Fralin Vintage Hots/SP43 versus Fender Custom Shop 54s

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by dewman, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    Anyone compare the CS 54s to ralin Vintage hots in neck, middle and SP43 bridge pup? I was looking for something to replace the CS 54s in the vein of EJ pickups but a little brighter or rounder notes (maybe ighter is a better word) on the low end but with a sweet high end and capable of not muddying with fuzzes or overdriven tones.

    The CS 54s in this guitar are ok but the bridge is a little anemic but the neck can give that nice Texas tone.

    I am looking for about the same percieved output as EJ pups or something similar, I definitely do not want rediculously hot pups. Dont know how hot the Fralins are versus any f the CS pups.

    One other alternative is CS fat 50s, which have sounded good to my ears in a few alder/rosewood guitars from the Custom Shop I've played before.

    I know 'what best pups' threads get real crazy, so I am trying to limit the field to this comparison only. Any comments on these pups?
     
  2. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

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    Fralin Vintage Hots w/SP43 are the quintessential mids 60's Stratocaster pickups. If such a thing existed as the best pickups on the planet they would not be head & shoulders above the competition but I guarantee you that they would be on the same cloud sharing space with the very best Strat pickups. I am no fan of the Fender Custom Shop 54's. I find them to be a bit too dry and flat sounding. Not terrible, just not special in the same way as the aforementioned "hall of famer" Fralin winds.
     
  3. Cranknfrank

    Cranknfrank Member

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    I own 5 Strats and 1 Grosh. The Grosh and 3 of the Strats have various Fralins and 1 strat is an EJ. All around, the Fralins are my favorite single coil pickups. The Fralins are quite a bit hotter than the EJ's. The EJ's have a great vintage tone but the previous poster was correct, the Fralins seem to have that '60's vibe.

    I have Fat '50's in 1 Strat and they are very nice pickups. They lean in a vintage direction..........probably closer to the EJ's with just a bit more mid range spank. I have a SP43 in the Grosh and I'd say it is hotter than what you are looking for. It's almost P90-ish in its voicing. But all of the aforementioned pickups sound great. Hope that helps.
     
  4. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    I just had an SP43 in my strat that originally had '54's. I'm back to the 54's with a tone control wired on the bridge. The Fralin was cool. Notes had a strong toned clank to them. I liked it at first, but started to miss the strat tone, especailly position 2. The '54 bridge is wound a little hotter, but I'd like just a little mo' too. Maybe just a little more mids.

    I've heard the Duncan SSL 5 is real cool. Still strat sounding but thicker.
     
  5. bearbike137

    bearbike137 Supporting Member

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    Agreed -- I think the SP43 is simply too hot for anyone looking for something resembling a Strat bridge tone.
     
  6. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    but to push a nonmaster volume marshall amp, the VH and SP 43 should be ok, no?

    do these pickups overload fuzzes or overdrive/distortion pedals??
     
  7. Kelly

    Kelly Member

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    The Vintage Hots really shine on clean/ moderately distorted tones. The SP43 will do anything, including high gain, but it isn't quite as Stratlike. You may like it; you may not. I think it's a happy medium if you need a beefy bridge pickup but don't want a humbucker. Clips of different singles are at www.acmeguitarworks.com.
     
  8. Eugene

    Eugene Supporting Member

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    I had the Vintage Hots/SP43 combo in a Grosh Retro Classic....amazing set. The only Fender offering that I like as much are the '69's that are in my Limited Edition '62 Reissue Strat...very nice as well. I prefer either set over the '54's. Of course, YMMV.....

    Eugene
     
  9. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    a few more sort of silly questions:

    how are the vintage hots with a non master volume Marshall circuit?

    Do wood combinations favor the vintage hots/SP 43s (like maple versus rosewood; ash versus alder??)??
     
  10. JamesT

    JamesT Senior Member

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    fralin i have real 54s.
     
  11. winkofaneye

    winkofaneye Member

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    I have strats with vintage hots and strats with CS69's.I find the Fralins to excel with non-master volume Marshall's;the CS69's are a little too bright in the bridge position.The Fralins are perfect for Hendrix type tones.Very powerful pickups.
     
  12. Kelly

    Kelly Member

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    Use a clean boost, such as a RC Booster, and they're wonderful.
     
  13. rhollyday

    rhollyday Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a Grosh Retro Classic with Fender CS 69's in the neck and middle, and a Fralin Vintage Hot in the Bridge. While I am still experimenting, this combination gives me plenty of vintage tone with a hotter, slightly less bright Bridge pickup. Also, there is still plenty of Quack in the in between positions.
     
  14. Madison

    Madison Supporting Member

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    Just wired in a set of Vintage Hots with an SP-43 in the bridge of my Am Deluxe Strat. Unlike some, I'm hearing plenty of quack in the second position, and the bridge is more usable now. The neck is phenomenal, bright percussive and powerful. Really boosts up a strat in a good way.
     
  15. jamison162

    jamison162 Supporting Member

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    For an alder strat the SP43 is too hot IMO, I use an SP42 and like it better. However, in an ash strat the SP43 is killer. I had this setup once and was some of the best strat bridge tones I've ever had.
     
  16. Curly

    Curly Member

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    this is a perennial problem with strats: once you go over about 7K in the bridge to add some beef, you start compromising the notch tone
     
  17. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Curly nails it. Heck my bridge is 6.4K ohm, and it doesn't sound as good as the ones that measure in the 5's for the vintage sounding notched tone like on old strats. Lower output for the notch, but I like the higher output for the bridge by itself.
     
  18. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

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    I think the best bridge PU I've found is the DiMarzio Virtual Vintage Solo.

    It's hot enough to balance with the Neck PU. It's also a little darker than the average strat bridge PU with a bit more mids and bass. However it sounds and looks like a real strat PU...unlike the SP43. Sounds right on to me. I never used to like the bridge PU until I found this bad boy.

    Here's some examples of it in positions 1 and 2 through my Marshall JTM-45 with various levels of drive/FX.

    Pos 2 clean 0:00-1:30
    http://soundclick.com/share?songid=7056083

    Pos 2 with some gain 0:00-1:35 after that it's the neck PU.
    http://soundclick.com/share?songid=7056175

    Pos 2 with some gain again then to pos 1
    http://soundclick.com/share?songid=7056168

    Pos 1 crunchy w chords
    http://soundclick.com/share?songid=7056146

    Pos 1 Crunchy stuff 0:00-2:00
    http://soundclick.com/share?songid=7056134

    Pos 1 Solo w/echo 0:00-1:00 after that it switches around a bit.
    http://soundclick.com/share?songid=7056117

    Pos 1 with gain 0-2:26 after that it's the neck PU w/volume down a bit.
    http://soundclick.com/share?songid=7056155




    Cheers,

    JD
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2008
  19. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    thanks Jack- great clips. I got my hands on a set of VHs with a SP43 bridge and will install them this weekend. If I like them I may buy a set, borrowing for now...looking for blues and Hendrix and Doyle Bramhall II tones, something working good with fuzzes of all sorts...
     
  20. jamison162

    jamison162 Supporting Member

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    Great tones Jack. But what's in the middle/neck positions?
     

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