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Fralin Blues Specials Review

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by bigben55, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. bigben55

    bigben55 Friend of Leo's

    May 19, 2010
    Cincinnati, OH
    They came installed in a G&L ASAT Classic Tribute I just picked up. Mine has the open top covered neck pickup. I've had various Seymour Duncan and Dimarzios, Rio Grandes, Keystones, and Cavalier pickups in teles over the past 6 or so years, but these are my first set of Fralin. Out of all those pickups, I hear more "Vintage '50s tele" in them than any of the others. They say the neck is "stratty." I'd say it's strattier than a stock covered tele neck, but it's still not stratty to my ear. An 8k Cavalier Lioness I used to have sounded strattier (and a little better all around). The neck pickup is also a bit microphonic. I'm not blaming the pickup for that; these are supposed to be vintage sounding pickups, wound 5% hotter. Many vintage pickups are a little microphonic. The neck tone is fat, articulate and sweet. The bridge is bright and twangy but fat. Fairly hot. Very low noise for both. I think they're pretty good overall. But, had i spent $180 for them, I may be slightly disappointed. I liked the Rio Grandes a little better (same price), and the Cavaliers (Fat lion, Nashville, lioness) even moreso (for considerably less). These took a while to get sounding their best, between amp, pedals and guitar set up, but I am satisfied now.

    I plan on upgrading all the electronics and adding a 4 way switch. Will update this post. I'm gonna try to deal with the neck pickup microphonics with wax and surgical tubing.
     
    Doug 54 and gigs like this.

  2. bigben55

    bigben55 Friend of Leo's

    May 19, 2010
    Cincinnati, OH
    Follow up: long story short....I did the potting and install, broke the coil of the neck pickup, sent it back and paid for Fralin to fix it. Tyler with Fralin was AWESOME, A++ customer service. Got it back and installed with the new electronics and 4 way switch.

    The Blues Specials are GREAT. The microphonics with the neck are gone. It, with its open top cover, sounds like a mix between a great tele neck pu and a great strat neck pu. Nice output, clear articulate but fat. The bridge is still bright and twangy but equally articulate. You hear every note. The parallel combo sounds as you'd expect, the series combo sounds like the parallel turned up to 12 with a compressor on. These pickups will be staying put!
     
    gigs likes this.

  3. gigs

    gigs TDPRI Member

    60
    Nov 9, 2012
    pittsburgh, pa
    Exactly. Have these in my tele partscaster. Love them. With the 4 way switch. Gig with this tele thru a 100W Ceriatone OTS HRM. Get lots of tone compliments with this set up.

    Just like my strat, I rarely have the volume above 8... around 7 there is a nice sweet spot that by varying pick attack really sounds nice, esp the neck pickup. The bridge I have the volume closer to 9. Never max volume out, but do use the series switch for a little extra volume boost and grit a times.

    Love these pickups and the 4 way wiring.
     

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  5. fjrabon

    fjrabon Tele-Holic

    624
    Dec 22, 2010
    Atlanta
    Yeah, love mine as well.

    Also a point to note is that when Lindy had originally sent me the pickups he included his "magic cap" but when I took it in to have them install the pickups they actually forgot about the cap. I played it for about a week before taking it back in to have the cap Lindy sent installed (I paid for it after all). And I've never been a big believer in caps, but this one definitely gave the pickups a tiny bit more presence. Not treble in the normal sense, I wouldn't say it made the pickups any brighter, but just some added top end clarity.

    Couldn't be happier with mine. And also I'm fine paying a little extra for the type of service and attention to detail Lindy gives. Lindy himself stayed on the phone for about an hour with me and my tech when an issue arose. And seemed super happy to be doing it.
     
    gigs likes this.

  6. bigben55

    bigben55 Friend of Leo's

    May 19, 2010
    Cincinnati, OH
    Articulate is the word I keep coming back to. This is my 5th "premium" tele bridge pickup. I had a Keystone, which was articulate but way microphonic and a bit weak for my style. The Cavalier Nashville and Fat Lion both had more balls. I love both of those; still rock a Fat Lion with zero plans to change. The Muy Grande is pretty close to the Fat Lion. But none of those have as much note definition as the Fralin. I feel between my 2 teles and the Fat Lion & Blues Special, I can hit ANY tele bridge tone out there.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017

  7. fjrabon

    fjrabon Tele-Holic

    624
    Dec 22, 2010
    Atlanta
    Yeah, I've just gotten to the point where I always crave more articulation. It's easy to fatten things up if you start with an articulate sound, but it's nearly impossible to go the opposite way wth any success
     

  8. PDuster

    PDuster TDPRI Member

    Age:
    38
    25
    Apr 22, 2017
    Nowheresville
    How noisy are the Blues Specials: +2 covered open top @ neck?
     

  9. Chester Burnett

    Chester Burnett Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    296
    Aug 14, 2015
    Minneapolis, MN
    I've got a set in my Waterslide Telebacker and they are beastly. Noisy yes, lifeless no:)[​IMG]
     
    bigben55 and El Tele Lobo like this.

  10. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 21, 2014
    Florida
    Wow. I dig that. Have more pics?
     

  11. Chester Burnett

    Chester Burnett Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    296
    Aug 14, 2015
    Minneapolis, MN
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Don't want to hijack the thread but... :)
     
    El Tele Lobo likes this.

  12. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 21, 2014
    Florida
    Hey, it's eye candy with thread-relevant pickups. Nice build! We now return to our regularly scheduled programming...
     
    Chester Burnett likes this.

  13. bigben55

    bigben55 Friend of Leo's

    May 19, 2010
    Cincinnati, OH
    I don't think they're too noisy. I mean, all single coils are gonna make some noise. I've had way noisier tele pickups. I think the Cavalier tele pickups are a tad less noisy.

    Someone wise told me years ago regarding single coils: want noiseless, get noiseless. Want authentic? Don't get noiseless. I don't find strat or tele noise unbearable. Authentic P90 or Jazzmaster pups? Yeah, kinda
     

  14. bigben55

    bigben55 Friend of Leo's

    May 19, 2010
    Cincinnati, OH
    Did you make those knobs? Badass
     
    Chester Burnett likes this.

  15. Chester Burnett

    Chester Burnett Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    296
    Aug 14, 2015
    Minneapolis, MN

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