Some of you guys will remember this guitar. It's a Harley Benton L-550 Paradise, which is clearly a clone of Slash's Kris Derrig built "Les Paul." It's a copy of a copy if you will. It is a darn good guitar, with excellent fretwork, quality hardware, and a Gibsonesque style horn, body contour, and headstock shape. Thomann specified that this guitar should have Wilkinson Alnico humbuckers. It is now known that Thomann played fast and loose with some of the specs on these Bentons. Case in point, my Harley Benton rosewood Tele has ceramic pickups, though they are supposed to be Alnico. Granted, they are nice sounding ceramics . . . but that's not the point. For the record, I never hated the Wilkinson pups in the L-550 Paradise, especially the neck, which was warm and full but very clear and articulate, almost like a SD Jazz. The bridge measured approximately 15.5K resistance and had a lot of output and attitude. For my personal taste, which is blues, classic rock, and old school metal tones, it needed to be toned down just a bit. I assumed that the magnet was Alnico 5 and intended to swap to Alnico 2. What was revealed when I opened them up was a big, fat, black ceramic bar magnet nestled between the two coils. I was surprised, but not surprised, if ya know what I mean. So in went the Alnico 2 magnet. After putting it back together and tuning the guitar up I was rewarded with a very pleasing tone. Much less boomy and in your face, more detail and character, just all around better for my purposes. But now the volume of the neck pup seemed to overpower the bridge. I figured that a similar magnet swap would better balance them out. Right up front, let me say that I can't remember what the neck originally measured for resistance. This is a relevant detail which may be of some significance for latter consideration. So I opened the neck pup, removed the ceramic bar, and put in an Alnico 2 magnet. After this is when my problem started. Below are the facts as I know them: *After the A2 magnet went in the volume decreased dramatically. The tone became thin like a single coil. I had to raise the pup to almost the height of the strings to get any sort of output, though it still sounded extremely thin. *The pup now read approximately 6.5K resistance measured at the output jack. *Both coils seemed to be functioning, as tapping on the slugs and the screws produced sound from the amp. *When the toggle was set in the middle position the guitar was not producing an out of phase tone (the magnets did not seem to be oriented Peter Green style). *Oddly, the two coils of the neck pup seemed to be, if such a thing is even possible by way of magnet orientation, out of phase with themselves. All of the bass appeared attenuated. The pup had almost a cocked wah tone. *The tone knob for the neck pup now seemed to operate like a volume knob. When the tone knob was turned to zero the pup became nearly inaudible. *At a loss, I put the ceramic magnet back into the neck pup. Output noticeably increased, though the thinness of the tone remained. The pup did not sound as it originally did with the ceramic magnet. Additionally, the pup no longer measures any resistance. So there's where I'm at right now. I've got to admit, in a way it sounds kind of cool, what I imagine the Dimarzio Humbucker From Hell sounds like. It's like having a very weak and thin single coil in the neck position of an LP. But at this point I'd just be happy to get back to the original tone of the pup, which as I said, was not at all bad. I'm also curious to know exactly what I did to this pup to make it sound this way. I've changed dozens of magnets before and never encountered this problem. Any insight, suggestions, diagnostic advice, and so forth would be much appreciated. Thanks fellas. The ceramic magnet I pulled out of the L-550 Paradise neck pup.