In my years of playing I have played every type of pickup imaginable. Active, piezos, alnico and the list goes on and on. I look at my pickups as paint brushes. Different guitars have been fitted with different pickups to give me a range of tones and color. I also seek having a range of tones in each guitar. My playing style is eclectic to say the least. I have been in bands where I was required to go from a reggae tone to screaming metal within a single song.
When we decided to do the 2014 TMRZoo.com custom guitar build the range of tone in the pickups was a huge consideration. After considering many manufacturers we decided to go with Lindy Fralin Pickups. Why Lindy Fralin Pickups? Lindy Fralin Pickups have a reputation for delivering period correct vintage pickups with unmatched clarity and response.
After describing the project and my playing style to Lindy we decided the best match for this guitar would be a Lindy Fralin High Output Humbucker paired with his Pure PAF with his partial tap kit on it.
The High Output Humbucker is perfect for this old school metalhead. The High Output Humbucker is wound with “43 gauge wire from 12.5K to 13.5K with alnico IV magnets”. This is a face searing pickup, but do not just think of hard rock and metal when thinking about this pickup. The High Output Humbucker has enough power to breakup your tube preamp without the need for a boost. Giving you a cool early hard rock tone. It is a very dynamic pickup and very sensitive to finger response with mids that hit you right between the eyes. Different techniques and attacks give this pickup so many useable sounds.
The best comparison I can give you is it reminds me of the way a great Jazz drummer approaches their single tom. A great drummer can get so many voices out of that one drum it sounds like a rack of toms. I think the High Output Humbucker is very similar. As I said it responds very well to different attacks, it also responds well to the volume knob. Backing off the volume on the High Output Humbucker it cleans up well and does not lose its dynamics. Adding another dimension to this pickup is its coil splitting capabilities. When wiring up this Strat I used a super switch to give me the ability to coil split and blend theses pickups. Split this pickup sounds unique, nothing like a Strat single or a P90 it has its own voice. A beautiful voice at that. Very powerful yet still very sweet and singing – almost lyrical.
So, I know what you are thinking “how does this pickup sound when you throw some gain at it?”. Ripping through my Marshall the pickup growled. It retains the same tonal qualities and harmonics. We got got the most benefit from the sustain. I was able to dial in any tone from Aerosmith to Zakk Wylde with ease and incredible accuracy.
The Lindy Fralin Pure PAF is a different animal all together. However they are no shrinking violet. The neck which was used for this review is wound to 7.5k-7.8k and sits on alnico II magnets to “soften the treble and smooth the grind”. These pickup are great for you southern rockers, blues masters and classic rockers. The Pure PAF also plays well with the High Output Humbucker. Using both pickups gives you a huge tone, out of phase you can conjure up a bit of Peter Green.
The Lindy Fralin Pure PAF is a totally different animal from the High Output Humbucker but they share some similarities. The Lindy Fralin Pure PAF shares that same great finger response, dynamic tone and fantastic string separation delivered by the High Output Humbucker. It also coil splits very well giving you a large sonic pallet of tone to choose from.
Lindy Fralin Pure PAF is one of those pickups that will make a Les Paul sound like what you envisioning a Les Paul to sound like. It is also amazing in my Fender Stratocaster. For you straight up rockers this is a perfect replacement pickup. For those of you like me that want to deliver a bit more of a punch to the jaw the Lindy Fralin Pure High Output Humbucker is up for the job.
You can learn more about Lindy Fralin Pickups and the man behind these sonic monsters on fralinpickups.com or on Lindy Fralin Pickup’s Facebook page which is full of videos, demos and sound samples. Lindy Fralin Pickups are available direct from the company, at music stores worldwide and from all of the major online music retailers.