Fender Stratocaster CS shootout!

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by mary04, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. mary04

    mary04 Member

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    I`ve been asked to upload the stratocaster CS part from the Hell Ampfest 28.1.12 vid as a clip on its own, and I think it may belong here in the guitar deparment (the whole vid you can watch in the gear demo section). So here it is. Hopefully the vid can be of some sort of help if you are in the market for a new CS strat, pick ups or maybe a new amp. We had a great time making this. All the guitars sounds great, but there are tonal differences between the them. At least I know of one person who allready has decided on a pickup-swap after seeing this vid. He`s one of the players!

     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  2. rabbuhl

    rabbuhl Member

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    What was the conclusion?
     
  3. drod2045

    drod2045 Member

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    i think the middle guitar sounds the best overall. The only tone I preferred over the middle one was the bridge+Klon on the guitar in the right. Had a bit more mid honk going on.
     
  4. dcooper830

    dcooper830 Member

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    They all sound the same to me.

    Or if there are any differences....... it's too subtle for me to even be concerned about it.
     
  5. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    ? Big difference to me. I only listened to the three neck clips so far. I read your response and went back and listened again. Maybe it's your speakers. Man, the first one is by far the beefiest and throatiest with more output. Fralin strat gets a bit scooped and quieter. The Dimarzios are sterile kinda thin/no depth, sound real generic. Nowhere close to the first two. That's how they sounded to me in person. This was a great idea for comparison.

    I gotta listen to the rest now....This is cool.
     
  6. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Same thing for the bridge positions. That first strat is real nice with good depth. I want it! The Fralin strat is twangy, kinda tele with less mids.

    But my bet is a lot of it is the guitar's frequencies/wood. Playing it acoustically would tell what's doing what. But to my ears, the guitar sounds meaty but not too middy, so it's not overly hot pickups.

    I'd like to hear either of those pickups in that 3rd strat because those Dimarzios aren't doing much for it. It's not so good.
     
  7. mary04

    mary04 Member

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    Well, if you ask me the battle stands between the two relics. The first one (62 - one to the right) has very defined and fat mids, and sounds great. The pickups on this guitar are handwound by the legendary Abby (Abigail Ybarra) at Fender. On the other hand theres something about the Blues Specials on the 60 relic that I also like. They kind of sing in a good way. Hard to explain. Anyway it`s a hard choice, and you can`t go wrong with either.
     
  8. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Hey, is that first one sold? I really like it's sound.

    Also, thanks for this. It's a welcome distraction for me during a bad time, and kept my mind on this while I jogged this morning.
     
  9. Crow

    Crow Supporting Member

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    Nice video! I liked the middle strat with the blues specials. The strat with the CS pickups was nice as well.

    Did the Fralin blues specials have the baseplate on the bridge pickup?
     
  10. mary04

    mary04 Member

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    You are welcome buddastrat. To hear you say that makes me happy and humble. Just hang in there and stay strong!

    When it comes to the sale part I`ve got some good news, and some bad news. Good news is that the guitar is up for sale. Bad news is that we live in Norway, and gear is very expencive over here. The seller claims $4166 excluded shipmentcosts and taxes. Ridecolous - yes I know, but this is the insane reality we have to deal with up here in northern Europe. Crazy!
     
  11. mary04

    mary04 Member

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    Talked to the owner (player) and he said: No, there`s no baseplate on the pickups.
     
  12. zenfreud

    zenfreud Member

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    Thanks for doing this test, it's cool you guys went to the trouble of doing it. That being said, the feel/touch of the individual players probably had the biggest effect on what we hear on this clip. As someone who has worked on his craft, I'd sure hope so. Again, thanks for posting, cool to see others who are also searching for tone.

    I preferred the neck tones from the Fralin-equipped Strat, though it was thicker than I prefer on the bridge pickup. A bit more bell-like, but still plenty ballsy for a Strat. The neck tones from the player on the right with the stock CS pickups were thicker, though less Stratty, less distinctive. I liked the stock CS bridge pickup. The tones from the Area-equipped Strat were the least complex overall, almost sounded like conventional humbuckers, didn't evoke what I think of as the Strat 'sound'.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  13. strat9659

    strat9659 Member

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    Nice video. First two seem close to me - CS probably edges it listening on my not-great headset at work. However, I'm now convinced that I'm not interested in the Dimarzio's.
     
