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Fralins Vs. Bill Lawrence PBass Pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by PolkaHero, Nov 5, 2016.


  1. PolkaHero

    PolkaHero

    Jan 5, 2002
    Michigan
    Anyone here directly compared a set of Fralin Pbass pickups to a set of Bill Lawrence P-46's? I think both are know for their clarity, just wondering if there's any other differences tonally between them.
     
  2. Texan

    Texan 667 Neighbor of the Beast.

    Aug 15, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Subbed.
     
  3. PolkaHero

    PolkaHero

    Jan 5, 2002
    Michigan
    Bump, anyone?
     
  4. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    I have tested both pickups. They are very different animals.

    The Fralin is a good vintage sounding Alnico V pickup with a bump in the mid highs. It makes it cut through the mix, however, it drives some people crazy because once you hear it you ear gets fixated on it. All that being said many people love that pickup. In that genre, I personally prefer Lollar or even Aguilar.

    The Bill Lawrence P-46 is a ceramic pickup that does not sound like one. It has the hot output, the extended highs and lows, huge dynamics and a slightly modern tone. It's not as extreme however as a DiMarzio Model P. You do get a larger than life tone with more of everything. The modern tone is there but it's not over the top and I don't think anybody would hear that in a mix.
     
    PolkaHero and Isotonic like this.
  5. Texan

    Texan 667 Neighbor of the Beast.

    Aug 15, 2004
    Houston, TX
    How do you think the P46 would sound paired with an Aguilar OBP3?

     
  6. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    I would be a little concerned by sending that much juice to the pre-amp. The P-46 are pretty hot for starters and I don't see them benefiting from a preamp.
    The other element to worry about is how much can the Aguilar OBP3 take.
     
  7. QuickNasty

    QuickNasty

    Jul 29, 2012
    Atlanta, GA
    I've seen you say this before about the P-46 being a ceramic magnent, but Becky Lawrence says that they are Alnico.

     
  8. QuickNasty

    QuickNasty

    Jul 29, 2012
    Atlanta, GA
    Personally I feel that onboard preamps are best used to cut rather than boost.
    In that regard the OBP-3 would work well in just about any context.

    From my experience with the P-46, it has slightly extended lows (definitely not overwhelming, just more range and smoother) and less air in the highs than a vintage pickup. Which both attribute to it's modernish tone. A preamp to tame some of the lows (E string) couldn't hurt.

    Also if I recall correctly, the OBP-3 has a very low frequency for it's Bass control. Lower than you would normally care to boost,(unless your playing reggae) but very effective for cutting out mud. I remember it working similar to a high pass filter.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2016
  9. PolkaHero

    PolkaHero

    Jan 5, 2002
    Michigan
    Thanks QuickNasty for the insight!

    Take this a little further: How does the P-46 compare to the EMG Geezer pickup?
     
    QuickNasty likes this.
  10. QuickNasty

    QuickNasty

    Jul 29, 2012
    Atlanta, GA
    At that point you'll just have to try each pickup and come to your own determinations based on your tonal goals, they are all fairly affordable.
    I had the gzr for awhile but was never satisfied with the lack of low end thump. Tried different string gauges and it wasn't my flavor.
    I much preferred the P-46 because it had some serious yet smooth punch and it played so well with my effects pedals. Not sure why that is, but modulation effects just tracked better with that pickup.
     
    PolkaHero likes this.
  11. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    Then they are alnico. I remember them as having a magnet bar construction and a muscular output similar to ceramic, that being said as noted before they don't sound like ceramic even though they have the output, broad range spectrum and dynamic response. Whatever they are, they are a good sounding pickup in the hot output genre.

    For more pickup in that style, one could look at DiMarzio Model P, Lauzon Strate/P, or even Seymour Duncan quarter pounders.
     
    QuickNasty likes this.
  12. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    Yes this is absolutely correct. You've got to try them to know. It gets expensive but if you're reading this tone is important to you and having subpar pickups will leave you wanting for more.
    What I have learned through trying many, many pickups is that the differences can be huge. Matching pickups to your gear and instrument is also key.
     
    QuickNasty likes this.
  13. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    The Geezer are closer to the Fralins. They also have a weird tonal spike in their response. Many people swear by them and some people do not care for them for the exact same reason.
    Personally I really liked the P46 but did not care for the Fralins.

    For that type of vintage tone, I prefer Lollar, Aguilar or Arcane.
     
    QuickNasty likes this.
  14. QuickNasty

    QuickNasty

    Jul 29, 2012
    Atlanta, GA
    Laurent, just curious.
    Did the Bill Lawrence pickup you tried not have 5 pole pieces and epoxied on the bottom?

    If it was a bar magnet than it was not a P-46 made by Wilde pickups. It was either the knock off version by Willie stitch or an older P pickup Bill made in Germany. Which are very hard to come by, but don't sound like his last iteration the P-46.
     
  15. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    I might be off on the magnet bar.... A lot of pickups have gone through my hands, I remember tone better than physical appearance. It was a plain P-46 nothing special that I am sure of. I have pictures somewhere. Anyways, I recommend you try the pickup, it's worth trying because it's so distinctive. It's a lot more different then a Fralin and a Lollar for example, which are different but within the same ballpark on a macro level.
     
    QuickNasty likes this.
  16. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Let's see, a highly rated outstanding pickup with enough output to go from modern to vintage with ease, epoxy potted, for $60 or one that may or may not be what you're looking for over twice the price. I think you know where to begin experimenting. I also think you'll know where to stop too. You'll see zero reason to pull the p-46 after putting it in there. It's just a really great pickup.

    Downsides? Supplied screws were countersunk screws... useless. The case is a little bit bigger than the picguard route on both P's I tried it in; strange. Some filing of the hole was required so it wouldn't bind in there.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2016
    Pops OB and QuickNasty like this.
  17. Teacher

    Teacher

    May 3, 2012
    Do what i'm planning: build you a bunch o' basses with different pickups in each!! (Okay okay, maybe not everybody's thing...but boy, this could be a sweet ride!)