Hot Take: Strats Are Awful ;)

tele_jas

Member
Messages
4,027
I've got 3 Tele's and a Wolfgang..... I've been wanting something, kinda in between the two. I tried a Les Paul = NOPE, not for me. I then tried a PRS = NOPE, not for me.

I've been an avid Strat hater for the better part of 20 years.... But, a few weeks ago, a buddy brought his American Strat for me to play at a gig. It had 3 Red Devil (Billy Gibbons) pickups in it. This thing literally sounded like a Les Paul, but played like a Fender. He had it wired so you can coil-tap the bridge pickup - and he replaced the middle tone knob with a 2nd switch to coil-tap neck and middle pickup.

I actually liked playing it so much, I traded an amp (that he's been begging me to sell him) for it.

I still like playing my Tele(s) better, but this is a nice change and gets me the rock tones I wanted from the Les Paul/PRS, and still the options of having nice clean tones of a Strat (I don't use position 2 & 4). I'll probably re-wire the 5 way switch, or put in a 3-way switch and bypass the middle pickup (then lower it so I don't always hit it with my pick).

I think if you get the right one, they're OK....But, it'll never be my main guitar.

I did upgrade the stock bridge, which I've never liked:

anc4VjR.jpg
 

kombi1976

Member
Messages
688
To the OP, I feel your pain. For me Strats seem completely amp dependent. Without an amp with which you find your best sound they’re extremely frustrating. I also find vintage low power pickups very annoying. Leo Fender had hearing damage and his “high fidelity” tone in my hands sounds weak and thin. But I played a CS Strat through an AC15 and it felt full and robust. I also played a Yamaha RGX with Strat-style neck and middle pickups through a Roland Cube 20X (of all things) and it was really warm and great. I believe the stupidest thing in Strat wiring is that the tone control is on the middle pickup, not the bridge! The tone control is the saving grace of Teles (something I discovered only a few years back) and its absence on the rear pickup of the Strat is the curse. Even the Eric Clapton Strat isn’t wired standard. I’m intending to chase some Brierley Pickups for the MIJ Strat thats my wife’s guitar but she barely uses it. But I’ll be quizzing Dave Brierley pretty hard before I decide on which set. I want a Strat neck pickup that can do Jazz, not a hollow weak unit. I’ve seen it done and I know it’s possible.
 

SolidGuitar

Member
Messages
604
Honestly? I get it. I absolutely hated Strats for most of my guitar playing life. It's only recently after hearing Tonie Joy from Moss Icon/Universal Order of Armageddon blow my ears off with his Strat/Marshall JMP/MXR Dist+ combo that I've come around to them. I'd probably still hate them otherwise, even though Bob Mould's been getting awesome sounds from his Lace Sensor'd Strats for years.
Ok, word. I love Moss Icon, Order of Armageddon and all of the Mould.
 

el duderino

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
387
Confession: I hate Stratocasters. I just never liked them. I hate the way they play. I hate the way they feel. I hate the way they look. I hate the controls. I hate 3 pickup guitars in general. I used to have a nice MiM Strat that I picked up on a whim. I ended up just giving it to a friend as a present because I never played it. Ironically, some of my favorite guitar gods play Strats. Gilmour, Clapton, Edge, etc. I just never bonded with them.

Anyone else dislike Strats as much as I do? Or am I just a weirdo? :p
100% with you on this one. I really can’t stand strats. Hands down my least favorite guitar tones are the in between positions on a strat.
 

Felchy

Member
Messages
6
Every Strat disliker/hater here needs to do themselves a favor and try a shorter scale strat or strat-like guitar.
Given the fact that I was ignorant about scale length for sooooo many years (he admitted somewhat sheepishly), I suspect many are in the same boat. It was the biggest gear revelation for me. I suddenly realized why my 25" scale PRS was easier to play and why les pauls felt so much easier to play as well. Other than my PRS which I bought used in 1991 ish, I like to buy very inexpensive guitars for experimenting on what feels best etc. So, I bought a few Squier cyclones (they were on clearance so I bought another one - originally attracted to the "Gibson" scale length of 24.75" and the loved it enough to buy a backup for cheap, I mean DIRT cheap woohoo!!). I ****ing LOVE the scale length. are you 6'4" with huge hands like ALMOST all guitar legends? No? exactly. then why are you playing a neck in the dimensions those guys find comfortable? I think that's what LP die-hards are experiencing with a strat and why they "fight" a strat in comparison. Problem solved with shorter scale strat.
Why bother? because the neck pickup tone on a strat is so awesome and good luck getting that tone with a les paul (I have no use for a neck humbucker overdriven muddy mess tone). Also, I hate humbuckers in the neck position. Conversely, I love humbuckers for bridge/lead tones. I suspect most guitarists like this combo. That's why guitars with HSS p/u configuration are so popular. I need a great lead tone more than I need the second position strat quack tone (I realize country/chickin pickin guys are prolly not in this category).

