How to thicken up EJ Strat tone?

PedalFreak

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,297
Threads like this make me think I got one of the GREAT EJ Strat's out there. I've had people ask me what pickups i've got in it because of the sound it gets. Nothing about this guitar is thin.

I've put the Raw Vintage Saddles on it, and a Gold Anodized pickguard (I've got the blonde one). I do use 11-52 or 11.5-56 just depending on the mood I am in. Treble string height is at 6/64" and Bass is 5.5/64" at the 12th Fret.

How is your string height? Is it low? String Guage? Pickup Height? Low action, thin strings and too high or too low of pickup's will cause that.

I've got guys that come into my shop and ask this same question, then i look at their guitar's and they have 9-42 guage strings, 2/64 at the treble and 3-4/64 on the bass, pickups real high. Not a good way to get a good tone.

Eric (if i remember right) uses 10-50 guage strings, and action is 5/64 on bass side and 6/64 on the treble.
 

SunnyRollins

Member
Messages
532
How is your string height? Is it low? String Guage? Pickup Height? Low action, thin strings and too high or too low of pickup's will cause that.

I've got guys that come into my shop and ask this same question, then i look at their guitar's and they have 9-42 guage strings, 2/64 at the treble and 3-4/64 on the bass, pickups real high. Not a good way to get a good tone.

Eric (if i remember right) uses 10-50 guage strings, and action is 5/64 on bass side and 6/64 on the treble.
now that's a good advice!
first and foremost this is it, then comes the "a-b-c" of effects and blah blah blah.
also the pick is VERY important to the tone and Eric uses some fatty ones, so...
 

SunnyRollins

Member
Messages
532
anyway, there's exeptions to the rule. The solo in Van Halen's "push comes to shove" (fair warning) has a FAT tone, and it's known that eddie played 9-42 gauge and medium-thin picks, so...
 

BillyK

Member
Messages
2,582
Threads like this make me think I got one of the GREAT EJ Strat's out there. I've had people ask me what pickups i've got in it because of the sound it gets. Nothing about this guitar is thin.

I've put the Raw Vintage Saddles on it, and a Gold Anodized pickguard (I've got the blonde one). I do use 11-52 or 11.5-56 just depending on the mood I am in. Treble string height is at 6/64" and Bass is 5.5/64" at the 12th Fret.

How is your string height? Is it low? String Guage? Pickup Height? Low action, thin strings and too high or too low of pickup's will cause that.

I've got guys that come into my shop and ask this same question, then i look at their guitar's and they have 9-42 guage strings, 2/64 at the treble and 3-4/64 on the bass, pickups real high. Not a good way to get a good tone.

Eric (if i remember right) uses 10-50 guage strings, and action is 5/64 on bass side and 6/64 on the treble.

Hey Freak:
Good advice, across the board, for all Strat owners, not just EJ owners.

IMO, if a player buys an EJ and puts in Texas Specials, or anything of that ilk, they wanted something other than an EJ from the start. Nothing wrong with that at all.

For me, I love the super clean, punchy bright, articulate sound of EJ pups - they weren't designed to be "fat". When a player uses pups like EJ's into stomps and cranked amps (like EJ, BTW!) they are looking for flexibility/range: piano-like cleans playing straight, mild OD through super-fat saturated tones with stomps/cranked amps. By definition, when a pup gets hotter it loses sonic range, the highs and lows begin to attenuate and mids come to the fore.

So for me, I guess this conversation would make more sense if players were'nt surprised and disappointed by the tone that the EJ was designed to have, but rather said something like: "I want the flat fingerboard, vintage parts and light body of the EJ but with a hot pup tone rather than vintage Strat tone that EJ goes after".
 

slopeshoulder

Senior Member
Messages
7,860
+1 on Klon and Barber. Demeter mid boost is also great at this (it's what it does). I find the katana to add some highs and lows, but not fatter mids.
A Suhr V60 pickup might also be in order.
 

Mike R.

Member
Messages
4,122
Threads like this make me think I got one of the GREAT EJ Strat's out there. I've had people ask me what pickups i've got in it because of the sound it gets. Nothing about this guitar is thin.

I've put the Raw Vintage Saddles on it, and a Gold Anodized pickguard (I've got the blonde one). I do use 11-52 or 11.5-56 just depending on the mood I am in. Treble string height is at 6/64" and Bass is 5.5/64" at the 12th Fret.

