How to beef up a Strat? esp in the bridge

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by 1973Marshall, Mar 29, 2008.

  1. 1973Marshall

    1973Marshall Member

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    How do you make a "fatter" strat, esp in the bridge?

    I have 2 - newer and older 54 Strat RI. One already has the Callaham pots, switches, and jacks put in - and that has made it fuller and sweeter.

    The pups in one are Fender FAT 50s I believe, and they do sound good.

    NECK/Middle - I want a "Fatter" strat. Not fat to the point of being humbuckers, but warm, still stratty, and nice hollow quack in 2 & 4.

    Bridge - Here is a major discussion point. I have a Franken-Strat with a Gibson 57 Classic (Series/Parallel switch) in it AND a 54 Strat RI with a Seymour Duncan Lil 59 in it. The Lil 59 works nice but is a little nasally, yet has somem strat twang and bite. BOTH guitars SUFFER in position 4, and I blame the HB's.

    The STOCK single coil is so classic and bitey, BUT with the wrong rig or provided backline - I can be STUCK with a shrill, thin sound all nite. I think its time to keep a classic Strat bridge.

    How does Gilmour, Gallagher, etc etc get such a fat bridge tone?

    SOOOOOO...

    1) I could wire the tone to the bridge, but then do I have the tone still goto the middle?

    2) do I get a Fralin baseplate?

    3) Maybe a Dimarzio VV Solo in the bridge or somethign P90 like?

    4) How about a Duncan Twangbanger, Rio Stelly (sp?), or anything that gives a TELE like thickness? I LOVE 52 RI Teles and NOcasters

    5) Go with a Single Coil sized HB because there is no choice?
     
  2. DejavuDave

    DejavuDave Member

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    If your pickups are a modern set the bridge pickup is probably hotter than the others. Put a neck pup in the bridge. Wire one tone to neck/middle, the other to your new bridge pup, that way you can dial down the tone of the bridge pup. That's how I roll.
     
  3. scottlr

    scottlr Member

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    Try a 70s vintage Dimarzio SD-1. Sounds like a Strat on steroids, imho. I had a backup strat in the 80s with 3 of these pups on it, and that thing just screamed! After I quit the band I was in, I sold, and then recently acquired a vid of the band from then. There I was playing this butt ugly taupe Strat and it was just killing with tone! I tried to find the guy I sold it to, to see if he still had it. Then I started to buy some vintage Dimarzio SD-1s. I have 2 of them now, and at some point, will get the third, and try to recreate that sound. RIght now, I only have the bridge one installed, with 2 70s vintage HD-1s. And that ain't bad at all! And then, of course, rewire for the tone control to the bridge as stated above.

    A Duncan lil' 59 is also another choice I have considered, but I never tried one.
     
  4. JackButler

    JackButler Supporting Member

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    I have Rios in one of my strats with a baseplate and that guitar sounds huge, people freak at the lowend it produces.
     
  5. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    I wouldn't call Gilmour and Gallager fat strat tones though. Fat 50's should get those type easily. I use Fender '69 (5.7K ohm) pickups which are a little weaker than Fat 50's. My strat sounds great even for VH and ACDC with the '69 in the bridge, real crunchy. But I have a 1/4 sawn all maple neck and that gives some punch to the guitar.

    How's the sound of the guitar unplugged? IMO, the best sounding guitars always have a real strong resonance. I don't mean vibrating nice and polite acoustically, but shaking powerfully when you pluck an open string. Not so much hearing it, but feeling it. Load that guitar with some weak pickups and you have an amazing sounding guitar that can sing or scream depending on how you play her.

    Getting a tone control wired to bridge and rolling it down can help a little like you suggest, but it makes the tone smooth and less punchy when you roll it down. You could try a hotter single coil like Fralin SP43. I haven't tried one though but I hear they are ballsy. I'd like to hear one.

    Even semi hot like a Texas Special and it starts to lose the position 2 (bridge/middle) magic to my ears. There's probably something out there that can get close. But for great position 2 sounds like Knopfler or some of that 70's stuff, it always seems the weak singles with no RWRP are what really nails it.
     
