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Lindy Fralin Split Coil Jazz bass pickup set

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by johnk_10, Oct 30, 2010.


  1. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i just got a set of fralin's split coil jazz bass pickups yesterday and installed them in one of my jazz basses.

    i have previously tried the following pickups in this bass:

    duncan sjb-1n and sjb-1b (set)
    fender AV RI (set)
    duncan classic stacks STK-J1 (set)
    duncan hot stacks STK-J2 (set)
    Dimarzio Ultrajazz bass pickup #DP149
    and now the fralin split coil (set).

    the duncan sjb1's are by bar my favorites for a stock jazz bass tone (complete with hum in the individual pickup modes;) ), and IMO, the fender's sound almost exactly the same, just a teeny bit not quite as detailed. i found the duncan classic stacks okay, but had low output and were a bit thin sounding. their hot stacks were very nice, with a little more mid bump than the others, and completely hum & noise free.

    now onto the new fralins. first, they have no hum and are very quiet. their top end is a little muted which is to be expected for a series split coil pickup, and is actually okay with me. i've found that they do have a 4 db bump at 1K which gives them some burp & growl, but it's a little too much for me, so when i cut 1K by 4db on my amp, they really open up, sound less cloudy and stiff, and their high end is much more present, transparent, and open sounding. IMO, they would be perfect if Lindy could somehow get rid of the 1K bump, but i'm going to leave them in there and see how they sound at my next gig with a full band. i gotta say, that it is really nice to have hum cancelling pickups in a bass that is used for live gigs, with the way that some of the dimmers and neon sign wreaking havoc with standard single coils, since i mostly run my j basses using only the neck pickup, so if these fralins don't cut it, i'm going to try the duncan hot stacks in it again (since i really loved them and probably shouldn't have taken them out :eek:), but IMO, the fralins do sound a bit more like a standard single coil, and especially if i cut them a little @1Khz.
     
  2. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    i wonder if swapping out the pots for 500ks (which would move the resonant peak up, giving more brightness) might be the ticket for pickups like these.

    your description puts me in mind of the dimarzio area Js, which are built the same way as the fralins. very close, just not quite as "airy" as true singles. the dimarzios add a steel plate on the bottom, which throws the magnetic field back up into the strings, increasing output and midrange punch a little (ask a tele player).
     
  3. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    funny you should mention trying a 500K pot. i have been already using one for the tone pot, and tried it today with a 500K for the volume pot. it did add a tiny bit of highs, but the taper was too drastic (barely nudging it down dropped the level too much) so i went back with a 250K. the fralin's also have a steel plate across the bottom of them. my dimarzio ultrajazz bass pickups don't. they just have the two large ceramic bar magnets on the bottom. the ultrajazz's have alot more high end, and IMO, are more transparent sounding, whereas the fralins are thicker/fatter sounding with more mids and mid bass.
     
  4. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    subbed
     
  5. selowitch

    selowitch Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    Don't know if you would consider some of the newer magnetic/non-ceramic pickups from EMG, but those tend to be noise free even when soloed.
     
  6. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i have a set of EMG JV's (with a stacked TBC) in another jazz bass and surprisingly (because i'm generally not an active pickup guy), i actually love them in it, and they arehum free, but i wanted this one jazz bass to remain passive.

    i have a set of ultrajazz's in my jaguar bass (with an EMG TBC instead of the stock preamp) and they're great in that bass too, running passive or active with the tone circuit.

    so far, as far as side by side split coils go, i've been most impressed with the ultrajazz pickup's tone. and the duncan hot stacks were no slouch either.

    after what walter said, i'm now starting to wonder what the fralins would sound like if i removed the steel plate underneath them.

    all of these basses are my 'live' basses, but i also have two original vintage jazz basses (a '66 and a '72) that are 100% stock for the studio.
     
  7. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    that would be a 500k audio taper pot.

    put a 500k linear taper in there and you'll have the increased clarity along with a perfectly even sweep from "10" right down to "0". (keep the tone pot audio, or it will do nothing until it's almost all the way off.)
     
  8. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i'll definitely have to try that. i probably have one here somewhere.
    what do you think would happen if i removed the steel plate under it? if it gave it less mids, it would be fine with me, and it might be a little less stiff, honky (like a tele) and less cloudy.
     
