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Alnico II Classics

The Alnico II Classic is a superb humbucker set for guitars that need more warmth, fullness and sustain.

Neck 7.5k / Bridge 8.3k, Alnico 2


(6 customer reviews)

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The Alnico II Classic is a superb set for guitars that need more warmth, fullness and sustain. The earliest Gibson Patent-Applied-For (or “PAF”) pickups used a range of magnets, but PAFs made with Alnico II have always held a special place in many a guitarist’s heart.

If you have ever heard someone describe a PAF as “flute-like” or “more like a single coil than a humbucker” – that’s the Alnico II working its magic.

At higher gain settings, the Alnico II Classic really nails the fluid distortion sound of players like Slash, who use the smooth attack and longer sustain of the neck to great effect during solos, and the tighter, fizzier tones available from the bridge for rock rhythm work.


The Alnico II Classic began life as a custom OEM order for a high-end UK guitar company, and we worked with their techs to get the wind just right. Cries of “more scatter!” were heard over and over again, until we got down to less than 30 turns per layer for the neck and bridge pickups – about half the number of turns per layer on vintage PAFs, but much more in line with the current best in class handwound PAF clones.

We made a few of these pickups back in 2007 – they quickly became favourites – and launched them into our standard range in 2008, The Alnico II Classic set in Nickel is currently our bestselling humbucker.


Colours & Covers: Available in black or zebra open coils, or with highly-polished gold or nickel-plated covers.

Wiring: All AC2’s come with four conductor wiring as standard for maximum flexibility.

Spacing:  99% of AC2’s we’ve made have a 50mm spacing (as measured from the centre of the low E polepiece to the centre of the high E polepiece).  This 50mm spacing  suits Les Paul and SG guitars well.

We are also now making AC2’s in F-spacing (52.4mm) for guitars with wider Fender trems or Floyd Rose units.

Baseplate: All AC2s are built with medium-length 9mm baseplate legs for easy installation in a wide variety of instruments. Baseplates are all Nickel-Silver with the Tonerider logo stamp.


Regular-Spaced Covered Humbucker (Metric)
Regular-Spaced Uncovered Humbucker (Metric)
F-Spaced Uncovered Humbucker (Metric)

Regular-Spaced Covered Humbucker (Imperial)
Regular-Spaced Uncovered Humbucker (Imperial)
F-Spaced Uncovered Humbucker (Imperial)


2 Humbuckers / 1 Vol / 1 Tone / 3-Way Toggle

2 Humbuckers / 1 Vol / 1 Tone / 3-Way Toggle / Push-Pull Coil Split (Vol)

2 Humbuckers / 1 Vol / 1 Tone / 3-Way Toggle / Push-Pull Coil Split (Tone)

2 Humbuckers / 2 Vol / 2 Tone / 3-Way Toggle

2 Humbuckers / 2 Vol / 2 Tone / 3-Way Toggle / Push-Pull Coil Split

Tech Specs

Alnico II Classics Neck Alnico II Classics Bridge
Model AC2N AC2B
Magnet Alnico 2 Bar Alnico 2 Bar
DCR 7.5k 8.3k
Inductance 4.1H 4.9H
Hookup Wire 4-Conductor 4-Conductor
Scatter Very High High
Baseplate Nickel Silver Nickel Silver
Year Introduced 2007 2007


6 reviews for Alnico II Classics

  1. Simon

    Fitted into a HSS Strat mod I was doing to a SSS Squier Affinity and it fits perfectly. Paired with a 22nF tone cap, and 500k pots, it really shines. I have it wired with it’s own tone control and a push/pull for coil splitting, and it sounds perfect. Split to the slug coil, it’s almost like having a regular single coil in the bridge, and it can get pretty bright when you need it to, and in full humbucking it sounds nice and fat, but not over the top. It fits in well with the single coils in the mid and neck, and there isn’t a huge volume leap which is really helpful since you can swap to it quickly without having to worry about cutting some of the output.
    It drives well but it lives up to the “Classic” name. It’s not going to do metal, but for anything else it’s a great investment. Comes with a quick instruction guide for installation into a 4 control, 2 pickup guitar like an SG or Les Paul, and a quick coil split guide which shows some alternative wiring, like split series/parallel, splitting to the screw coil (only really for neck pickups) or splitting to the slug coil.
    For the money it’s going to be pretty much unbeatable.

  2. Paul

    Great sounding pickup!
    I used this in a Strat type guitar. The pickup cleans up when the volume is turned back as you would expect. I have used Tonerider pickups in a Telecaster type before and I have always been happy with the quality and tone of these fine British pickups.
    No need to pay the price for DiMarzio or Seymour Duncan.

  3. Cooltone

    The Tonerider hype is all true! I have put these in two LP style guitars now and they are top-class – I can now get Paul Kossof sounds. I used 500k Linear on the volume and 500k Log/47nF on the tone. For me the 500k Linear (yes! Linear, not Log) on the volume is just great with a cranked up valve amp!

  4. Rory Mcleish

    This is a great pickup, particularly for the price. I recently installed one of these in the bridge position of an MIM Player Strat which was a little too bright for the single coil in there and it sounds excellent. I also installed a coil-tap switch per the wiring instructions that came with the pickup (I went Old School and tapped the slug coil with a mini-toggle switch between the volume and first tone knobs). An added plus is that because the other two pickups are Tonerider City Limits single coils, there are no phase issues when switching to middle-bridge position This is now one of my favourite guitars, punchy and articulate tone and increased overall versatility. Highly recommended, and amazing value for money.

  5. Ray

    I really do love these AC2s! Mounted on RG370 with ash body, maple neck and fretboard. Superb dynamics and sweet harmonics. Bridge PU also works very well in an SA360 with mahagony/maple/rosewood combination.

    They didn’t match in a S621 with the same wood but different construction, sounded somehow weak, there I turned to something hotter with Alnico 5.

    The pack contains helpful information on wiring options. On the homepage there are a lot more plans on the wiring and cable colours of other brands, that helped me A LOT to solve different problems with the phase in other guitars.

    Toneriders are for shure worth the try. To me the best vintage pickups, also the AC4s. Even the high gain versions show a good vintage tone.

  6. Murray Rowley

    I replaced some stock humbuckers on my Ibanez AF55 semi-acoustic jazzbox with these pickups. A great improvement in clarity and warmth, as the Ibanez pickups were a little too heavy in character for that style of guitar and my taste. The price and performance are very very good.

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