This is a great and versatile pickup. Now, I know what a few people might think: isn’t MojoTone that place that’s been selling parts for about 20 years? Yes. Yes, that’s the same place. Then a few years ago, they looked around and realized that they had all these parts there in front of them, so they put Tab A into Slot B and made some pickups. And I admittedly sort of dismissed them for the same oversight that I can see many might have. But then I went to a guitar show to find their booth for some new preamp tubes and I see all these pickups.
One of the guys behind the pickups was there, so you can bet was had a good long fun talk. Lots of interesting stuff. When it came to the point of looking for something for me, I made it a point to not go hardcore over specs, and we just discussed the goals. He quickly pointed out the Black Magic. When you look at the description on the website, you may or may not see why I wasn’t sure, but I’m glad I threw caution to the wind on this pickup.
It has an Alnico 5 magnet going down the middle, just like you’d expect. Then there is a ceramic magnet in place of the keeper bar. Since some people can be firmly in either of the alnico-only camp or the ceramic-only camp, trust me when I see where everyone is coming from and please hold on tight for another minute. It also has a double row of screw poles, which I also understand could form certain opinions from pickup aficionados. It’s my experience that any such concerns are warrantless in this pickup, almost as if they cancel each other out.
It’s not a thick as you’d expect from a double screw pickup and not as harsh as you’d expect from a ceramic pickup. actually pretty full sounding. Not thick, but full. The lows don’t flub and the highs don’t pierce and the mids seem even.
I’ve been checking it out in a mahogany 2-hum singlecut with a Floyd. It is wired to a p/p for series/parallel. When in parallel on a clean amp setting, it cleans up better than you’d expect. Very workable clean tone in that arrangement. After a day of breaking it in, I started to work with some height adjustment and some pole adjustment and became really impressed by how responsive the pickup is to those small tweaks. Very open and expressive. Not at all a strictly face-melting shredder that you might expect from the official description or from the video at the link. Quite versatile and a good solid rock pickup for a variety of genres. Great note separation for sustained open chords and great focus for barre chord chugging riffs.
And check this out….you can order it with your choice of pole colors: black, chrome, gold or nickel. You can also order it with covers in those same finishes or with open coils (like in the link photo). There are a lot of good bridge humbuckers out there and I do like a lot of them. This is one that I didn’t expect to surprise me as much as it did. I did grab another pickup from MojoTone that I’ll discuss at a different time, but I like what I’m hearing from them and I think they are worthy of your attention.
Last Fall, I picked up a Black Magic bridge position humbucker. I’ve been so blown away with the other neck pickups I’ve tried from Mojotone (i.e., Level Head, PW Hornet, humbucker-size P-90) that I knew the Black Magic neck humbucker couldn’t be overlooked.
As with the bridge model, the Black Magic has a double row of screw slugs. If you like to tweak your pole heights, you are definitely in luck! The designers at Mojotone mate up an Alnico 5 magnet down the middle with a ceramic magnet on the outside with 43 AWG wire. As with several of their humbucker models, they offer the option of black, nickel or gold pole pieces. This one was hooked up in the same 2-hum guitar I’ve been using for all the recent Mojotone pickup reviews, with a 3-way mini-toggle for series/split/parallel for each position.
For this application, I paired it up with the Mojotone Black Magic bridge to also allow for an idea of how they interact as a set.
The guys at Mojotone continue to knock it out of the park! The Black Magic neck is expressive and articulate. It’s a powerful neck pickup that is also overflowing with a musical voice that makes it much more versatile than many other options for neck humbuckers. It is excellent for the liquid fluidity of heavy blues to the punishing presence of metal to the exacting precision of staccato phrasing. While not quite as offset as the bridge model, the asymmetrical coils of the neck position opens up the frequencies enough to allow a nice open character.
Clean amp tones work very well with the Black Magic neck pickup. Plenty of push in series mode, a classic glassy chime in split mode and a polite tonality in parallel mode that’s excellent for strumming and jazzy lines.
Paired up with the Black Magic bridge, they are well-balanced with each other and work to each other’s strengths. I discovered a nice vibe in the middle toggle position with both pickups in parallel, which resulted in a very nice late-70s/early-80s rock character.
Series – 15.28 K
Inductance – 8.449 H
Split N – 6.948 K
Split S – 8.368 K
Parllel – 3.797 K
Magnet – Alnico 5/Ceramic
Series – 9.129 K
Inductance – 4.275 H
Split N – 4.956 K
Split S – 4.173 K
Parllel – 2.282 K
Magnet – Alnico 5/Ceramic
Being a bit of a pickup junkie, I find myself consistently blown away with Mojotone pickups. They offer a custom/boutique-level product and experience, made in the USA, at very reasonable rates. I hope they keep on putting out more models!