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Fender CS Pickups vs Lollar vs Fralin???

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by jz20051, Oct 21, 2016.

  1. jz20051

    jz20051 TDPRI Member

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    Hello Tele brothers!

    I'm fairly to this forum and look for your honest opinions. I recently got this Tele http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guit...uitar?rNtt=fender telecaster american&index=1 at my local GC and it's amazing! I love the rosewood neck, very smooth and easy neck. It comes with Fender Custom Shop Twisted Tele PU set; however, I'm looking into Lollar or Fralin's PU's?

    I want something that'll have a full n' clear, bell like cleans, but also have a good overdriven tone for complex chords and leads. I'm mostly playing at Church, but also I wanna do some blues on my spare time.

    What do you guys think? Should I stick with the Fender CS PU's??

    Or will the Lollar and Fralin's really make a difference? And if so, which ones would you recommend?
     
  2. bo

    bo Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I've not tried the Twisted Tele Set. What don't you like about them? I've tried a few older Fralins and they're very nice. That said, you might find Fender OV Pickups that come in the U.S. made non-CS reissue Teles to fit the bill just fine if you're just looking for old school Tele pickups.
     
  3. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I'll bite. Keep the ones you have, and in the mean time catch up on some of the threads around here about pickups when you can. Mull it over. Pick up your Tele and play some more, at your house, at church..

    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/measured-electrical-values-of-various-telecaster-pickups.665808/

    I've been swapping Tele pickups etc the past three years, for S&Gs but also to figure out what folks are referencing. Haven't seen a need to spend the bucks on a Lollar, Mare, or Fralins yet. I've been extremely happy with more affordable indie winders and Fender's OV and CS pups.
     
    Shango66 likes this.
  4. jz20051

    jz20051 TDPRI Member

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    They're great pickups and they sound good too, but I'm curious if the Lollar, Fralin, and all other hand-wound PU's are worth it. I know the Fender CS guitars have the handwound PU's. I heard some the YouTube videos and they do sound very warm and clean.

    What Fralins have you tried?
     
  5. robotguitar

    robotguitar Tele-Holic

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    I flip a lot of gear. Currently have 4 american standard Teles with different pups just because I had them. I've got Joe Bardens in one, Dimarzios in another, fender noiseless, and one is stock bridge with a Tom Anderson sk5 splittable stacked humbucker in the neck. To me, they are all great with a few subtle differences. I'd say play with the stock pups. Any of my guitars would work for any style. Really comes down to the feel of the guitar for me. By the way, all the pickups I mentioned are excellent in my opinion.
     
  6. Phelonious Ponk

    Phelonious Ponk Tele-Afflicted

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    I have a set of Fralin standards in a Telemaster that I like a lot. The best thing about them is the neck pick up. Very clear and clean. No mud at all. Its abeautiful match to the bridge pickup, which is much more 60s twang than black guard bite.

    P
     
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  7. guitarampnut

    guitarampnut TDPRI Member

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    Any of these will suit your purposes. Put a set in your Tele and stop obsessing about the "maybes". Been there.
     
    Stingfan73 likes this.
  8. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'd expect you can get years of good use out of that neck pup just because it's well balanced and not as muddy as a stock Tele neck pup, unless you crave the signature T neck sound.
    A Tele bridge pup is more personal and needs to match your picking style, music style, hearing, bandmates, amp and speaker.
    If after a while you feel you want a little more clarity than the stock Broadcaster bridge pup, and buy a lower output brighter cleaner bridge pup, you may end up with more high end than you wanted and need to change your speaker or find a different amp to be able to get the clarity without the ice pick. Or maybe your current amp and speaker perfectly match whatever your preferences for pickups and tones and music.
    If you want even more meaty thickness than the stock Broadcaster bridge pup and go for a really hot overwound bridge pup, you may wish you had more high end and clarity, and look for a brighter cleaner amp with more headroom and a more efficient speaker. That's a pretty dark meaty bridge pup.
    I prefer cleaner brighter pickups, but the current trend is more toward darker and hotter.

    Am I making sense?

