How to thicken up EJ Strat tone?

Mike R.

I play an EJ Sig. Strat through my Ghia 1x12 combo.

It sounds kind of thin to me. I am probably used to my Historic Les Paul.

So...what do you guys recommend to thicken it up some? I dont want to go all out into distortion or heavy overdrive.

I want the tone to be thicker, more milkshake and BBQ grease than skim milk and granola if you know what I mean.

Thanks in advance!


Senior Member
This might be an unpopular box on TGP, but I've found the Duncan Twin Tube to be the perfect solution to thickening up single coils. I've actually tried it with a Ghia, and it sounds incredible. The TT also turned out to be just the thing for sweetening up the POD XT for direct recording.

Other than that, I'm also a big fan of the Barber Burn Unit. Really thick and juicy, but with great clarity.


Silver Supporting Member
I'll tell you what made the EJ perfect for me. CS Fat 50s pickups and Raw Vintage saddles. I can honestly say I didn't think the saddles would make a difference but they sweetened up that guitar, brought out the lows a bit. I put them on a week or so before I did the pickups and they sounded great. Put the pickups in and got rid of the ping that I wasn't quite meshing with. THEN the EJ was perfect for me. Now if they only come out with that rosewood fretboard model. :)


I wish this post existed a few months ago. Maybe I also wish I thought to ask the same questions. The EJ strat sounded pretty thin to me as well and I sold it to play on some Telecasters.

Mike R.

Are you rolling off the tone on the bridge?


What bothers me more is that I think the neck pickup is thin. I never think that about Strats!

Everything else about the guitar is great. I just wish I could add a "greasier" thickness to the tone.

Any suggestions are much appreciated!!

Those that already replied...thanks!


Senior Member
Old style comp, Ross, MXR, and the various clones...that is what we did some odd 20 years ago:)


I guess you may need Eric's amps and effects also.

Seriously, I think a Strat will always sound thin next to a Gibson, not a bad thing just reality.

Maybe if Eric was playing the strat....................


I am an early EJ Strat owner - got one of the very first (if not thee first) CAR EJ out of the shop. I love it. I wear it out.

The EJ pups and maple fingerboard with the flatter radius is the point of this guitar - certainly two of the most unique aspects of the EJ. The pups are designed to sound like low-output vintage pups - can be bright, can be woody, always very clear and articulate. Some players might hear this as "thin", and I fully understand that.

Texas Special pups (I've owned 'em for years) are the polar opposites from EJ pups, IMO.

Through a process that has taken years and too much time/money spent swapping out pups, I learned that I like low output pups. Those vintage style pups provide a glassy/bright tone with in-between tones to die for, that hotter pups just can't do. Then, when I want something hotter/middy'er, I just use one of the awesome pedals discussed in horrid detail here at TGP! With this approach, I get everything I want.

My best choices to bring vintage Strat pickups up to "thicker" status are:
- Fulltone FatBoost 2 (my current fave)
- Zen set for very low gain
- GSB set for very low gain
- Tim set for very low/no gain

I've got a Katana on it's way that is reported to be very good at this very thing.


i love the katana for fattening up solo's. it works great boosting my Direct Drive SS. On the bridge, roll the tone back a bit and add some delay and it sounds a lot like EJ :D


+1 on the post right above

also i wouldnt be afraid to embrace the always so hated mids? some low mids from a pedal can be great for strats...and certainly easy to find as most pedals got some..
speaking of the barber black LTD is such a pedal described as thickening the notes etc. doesnt have a lot of gain but through a cranked or overdriven amp...very awesome.

you could try stacking as well. two low gain drives make up quite a different "higher" gain tone than say one high gain pedal..IMO its much creamier,etc.
some options zendrive,jetter,blue collar , eternity, and just a TS9..or two


My 2 cents. The options I've found for thickening any strat tone:
1. Klon set for Volume boost with Gain at minimum, tone @ 12: and Output @1: definately thickens in a pleasing way. $350.00 investment with a 14 week wait if you buy direct but I did and it's worth the wait.

2. Barber LTD.SR w/ mod board - with it's added internal trim pots for Mids and it's note shape trim - you can get a thick organic Low gain tone that feels like the pedal is not even in the chain. Under a $200.00 investment and readilly available through the barbers custom shop.

3. Barber Electronics, Barb E.Q. - probably my #1 go to pedal in the studio when players come in and track with an amp that only has 1 volume and 1 tone... Definately research this pedal as it was designed for amps such as yours... It can really thicken up your chain with it's various tone stacks...

The EJ Pups are great sounding - I don't find mine too thin as I compare them to my CS Rory Gallagher and CS '59 Slabboard w/ Lollar's... I think the Barb EQ will really give you some options - with the Black face setting on a ghia - you'll get the big low's - smooth mids and chimey highs that will let those Pups do their thing... For $149.95 and a 48 hour returm policy - you can't go wrong.

Good Luck!

Funky Monkey

Silver Supporting Member
I wouldn't even consider any pedal until you checked a couple of other things first...

Is the wiring bad? A Strat neck pickup, even vintage, shouldn't ever be able to be described as thin.

Is the pickup height OK? Too high can choke things just as bad a too low.

STRINGS! Hands, style and gear aside, if you want thicker tone, you also literally need a thicker string.

11's-12's-13's and good pickup output can do the same thing a Klon can if all you're looking for is more output and authority.

Mike R.

Thanks for all of the suggestions!

I might have been misleading to some though. Probably my fault. I am not getting the out of phase, wired incorrectly thinness. I am just used to hearing the higher output pickups some Strats have. These are definitely low output!

All of the suggestions have been great. The Klon is an option as are all of the mentioned pedals.

It's funny. I got the Ghia for it's simplicity and end up buying pedals with more knobs to tweak!

If anyone has anything else to add, feel free. I appreciate the ideas.

Trending Topics

Top Bottom