Are Strat Tones Much Different from Tele Tones

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by kangamatt, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. kangamatt

    kangamatt Member

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    Hi,

    I'm a lurker and relatively new to electric guitars. I've currently got an American Deluxe Tele with S1 and play through a Peavey Delta Blues 1x15 as a hobbyist. I'm currently Gassing for a second guitar and am looking at Suhr Pro's with SSH config or comparable Melancon's or a Solid Body dual hum guitar like a Hamer Monaco or Studio or a McInturff.

    I'm curious about the different tones in a tele(S1 SCN) as compared to a Strat SSH config as I love the strat shape but don't want to go with a strat unless there are significant tone differences I can get with it. Or.... do I focus on a dual Hum guitar.

    You're thoughts on Tele vs Strat tones would be much appreciated.

    Thanks Very Much!

    Kanga Matt
     
  2. eryque

    eryque Member

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    Strats are known for what they call the "scooped mid" sound, meaning that the pickup doesn't pick up a lot of the middle frequencies and leaves you with a lot of lows and a lot of highs.


    Teles have a more balanced tone with more mids. The bridge pickup on a vintage style Tele is also considerably brighter than a single coil strat (and obviously much brighter than a SSH configuration).


    Strats with a 5 way switch (which is modern, they weren't always that way) have the out of phase sounds, which is a little muted but sparklier. Teles can get that if you add a switch, which is I think what you get with that S1 switch.
     
  3. lannyhall

    lannyhall Member

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    There are lots of sounds on a Strat that you can't get with a Tele. A Suhr Pro would be a very good acquisition.
     
  4. BobbyRay

    BobbyRay Supporting Member

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    I agree with most of this, except the bridge pickup on the tele being brighter than a strat. I find it to be fatter and bigger sounding than a strat by a good bit when both intruments have the bridge pickup selected. Obviously just the difference of our experiences/perceptions.
     
  5. edgewound

    edgewound Gold Supporting Member

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    Well...no...not out of phase. It's a combination tone of the two pickups on at the same time, picking up the vibrations simultaneously from two points on the strings. Bridge/middle, middle/neck combinations.

    Out of phase pickups cancel most tone and leave behind a very weak, thin, trebly tone.

    Mark Knopfler probably has some the most recognizable clean strat tones.

    Stevie Ray Vaughn for big Texa Blues type Strat tone

    Vince Gill, on the Crossroads DVD's has some great Telecaster tone examples.

    Of course their are many others as well, just a few clicks away with a YouTube search.
     
  6. MartinC

    MartinC Member

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    I've got an American Deluxe HSS Strat with S1 and a Suhr Classic with HSS pickup configuration. No tele ... but I can make some comparisons that might help ...

    Comparing my Suhr Classic to a Pro Series (S1), the pickups in my Suhr are the same as the Pro Series as far as the 2 single coils go (V60LPs), and the humbucker I have is a DSV, where the Pro Series has an SSV. Both the DSV and SSV are at the vintage (low output, sweet tone) end of the scale, the difference being ... from the Suhr website ... "go with the DSV for smoother highs or with the SSV for more honk and snarl". Wood on mine is the same as the Pro series. So, all in all, I would expect a Pro Series S1 would produce very similar tones to my Classic.

    When I bought my Suhr, my plan was to sell my Strat. However, I can tell you from where I'm standing, the two guitars are distinctly different sounding, though both are obviously in the same (delicious) vein. The Strat is more modern sounding and has more mids, 'specially with the S1 switched on. The Suhr is pure, crystal clear, chiming vintage strat in tone. So my Strat is staying. Easily enough of a difference to justify both, and I'm a home hobbyist for 90% of the year. So for your situation, I would think the difference between a Pro Series and an American Deluxe Tele would be much greater than between the two flavours of Strat-style guitars that I have.

    Other thoughts ...

    If you're new to electrics, it might be worthwhile asking yourself (if you haven't already!) what kind of tones you're looking for. I think Strats and Teles excel at clean to low gain tones. Humbuckers seem a little sterile when played clean to my ears, unless they're in a 335 or similar guitar (you might well think otherwise!). I have humbuckers in the bridge position of both my Strat and Suhr Classic because I think humbuckers sound better when the gain gets into the medium to high range. I don't have a fully humbucker equipped guitar because most of the time I like to be in the clean to low gain zone. If you play a lot in the higher gain zone (hard rock to heavy metal) then a fully humbucker equipped guitar would make sense.

    A Suhr Pro Series would be a great choice. The build quality and tone are outstanding, and for the money I can't think of anything that would represent the same value, particularly for the S1 and S2 models. Since you're used to an American Deluxe Tele with noiseless pickups, you might want to factor in the BPSCC option on the Pro Series (if you pick a model that has single coil pickups in it) to cut out the hum. The other factor that I found with the Pro Series, and this is purely personal, is the nut width is narrower than on my Am Deluxe Fender ... at least it was on the Pro Series that I tried. I didn't like the narrower nut width, and I wanted to pick a specific neck profile and frets too, so I went with a custom order guitar. Best to try one and see.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2008
  7. elicious

    elicious Member

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    I own both and there is some cross-over in tones...not identical, but you can make one sound like the other in a "sort of" kind of way. OTOH, there are definitely voicings which each has that the other cannot really touch. How would Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Couldn't Stand the Weather" have sounded on a Tele? What would Led Zeppelin I have sounded like on a Strat? ;)

    FWIW, eryque's description of the eq differences of the guitars is the best I've seen.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2008
  8. Dave Wakely

    Dave Wakely Member

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    Bear in mind that Strat has a trem system. Not just a totally different bridge-set up but a body with a scoop out of the back full of springs. Makes quite a difference. (Do non-trem Strats sound more Tele-like?)