  9. acebase62

    acebase62

    Jun 29, 2010
    I like my Hot Stacks as well, and also have the 500k audio pots.

    I will definitely try the liner taper pots when I can.
     
  10. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    well, i dug thru my old spare pots bin and came up with this little beauty. a 1964 CTS linear 500K pot with a solid aluminum shaft and short threaded brass mount:

    64-500KLinpot-01.

    64-500KLinpot-02.

    i just installed it and WOW. it opened up the high end beautifully and the taper is perfect. thanks so much Walt! it made a night and day difference. after being a guitar tech for more than 35 years, i can't believe that i didn't think of trying a linear one.

    BTW, on this bass, i'm now running the 500K linear master volume, a 4-way rotary switch (series/neck/parallel/bridge) in it with the 500K audio tone pot with a NOS Fender cornell -dubilier .047uf cap in it, so it doesn't have two volume pots to load it down. for me, the 500 linear volume pot made the difference between the pickups from sounding good and 'acceptable', to making them sound like the consumate single coil jazz bass (only with NO hum) and they have found a permanent home in the bass now.

    thanks again Walt for the tip. you made my day. ;)
     
  11. Spencer!

    Spencer!

    Jun 25, 2006
    Seattle
    Owner, Pike Amplification & 3Leaf Audio
    I put a set of custom split-coil Fralins in my ash/maple jazz bass and they kill. They're oddball pickups though, I bought them second hand and apparently they have a special wind and different magnet material. Really fat and juicy, and a nice open high end not unlike a P bass. The neck pickup is the best I've heard in a jazz bass. The bridge pickup doesn't have quite as much bite as I'd like, but I've got other jazz basses that can do that.
     
  12. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    being one that experiments with lots of different pickups, i decided to try them with the steel plate on the bottom of the pickups removed. to me, they were great sounding pickups with it, but i like them even better now without the steel plates. it seemed to open up their high end, make them much more transparent sounding and much less veiled in the mids (and a bit more like the duncan sj1's that they replaced). now, if i want to, i can slightly roll off the tone control to tame the highs, and when they're in the series mode, which is alot darker, run the tone control wide open.
     
  13. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    interesting. did removing the plate decrease output any?
     
  14. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    it didn't seem to. i should have measured its output before and after.

    i just like their tone alot better without it.
     
  15. Kaiser Q

    Kaiser Q

    Jun 28, 2014
    Finding this 4 year old thread has been extremely helpful.Now if i can only locate a CTS 500k linear solid post pot.
    Its really cool to learn from guys with so much experience.Thx gents!
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2014
  16. Type-55

    Type-55

    Jul 20, 2000
    Michigan
    Great insight on how little changes can help tweek your sound.
    Do you have any pics of the steel plate that's under the Fralin pups?
    How did you remove it?
     
  17. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I hear they are held on with wax and easy to remove. I am debating removing them myself but I am hoping to hear some more before/after reviews. I am also curious to know if anybody re-installed the plates. If so, how difficult was it and how did you do it?
     
  18. KF2B

    KF2B

    Jan 28, 2013
    Finland
    +1
     
  19. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I PM'd a fellow who had done it, here is his quick review and steps for removal. Figure it will help somebody else too. I would still like more before/after reviews if possible.

    "There is just an added bit of clarity/snap up top without the plates in my experience. I found the pickups a little too rounded off in the highs before, and now find them more useable- not a dramatic difference, but akin to changing the Tone pot to a higher value perhaps.

    I just pried lightly with a screwdriver in between the two coils and the plate started lifting right off- which is why it almost seems they were waxed in place. Very little resistance, and would be very easy to replace. You'll also have to desolder a ground connection to the plate on each pickup."
     
  20. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I actually did this swap a few months back. I found the pot swap to be a major improvement in terms of tone. It's a more clear, defined tone to my ears. I did not remove the metal plates from my pickups as I found the pot swap satisfactory.

    On the note of pots, CTS (and I don't think Alpha) actually make a 500k, linear taper, solid shaft pot. I had to get some shaft sleeves from All-Parts. All-Parts are the only people who make such a product. I tried getting some from my electronics supplier and they thought I was crazy.
     

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