Alnico 3 P.A.F. style humbuckers are getting a bit of buzz (ha! a pun!) in the pickup world. A little more so this past year. There is one pickup mod guru that preaches the benefits of Alnico 3, and has been for some time. It seems that Alnico 3 is most aligned with jazz or blues styles. But I also know that a lot of the rock and hard rock songs that many of us use as a reference are powered by “vintage output” humbuckers.
You know that I am very impressed by the custom spin that Mojotone put on a Hot Classic set for me. Mojotone already uses Alnico 4 in their “59 Clone” Humbucker, so they are the perfect ones to go-to for when you want that big 70s area rock vibe from a Hot Classic set made custom with Alnico 4. So, with that in mind, they were the ones for an Alnico 3 vintage-inspired humbucker. Maybe something that’d go great in a Les Paul with a “dirty lemon” burst finish.
As always, Mojotone can get an order out quickly. At about the same time, I grabbed a Peavey 6505 cab (loaded with Sheffields). I also have a Fractal Axe-Fx on loan, pending a possible purchase. Consequently, the Alnico 3 humbucker set is running through all sorts of variables for a very thorough evaluation.
The vintage-level DC resistance shouldn’t give anyone a pause. And yes, Mojotone did have to talk me off the ledge at suggesting higher levels. LOL! Nonetheless, you guys know me, and all pickups get hit with high-energy hard-rock vibes for testing.
In the bridge position, there is a reserve of airy chime and an extra dimension to the articulation. I am really digging the bloom and the responsiveness to finesse. Depending on your style, you can get polite jazz or rude blues. Then you can take it up a notch for hard rock, without the restrictions of a lot of the compressed voicings out there. You get a bit of a sweet sizzle for lead work. The high end cuts through without being as sharp as an Alnico 5 and the mids can deliver a growling snarl that keeps things settled into the mix.
Looking at the neck, you get a balanced humbucker that’s voiced to give the set a lot of versatility. A little bit of bite in the highs, some snap in the mids and a touch of punch in the lows. Together, it lends itself well to some classically vintage middle position characters.
Series – 8.694 K
Inductance – 5.308 H
Split N – 4.48 K
Split S – 4.21 K
Parllel – 2.168 K
Magnet – Alnico 3
Series – 8.087 K
Inductance – 4.65 H
Split N – 3.748 K
Split S – 4.339 K
Parllel – 2.022 K
Magnet – Alnico 3
But you know, it doesn’t have to be a P.A.F.-ish Alnico 3 humbucker set. Maybe you want a different coil offset? Or different resistance? Or long/short legs? Or perhaps you see something “Coming Soon!” that never comes! The guys at Mojotone are always excited and positive when it comes to a new idea.
Darth Phineas is a long time music industry insider who provides his readers with unbiased reviews on musical instrument and guitar gear. You can read more of his reviews and check out industry news on his Facebook community Darth Phineas, Twitter or his website is darthphineas.com