    I buy pickups used and buy them often enough to have a bunch in bins.
    Rob at Cavalier pickups is a member here that winds to order and has better prices than some of the boutique names you mentioned. You can ask him for a recommendation after you get a feel for your new Tele.
    Or just buy and try.
     
    Doug 54 likes this.
  9. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    Lollar, Fralin, and Don Mare all make very good stuff and have big-time reps. You would probably be happy with any of them. I have a Don Mare set that I'm very happy with.

    I only buy used, never new. That way, if I'm not satisfied with the results, I can sell for about what I paid and stay in the game. :)

    If you want to make a change, first figure out why. Specifically, what you want more or less of, brighter, fatter, etc. If you can't do that, it's just changing for the sake of changing.
     
    moosie, songtalk and telemnemonics like this.
  10. AJ Love

    AJ Love Friend of Leo's

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    I like Fender pickups more than Lollar or Fralin..... they just sound more like vintage Fenders to me... I admit it could be user error!

    My Tele has a Mare in it though
     
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  11. Pcaluaru

    Pcaluaru Tele-Meister

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    My advice is that you leave them in for about 6 months. Right now it looks like you’re wanting to swap them out just because your gassing to try something new (Or got the notion from this site.... Fralin pups are all that and a bag of chips… which they are good… but Fender CS pups are just as good. Right now ...Guitar being new and all. Do you really know what those pups truly do????? Playing the guitar for 6 months you will.


    Fender makes some damn good pups, especially the pups they put in their American made models or the higher end MIM models that have custom shop pups


    Fralin’s won’t sound better than those, just as good. At that level everything sounds good just different. Wait... let those Twisted pups sit and stew for a little while... something tells me you will learn to appreciate them for they are... i.e some really nice pups.

    Then.. after 6 months Im with Teletronics.. if your going to swap out those CS pups go with some Cavaliers. Rob really knows what he's doing (IMO as good as Fralin's, his service is better and his prices for the quality can't be beat!)
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2016
    AJ Love and Doug 54 like this.
  12. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

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    The pickup specs, how many winds, wire gauge, magnet type etc make more difference than the brand name, and Lollar, Fralin and many others all make a wide range of pickups to a range of specs. You need to get some sort of understanding of the pickups you have.

    Just play the stock pickups in your usual situations, home, rehearsal, church, etc, and then decide whether there's anything about the sound that doesn't work for you. They will be perfectly good pickups in the particular style they were designed as. The question is whether that's the right style for you, not whether it's the right brand.

    If you eventually decide you need to change the sound you need to understand the specs of the pickups you have and the sort of specs that will give you the changes you want.
     
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  13. powerwagonjohn

    powerwagonjohn Tele-Meister

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    Don't forget the Bill Lawrence Keystones. A boutique style pick up at a very good price.
    Thanks John
     
  14. Derek Kiernan

    Derek Kiernan Friend of Leo's

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    The Fenders will be the least "vintage Fender" of the bunch, and their general quality control is much lower than Lollar. That said, if you like what you have (there can definitely be good examples), no reason to mix it up for the sake of it. I would recommend a low capacitance cable if you have an itch to see what else your setup can do. This extends out the highs, gives you a smoother response by moving the resonance out of areas our ears are particularly sensitive to, and is less expensive than a pickup swap, and of course will bring the same benefits if you do change pickups later.

    If you're really gunning for another set, try the Keystones. Those basically have as much clarity as you can get out of a conventional Tele set and are considerably less expensive than Lollars etc while being produced to the absolute highest standards.
     
  15. sothoth

    sothoth Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

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    Depends also on which "vintage" sound you're after. The Broadcaster had non-staggered magnets and was pretty hot and thick sounding for a vintage pickup. My take on the evolution of the tele sound is that over the next few years they started sounding much brighter. Some associate that with the tele twang. I far prefer the Broadcaster sound. To me tele "twang" is really overly bright and slightly ear piercing.

    I have tried a few Broadcaster-ish pickups that sound fantastic including the Bareknuckle Blackguard Flat '50 and the Lollar Vintage T. Both are great pickups and sound wonderfully smooth. Bill Callahan sells a version of the Fralin's that he claims are better sounding because they're cryogenically treated, which is supposed to give a similar effect as several years of break in, which mellows the tone. I haven't tried them but Bill has a great ear for tone and I trust Fralin's are fantastic to begin with.

