Fralin steel-pole Strat pups?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by hipfan, Aug 9, 2006.


  1. hipfan

    hipfan Member

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    I have a Robin Wrangler, which is kind of a Nashville Tele-style with a Tele bridge and then Strat middle and neck pickups. After a lot of pickup swapping, I *think* I've found the perfect bridge pickup for me - a Harmonic Design Super 90. I have it hooked up to a 500K volume pot and a 280K tone pot, and it sounds fantastic. Lots of P90-meets-Tele punch with the volume on 10, and good Tele clang with the volume lowered a bit.

    I need to get a middle and neck pickup to match the S90 bridge, and I'm thinking the Fralin Steel-pole series would be a perfect complement. They appear to be the same design theme as the S90 and perhaps a good match output-wise. Can anyone comment on the steel poles? How about the SP42's vs. the SP43's? What are the tonal differences between the pickups wound with the two different gauges of wire? Any other Strat-style middle and neck pickups I should be looking at? Thanks for any insight!
     
  2. Telecaster

    Telecaster Member

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    I have both a HD S90 and a Fralin SP43 bridge pickup. To my ear, the HD sounds a bit edgier and the Fralin is a bit smoother with slightly more sizzle in the higher frequencies. Both are great i.m.h.o.
     
  3. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    If you ask (as I did) Lindy will tap the Steel Pole 43 at 6.0K ohms & with a minitoggle you can move between P90-ish and legit Strat tones with the same PUP.
     
  4. hipfan

    hipfan Member

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    Thanks for the input, gentlemen. Any other ideas on middle/neck pickups that would complement the tone and output of the HD S90 Tele bridge?
     
  5. Go Cat Go!!

    Go Cat Go!! Member

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    Check out the Vintage Vibe SP-90's. I just installed a set in my main player. They have glorious tone. They were designed to sound like a P-90. They may may not sound exactly like one, however they are fat and sweet. The quality and attention to detail really stand out. They are fully shielded too.

    http://vintagevibeguitars.com/pickup_sc.html

    Single coil P-90 style pickups for Strat style guitars
    The SP-90 is a strat-sized single coil that is wound like a P-90. The tone is like a strat on steroids! These pickups feature nickel plated height adjustable pole pieces and twin ceramic-8 bar magnets. The bridge pickup is wound 15% more than the neck and middle for good volume balance.
     
  6. lbw

    lbw Member

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    I have the SP42 set in my Stratocaster and I think they're the best sounding Stratocaster pickups around. They're not quite as bright and chimey as a regular Stratocaster pickup - a lot fatter (more midrange).

    I'd say the SP43 might be a bit too hot for a neck and middle pickup if you're still looking for the Stratocaster like sound.
     
  7. hipfan

    hipfan Member

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    Thanks, G-C-G and lbw! I think the Fralin SP42's are going to be my first choice, but I'll keep in mind the SP-90's and SP43's in case the SP42's are not fat enough.
     
  8. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    Hipfan... I know this is a belated reply
    & don't even know if you'll ever read it,
    but if by chance you do....
    How do you like your Robin Wrangler in general?

    And what made you buy it in the first place (if I may be so bold..)?
     
  9. Troubleman

    Troubleman Silver Supporting Member

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    I've a Fralin SP-42 in one of my Strats, and a Harmonic Design Super90 (strat version) in another. I know both pickups quite well at this point. The SP-42 is much more Strat-like in its sound and vibe than Fralin's SP-43 IMO. I think it (the SP-42) would be a better choice for staying on this side of the "Fenderville" line. It maintains more of that type chime. I don't hear nearly as much of that with the SP-43. I think the SP-43 is squarly in the P90 camp (not a bad place to be mind you) - too powerful and mid-range strident to be Stratty, especially for a neck or middle pickup.

    jb
     
  10. hipfan

    hipfan Member

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    You may! :) I like the Wrangler very well. I've made it into kind of a project guitar, but it sounded great stock too. I purchased the guitar a few years ago at a local music shop after playing it a few times on different visits to the store. Something about it just felt right, so I worked out a trade deal for a guitar I was not using very much. I had never heard of Robin before seeing the guitar.

    After posting my initial inquiry here, I think I've found that I'll really never use the middle and neck positions for anything, no matter how good of a match they are for the guitar or the Super 90 (I'm a rock rhythm, bridge player at heart, I suppose). I'm going to suspend my search for neck and middle pickups and just focus on getting the bridge position sounding as good as possible. With the S90 bridge pickup, I suppose I've made it into a Tele version of a Les Paul Junior of sorts! :D

    The tone of the Wrangler is on the loud, bright side of things. Acoustically, it rings like a big bell. I've tried a bunch of great bridge pickups in it, and it definitely sounds best with warmer, more middy pickups like the S90 or the Rio Grande Muy Grande. I've even gone to a 280K volume pot with the S90, and it's still plenty bright in this guitar.

    The guitar has a hefty maple neck and fretboard and a light swamp ash body. The neck pocket fit is extremely good. It's a nice guitar.

    Troubleman - Thanks for the input. I'll keep that in mind if I decide to pursue middle and neck pickups again.
     

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