Fralin vs. Lollar

The Lisbon Plane

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I'm using Lollar Novel 90s on my Godin Dorchester and loving them, . My feeling after 50 years of messing with everything is Lollars are a little hotter (and do have better packaging, but your not playing the package).
 

john sammers

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I have a set of Fralin Classic Tele and Strat (and Strat Blues) and they are without question the most beautiful Fender type pickups I've had (I've owned an L Series and other assorted Strats and have another tele with hand wound pups). In terms of Lollar - I have their P90s in a Gibson gold top and a Lollar Imperial Humbucker. They are all beautiful (although my MOJO PAFs sounded sweeter to my ears than the Imperial). I'm sorry I can't be more help, but I feel Fralin GET Fender guitars and Lollar GET p90s. You wouldn't go wrong with Fralin Fender pups and Lollar p90s IMO.
 

Cheap Trills

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I've had good experience with both. I think their sound aesthetic is different, having tried a couple different pickups from both over the years. My observation is that Fralin's have a particular sound, like a single-coily color in every pickup, and Lollars have a particular squash? if that make any sense? I attribute the fralin sound to the winding and the lollar squash to the pickups, but I'm probably brainwashed by the marketing since I don't know the science, just going with what I experience and read. The fralin I haven't tried though is the pure paf, which might be what your looking at. I'm a big fan of the imperials, they just feel good and I haven't felt the need to look past them
 

JKjr

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I really like the analogy about the Fralins Cheap Trills. Lollar and Fralin are my go-to winders. I happen to live near Lindy, so have tried virtually all his stuff, and own quite a few, including the pure paf. Everything he makes has single coil clarity, but sounds like what it is. That paf is warm and friendly but never muddy, and Lindy's coil splits are astoundingly good. Always lots of sparkle and bite but no ice pick unless you really try.
I'm equally loaded with Lollars of all sorts. Dirty blondes are a favorite, his tele special is out of this world good and matches perfectly with his firebird...my favorite tele set.
Lindy always winds in plenty of treble bite...Lollars tend to be a bit more round as a rule. What you get with both is complexity and dynamics off the scale, even when clean as a pin. Pickups that sound like the guitar they're in.
 

TwangerWannabe

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Lollar is more professional, IMO. The Strat coils are taped, the packaging is better. You get a fiber board guitar pick that has Lollar etched into it. Fralins come in a cheesy carboard box, wrapped in bubble wrap. Lollars have the pickup name hand written on the underside, Fralins have a little teeny paper tag on the lead wire, which falls off almost immediately after unboxing. Fralin's QC hasnt been that great either, IME.

That being said, if buying Strat pickups, I'd rather have vintage stagger, even though Lollar tries to pedal flat pole pieces, and charges more for stagger.
So it has more to do with the packaging and presentation than it does how they actually sound?!
 

Antigua Tele

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So it has more to do with the packaging and presentation than it does how they actually sound?!

They don't sound different, not in any significant way. I've come to respect that Fralin puts tags on the wire instead of writing on the pickup, it's more vintage accurate to leave the back of the pickup unblemished with such markings. Lollars are less vintage correct both for the writing on the pickup, and the tape wrapped coils, as well as the fact that he pushes flat poled pickups. I've heard that Fender made flat poled Strat pickups in the 70's, but not in the 50's or 60's.
 

TwangerWannabe

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They don't sound different, not in any significant way. I've come to respect that Fralin puts tags on the wire instead of writing on the pickup, it's more vintage accurate to leave the back of the pickup unblemished with such markings. Lollars are less vintage correct both for the writing on the pickup, and the tape wrapped coils, as well as the fact that he pushes flat poled pickups. I've heard that Fender made flat poled Strat pickups in the 70's, but not in the 50's or 60's.
Different strokes I guess.

As long as the pickups sound good, I could care less about "vintage correct", writing on the bottom of the pickup, etc.
 

cmm71

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For what it's worth, and it's really not worth all that much, Lindy Fralin pickups now come with a circular "LF" stamped on the bobbin. I just bought a set two weeks ago and the store that sold them actually mentioned it while I was considering them. I have had both Fralin and Lollar. I went Fralin because my local shop carries them, while Lollar only sells online. I went through a Tele building phase last year and Lollar filled my orders fast and the pickups were amazing. I'm trying to do more business locally and break from online purchases as much as I can, so for my Strat I decided to buy Fralins from my local shop. I love them. I'm convinced that both are top notch builders.
 

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Bruxist

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For what it's worth, and it's really not worth all that much, Lindy Fralin pickups now come with a circular "LF" stamped on the bobbin. I just bought a set two weeks ago and the store that sold them actually mentioned it while I was considering them. I have had both Fralin and Lollar. I went Fralin because my local shop carries them, while Lollar only sells online. I went through a Tele building phase last year and Lollar filled my orders fast and the pickups were amazing. I'm trying to do more business locally and break from online purchases as much as I can, so for my Strat I decided to buy Fralins from my local shop. I love them. I'm convinced that both are top notch builders.

Or on the baseplate of the bridge. My Blues Special Tele Bridge pickup has one.
 

gwjensen

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I assembled a Warmoth Tele about 10 - 15 years ago with a Callaham bridge and Fralin Pickups that I bought through Callaham's website along with the bridge and saddles. Amazing tone.. To this day it's my reference Tele and all new Teles that come into the house get compared to it. I have yet to find one with a better tone. Some might sound as good in their own way - I have a Tele with a Lollar El Rayo humbucker that sounds great, even in the split coil - but no single coil Tele has sounded better. I had a set of his Blues Specials in a Strat some years back that were excellent...