    My go to is the Bareknuckle. Although I like the sound of a strat neck pickup more than the tele so I may get the Lollar version of tele neck pickup that sounds a bit more stratty just to experiment.

    Good luck I think you will love any of the pickups you mentioned or the BKPs if you choose them.
     
  16. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I agree with about every post so far, albeit no keystone experience.
    [EDIT] {Other than an rare early BL Tele neck noiseless, LIKE}

    Done the gambit from original 67 Fender Pickups to Budz/Fralins.

    Broadcaster voiced anything for me is what I want to stick in a nastycaster Esquire. [or a Pre-B1]

    I have come to like any MIJ neck Fender tele pickup in the 6k area, and small pole bridge pickups near same 6.5k for clarity. Still and always love a good Strat in the neck of a Tele. Tall boy type [dirty harrys, twisted tele, etc] in that area of response to the hotter side of things. But to me loose a good bit of vintage clarity when not kicking the **** out of the amp front end.

    Back to the MIJ necks, a touch throatier/strattier than normal Tele covered neck PUPS to my ear.

    Isn't the Twisted bridge a Broadcaster PUP. Unless my memory sucks.

    I pulled the CS 62 bridge pickup outta my Strat for a hotter pickup, and can not wait to get it in a tele neck position. Paired with a tapped Cav Lion I have. ;)

    Note: My kids Tele has a Little 59 Strat pickup floating in the bridge position with a toggle [coil/parallel/series] switch which is way more awesome than I ever expected it to be. Decoupled totally from the bridge plate FWIW. I never liked it in a Strat, thus he inherited it.

    This is all pretty much in the ear of the beholder, but I see a trend in the thread I believe.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2016
  17. gtrguru

    gtrguru Friend of Leo's

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    I've tried the CS Texas Specials and now have the CS Nocasters. They are both incredible pickups. Can't justify the high price of the boutique guys.
     
  18. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Before you start swapping pickups ... work at swapping volume pots and caps. You can push your guitar pickup tone around a lot for less than the cost of an import pickup.

    You'll need to get an ohm meter and measure the current volume pot. if it's 250kohms stamped on the case it might be 275k or 225k. A 500kohm could be 450k or 550k. And they are still in factory acceptable tolerance 'to print'. A low 225k will be a lot darker while a high 550k reading pot will be bright.

    If you have a muddy bridge pickup then put a 0.023uF or 0.047uF cap in series with its hot lead, that will cut the internal capacitance causing the muddiness.

    Get caps ranging from 0.01uF to 0.10uF and swap them with the existing tone cap (which will be either 0.023 or 0.047uF). I find when you hit the right one the tone expands almost as if you hit the presence or reverb knob on the amp.

    I've transformed a couple of guitars from "I should sell this thing but I'll try a little mod first" to "hey, this thing sounds great! And I'm keepin' it" with a tone cap change, or a new volume pot, or just got the mud out with a series cap.

    Any of the pups folks have listed will be great additions, but you will be fighting existing electronics for each one of them. I'd rather swap $5 worth of parts than a bunch of $100 pickups.
    Lindy Fralin Blues Special and the Lawrence Keystones are both nice pickups that I've tried.
    .
     
  19. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Some Lollars and Fralins are nice. As are Don Mare's, and my favorite: Stuart Blackguards. But don't overlook the Fender Pure Vintage 64 set. Grey bobbin, mid 60s sound (Cropper, bell-like neck, growly bridge). I've been playing my AV64 all this rainy day. I have all kinds available, and really, I'd not switch these out for anything.

    I feel compelled to mention, I tried the Keystones so many rave about, and I'm left wondering if it's just good "for the price". Because "good" in the absolute sense they ARE NOT. Yes, I set them up correctly. Couldn't stand them. Like pale dishwater. Couldn't sell 'em fast enough.
     
  20. loco gringo

    loco gringo Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    Cavaliers from Rob. Serious good pickups at serious good price. Tell him what you want. He can go from twang to all out monster.
     
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