How to Tele-ize a Strat ?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Peter Cl, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. Peter Cl

    Peter Cl Member

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    I'm aware of the fundamental differences between a Strat and a Telecaster, thing is, the only Fender-scale solid body I have right now is an 80's MIJ Strat. A Telecaster will doubtless follow when and if I feel economically bailed out.

    I'm playing Jazz and really like the Tele neck position sound, whether SC or HB, (think Ed Bickert) and this is what I'm thinking of doing to the Strat to get within a couple of miles of the desired tone:

    Block the tremolo with wooden wedges. I know that the steel block (as against string-thru) and the trem cavity will always make a difference. A complete wooden block to fill everything in is available (somehere), but seems a lot of work. Worth it?

    Install brass saddles (if I can find them)? Silly thing to be considering?

    Use flatwound strings - Actually already doing this, and have found that there is less volume drop out on the wound 3rd string with stainless steel D'Addario Chromes, as against nickel wraps. I may consider putting in something like a Light Blue Lace Sensor to achieve better balance and less chime, though.

    The sound I'm after is basically that of a non-tremolo 25.5" scale maple neck solid body with the right pickups (not that I use the bridge pup), i.e., a Tele. Anyway, any suggestions? Anyone doing this?

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    Last edited: Oct 14, 2008
  2. ThugLife

    ThugLife Member

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    get a tele. the tele is about the vibe and the feel. can't really get it from a strat
     
  3. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

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    Get a Chimemaster bridge from Glendale (or his hardtail strat bridge) and replace the second tone control with a blender pot so you can blend your bridge and neck pickups together. It's no substitute for a real tele but it's as close as you're going to get with a strat.

    http://www.glendaleguitars.com/trem%20blocks.htm
     
  4. Peter Cl

    Peter Cl Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions, but I actually want to factor out most of the chime and use just the neck pup. As I said, a nice Tele may find its way into my home at some in the future. This is a kind of stopgap measure, nothing irreversible.

    I've read a guy on a (the?) Telecaster forum who fashioned a block of wood to fit snugly in his Strat's trem block cavity, drilled the string holes and screwed it to the back wall of the cavity. Presumably (there was no photo of the top), the existing bridge can be separated from the metal trem block, then screwed back onto the wooden block, thus creating a hardtail with string-thru-body loading.

    Sound too simple?

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    Last edited: Oct 14, 2008
  5. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

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  6. leftyaxeslinger

    leftyaxeslinger Supporting Member

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    One of the easiest things to do is to somehow mod the electronics to get the bridge/neck combo. I have a strat that has master volume/master tone/blender pot config and I can get some decent tele middle position tone that way. Also, the tone pot is no load so with it all the way at 10 it is out of the circuit and can get quite bright and twangy. Doesn't sound as meaty as the true tele, but can get close.
     
  7. 909one

    909one Member

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    I just borrowed a Strat. Hadn't played one in years, really don't like Strats that much actually. Plugged it in. Thought to myself, oh.. this isn't that bad. Kinda sounds like my Tele. Plugged my Tele in. No comparision. The Tele will always be a Tele, a Strat always a Strat. Take it from my experience with years of modifying, polishing turds, and what not, that the best way to get a sound that you have in your head is to get (or better yet, build) the thing that makes the sound that's in your head.
    My Tele even has Bigsby on it, the strings don't go through the body. It still sounds like a Tele. I think alot of it has to do with the body shape IMO.
    You'd better off getting a Mexican Tele and replacing the pickups IMO.
     
  8. Peter Cl

    Peter Cl Member

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    You know, I had never paid much attention to Telecasters, regardless of whether they were in or out of vogue and I play most of my stuff on a Heritage solid body. As I've been leaning more and more towards Jazz guitar, I was seriously thinking about a relatively inexpensive semi-hollow (ie, no more than around $1k) at some time.

    Then one day I heard Mr Ed Bickert elicit these tones out of a stock Tele: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxPBvDYVX2w , and thought that kind of sound would really complement my shorter scale, HB guitar.

    I've read people saying that the Tele in Mr Bickert's hands "sounds just like an archtop", but that doesn't really matter to me; it just sounds cool, with lots of space between the notes, even in close-voiced chords.

    Now, I figured that this sound was mainly produced by (I'm not even going into stuff like touch and type of amp):
    The 25.5 scale maple neck
    A sweet SC neck pup (Ed later swapped it out for a HB)
    String-thru-body bridge

    So here was me thinking that the main thing I had to do to get in the ball park was to first convert my Strat to a (pseudo-)hardtail, and maybe change out the neck pup. I really do not use the bridge pickup at all, though do appreciate the Tele middle position sound. But anyway, here I'm reading that it's the BODY SHAPE that sets them tonally apart. Wow!

    Yeah, I had sort of thought along the lines of a MIM Thinline. Thanks for the replies. Appreciated. Any more ? :)

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    Last edited: Oct 14, 2008
  9. ES350

    ES350 Member

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    Get a bigger, clearer neck pu, big flatwounds, and have at it---Eldon Shamblin played Freddie Green stuff and chord melody on a Strat...Roy Lanham as well.
     

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