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How To Remove the Cover On A Humbucker And Swap the Magnet

by vaughn skow April 01, 2020 2 min read

359 - Tearing down and replacing magnets in Humbuckers

How To Remove the Cover On A Humbucker And Swap the Magnet

Howdy guitar friends, so today's blog will be more of a straight-up vlog.  Why?  Because it's a lot easier to SHOW y'all how to open up your humbucker pickups and swap the magnets in them.  This swaparoo is something that gets a lot of mention on the various guitar forums with almost mystical status.  And I will say I agree, it IS a very simple and inexpensive way to re-voice a guitar.  The difference between a 1957 PAF and a '59, for instance is the former has an Alnico II magnet and the latter Alnico V!  Speaking of, here are the magnets you can readily purchase on sites like eBay, and the general tone of each:

  • Alnico III: the weakest of all, this is a very polite, gentle, and articulate tone.
  • Alnico II: this fairly weak magnet produces beautiful, complex, and warm tones. Work GREAT with lower-wind pickups.
  • Alnico 4: this is a clinical magnet, not my taste, but it may be yours if you like very precise and uncomplicated clean tones.
  • Alnico V: this magnet is the sound of the fabled '59 Burst, classic rock 101! Less complex and more in your face than Alnico II.
  • Un-Oriented Alnico V: These sound almost in-between a II and a V, with some of the complexity of a II and some of the forward push of a V ... but not as good as EITHER at what they do.  Proceed with caution!
  • Alnico 8: This is a fairly powerful magnet and produces sharp, bright tones. Works well with over-wound pickups.
  • Ceramic 8: Again, a bright, bold, and some would say harsh magnet.  Works well with over-wound pickups.

So there, now let's SHOW ya how to take apart your bucker and do an easy-peasy magnet swap.  Here's the video:

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