How do I tell if the pick-ups in my strat are ceramic or alnico without pulling the pick guard

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by StratDeluxe, Apr 20, 2021.

  1. StratDeluxe

    StratDeluxe Strat-O-Master

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    I just bought a beautiful 2006 Mexican Stratocaster. ($325.00)

    The Bridge pick-up is a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails.

    Without pulling the pick guard, how do I tell if the other two pick-ups in my Strat are ceramic or alnico?

    Is their a simple test other than sound? (sound can be deceptive).
    Note: The guitar is set up perfect and I do not want to re string.
    Still, it would be nice to know what I bought.

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

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    The steel pole pieces often have a concentric ring pattern on top, while AlNiCo is just smooth and sharp edged. AlNiCo is a hard, brittle darker metal, while steel is softer and brighter. If you post a picture that is clear and close up, people here can probably tell by sight.
     
  3. ThebiggestJerk

    ThebiggestJerk Senior Stratmaster

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    Alnico is conductive whereas ceramic is not. If you have a volt meter, set it to test continuity. If it’s Alnico the meter will tell you.
     
  4. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

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    The pole pieces of a ceramic strat pickup are steel. The ceramic magnet is underneath. If you could see the ceramic magnets, it would be self evident at that point.
     
    BuddhaFingas likes this.
  5. Blackmore Fan

    Blackmore Fan Senior Stratmaster

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    Yes, that's usually enough to tell on a stock MIM.
     
  6. ThebiggestJerk

    ThebiggestJerk Senior Stratmaster

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    All pole pieces are ferrite metal - iron alloy including steel. That’s part of how a pickup works as the pole pieces are attracted to the magnet. Ceramic magnets will not conduct a current but will induct one as Alnico will do both.
     
  7. StratDeluxe

    StratDeluxe Strat-O-Master

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    Antigua (and all others that responded), Ceramic.
    Thank you,
    your descriptions were spot on.


     
  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    .

    Just in case you want to know so you can 'upgrade!', don't be frightened by Ceramic magnets, just set them lower (like close to the pickguard) and you'll get similar output as Alnico. Use your ears to set pickup heights not specs in a table (that were created with alnico in mind). You can also tip bass/treble sides to further sculpt the tone.

    You can also swap pots 'n caps to push tone around too. Pots have a 20% tolerance range max/min and it matters even when 'dimed'.

    .
     
  9. sjtalon

    sjtalon Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    You don't have to REMOVE/pull the pg to see the underside, just take a few screws out and sneak a peak underneath................not that big a deal know ??