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Fralin, Duncan Designed, Bullet P pups, can you tell which is which?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by 6stringvince, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. It's cold and I'm bored so I did a little test. I recorded a little clip with my Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar with stock Duncan Designed P pickup, swapped out the pickup with a Fralin P pup and re-recorded the same clip.
    Here's where you come in, listen to both tracks (neither are labelled), and all I want from you are two things,
    1) which pickup you think is which
    2) order of which you like best and why
    That's it!
    I know this isn't perfect science, but I tried to make it as perfect as I can. I recorded through my Ampeg PF500 line out, through Presonus Audiobox interface and in to Reaper on my lap top. All amp settings are set flat at noon, no compression, and I tried to balance the track volumes as best as I could.
    I'm hoping to get a lot of responses, I think that would give the test more validity. When responses start to slow I'll post which track was which (probably a day or two?)
    Just for the hell of it I also recorded the same clip with my 83 American Fender Bullet bass, with stock mini P pup, but can't upload more than 2 files, if someone knows a way around that I'd be happy to post that track as well.

    Attached Files:

  2. Camaro


    Sep 25, 2013
    Germany, NRW
    Fralin= 02 test 2.mp3
    DD P-PUs = 03 test 3.mp3

    Both sound nice, btw. The '03 test 3.mp3' sounds a bit clearer and I prefer that.
  3. Troph


    Apr 14, 2011
    Kirkland, WA
    Hmm. They're both fairly close, but there are definitely perceptible differences.

    1. I'm going to go out on a limb and say:
    "02 test 2" = Fralins
    "03 test 3" = DuncanDesigned

    2. I prefer the growlier midrange of "03 test 3".
  4. grrg63


    Dec 14, 2005
    2- Fralin
    3- DD

    I prefer 3, but 2 doesnt sound bad at all.
  5. Pretty consistent so far...
  6. Clouz

    Clouz The Ayatollah of Jack and Cola

    Jan 26, 2013
    2 Fralin

    i like 3 whatever it is. more grit and i am a big fan of grit.
  7. vince a

    vince a

    Jun 13, 2006
    Modesto, CA
    I have no idea which is which . . . I would only be guessing!

    I do like 02 just a tad better - it has a little more clarity.

    I use Delano pickups, so I'm kinda prejudiced for those . . .
  8. shawshank72


    Mar 22, 2009
    i like them both.
    If you wanted clearer grindy no 2
    If you wanted thicker beefier no 3
  9. eldoryder

    eldoryder I just LOVE me some Vintage Peaveys! Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2011
    Nacogdoches, TX
    I can't tell the brand by the sound clips.

    I like both, and observed the following:

    Test 2 seems to have deeper lows, but a sterile midrange.

    Test 3 has a fatter, rounder sound all around.

    Very unscientific, I know, but that's how it sounds to me.

  10. Any more takers?
  11. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    I like #3 more than #2.
  12. Arvin

    Arvin Underwound Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    On the bench
    I have the same impression as this. I like #2 a little better; it seems a more "versatile" sound to me. I can't say which is which, though, because I don't have any experience with either of those pickups.
  13. The answers:


    I think most agree that they both sound good, but slight edge given to the DD.
    I'm not crazy after all, I liked the DD better even before this test. It just goes to show show how the mind can have a preconceived notion of something based largely on price/popularity. An awful lot of people have unnecessarily swapped out their DD pups out of their Squiers for something possibly lesser because of this.
    These days you don't need to break the bank to have a nice guitar, my most prized possession is a 65 Gibson ES-345, it is a thing of beauty, but my $250 Godin really is better in every way (except maybe appearance). Same with basses, I have a $40, no name pawn shop bass I much preferred over my American G&L L2000 (all my band mates concurred). Funny the strings on it cost more than the bass (TI flats).

    Thanks to all who participated.
  14. Troph


    Apr 14, 2011
    Kirkland, WA
    Agreed, when I heard the tone of the DD pups in the VM jazz, I was honestly really impressed. At the $300 price point you can get a tone that approximates that of the American standard series instruments, and depending on bridge pickup placement, gets awfully close to the tone of vintage jazz basses from the 1970s.

    What makes that even more impressive is that the $600 Fender Standard Jazz comes with ceramic pups that sound nothing like these by comparison. Calling them "junk" is subjective as we know, but the standard series pups certainly do NOT sound like traditional J pickups at all, nor do they replicate the sound of the more expensive American series instruments.

    Many people who purchase these budget-friendly Squiers just assume that, like the standard series Fenders, they need to mod everything in order to get acceptable performance. But the great thing about them is that you really don't. At least, not the DD pickups! :)

    Now that the DD pickups are gone, I wonder how good their replacements really are? Fender knows how to make good pickups, but the Standard series shows that they also know how to make bad pickups.
  15. That's how this test started on another thread, I just ordered a VM Fretless Jazz, and I really hope the the new pups are as good as the DD's. Fingers crossed...
  16. Geni758


    Nov 15, 2013
    South Jersey
    This is what I think.
    Fralin= 02 test 2.mp3
    DD P-PUs = 03 test 3.mp3

    I like 02 better. For lack of a better way to describe it, the tone is zingier. Has a nice punch and clarity.
  17. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    When you think about it, why couldn't the Chinese (or others) make a perfect copy of an American made Duncan pup assuming the same materials.
    It is such an easy part to manufacture and one would think they would but the same type of winding machine as opposed to making their own machine.

    Of course, QC could be the killer of this thought.
    FWIW, I was given some DD pups for a bass project that got donated to a really good cause. I thought they sounded really good even compared to my early 70's Fenders.
    Do they sell these pups outright?
  18. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic

    Mar 20, 2011
    Spokane, Washington
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    I have no idea which pickup is which, but the 02 file sounds better to me than the 03 file. 03 sounds muffled at the high end compared to 02.
  19. I don't believe so, but I have seen them for sale by people who have swapped them out on their Squiers for something else here on TB a few times.