr DSH, Anderson H2.
                              Also a Custom, a vintage JBJ, and a BKP HolyDiver. IMO those are a bit muscular to pair with 5.5K & 6K singles.
                              I don't rule them out completely though.

                              If things weren't already pretty complicated I'd attempt the wiring with a 500K volume that lets the singles see 250K.
                              But this guitar has a fair amount of other extra stuff going on already.

                              Autosplit, a master bright/warm button (using 1nF cap & a 10K resistor), mini switches for add-neck, bridge split, and a center-off DPDT to choose tone bypass or two different pairs of caps. (Not sure how useful that last one will be. Still thought it might be neat to have a vintage/modern option for the rolloff.)

                              The pickguard has three mini switches in place of the center pot so I figured I might as well put them to use.
                              Have had a dual concentric 250K sitting around for years waiting to be used; that'll serve for the tone controls.
                              Last edited by eclecticsynergy; 01-14-2021, 10:05 AM.
                              .
                              "My hovercraft is full of eels."

                              .

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