Frank Falbo custom seven string single coil

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by Drew, Nov 20, 2005.

  1. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Ok, so I've been playing a custom-wound single-coil in my Universe for about a week and some change now, courtesy of out very own Frank Falbo. I gather (and Frank, you should confirm or deny this) this one started life as a Blaze humbucker before he split it and rewound it as two seperate coils.

    As a disclaimer, I've never particularly cared for the Blaze singlecoil. It's fairly sterile and dry, and just uninspiring. So, the standard to which this one's getting compared is pretty low. That said, this thing sounds night and day different from the Blaze. It's a little brighter, much more open sounding, very dynamically responsive, and has a great strat-like "clang" to the attack. While the Blaze has a very powerful, almost humbucker like midrange, this pickup has a light scoop to it, again reminiscent of a good Stratocaster pickup. If we follow the Dimarzio example of the Blaze being 7-5-4.5, I'd say the Falbo is an 8-3-5.

    Clean, I'm split about 50/50 on the midrange but the extra sparkle from the Falbo single gives it the edge, especially in that "in between" position - get the slightest hint of grit on your clean tone and you're in instant SRV-does-Little Wing territory, way more so than I ever expected from a basswood-bodied seven. Distorted, however, this thing DESTROYS the Blaze. Betwen the slight midrange scoop (read - clarity) and the added extra upper harmonics (read - explosiveness), this thing just screams. It's defined, it's rich, it's clear, and it's just alive. It's a very touch-sensitive pickup - pick gently and it's nice and dark, dig in and there's this great explosive SRV-esq attack. I found myself paying much more attention to my picking attack than normal, intentionally pushing the extremes, because this pickup was useable in all of them and could actually keep up. Start doing bends with heavy guage strings and really raking and hitting the strings, and your guitar just wails in this most satisfying manner.

    As for the other details... Output's actually pretty similar between the two, and if anything the Falbo may hum slightly less than the Blaze.

    Really, I'm impressed. Pickups are rather incomprehensible to me, and to be able to wind one on one's own, much less to be able to make one that outpreforms a popular existing pickup by so much, just leaves me dumbfounded. I'm a big single-coil fan, a strat player from way back, and to be able to get lively, organic single coil sounds from my Universe for the first time just makes me grin whenever I pick my guitar up.


    **********************


    Thumbnail review:

    Strengths: honest-to-god strat tone from a seven. Excels in semi-dirty and dirty tones.
    Weaknesses: Isn't creme-colored. :fawk:

    Clips:
    Blaze single
    Frank Falbo single

    (note - the above two clips were cut with a cranked treble and scooped mid amp setting I'd dialed up for an overdum on a song I was working up that, in my excitement, I forgot to change. You can stil hear the radical difference in tone, but sometime I'll have to post a proper clean clip of the falbo. In the meantime, the distortion tone is my normal lead sound. AKG C1000 3" back and ~45 degrees off axis, pointed at the cone.)

    song sketch demo w/. Falbo Single

    (rough as hell demo, mostly to practice micing up my acoustic and recording in sonar. Same mic settings as the clips above, as I recall)

    Picture: http://www.drewpeterson.org/images/UVwithFalbo.JPG
     
  2. WayneCustom7

    WayneCustom7 Paolo Contributor

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    Sweet and as always, your playing ROCKS :hbang:
     
  3. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Thanks - the solo pickup clips stuff are basically me trying to cop Jimi and falling on my ass, lol, but there's a few moments I'm rather proud of on the actual "song" clip.
     
  4. Ken

    Ken Forum MVP

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    Damn, that sound is great. The track is really mellow and soulful. It's a perfect pairing, IMO. The pickup really communicates the subtleties and emotion in your playing.

    Some great playing on that track, Drew. You know, it *really* is time to record that album and share with the rest of us... :yesway:
     
  5. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Thanks Ken! :metal: I'm still trying to get my technique up to where I want it to be, before immortalizing it for all time, etc., but I'm making progress and demoing out ideas in the meantime. In other words, I'm probably making more progress on mine than our friendly neighborhood Adminishredder can say about his... :fawk:

    Yeah, I love the attack on this pickup. That bluesy SRV compound bend thing at 2:10-ish, as I recall, just sounds magical as the upper harmonics begin to come alive as I hit the strings harder... I love that sound.
     
  6. eleven59

    eleven59 None shall pass. Contributor

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    Sounds awesome :D

    And after that pic, I really wish I could afford a UV. For a long time I've had an unconscious block on the JEM and UV series because of spending so much time on Jemsite and getting bitter, but damn, the UVs are just nice guitars.

    Though, if my band became a huge success, I'd love to get a JEM just to use it in the video and watch everyone on Jemsite bitch about how much my band sucks and how I shouldn't be allowed to use a JEM :lol:
     
  7. Ken

    Ken Forum MVP

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    :idea: News Flash for Drew: We're all trying to get our technique up to where we want it to be. I could point out tons of boo boos on my CD, but what's the point? It was fine for where I was at in life. I could point out even more in the recent song I did, but you know what? I'm just not as critical as I used to be. I had a lot more fun with Funkytown than I've ever had, it took far less time, and I enjoy listening to it.

    Your technique is fine. If you want to be a machine, there are already enough of them in the world. Just Git-R-Done, Drew. :shred:
     
  8. frank falbo

    frank falbo SS.org Regular

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    1. That's basically true, but it requires drilling out the pole piece holes to accomodate the new Alnico poles. Bobbins are bobbins, so long as they're the right size and shape. It doesn't matter if I start with a Blaze or a New 7. The Alnico poles are a large part of the "SRV strat" sound. I don't know why Dimarzio uses adjustable poles in the Blaze single. And the new Korean Ibanez RG's now have adjustable pole middle singles too. I tried them and they stink. :noway:

    2. I'd agree totally with that assessment. :yesway:

    3 & 4. I just like reading those so I quoted them. :lol:
     
  9. The Dark Wolf

    The Dark Wolf Contributor

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    Frank's pickup sounds more 'Strat-like', that's for sure! ;)

    I think I actually slightly prefer the sound of the Blaze, though... at least on those recorded tracks of your'ns, Drew. It's a bit mellower, and less aggressive. Listened to thos tracks 3 times, and that seems to be my feeling. They both sound pretty cool, though.
     
  10. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Haha, we really DO share different taste in tone, don't we, man? :lol: Surprisingly so... I can tell you that, with no EQ tweaks or gain adjustments or anything, that clip was definitely optimized for the Blaze. In the interest of fairness I should really record something with a better amp setting for the pickup just to put it into perspective...

    Ken, you know, I've been thinking about your post up there since I first read it, and that's really good advice. You're right, I'm just slacking. I can't burn up the fretboard like I'd like to be able to quite yet, but I can write music I enjoy and I can record decent enough solos, and honestly the songwriting is what makes or breaks an album. Thanks bro, I think I'm now mentally more ready than I was to get this thing done. :)
     
  11. F 50 Lover

    F 50 Lover I Love It

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    Great song Drew. I detect a Gilmour influence in your playing style :D
     
  12. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Haha, you know, for the longest time Gilmour WASN'T an influence, and people telling me, "your playing reminds me a lot of Gilmour," which was weird because I didn't really listen to any Floyd. Finally I just bit the bullet and bought "the Wall," and dear god, the man is seeminging incapable of playing anything but perfect notes... :lol: Thanks man! :)
     

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