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vintage Fender pickups vs. repro (Antiquities, Fralins, etc.)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by extreme, Feb 8, 2005.

  1. extreme


    Mar 20, 2000
    So, what currently made pickups really get the vintage vibe down and WHY?!? I really dig the mid-'60s Fender pickups (grey bottoms). My understanding is that these were wound hotter than the black bottoms.Over time the pole-piece magnets slightly demagnetize and mellow the pickup a bit.

    My understanding is that Duncan (Antiquities) and Fralin pickups are simply underwound to try to get that vibe. Wouldn't you actually want the pickups wound just the same as the old ones, but to somehow demagnetize the pickups a bit to decrease the output, but retain the really open mids of the original mid-'60s pickups?

    Any ideas on what exactly makes the mid-'60s pickups what they are and who is replicating this sound in a currently available pickup? Thanks!
  2. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    I talked to Lindy Fralin on the phone last week about that very thing. He said the life of Alnico magnets is such that, unless somebody de-magnetized them, there is VERY little difference (probably unhearable) between old magnets and new ones. I'd called to ask him if was worth finding an old set of bobbins to rewind which is how the discussion arose so I really don't think he was just telling me that just to sell pickups. At the time, I was considering finding an old refin Jazz.

    I just bought a used Lakland USA JO and, with the Fralins in it, I think you'd be hard pressed to hear a blind-folded difference between it and an old Fender if you weren't familiar with two basses you were hearing.
  3. extreme


    Mar 20, 2000
    Those are some helpful comments! So, why then do pickups get weaker over time and some eventually have to be rewound? What causes them to lose output?
  4. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Don't know. Maybe corrosion on the windings? Call Lindy. He'll take the time to explain it and when you find out come back and tell us.
  5. extreme


    Mar 20, 2000
    Hey, I'm still trying to solve this puzzle...please share your experiences/solutions!
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    For me, it's the EMG Geezer Butler P. They're modeled after the pickup in Bobby Vega's 1960 Precision, and they're sealed in epoxy so no need to worry about degradation over the years ;)
  7. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    gray bottoms usually have less turns than black bottoms. i dont think anyone truly makes a pickup that sounds exactly like an old fender pickup.

    antiquities have random turns so no two sets really sound alike and fralins dont really do it either. neither are underwound compared to old pickups. they all sound great in different ways but theres definitely a different vibe thats grindier sounding in most of the vintage repros.