Can magnets damage guitar pickups? Does magnet ruin pickups? Can a magnet affect a guitar’s tone? Can magnets break your guitar pickup? Can magnets demagnetize your pickup? Is it dangerous to stick a magnet on your guitar pickup? There is always a curious thing to do when it comes to guitars, and this is whether it is safe to stick magnets on them, especially on their pickups. If you are also curious about what would be the effects of having magnets stuck on your guitar pickups, then let us check out its effects and whether it will be good or bad.
A guitar pickup is said to be every electric guitar’s heart, so if it does not have any, then there is no purpose in having one. It was invented to convert the vibrations from hitting the guitar strings into electricity, and it is placed on the guitar’s body and positioned beneath the guitar strings.
So, what is the inside of a guitar pickup? It has a bobbin with six magnetic bars that are inserted into it. It also comes with an enamel wire that is wound around the magnets. It also has magnets; usually, six, depending on the number of strings your guitar has, are used to have a better pick up from the sound of the six strings.
The pickup also comes with coils, as with magnets, which are the materials that can be used to convert the sound from your guitar to electricity, even without the help of electrical power. This can be possible as the electric current is able to flow through the coil when a magnetic body is moved over the magnet and the coil.
We already know what materials are used in making a guitar pickup and how it works. Now, let us check if magnets can damage guitar pickups really or not.
Can Magnets Damage Guitar Pickups?
One of the main things that can ruin your guitar pickup is when it is exposed to magnets. When you expose your guitar pickups to any powerful magnets, it can surely have a negative impact on their magnetic field. Though smaller magnets have less to no effect on your guitar, as they only usually produce distortion for a short time, it would still be a good idea not to put any magnets near the pickups or even your guitar.
When you try to stick a strong magnet on your guitar pickup, there is a high possibility that it can cause permanent damage since the magnets on your guitar pickups are susceptible to this. One thing you must remember is that you should really not do it if your guitar has antique pickups.
So, the process of removing the magnetism of the magnets in the guitar pickup is called degaussing. It is essentially like you are eliminating the purpose of a guitar pickup. Executing degaussing slows down the real sustain, resulting in damaging your guitar’s pickups. Although weaker magnetic fields similar to the tip of a screwdriver won’t do any harm to the pickups, it would still not be a good idea to put any weak magnets near the guitar pickup to avoid damaging it.
What Are The Benefits Of Degaussing
Although there are many reasons not to execute degaussing on your guitar pickups, there is also a reason why some guitar owners do it in their guitars. Musicians and guitar owners degauss their pickups for it to produce a more vintage tone. So, if you want to have a vintage guitar tone, you can try degaussing your guitar pickups, although it would still be better for you to bring it to a guitar technician, especially if you do not know how to do it.
There are guitar pickup manufacturers who do degauss in their pickups before being sold, and they are advertised to be those pickups with a vintage tone. However, they do it in a very precise way. They use a controlled magnetic field with a very low density. The magnetic field also varies every minute to achieve the vintage tone they are aiming for.
Some of the examples of guitar pickups that went through degaussing are the Seymour Duncan Five-Two, Dun-age magnets, and its Antiquity line of pickups.
What Are The Types Of Magnets Used In Guitar Pickups?
So, what are the types of magnets used in making guitar pickups? Let’s find out.
Maybe the most common of all types of magnets used today in guitar pickups, the Alnico has an established reputation in the guitar industry for having an excellent tone and response. They are also able to have more tight lows, a balanced midrange, and sharp and clear highs. They have a higher output compared to other magnets and have a cleaner guitar tone.
With its ability to produce a louder volume and is easier to tweak its tone, many guitar players really love to have pickups with Alnico magnets on them. One of the usual Alnico magnets you see in the market today is the Alnico, which is also usually used by high-end guitar manufacturers in their stock pickups.
As Alnico pickups have a warmer and sweeter tone and are known to be very dynamic and are very responsive, they are usually the go-to pickups for guitar enthusiasts who are buying a new guitar or upgrading with a new set. However, they do not have the same ability as ceramic magnets to push the guitar amplifier as hard as you would like.
It would also be easier to degauss an Alnico guitar pickup compared to other magnets used in guitar pickups.
Another common magnet you usually see in guitar pickups is ceramic. It is also one of the oldest magnets used in making guitar pickups, as they have been a mainstay for many decades in the guitar industry. However, many considered the ceramic to be an inferior magnet compared to the Alnico, as they are usually used nowadays in cheaper and lower-quality electric guitars.
Sadly, this gave ceramic magnets a bad reputation in the industry. However, if you are really familiar with ceramic pickups, you will notice they are stronger and are able to produce a brighter sound compared to Alnico pickups. They are also the perfect choice when playing under heavy distortion, so if you are a rock or metal guitar player, you should always go for ceramic pickups.
They are also more difficult to degauss than the Alnico magnets.
Rare-earth magnets are the third type of magnets that are used in making guitar pickups. They usually are either samarium-cobalt or neodymium, which are pretty known to be very powerful magnets and are very expensive also. These magnets are also traditionally used in modern guitars, giving a warmer and more natural acoustic guitar tone with impressive sound quality. They also have a reputation for having a more improved and smoother treble response compared to its past versions.
So, can magnets damage guitar pickups? Yes, sticking or even just placing a powerful magnet near your guitar pickups has a very high possibility of permanently damaging them. Although weaker magnets have lesser to no effects on your guitar pickups, it would still be better if you do not place any magnets near your guitar pickup.