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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Calling owners of Fralin tele blues specials . . . puzzled by neck Pup

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by buenavista, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. buenavista

    buenavista TDPRI Member

    Mar 14, 2016
    Nashville, TN USA
    New poster. Long time lurker. A shout out to the musicmaster-bass-mafia thread for helping me repair my junkyard musicmaster.

    But to the point. I just bought an old mij 52 RI tele body that came to me with a set of Fralin blues specials installed. Aside from the staggered poles that bury the B and E (little one), and exaggerate the D string (which I think I can get used to) I really like the bridge pickup. The best way I could put it is the pickup has a great mix of grind and clarity when playing chords (I'm primarily a rhythm and riff player). Lots of umph across the frequency spectrum but also articulation between different notes and harmonics. I'm still trying to figure out a way to bring out the B and E, but I've tinkered a lot and haven't found a solution.

    As far as the neck pickup goes, I can't figure out if something is wrong with it, or if it's just doing what it was designed to do. It seems to lack bass and lower mids in a big way. The neck pickup seems thin and lifeless to me. And because of that ( I think) the bridge pickup dwarfs the neck in volume. So switching from neck to bridge seems ridiculously dramatic. Does anyone have a similar experience with this pickup? I usually go to the neck position for that jazzy mellow full bodied feel, but not with this thing.

    To be fair, I've only played two other telecasters in my life--a '96 mim that I've owned for a long time, and a buddy's 80's 52 american RI. Both of those guitars have really mellow neck positions.

    I should also say that I'm experimenting with something new on this guitar--and that is super light gauge strings. My other guitars are strung with flat wounds--10's to 48's with a wound third. I have 8's to 38's (plain third) on this new tele with the fralins. So, obviously that's going to make a difference, but I can't see it curing the disparity between the bridge and neck.

    Next thing I am going to try is put my normal flat wounds on this new guitar. If it helps, I'll piece together a set of flat wounds that I can make super light.

    Any suggestions most welcome.

  2. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 13, 2013
    Initech, Inc.
    Let me guess, when the neck only is selected the tone control acts more like a volume than anything?Check that pickup with a meter, and if it reads more than 6-7 k I think you've found the problem.
    Sometimes when a pickup dies, a wire break happens deep enough in the coil that a signal can still get through due to an effect called capacitative coupling, but when it does, it's weak and is composed of nothing but highs.
    The only fix is a new pickup or a rewind.

  3. Rich B in Tempe

    Rich B in Tempe Tele-Holic

    Apr 20, 2016
    Tempe Arizona

  4. buenavista

    buenavista TDPRI Member

    Mar 14, 2016
    Nashville, TN USA
    I rewired the guitar last night with new pots (it came to me with 1 megs and a treble bleed) and totally forgot to put a meter on the pickups. Duh.

    I'll check tonight and get back. Thanks.

  5. buenavista

    buenavista TDPRI Member

    Mar 14, 2016
    Nashville, TN USA
    Wow. You guys nailed it. Reads between 600 and 800K. So I wasn't crazy after all.

    Any suggestions on the staggered pole problem on the bridge pickup also welcome. Thinking I may just have to try a flush pole, but dang I really like the sound of it. Now really excited to hear what it sounds like in middle position with a real neck pickup. Thanks fellers.

  6. Speedy454

    Speedy454 Tele-Meister

    Oct 1, 2013
    Highland, IL
    A few years ago I built and sold a bunch of Teles. My absolute favorite had the Fralin Blues Special set. Mine had a mild stagger on the bridge, but certainly did not "bury the B and E " as you put it. I checked the photos on his website, and the bridge photo looked like I remembered it. Some stagger, but nothing drastic.
    Give him a call and see if he would make you a deal on rewinding that neck pickup. In my Tele, it was one heck of a sweet sounding pickup. And the middle position was almost magic. It even made my sorry a** playing sound good.

    If I ever build another one for myself, it will have the Fralin Blues Special set.

    But fortunately for my wife, tendinitis in my left forearm and hand has put my playing on hold for a while.

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