Fralin Vintage Hots, baseplates and tone controls question

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by David Garner, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. David Garner

    David Garner Member

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    I asked this over at Strat-Talk but I thought I'd drop it here too. I just installed a set of Fralin Vintage Hots I got for a song on Reverb into my MIM Strat. They sound phenomenal for the most part, but the bridge is either too thin and trebly or too middy with no complexity to the tone. I can't find a happy medium between good tone and good tonality, if that makes sense.

    I have the bridge pickup wired to the tone control because that's how this guitar sounded best before (with MIM ceramics) and that's how my EJ Strat sounds best (with stock EJ pickups). My understanding is the tone control should fatten the pickup a bit, and it does, but I'm wondering if I decide to go with a baseplate whether that will be too much and get me back into the "too middy, no complexity" realm with the tone control to the bridge.

    This is my long-winded way of asking: those of you with the Fralin Vintage Hot pickups installed, do you have a baseplate, and how is your tone control wired? Looking for suggestions to make the bridge in this set match the awesomeness of the neck and middle. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. 1radicalron

    1radicalron Member

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    Try a master tone control, for all 3 pups.= That always helped my Strat Brdige pup sound a bit fatter.
     
  3. David Garner

    David Garner Member

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    Thanks -- I've considered a blender pot. I may give that a whirl.
     
  4. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius Member

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    I have vintage hots w/baseplates in two guitars. They're my favorite SC pickups. I always wire my Strats with a master tone pot and a blender pot to dial in the neck/bridge combination. Works great.
     
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  5. David Garner

    David Garner Member

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    Thanks! I may go ahead and order a blender pot now. My neck pickup has some microphonic issues when used with an overdrive, so I'm going to change the springs for surgical tubing like Fralin usually uses. When I do that, I'll add the baseplate and re-wire to blender and see how that works.
     
  6. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

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    I usually run the same wiring as Doc Morbius. My strat with Vintage Hots is wired like that. I also have my bridge pickup quite a bit higher than the neck and middle positions.

    I definitely like the blender. I've had several strats wired so I could combine the neck and bridge, sometimes with a mini toggle, sometimes by just physically reversing the neck and middle pickups withing changing the wiring. With the blender, you can dial in just as much neck pickup as you need.

    I like the set. Not my favorite sets, but I'm not really tempted to replace them though I have thought about replacing the bridge pickup with something hotter. My two favorite sets both have hotter bridge pickups. I used to think I wasn't a 'hot bridge pickup' guy but I've found that that setup works best for me.
     
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  7. David Garner

    David Garner Member

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    Odd thing -- I ordered the blender pot and a volume kit (they came together through the ebay source), but I went ahead and installed the baseplate last night. As I feared, it just sucked all the life out of the pickup with the bridge wired to a tone control. You could put it on 10 and it sounded pretty good, but anything less and it sounded lifeless.

    So I moved the tone control to the middle and left the bridge unloaded (standard Strat wiring). Man, what a huge difference. Now, it sounds fully and twangy and huge. Still a tad thinner and brighter than a Telecaster with the tone rolled off a bit, but very much an improvement. I think I'm going to keep it like that, honestly. I really like what it does to the tone. It's a good change of pace from my EJ Strat.
     

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