You can also get some killer short scale MIJ strats made my fender and others on ebay etc. that have a 24 3/4" scale.

ever wonder why so many legendary strat players tune down a half step? is that a common thing among LP players? hell no it aint. its because even they appreciate the additional "give" in the strings. screw all that. Get a shorter scale strat or a warmouth conversion neck.

My ideal guitar is an HSS short scale carved top strat (carved top give better wrist angle) with the appropriate tone pot for the different pickup types. there is a HUGE difference in the sound of a humbucker with 500k vs 250 k. So, your HSS strat should have that.

Okay, sorry for the rambling. these is information that would have changed the trajectory of my journey if I had known them from the get go so I thought I would share.

two more: string gauge and pickups makes so little difference in tone compared to the amp, the speaker and the cabinet. Rhett Shull says it makes up 75% of the tone. I agree. The neck PU in my squier cyclones is crap. So, as long as you have halfway decent pickups, amp should be your first priority/concern for tone and feel (modeling or otherwise). If I had known this, I would have spent the majority of my duckets on amplification, then worried about the guitar.

Peace
 

sahhas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
19,957
it's funny to me that anyone could hate a strat, i mean it's a guitar that's made for changing it to your style.
example:
1647451619037.png

or say:
1647451674426.png


just some examples....there are more....
Confession: I hate Stratocasters. I just never liked them. I hate the way they play. I hate the way they feel. I hate the way they look. I hate the controls. I hate 3 pickup guitars in general. I used to have a nice MiM Strat that I picked up on a whim. I ended up just giving it to a friend as a present because I never played it. Ironically, some of my favorite guitar gods play Strats. Gilmour, Clapton, Edge, etc. I just never bonded with them.

Anyone else dislike Strats as much as I do? Or am I just a weirdo? :p
 
Messages
167
Confession: I hate Stratocasters. I just never liked them. I hate the way they play. I hate the way they feel. I hate the way they look. I hate the controls. I hate 3 pickup guitars in general. I used to have a nice MiM Strat that I picked up on a whim. I ended up just giving it to a friend as a present because I never played it. Ironically, some of my favorite guitar gods play Strats. Gilmour, Clapton, Edge, etc. I just never bonded with them.

Anyone else dislike Strats as much as I do? Or am I just a weirdo? :p
I’m not a huge Strat fan either, although I own 3, but sometimes that authentic Strat sound is just right for the song. Having said that, why spend time posting and probably reading about something you so strongly dislike? I would rather hear about the guitar you do like and why.
 

Gear nut

Member
Messages
76
I agree have had a handful of them. The one I have now is a G&L Legacy but I don't play it as much as I should. But it's still the best one I've ever owned I really do like me a Tele though.
 

Pakala

Member
Messages
38
I don't have a Strat, but besides my two Teles, I have a Music Man Albert Lee w/ three pickups. It's my main guitar. It plays and sounds wonderfully. The reason I never got a Strat is the volume control that's so close to the bridge that I too often hit it when strumming and turn down the volume by accident. My MM has only two knobs (vol. & tone) and they sit lower down, out of my flailing reach.

Ernie Ball Music Man Albert Lee.jpeg
 

Stratcries

Member
Messages
56
I do not like PRS guitars, you couldn't give me one. With a strat you need to turn down the tone a little bit on the bridge pickup. I like using a little compression to tame the brightness. Lower string height helps with the playability and tone in my opinion too. As far as the scale length, I had to play my Gibson more to get use to its scale length. The only guitars I love are Fender and Gibson. I see other guitars that interest me but Fender and Gibson guitars are just part of me and what I am known to play.
 

