Suhr V60(LP) v. Fralin Blues

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by mbratch, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    I'm looking to replace the 3 pickups in my American strat. After reading a bunch of threads on this board, it seems that the descriptions and praise given to Suhr V60 and V60LP, or Fralin Blues (with the base plate pu in the bridge pickup) make them candidates for what I'm looking for in sound.

    What I'd like to know, from players who have used any or all of these, how these pickups specifically compare in tone. I'm looking for a nice balance between fatness (particularly in the neck position) and some vintage twang (I realize these work against each other generally, so I expect a balance).

    Also, how are the pickups clean versus run through tube pre-amp distortion?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Jim Collins

    Jim Collins Member

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    I haven't used the Suhr pickups, so I cannot comment on how they compare to anything else, but I have used the Fralin Blues w/baseplate on the bridge. I put those pickups in a 65 NOS Time Machine Strat (rosewood lam fretboard, alder body). I left these pickups in for a few months, and played the guitar quite a bit, to give these pickups a good chance. Eventually, I took them out, because I just didn't like them, at all. They were annoyingly bright, to the point of being shrill. This annoying brightness persisted even with small, tweed amps that aren't particularly bright, themselves. (I couldn't use them, at all, with blackface style amps.) I do use the tone controls on my guitars, all the time, but I still couldn't get these pickups to work for me. I plug straight into the amp.

    Before anyone complains that I didn't give these pickups a fair chance, let me include that I am well aware of the effect that pickup height can have on tone, particularly in a Strat. I experimented, extensively, with the height of those pickups. I just could not get them to sound pleasing, no matter what volume and tone settings I used on the guitar and/or amp.

    Of course, my feelings about these pickups probably say more about me and my tastes than they do about the pickups, themselves. I like bright sounding guitars, but I don't like the brightness to be harsh or overpowering. If I were more atuned to using outboard overdrive or distortion, I might like these pickups, because they can certainly cut through any mud. Sometimes, though, the capacity to cut through that mud can become unpleasant if the mud isn't there, in the first place.
     
  3. DownByLaw

    DownByLaw Supporting Member

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    I will not be popular for saying this, but I just installed a set of the v60lp's in my strat plus deluxe, replacing the original lace's and jb junior. (ash/maple board) I have to say I'm very disappointed. I do not find these fat in the least, I feel they lack sustain, and have little balls. (this is on a guitar with far better than average sustain and balls and is acoustically very loud) I have had duncan alnico pros in this guitar that sounded better and were far cheaper and have played stock american standards that gave up nothing to these as well. Oh well, live and learn. I will be sending mine back and probably going Anderson.

    Patrick
     
  4. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    Thanks for the helpful feedback so far.

    My strat (1991 American Deluxe Plus) has the deluxe lace sensor set (Blue/Silver/Red). I've gotten some nice tones from these pickups (all three). But, the big stick in the craw is that going through overdrive/distortion they are very buzzy/fuzzy sounding. All along, I thought it was my amp until I had someone else play their guitar (happened to have HBs, not SCs) in my amp and the distortion sounded awesome. I didn't peg this as an HB v. SC issue as much as that my amp just doesn't seem to like these pickups. (I'm referring to my Nau amp.)

    So I'm on the lookout for replacements.
     
  5. DownByLaw

    DownByLaw Supporting Member

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    You are actually trying to achieve exactly what I am, so I will keep an eye on what you discover. (my guitar is the same - deluxe plus, same pickups other than jb junior) As I say, I believe I will be trying an anderson setup next, as I really love the pickups in my Hollow T. I'll post my findings.

    Patrick

     
  6. mattmccloskey

    mattmccloskey Supporting Member

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    the fralins are brighter than the suhrs. I much prefer the suhr v60lps myself. They are not that fat sounding compared to some single coils, but are a bit beefier than stock fender vintage types. I think they are smoother in the highs when overdriven, and are nice and balanced. The v60lps also still sound like a strat, plenty of chime and a little 'hollowness' that single coils provide in contrast to buckers. The fralin blues are similar in output but have a pretty hard high end that makes overdrive sounds a bit buzzy.
    I think you will find a good balance with the v60lp pickups, and you can also get a baseplate added to the bridge pickup from suhr as well.
     
  7. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    Thanks Matt. What would you suggest for something fatter that's still a single coil?
     
  8. DownByLaw

    DownByLaw Supporting Member

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    I will have to retract my previous review due to ignorance. Spoke too soon. After careful setup, (pickup height, string action etc) I now see what the fuss is about. I have achieved some stellar sounds with these pickups. And yes, I would say they are "fat", with excellent balance and beautiful overtones. Not as corpulent as the TDOs in my Andy Hollow T, but quite nice. Quite amazed at the lack of brittleness and nuts in the bridge, which I really only thought would be achievable with a 'bucker. All positions are great, even the middle solo. Nice woodiness with the sparkle as well. I bought these from acme prewired with blender and they did a beautiful job, as good as anything I've seen. Recommended.

    Eating humble pie,
    Patrick
     
  9. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    Thanks for the update Patrick.

    Did you do anything special on the bridge pickup (e.g., use a base plate)?

    Also... how do you like the blend pot? Do you miss having two tone controls? On my existing strat, I set my two tone knobs differently, so I'm feeling a little cautious about the blend pot.
     
  10. DownByLaw

    DownByLaw Supporting Member

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    No, no baseplate. (curious about it though) Really just a matter of optimizing height. (seem quite sensitive to this) I am able to run the bridge closer to the strings than I thought I could without "stratitis". I like the blend as my other guit is tele style, and it gives me some tele flavor. Works well to warm up the bridge some by blending in a little neck. I can see how all 3 on could work well for slide, or very strummy clean stuff. Personally I don't miss having two tones, never really used them on this guitar as I found they didn't work all that well. (typical strat) Although, with these pickups and the wiring job acme did, (superior parts) the 1 tone works quite well, much better than stock. Honestly, I don't find the bridge overly bright so I run it full up. I know some will back the bridge tone off on a strat a little, but the suhrs never get to that icepick point. What amp are you running?

    Patrick
     
  11. Glowing Tubes

    Glowing Tubes Gold Supporting Member

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    I actually dropped some Suhr V60 (not lp) into my fender strat about 3 years ago. It was a dramatic difference, rich greasy tone when you dig in a little, sparkly clean, great clarity.

    The V60LP's sound really amazing.

    Good luck with your search.


    Richard
     
  12. DownByLaw

    DownByLaw Supporting Member

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    I agree, and I feel like a shmuck for originally saying otherwise. I did not mention the these clean up very nicely with a roll back on the vol, and with the vol kit on the acme setup, stay nice and clear.

    Patrick

     

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