  6. TimH

    TimH Member

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    get a Fralin SP43...I couldn't live without mine now!
     
  7. DrGonzo

    DrGonzo Gold Supporting Member

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    Fralin Vintage Hots in Neck and Middle and an SP43 in the bridge :AOK
     
  8. Brewmaster

    Brewmaster Member

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    I have Lollar Special S pickups in my Nash Strat. FAT, but still "Straty".
    I'm still stunned and amazed by these pickups.
     
  9. GuitaristZ

    GuitaristZ Guest

    perhaps wire the pickups differently?

    check out blend wiring from fralin...schematic on their site
     
  10. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

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    I think the baseplate is worth trying before going down the long and winding road of pickup swaps. It's the cheapest and easiest way to start and can be removed if it doesn't do the trick. My main Strat has Fralin vintage hots with the baseplate in the bridge. In my opinion, the added midrange push that the baseplate creates tends to tame the shrill high end of a typical Strat bridge p/u.
     
  11. Kelly

    Kelly Member

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    That's what Im using. Great combo. Wonder how a full set of SP43s would sound?
     
  12. Warren Mendonsa

    Warren Mendonsa Member

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    Suhr FL standard with tone knob on bridge. Fattest combo yet.
     
  13. Crunchyriff

    Crunchyriff Member

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    For years Dave Gilmour was using a particular Duncan SSL-1 in the bridge of his Black Stratocaster that he and Seymour picked out, IIRC....

    Another prospect might be the Callaham/Fralin pup.
     
  14. avincent52`

    avincent52` Member

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    +1 on the blend wiring.

    Rob DiStefano did a blender setup for the second tone so that you can dial in some neck pickup in positions 4 and 5. It's a really versatile setup and with a 70/30 split all traces of icepick are gone.
    My setup includes with Fralin Vintage Hots with a baseplate.
     
  15. 1973Marshall

    1973Marshall Member

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    I fear as someone mentioned above - too hot or different in the bridge and that Mark Knopfler-esque magic of the middle/bridge mix is gone.

    Blender is interesting, but I always recall it making a sort of hollow/quacky sound variant of position 2 and four, so I dunno if that's the "rock" sound of a bridge.

    I looked into the "tele" sounding pups by Seymour Duncan (Twangbanger) and Rio Grande. There are no sound samples, but people rave.

    Someone mentioned Lollar and Suhr bridge models that might be BOTH fat and strat. The Fralin SP43 scares me because it may be wayyyy too hot.

    No love for the Dimarzio VV Blues, Heavy Blues, Solo? will it change the strat too much? too P90ish?
     
  16. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    1973, There's one clip around here of a guy who has VH VH and SP43 in his strat. He goes through each position. It still sounded pretty stratty to me. It just sounded more balanced in each position.

    I tried the VV solo and it was nothing great imo. It sounded a little muffled and smooth to do any good Hard rock crunch stuff BUT that was with a 250K pot and at the time Dimarzio recommended a 500K but that'd screw things up for the front two pickups. It wasn't too much output at all.
     
  17. Alvis

    Alvis Member

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    Ive not tried a baseplate yet,but Im gonna make one for my '66
    An actual Tele pickup has always worked for me ,not for everybody I suppose but......
     
  18. 1973Marshall

    1973Marshall Member

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    Can you fit an ACTUAL TELE pup into a strat without routing?
     
  19. Michael Hunter

    Michael Hunter Supporting Member

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    Count me also amongst the converted on the Fralin SP43 / Vintage Hot middle combo. Certainly no lack Knopfleresque position 2 tone to my ears. It (the SP43) doesn't strike me as being way too hot, either - a little futzing with the pickup heights makes for a very balanced combo.

    I've also recently updated my strat with a Fralin 5K/3K Unbucker in the neck position with a miniswitch to do the coil-cut, and I think I've finally found (for me) a tremendously gigworthy setup. That Unbucker is just a fantastic pickup!
     

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