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Joe Randazzo

Member
Messages
92
Confession: I hate Stratocasters. I just never liked them. I hate the way they play. I hate the way they feel. I hate the way they look. I hate the controls. I hate 3 pickup guitars in general. I used to have a nice MiM Strat that I picked up on a whim. I ended up just giving it to a friend as a present because I never played it. Ironically, some of my favorite guitar gods play Strats. Gilmour, Clapton, Edge, etc. I just never bonded with them.

Anyone else dislike Strats as much as I do? Or am I just a weirdo? :p
Greetings Supernautilus,
Perhaps hate is too strong a word. But I prefer other guitars for the following reasons. One, I don't like 25 1/2" scale, or a 7.5 or 9.5 radius. I prefer 24 3/4" and 12 inch radius. Before I list my other objections, I must describe how I play. I play using a Slick thumb pick, and National brass finger picks. The middle pickup of a Strat ALWAYS gets in the way. Even on my HH Strat (Fitted with Seymour Duncan Phat Cat P90s) the strings are too close to the pickguard and I'm constantly hitting it. I admit that flat pickers won't have this problem. My main objection, however is the lack of adjustment on the pickups themselves. I just sold two Strats and one Tele, and they all suffer from the same problem. The volume is not balanced from string to string. On my Gibson and Epiphone guitars, each pole piece is adjustable up or down. Both my Strats suffered from severe volume differences, one the highs and the other the mids. Raising or lowering the entire pickup, or even one end, did not solve the problem. The high E was too soft. Raising that end on all three pickups, just made the B and G strings too loud by comparison. I don't like the tummy cut on a Strat. When I play sitting down, the guitar falls at too sharp an angle towards my body. I prefer straight up and down like a Les Paul or ES-335. I do like the 6 on one side tuners (locking preferred), and the tremolo has a feather touch. All things considered a Strat is NOT my go to guitar.
 

TearItUpTony

Member
Messages
97
Confession: I hate Stratocasters. I just never liked them. I hate the way they play. I hate the way they feel. I hate the way they look. I hate the controls. I hate 3 pickup guitars in general. I used to have a nice MiM Strat that I picked up on a whim. I ended up just giving it to a friend as a present because I never played it. Ironically, some of my favorite guitar gods play Strats. Gilmour, Clapton, Edge, etc. I just never bonded with them.

Anyone else dislike Strats as much as I do? Or am I just a weirdo? :p

I wouldn't go so far as to say Strats are bad, but they are certainly not for me either. You pointed out a couple characteristics that I can't live with... the middle pickup (I'm constantly hitting it with my pic) and the nearest volume knob to the bridge (constantly hitting it/moving it with my hand). I do love a super strat though... dual humbuckers and volume knob far from the bridge. The strat body shape is the most comfortable, too, but Fender doesn't make anything like that, so... yeah, I'm with you; I don't like Fender Strats at all.
 

vanmat

Member
Messages
6
First guitar I bought was a Strat. Honestly never fell in love with it, not yet anyway. I don't like the third pickup, I don't like the tremolo bar setup, or the knob placement. I always thought I knew what I would like ahead of time, but that turned out to be totally not true at all.
 

cdngtrplyr

Member
Messages
93
Good thing for you that they aren't the only guitar out there ♫♪♫ Personally I not a fan of twelve strings, 7 strings or Ovation acoustics (that round bowl back makes it too hard to play, IMO). Oh yeah, I don't like playing 5 string basses either.
 

gusmc01

Member
Messages
35
When I tried one for the first time I didn't like it all. I was used to a dual humbucker guitar. The single coils sounded thin and I HATED the location of the volume knob because I bumped it when playing. I lnow, I know, some people love it for pinky volume swells. Didn't try one again for years. When I revisited them later I was more mature and really dug the single coil sound, particularly in the neck position. I own two HSS strats now and have them wired master volume, master tone with no knob in the traditional volume spot. NOW I like 'em.
 

harvey j

Member
Messages
1,815
Confession: I hate Stratocasters. I just never liked them. I hate the way they play. I hate the way they feel. I hate the way they look. I hate the controls. I hate 3 pickup guitars in general. I used to have a nice MiM Strat that I picked up on a whim. I ended up just giving it to a friend as a present because I never played it. Ironically, some of my favorite guitar gods play Strats. Gilmour, Clapton, Edge, etc. I just never bonded with them.

Anyone else dislike Strats as much as I do? Or am I just a weirdo? :p
I will take a Tele any day over a strat.
 




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