    As a player of both styles of guitar, I find a Tele generally warmer and fuller sounding than a Strat (Tele bridge pick-ups vary quite widely: some are ice-pick like, some are much rounder - I particularly like the SDs in the Lite Ash Tele: horrid thick poly finish, but otherwise a lovely little guitar). Bear in mind that different Strats have the tone controls wired differently: many have no tone control for the bridge p/up. (To me, that renders it unusable, but that's personal opinion.)

    Conventional wisdom has that a Tele is a rhythm guitar, and a Strat is for playing lead. I'd probably reverse that, personally.

    Actually for me, the biggest difference between the two is feel. A Tele feels a lot more solidly put together and resonant than a Strat to me (or at least, the 'average' Tele ... the 'average' Strat ...). But the Strat has better top-fret access, is more physically comfortable (body contouring), and more flexible (wider range of sounds, tremolo).
     
  9. baimun

    baimun Member

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    Yeah, those pesky Tele bodies with no contours on them..... :p

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Will Chen

    Will Chen Member

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    There are a multitude of differences between a strat and tele, most have which have been mentioned. My 2 cents?

    With regard to the 2 and 4 positions, I think there is an out of phase element to the sound, but not out of phase from a wiring perspective. Out of phase from a physics stand point from the waveform being sensed at 2 different locations resulting in the cancelation of some frequencies.

    The typical strat wiring with the bridge without a tone control removes the load from the bridge pickup which results in more high end than a tele whose bridge in my opinion also has much more midrange.

    The neck pickups are totally different with a tele's neck being much darker.

    A final point is many teles have a flatter fretboard radius than strats, especially with reissue models. Doesn't really effect sound, but certainly has a different feel.
     
  11. TonyV

    TonyV Member

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    Tele's with the ash tray bridge have tones that the Strat can not get. A Tele equipped with a six saddle bridge doesn't get it exact either. IMHO

    And of course the Strat quack is unique to a Strat with single coils.
     
  12. crzyfngers

    crzyfngers Member

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    well the tele has 2 pickups, the strat has 3. different positions, different tones. it's physics man. a tremelo doesn't have the sustain of a hardtail. the differences are both subtle and profound. mustard or mayo??
     
  13. jtm622

    jtm622 Member

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    A stock Strat has all three pickups mounted ON THE GUARDPLATE, and this is one of the biggest reasons why there is a noticeable tonal difference, IMO. That big guardplate just seems to have an effect on tone... I have an early 90's model HM Strat with the pickups mounted directly on the body (the guitar was built without a guardplate) and the difference in it's tone and my stock USA Strat is tremendous...
     
  14. Fred Russ

    Fred Russ Member

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    To me, teles and strats are two different beasts altogether. Teles have more scoop in the mids and are less polite than strats which for certain types of music is absolutely spot on. Strats have a different character - I love the quack tones you get especially between the bridge and middle pups - and the neck pickup is smooth with emphasis more on the bass and highs.
     
  15. kangamatt

    kangamatt Member

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    I had originally intended to be looking for a dual humbucker guitar to compliment the singles in the tele and when I started to think about it more and more I am not into playing with distortion much over mid range gain and I began to think more and more about a humbucker equiped strat.

    Also thanks for the feedback on the nut size.

    I appreciate all of your feedback!
     
  16. Structo

    Structo Member

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    Different animals for sure!

    Strat = sweet tone

    Tele = TWANG!
     
  17. kangamatt

    kangamatt Member

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    Is the quack a by product of the pickups or the location of the pickups?
     
  18. sqadan

    sqadan Member

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    You can get close to Tele Town by adding a metal plate to the pickup cavity on the bridge PU on a Strat. The Strat Quack is a byproduct of the low output of Strat Pickups and the Combinations afforded by the 3 PU setup.
     
  19. edgewound

    edgewound Gold Supporting Member

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    The "quack" that is referred to is foremost the location of the pickups.

    After that...all the different tonal shadings are byproducts of the pickups themselves, and the guitar's structure and how it's set up.

    Oh yeah...forgot....

    The player.
     
  20. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Kangamatt -

    I'll say further that a traditional Strat has one sound, and an SSH Strat has a different sound, and they both sound different from a Tele.

    To use your example, a Suhr SSH guitar, IMHO, would be a good compliment for your Tele. The Suhr will have a different vibe and different tones - more agressive on the bridge, and it'll have the phasey sounding 2 and 4 positions, though the bridge/ middle split won't sound the same as a traditional Strat.

    The split positions sound different on Strat types than the middle position on a Tele. The split positions also sound different on an SSH Strat and a trad Strat. The neck position alone on a Strat sounds way different than a Tele neck alone.

    Either a trad. Strat or an SSH Strat will sound different than your Tele, and either would be a good compliment to your Tele. If you're looking for versatility, many folks use the SSH Strat as their main axe.

    In My 'Stinkin Opinion, Dana O.
     

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