A compound word drawn from Aluminum, Nickel, and Cobalt. Alnico (AlNiCo) is a powerful permanent magnet alloy containing iron, aluminum, nickel and one or more of the elements cobalt, copper, and titanium. Alnico magnets have been used in loudspeaker construction since the 1940s, when a particularly high-energy formula (Alnico V) was developed; it had a much greater energy-to-weight ratio than common ferrite (iron) magnets.
Electric guitar manufacturers also were (ahem) attracted to Alnico magnets for pickups due to their consistency and even distribution characteristics. Two different formulas are commonly used – Alnico II and Alnico V.