How Guitar Pickups Magnet Size Shapes Your Tone

guitar pickups magnet

Guitar pickups are the core component of electric guitar sound. Its tone depends on many factors,of which guitar pickup magnets size is an important one.

The size of the magnet will affect the magnetic field strength of the pickup, thereby affecting the tone of the pickup.

The main sizes of Guitar pickup magnets used in guitars are as follows:

Alnico Magnets

Alnico magnets are by far the most common pickup magnet material, with a warm, full tone and rich sustain. Alnico magnets can also be divided into different types depending on their chemical composition, such as Alnico IIAlnico IIIAlnico V, etc. Alnico magnets can also be used in a variety of other pickups.

Ceramic Magnets

Ceramic magnets have a strong magnetic field and provide a clear, bright tone. Ceramic magnets have a more prominent tone compared to Alnico magnets, so they are commonly used in rock, heavy metal, and other genres of music that require a high-gain tone.

Neodymium Magnets
Neodymium magnets are the most magnetic material available, with bright, clear tones and rich sustain. Neodymium magnets are commonly used in high-end pickups, such as Seymour Duncan’s JB pickups.

The effect of guitar pickup magnets size on tone:

The larger the magnet size, the stronger the magnetic field, and the brighter and more prominent the pickup’s tone.
Conversely, the smaller the magnet size and the weaker the magnetic field, the warmer and softer the pickup’s tone.

The guitar pickups magnets sizes used in different types of guitar pickups are usually as follows:

Single-coil pickups
Single-coil pickups often use AlNiCo 5 magnets, Bar magnet typically measure 2.5 inches (about 63.5 mm) wide and 0.5 inches (about 12.7 mm) thick.

Rod magnets in single coils tend to be smaller, typically around 1.75″ to 2.25″ long and 0.187″ to 0.25″ in diameter.

Popular alnico rod magnets for Stratocasters, for example, are often around 0.187″ in diameter.

Guitar pickup Magnets of this size allow for high sensitivity and clarity while still maintaining adequate low-frequency response.

     guitar pickup magnetsguitar pickup magnets


Humbucking pickups typically use larger magnets to enhance the strength of the magnetic field they produce and the low-frequency response.

They typically use AlNiCo 2 or 5 magnets and measure between 3 inches (~76.2 mm) x 0.5 inches (~12.7 mm) and 3.5 inches (~88.9 mm) x 0.75 inches (~19.1 mm) for bar magnes.

Humbucking guitar pickup magnets can accommodate slightly larger rods,usually 2.75″ to 3.25″ long and 0.25″ to 0.375″ in diameter.


Active pickups

Active pickups typically use neodymium magnets, which are typically 5 inches or 6 inches in size.

Different brands offer varying sizes for rod magnets in pickups,catering to diverse needs and pickup types.

Here’s a breakdown of some notable brands and their typical guitar pickup rod magnets sizes:

  • Seymour Duncan: Offers rod magnets with diameters ranging from 0.25″ to 0.375″ and lengths from 2.0″ to 3.15″. They also have specific sizes for popular models like P-90s (0.5″ width, 2.125″ to 2.5″ length).
  • MojoTone: Provides alnico rod magnets in various sizes, including D0.195″*0.650″ for vintage-style pickups and 0.25″ diameter x 2.75″ length for humbucker-sized applications.

Guitar pickup magnets size is only one factor that affects the tone of a pickup; factors such as the material and construction of the pickup also affect its tone.

Therefore,other factors need to be considered when choosing a pickup.

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