Growliest Jazz Pickups I've tried so far.... (Lindy Fralin Review)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Modern Growl, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. I just wanted to write a quick review of these pickups. I'm talking about the True Single Coil Lindy Fralins... not hum canceling. I haven't had the chance to try them yet.
    This review is being performed using a 4 String Fretted Fender Jazz Bass - Alder/Rosewood tonewoods

    but on the with the review.

    So I'm on this "growl" kick, right...

    Well, I find these pickups to be the most raw/growly sounding Pups I've ever hear and here's why. They have alot of character in the low mids, which I find to be, yes... "growly". Sorta a raw, loose, rusty type of tone. Very Vintage!

    Lindy winds these using a "hand wound simulator process". This makes way for a more complex/dynamic midrange.

    I have a coupel times, second guessed the Fralins and put in Nordstarand NJ4's, Fender Custom Shops, and also went back n' forth with the stock Fender Jazz pickups. I don't know why I kept going back n' forth, but I guess just to reassure myself. You might even remember me doing this from a couple of threads a little while ago.

    I like the Fralins the best, hands down.

    Well like I said, the Fralins have a very unique, raw tone to them when A/B to the others. A little loose on the bottom end when comparred to the others. Their attack level isn't quite as quick as the others but thats why they are the "King of Vintage", right? They don't a very tight bottom when compared to the others either, and they are not quite as bright. Most of this pickups character is in their Low Mids/Mids.

    Their bottom is like I said earlier, somewhat loose... I would also say a little dirty, which is good to me. I like the loose bottom especially when muting notes. They still have alot of definiton though. They are very clear, but loose and raw... if that make sense. It does to my ears. A notable mention about the bottom, while its somewhat loose, the low mids are very tight and defined. They sort of tapper off down there. Weird, but awesome to my ears...

    The low mids deff have a nice growly character to them. Very raw/growly/sandpapery character like. Not smooth IMO at all... in fact, the very opposite. Did I say rusty sounding?

    At first, I didn't like that they didn't have the same present attack level as the stocks pups, and I didn't like that the Nordstrands had a tighter bottom end at first either... but I've grown to love these pickups.

    If you want a vintage sounding pickup, that has a sorta rusty tone to them... rather raw sounding with nice low mid growl, check out Lindy Fralins!!! They are my favorate so far.

    I know I used alot of subjective terms like, loose, rusty, raw ect, but thats the only way I could describe the tone. I hope it helps anyone out there considering Fralins.
  2. spc


    Apr 10, 2004
    South of Boston
    Pretty good description there...I tried a couple of sets of the LF's, didn't like them. There were things about them that I did like, very clear for example, but they were too raw sounding for my taste. They were in basses that had a lot of attack as well, which didn't seem to help. I had them in fretless basses, and hey were a no go for me, but I've played them in a couple of fretted basses and thought they were awesome. As for single coils, I really like the Jason LOllars. I wish someone around here would give them a try, add another set of ears...I have a set of Bart 9j's in my fretless now, and I think they are staying. Not a true single coil sound (to my ears), but they have a lot of things that I like. Dead quiet, clear, good mwah...
    ANyway, glad you found something you dig...
  3. Yeah, I'm not sure how the Fralins do on a fretless. I dont play fretless. But I'm glad you also heard "raw". I thought I was the only one who would understand that descriptive term in the way I was using it.
  4. spc


    Apr 10, 2004
    South of Boston
    For me, they made a very clicky bass sound even worse.
    The Lollars are a bit smoother to me, though I hate to use that term, because they are a very vintage sounding pickup, clear and articulate, warm. That's his specialty, that and rewinding things like Charlie Christian guitar pickups, all types of stuff. Check out his website if you have a sec, he's an interesting cat.

  5. Halftooth

    Halftooth Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Tri-Valley, NorCal
    Wow, my Fralin experience was quite different!

