Clapton Strat users (or other mid-boost TBX strat users) I have questions...


I have a pretty good idea how the system would work in a rock context, I have a slightly different use in mind and I want to get an opinion:

Let me start with I want a simple setup for this purpose, that means I want to avoid pedals, switches, etc. on an amp, so my setup will be Clean Amp, in this case a Vox Pathfinder, run through the house, basically as loud as it can go and remain clean, then a single guitar that will have to cover about 10 songs of varying styles.

So I currently use a tele or a strat, I found that in our mix, (piano, bass, chior, electronic drums, bongos, acoustic guitar) that single coils fit best for us. I like the glassy, jangly sound and I want to maintain that, it sits back in the mix, and at time almost blends in completely, and does not overly stand out.

Occasionally I take a lead break, for lead tone I need it to pop out more, I also want a smoother, beefier sound, but I really dont want a lot of distortion, just something that pops out of the mix.

So I am thinking a Clapton strat might work, I can maintain the single coil sounds for rhythm (and I like the addition of no single coil hum) basically leaving the mid boost off, and then I can roll the mid boost up for a slight volume bump and some beef.

The problem is the demos I have seen are not using a similar setup, they all seem to use a tube amp on the edge of break up, and when they roll the midboost there is lot of distortion added, almost to the point of fuzz.

I am concerned that my setup would result in one of two things, either this fuzz sound (which I like but it wont go over with the audience) or a lot of volume boost, which I dont want either, I want the mid boost to add some volume, but more I want it to give me a smoother beefier tone that pops out of the mix.


Silver Supporting Member
I owned a Clapton strat for many years, and it worked the way you described, but I was always playing through tube amps. How does your amp respond to boost pedals when you run it at similar volumes?

Ultimately I used the Clapton because I really liked the neck, but my opinion was that most boost and OD pedals had better tone than the onboard mid-boost circuit. The Lace pickups were good for rock and were noiseless, but they were quite different from classic strat tones.


It works very much like you want however don't forget you are going to get a blues overdrive tone - relatively clean by today's standards.

My Clapton Strat into my AC30 set to just about break up gives an almost perfect Eric Clapton tone. This kind of tone is very pure and perfect for blues and recording.

The active tone controls also means you can roll on more treble to counter the "mid" boost tone and get a little more crispy crunch....


I have two Clapton Strats, an '83 Strat Elite - and I even had a Clapton mid-boost installed in one of my Telecasters... Yes, I (obviously) like 'em.
The effect that those mid-boosts have is to increase the signal coming from your guitar and thereby cause that signal to hit your amp's pre-amp tubes very hard...
Also - remember that mid-boosts are designed to function best with "noiseless" single-coil pickups (to avoid the accompanying increase in noise you'll get with a regular Fender single-coil that has it's output increased...)
Also - I had a hot-rails "humbucking" style pickup in that modified Tele - and, it caused the pre-amp to "squeal" when the mid-boost was wide open - likely as a result of the increased output hitting that first 12ax7 pre-amp tube... (I had to replace it with a noiseless single-coil, and the squeal went away...)
IMO, those mid-boosts don't sound anything like a "fuzz" or "distortion" box at all, but more like the "hair" you get from a cranked tube amp that you've run "direct" into...

In any case, keep in mind that you can control the level of boost by simply turning the knob down...
Less mid-boost = Less overdrive...
If the mid-boost is off, the signal to your amp will be "Clean..."

They are great, IMO...
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