  14. mary04

    mary04 Member

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    Thanks for your honest and constructive feedback. We enjoy our guitar & amp meetings very much, and it's always pleasurable and no trouble at all. And I agree on the fact that a players skills always affect the end result very much. I guess Eric Clapton could make almost every guitarequipment sound good no matter what. The three guitarists in the vid also belong in the category "advanced players" IMO.
     
  15. vinni

    vinni Member

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    I have the same '62. Even the color is the same.
    For me this is the first strat that I REALLY liked.
    Had strats before but couldn't bond. So I played PRS Singlecuts
    exclusively.....Until I played this '62 CS Relic with brazilian rosewood fretboard.
    It's the only guitar I play nowadays.

    Vinni
     
  16. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

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    Hrmm... hard to say because we all know that recordings and youtube compression can really nix the nuance that can easily be heard in a room.

    Overall, I'd say the middle guitar sounded the best. I'd say that the guitar on the right sounded a little bit better than the middle one when the Klon was engaged. I'd also say that they sounded remarkably similar on the neck pickup. I also don't own any of the pickup sets shown though I've played two out of three of them.

    Based on that entire clip, I'd 100% go for whichever guitar played the best, felt the best and inspired me the most.

    Edit: Listened to the clip again (and a couple of your other clips) and I would say that upon a second listen, the Dimarzios have distanced themselves as the third best set in the clip, but they still don't sound as different as I'd have thought. Certainly a good bit closer to the better sets than, say, my set of Dimarzio HS3/HS2/HS2.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  17. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    I listened yet again,b my laptop with a running out into a tiny Fender practice amp, so very little real quality yet there's still such a big difference. I don't know what some of you are talking about, sounding the same, those guitars are miles apart.

    That middle one is so twangy in the mids, reminds me of a tele-light. I guess I just go for that deep, sort've SRV type tone. I think if you know how to play the riffs they're playing, you can really separate what each player is doing from what the guitar, the amp etc is doing.. and dissect it in a sense when it comes to this. I guess from working in a guitar store you get used to this type of thing.
     
  18. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

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    Well, to be fair, yes they do sound different. I mean, it's not like a 'strat guy' could literally NOT differentiate between them. I just meant that to hear some folks tell it, Fralins are about 412 times better than Fender Custom Shop pickups and by way of comparison, Dimarzios aren't quite good enough to be considered turds.

    :p

    I meant that I've compared my CS54s to my CS69s to my Duncan Antiquities to my SSL2s to my Dimarzio HS2/2/3 set and, in person, they are radically different. Well, the 54s and Antiquities are pretty similar, but the others are obviously different. This clip, different guys through the same amp in the same room through the youtube compression and, I assume, a less than ideal recording setup... they aren't really worlds apart. It's not like one of them has huge thumping lows and the other is completely tinny. The Dimarzios DO sound less complex but they certainly sound better than MIM Standard ceramics from a few years back.
     
  19. rabbuhl

    rabbuhl Member

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    I have Areas in my strat and pickup height makes a big difference.

    If you read the DiMarzio installation instructions it says "the closest recommended distances from the top of the magnet to the bottom of the string are: neck and middle pickups low E 3/32” (2.4 mm), high E 1/16” (1.6 mm), bridge pickup low E 1/16” (1.6 mm), high E 3/64” (1.2 mm). These settings will provide a lot of presence and attack."

    What I hear the Areas from this video there is indeed a lot of presense and attack. I found the same occurred on my guitar. So, I did what DiMarzio instructions say further is that "for a more open 1950s sound, try adjusting the pickups 1/32” (0.8 mm) further from the strings." That gave a more straty sound.
     
  20. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    I agree with you about those pickups and claims from some. Though, I've never cared for Areas when I've compared them with other pickups. They're so sterile, similar to what you hear in this video. But pickups can get overblown because the wood is so much more vitally important than people think. I bet you could put the Fralin blues in the first strat, and still have that big fat growl factor. The 2nd strat to my ears is that guitar's wood might be be sucking up a bit of mids, giving the guitar a spanky, thinner tone, which is quite different from the first one. These are pretty large differences I'm hearing, and then if you think about recording compressing it or whatever, it's likely to be even more noticeable in person. When they start adding the pedal and a lot more gain, the differences are a little less of course. But pretty big overall.

    And I'm really liking this amp that I've never heard much on.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2012

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