I spoke with Lindy today and he said the pickups Callaham was selling back then would have been the Vintage Hots, so I went ahead and ordered another set. I'm going to assemble another partscaster (my son has the first one) with all the same specs and hope that lightening strikes twice :).

Lindy is very humble and doesn't hype his pickups. When I told him I credited his pickups with the guitar's great tone, he sort of corrected me and said a guitar's wood has a bigger effect on tone... He didn't have to say anything a could have let believe that its all in the pickups... Anyway, I'm a Fralin Fan all the way and I'm sure I'll be buying more of his pickups.
 

Greggorios

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Coke and Pepsi, pick your preferred flavor.
 
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telesun

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When I replaced the my texas specials in my CiJ Tele with Loller 52 T‘s I was amazed..Can’t say I‘ve experimented much since..just very happy with my tone. Since then I have tried the Loller vintage T’s in my Tele partscaster and Loller dirty blondes in a Strat partscaster and see no reason to change or experiment further. Guess I’m either lucky or easy to please.
 

telemnemonics

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Due to frantic hysteria over pickups I virtually never buy brand new.
Tons and tons of fine used pickups available.
Well OK i bought three Guitar Madness Firebird pickups for $18 each shipped but otherwise I've bought literally hundreds of used pickups.
Sorry, I bought some new Duncan and Dimarzio around 1980 when it was hard to find used pickups.
Anyhow, I had Fralin rewind some Tele bridge pickups and their shop was great to deal with. Bought a few Fralins used too.
 

Esquire Jones

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Just wanted to add that I’ve had a set of Fralins in my strat since wayyyy back in the 90’s.

I bought them from Torres Engineering by mail order. Yup; mail order.

I think I read about this crazy young guy making pickups that were really good from the back of Guitar Player magazine. They came pre wired (from Torres) with a variable mid boost (coil) in the middle tone knob.

They sounded great then. They sound great now. Far superior to the 70’s stock grey-bottom Fender pickups.
 

Chiogtr4x

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I think this question is like asking which is better BMW, or Mercedes. They both put out a quality product. One must decide which one suits their specific needs better. In my case, D. Allen’s have been my go to aftermarket pickup maker. However, it seems he isn’t making any at this point. I think if I wanted a P-90 set I would lean towards Lollar.
Well said!
I know this is an old thread ( but good) and I personally don't have a ton of pickup savy- but some & been playing a long time...
A little P-90 pickups story:

In the early 2000's, a 'band fan' of ours I was giving casual guitar to, actually gave me his Agile 1956 Gold Top LP to me as a very nice Christimas gift.
He collected all kinds of import guitars, and he knew I dug this one! So:

" Wow, I just a gold top w/P-90's!"

Sidebar shift: a good friend of mine, with his own roots/rock Baltimore band ( I'm in VA/DC) has a real amazing '57 Les Paul Jr. ( I cannot express how good this guitar sounds into a cranked Super Reverb- rich, raw, detailed 'chewy chime'), BUT, the original Gibson pickup died late '90's. Bummer!

Bob ( upon recommendation of fellow Baltimore rockabilly guys) replaced his with a Lindy Fralin ( I think Bob met him at his shop in Richmond) P-90.
Bob absolutely loved it- did not lose a beat from the original.

Back to me>
I ( maybe wrongly?) assumed the stock P-90's in my Agile LP were probably not that good- but it was more, like:
" You just got a free Les Paul, put the best P-90's on the planet in this guitar!"
> So, I knew about Lollar pickups from mag ads/reviews, maybe on TGP ( timeline is fuzzy) as being fantastic, and the P-90's were the best.

But I also knew locally in Balto/DC area, the exact same buzz about Fralins and their P-90's!

So I literally decided with a coin flip ( 2 out of 3) of a quarter, and Lollar won!

* sorry for all the buidup, just for this- just a testimonial to both guys.

Bottom line:
I found these pickups to be absolutely amazing in that:
A) they were really in balance tonally ( complimentary) and and matched in output

B) I've only ever played a few guitars ever with either P-90's or humbuckers, but IMO these pickups were very smooth and sweet- on either pickup position, using the Volume knobs ( Tone controls around '7') it was like rolling from a nice twangy Tele brightness, into what I thought was a really nice humbucking sound going from B.B King/Dickey Betts, to squawkier more raw Duane Allman. ( into a clean Fender amp with low Drive OD) - Those sounds were really there.

But I can't really comment if they sounded like P-90's or not. They just sounded fantastic!

> I will say both pickups sounded better at '8'/'9' vs. '10'- maximum clarity w/power

I have no idea the P-90's specs ( don't have the dang guitar anymore!!-that's another story)


'
 

Robert H.

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Over 100 answers - don't know if this thread will really help the OP. But I'll say - I have a set of Fralin Blues Special in my Strat and they are excellent. I have a Lollar Regal in my Tele Thinline (neck slot only) and a Lollar High Wind in my Suhr Tele (neck slot only) and they are both great. I think you, the OP, will need to use your ears and decide which you like.
 

pedrohead

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Just picked up a set of Fralin Vintage Hots that were perfect for this new custom shop Tele. It's got more guts and low end than any Tele I've played before, and even the handwired Fender CS pickups that came in it were too muddy in relation. The Fralins (and some potentiometer experimentation) opened it right up and loving it now.

Always done right with Fralin.
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