Lollar Vs Fralin: What’s the Difference and Which Is Better?

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If you’re interested in Lollar vs Fralin guitar pickups and which one may be better suited for you, you’ve come to the right post!

I’m not exactly a guitar expert, but I have played since 2003 and know a thing or two about this instrument.

So how do Lollar pickups differ from Fralin and which is better for you?

In general, both manufacture high-quality pickups, and one isn’t clearly better than the other. But Lollar humbuckers seem to sound a bit sharper and brighter compared to Fralin ones.

I’ll unpack this more in the following sections.

Pickups: More Complex Than You Might Think

Sure, tonewoods make a big difference on acoustic instruments. However, with solid-body electric guitars, the wood makes very little impact. Most of it comes down to the pickups.

And pickups are more than just a pile of magnets, metal poles, wire, and plastics. There’s a lot to say about pickup materials and how they all work together. In fact, there’s a whole science behind it. After all, pickups have to “pick up” the vibration of the strings and translate it into a signal that will sound good through an amp.

And that’s a very delicate process. This is why there are some manufacturers that predominantly, or solely, focus on pickups. The basic principles of pickups are the same as they were when established back in the 1950s. But it’s the nuances that make the world of difference.

In particular, we’ll analyze two boutique-tier brands. Mind you that both Lollar and Fralin are awesome brands of pickups. It just comes down to what an individual player prefers. But let’s get to it.

Lollar Pickups

Based in Washington state, Lollar has been on the market since the late 1980s. Jason Lollar, the man behind the company, was an already experienced luthier at that point. And even to this day, these pickups are hand-wound.

Pickups like Lollar offer different results compared to mainstream brands. Although more expensive, you’ll notice subtle changes in the tone. And, above all, you’ll have a much better dynamic response all over your guitar amp’s spectrum.

Their line of products has three main groups:

  • Regular electric guitar pickups
  • Electric bass guitar pickups
  • Steel guitar pickups

Of course, most of the products are within the regular electric guitar pickup line. And most of these are regular Strat-style single-coil pickups. In addition, there’s a lot of Telecaster-style lipstick pickups as well.

I also find the Charlie Christian pickups particularly interesting. These come with a uniform metal bar instead of individual pole pieces. But then we also have other stuff like P90-style pickups, as well as Jazzmaster-style ones. There are also a handful of humbucker models and even 7-string sets.

However, no matter the model, all of them are focused on low-output vintage-style tones. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t play modern music with them. We’re looking at pickups that just replicate vintage-oriented stuff.

Despite the lower output, you get a lot of dynamic nuances with their pickups. This is especially the case with their Strat and Tele-style pickups. You get that bite along with the classic single-coil jangle.

What’s also really good is that they work well with all sorts of tube amps. Whether you use American or British amplifiers, they yield great results. And, the best thing is that there’s such a wide variety of choices within each category of pickup.

My personal favorites are their P90 pickups. Here’s what they sound like in action:

LOLLAR PICKUPS - Soapbar P-90 Demo (ft. Brett Kingman)

Lollar’s Special Designs

They’re also often praised for their steel guitar pickups. It’s a bit of a specific category as not many people are playing these instruments. However, their horseshoe pickup really gets things going.

Finally, they also have a great line of humbuckers, mostly inspired by classic Gibson-style PAFs. What’s also really great is that they offer F-spacing humbuckers, which is great news for Fender players.

Fralin Pickups

Lindy Fralin started his own company during the early 1990s. Once again, we have a company that specializes in pickups. And, of course, they bring their unique twist to classic pickup designs.

As far as regular electric guitars go, they have 10 categories of pickups. These are:

  • Stratocaster pickups
  • Telecaster pickups
  • Jazzmaster
  • Jaguar
  • Mustang
  • P90
  • Humbuckers
  • Wide-range humbuckers
  • Mini humbuckers
  • DynaSonic (their unique trademarked design)

The variety of choices here is, obviously, pretty wide. And they pretty much focus on the same categories as Lollar. However, they seem to have a wider range of humbuckers compared to Lollar.

In addition, there are a few interesting designs that bring a more modern twist to them. Aside from the aforementioned DynaSonic, they also have the so-called split-blade single-coils. These are blade-style pickups designed for Stratocasters. Essentially, they have a single-coil tone with a significantly reduced hum. Here’s what they sound like:

Fralin Split Blade Comparison (HD)

Lollar Vs Fralin: How Do They Compare?

As I already mentioned before, both Lollar and Fralin are pretty good pickup brands. At the same time, they have roughly the same focus as far as pickup designs and tones go. I could say the same thing about their price levels. They’re both higher-end pickups.

If you want the simplest answer, both Fralin and Lollar are really good. You can’t go wrong with either. There are some nuanced differences, which usually come down to special designs.

Additionally, this question is made more difficult with such a wide variety of choices. Honestly, I’m not sure if I’ll ever get the chance to try more than a few models by each company. So it’s really hard to make a clear judgment on the matter.

Lollar humbuckers sound a bit sharper and brighter compared to Fralin ones. You can check out the direct comparison in the video demo below:

Humbucker Shootout: Fralin Pure PAF vs. Lollar Imperial

Meanwhile, regular single-coils are pretty close. I could say this about P90s as well. I haven’t noticed any significant differences. But that was just my personal experience.

Lollar Vs Fralin: Conclusion

I hope this article has helped you think through the differences between these guitar pickup manufacturers.

And if you want to read more about pickups, check out my Alnico 3 vs 5 post!

Lastly, feel free to message me in the comments below if you have questions about this or another guitar-related subject!

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