Gibson and Fender have a long history of influencing each other’s designs. When hard rock and warm, jazzier textures were on the rise in the early ’70s, Fender wanted some of that double-coil action, so they hired PAF inventor Seth Lover to come up with something new. The result was the Wide-Range humbucker that turned up in a variety of period Telecasters. Now Lindy Fralin has their own take on this vintage design.
The Fralin model is the exact drop-in size for current Wide-Range slots, allowing an easy upgrade for Teles, Strats, and Starcasters, among others. The units aim to find that sweet spot between humbuckers and single-coils – keep in mind that Fralins will give different tones with alder or ash solidbodies, or with a Tele Thinline. Each pickup is fitted with threaded Alnico pole pieces and wound with 42-gauge wire. The pickups deliver 8.2k neck and a 9k bridge output, but Fralin can custom-wind them to taste.
In a tone test, the Fralin Wide-Ranges evoked that patented tone, beefy enough for hard rock and jazz, but with a bit of a midrange scoop for Fender twangin’. This was particularly evident with both humbuckers on. If you’re at a gig and need some ’bucker colors on one song and single-coils on the next, these pickups give you that option, depending on your amp and amount of gain. The neck unit is fat and bassy, while the middle brings in the midrange flavors. The bridge is full of midrange bite, perfect for cutting through a mix.
If you’re looking for pickups that can give you degrees of both humbucker crunch and single-coil quack, you’re in the right place. That’s the magic of the Wide-Range humbucker, ably captured by the craftsmen at Lindy Fralin.
This article originally appeared in VG April 2018 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.