    I would classify my Fralin SCs after using them as tame and not growly at all. In fact, of all the Lulls that I've owned and played, the Fralins sounded the thinnest of all and I wasn't quite sure why anyone was attracted to them compared to the DiMarzio, Basslines, Bartolini, etc. Also, as spc mentions, they were very clear and too transparent on my Lull which didn't work with me...I prefer a bit of color myself. Now to be perfectly honest with you, I'm not sure if the pickups that I had in my Lull are the exact same ones that you have in your bass. I haven't really spent any more time looking into his p-ups after that, but I've heard that he makes them to how you want them which is cool.

    I'm glad you like them in your bass's always a great feeling when you find the parts that replicate that "sound" in your head.
  6. Scottie Johnson

    Scottie Johnson

    Sep 8, 2004
    "So I'm on this "growl" kick, right... "

    Really, I didn't notice. ;) All joking aside, nice review, and very helpful. I'm glad you compared the Fralins to different jazz pickups you have. That always puts reveiws in a better perspective for the reader since we know what you were looking for.
  7. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I've had similar experiences to you, and also similar to MG :)
    I've played a Fralin-equipped Lakland JO5, and they sounded great. I put them in my DJ5 for comparison and they sounded really really thin. I took them out after about 15 minutes. Could this be an alder vs ash thing? Probably.

    I think when reviewing pickups, it's important to note the bass you tried it in so there's some comparitive frame of reference. Make, woods, strings etc.
  8. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    They don't get much love, but my bassline pups in the valenti jazz sound growly as hell...
  9. Halftooth

    Halftooth Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Tri-Valley, NorCal
    I completely agree with you about the Basslines. They're a really great pickup that really doesn't get much love for whatever reason. I played around with pickups on one of my Lulls, and the Basslines were the best by far, and as you mentioned, the growl factor was huge. I had multiple people comment on the tone that the Lull produced with the Basslines and Bart 3-band combination. It was even better than my Sadowsky Metro, IMO. :bag:
  10. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    Well, Nino decided that he wanted to throw them into the bass I now own- and I am glad he did.
  11. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Hmm, I wouldn't mind trying some basslines.. I'll try find some cheapies to get shipped over. I'm looking for some nice aggressive growl..
  12. Hey, we all have different ears and will hear different things. I can see where your coming from by calling them transparent, and that's one thing I agree with. I find them to be transparent, allowing the basses natural, true wood resonate qualities to shine thru. In my case, with a alder/rosewood jazz bass, that 'natural, true resonate quality" is pure growl... to my ears and MANY others. Jazz basses are known for their growl.... well, at least Fenders are.
    I know others aren't as growly. Which J bass did you put em in?

    But anyways, I like me.
  13. Thanks... I tried to throw some others in there to give some point of referance. One thing I'll add is that... if your looking for alot of 'punch' as in a high attack level... you may want to consider a diffrent pickup.
    I feel that the Fralins have a weaker attack on the bottom end, and on the top end... like I said, sort of a tappered effect if you will. And initially, I didn't like em' and was ready to ship them back to Mike Lull the next day. But I stuck with em, and compared them back n' forth for a couple more days... and now I'm hooked!
  14. Totally agreed! My alder/rosewood Fender lets these pickups really shine. I don't know how much of this theory is true but Lindy went for 60's vintage Fender when he designed these pickups. 60's Fender is alder/rosewood, so its fitting that these would sound best in alder/rosewood configurations. But like I said, just a theory I just came up with, after meditating on the tonewood factor.
  15. which basslines are you guys speaking of?
  16. I never tried Basslines, and I'm thinking about doing it. But I wouldn't disregard Fralins at all. If you have a alder/rosewood config, you just may fall in love w/ Lindy's for growl.
  17. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    Check it.

    Attached Files:

  18. yeah, but which Duncan Bassline is it? They make MANY!

    also, just a side note* i called SD a while ago and asked them specifically, "what is your most aggressive, growly jazz bass pickup" They told me the QP's were.
  19. Halftooth

    Halftooth Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Tri-Valley, NorCal
    I'm pretty sure they were the sincle coils, but I'm unaware of the specific model that Mike Lull prefers to use on his basses.
  20. I asked Mike lull while I was on the phone with him what were the most aggressive growly Pups he sold, and he said Lindy Fralins... not Basslines...