How is your string height? Is it low? String Guage? Pickup Height? Low action, thin strings and too high or too low of pickup's will cause that.

I've got guys that come into my shop and ask this same question, then i look at their guitar's and they have 9-42 guage strings, 2/64 at the treble and 3-4/64 on the bass, pickups real high. Not a good way to get a good tone.

Eric (if i remember right) uses 10-50 guage strings, and action is 5/64 on bass side and 6/64 on the treble.

Thanks for the reply. The action is exactly what you set yours to (6/64" and Bass is 5/64" at the 12th Fret). My pickups are actually set to EJ's measured height from Dan E.'s book when he measured EJ's Strat.

I think what I might be experiencing is actually the way these pickups were designed to sound per BillyK.
they weren't designed to be "fat". When a player uses pups like EJ's into stomps and cranked amps (like EJ, BTW!) they are looking for flexibility/range: piano-like cleans playing straight, mild OD through super-fat saturated tones with stomps/cranked amps. By definition, when a pup gets hotter it loses sonic range, the highs and lows begin to attenuate and mids come to the fore.

So for me, I guess this conversation would make more sense if players were'nt surprised and disappointed by the tone that the EJ was designed to have, but rather said something like: "I want the flat fingerboard, vintage parts and light body of the EJ but with a hot pup tone rather than vintage Strat tone that EJ goes after".
I have received some great suggestions and will look around for what works best. There are enough pedal choices for sure!
 

BillyK

Member
Messages
2,582
+1 on Klon and Barber. Demeter mid boost is also great at this (it's what it does). I find the katana to add some highs and lows, but not fatter mids.
A Suhr V60 pickup might also be in order.

Hey Slope:
I am a new Katana owner and am really enjoying it. Doesn't pulling the speed knob out increase mids, if you want 'em?
 

wakkawakka

Member
Messages
156
Would it be sacrireligious to suggest deaf-eddie's pickup wiring mod? I have it on both my strats (the jersey mod vesion, it made the most sense to me) -- gives you 11 sounds including humbucking sounds (single coils run in parallel, like Fender's S1 switching does, but more options), doesn't need batteries or change cosmetics, you only lose one tone knob (1st tone knob is part of the sound selector, 2nd tone knob becomes global tone), and all your original tones are there too. I likey. I sometimes spend all night on the bridge+neck in series position (like having a really open sounding middle humbucker), unless i need to really rock out for a song and then i use the middle+bridge. And the neck+middle is fatter than a strat should legally sound. i've been recommending it to my friends.

http://www.deaf-eddie.net/fat-customs.html
 

fusionid

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,132
Ive had an EJ strat for about 2 months now. I agree I do hear what you say here about thiness. Here is the thing do I think it makes the guitar sing because it sounds so low output, acoustic. Anyways, rolling the tone control is a no brainer. I also use a tube screamer in very low setting to my passages. That does the trick.
 

BluePowder

Member
Messages
1,106
What about adding a new set of pickups?

I've added a set of Suhr FLs and also a Demeter onboard midboost.

Definitely much thicker now! :D
 

Strat

Member
Messages
3,924
Of the hundreds of stratocaster variations out there I can't understand buying an EJ and then changing the out the fundamental point of the guitar. That type of sound is almost unique to EJ anymore, absent a soul band maybe, and certainly not what you hear from fender players these days so why buy the guitar ?
 

Mike R.

Member
Messages
4,122
I was adjusting the pickups yesterday and found that, if I lowered them, it rounded out the tone more, then I put my Red Snapper on with really low gain and it thickened the tone up nicely throught my Ghia combo.

I dont want to dump the pickups in this, because to me, that is the point of the guitar.

It looks like I am on the way to getting what I want out of it.

Thanks for all of the suggestions!

I appreciate it.
 

Axekisser

Member
Messages
1,156
I have to agree that lowering the P/Us is the best thing to do with an EJ. It really does round out the tone and balances things out nicely. I try to set the P/U heights so the volumes of the 1,3,5, positions are the same.

Remember, the EJ is a vintage sounding axe and the outputs of the P/Us tend to be lower. That's why many people feel the EJ is best in a loud volume situation.
 




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