I have weird Stratocaster question...

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by cruiserman, Jul 14, 2019.

  1. cruiserman

    cruiserman Member

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    I have two Strats, one Fender and one Partscaster. But for all intensive purposes both are equally good (good parts all).

    However, on my Fender strat I can play it unplugged and it is really loud and resonates like an acoustic guitar. The body heavily vibrates on my leg as well.

    Is this due to the neck pocket being tighter on a Fender? Does it have to do with the stiffness of the neck somehow being older wood? Does the vibration affect the playability or tone? Is it better or worse. Seriously, you can strum this Strat like an acoustic so much so that I rarely plug it in when practicing (I also just re-discovered it in my pile of guitars).

    I recently spoke to an older Country & Western musician who told me all he played were vintage Fenders. I asked him if the whole "vintage" thing was hype or placebo effect. He told me it wasn't (of course what was I expecting to hear?)...but then I thought maybe vintage Fenders vibrate more like my non-vintage Fender or he meant something of that nature.

    Thanks for reading and your thoughts.

    EDIT: The difference in weight of the guitars is 1 ounce. Both are alder as well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
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  2. Obsessive Tinkerer

    Obsessive Tinkerer Member

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    Could be a lot of things.

    First and biggest question, are the bridges the same or different. Say you have cast saddles and a zinc block.. acoustically that will sound very different than vintage style sheet metal saddles and a big steel block.

    Second question. Are the body woods the same? Is one alder and the other basswood...?

    Third, are your pickup heights and the rest of the setup the same? If one has pickups crazy high it will choke sustain, resonance and a lot of other traits, big tone differences with other setup traits too

    Those are the three I’d start with
     
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  3. cruiserman

    cruiserman Member

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    So I guess...should I try to eliminate the vibration or should I celebrate it?

    I'm not sure if this means it is a good or bad thing even if I do readjust. Also think maybe since it was in storage, when it got colder, the neck pocket tightened hence the vibrations.
     
  4. Salfordlad

    Salfordlad Member

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    I only judge an electric guitar by how it sounds plugged in. If I want to satisfy my acoustic urge I'll play my J45 or D18.
     
  5. bluejazzoid

    bluejazzoid Supporting Member

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    How does it sound through your amp? It's cool that it's *alive* acoustically, but if you're actually gonna play it with other musicians in a band situation, then how it sounds amplified is all that matters!
     
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  6. cruiserman

    cruiserman Member

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    It sounds fine (however it also has noiseless pickups). I just was wondering if vibrations are good or bad. Seems like all the vibrations should ideally being going to the pickups not into the neck/body. I dunno?

    I told you it was a weird question!
     
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  7. Shiro

    Shiro Silver Supporting Member

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    Celebration is in order
     
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  8. cap10kirk

    cap10kirk Member

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    They're different guitars, that's all there is to it. Even if they're made from the same kind of wood and using all the same hardware, those pieces of wood came from different trees and can vary in density. There's also a range of tolerance for all the parts...I have a few 500k pots, all the same brand and from the same retailer, that all measure different. Same thing with caps.

    I never judge an electric guitar by how it sounds unplugged anyways though. I've experienced too many times where that didn't translate to the plugged in tone. And the vibration you feel isn't necessarily better or worse, just different...all that really matters is how it sounds plugged in.
     
  9. bluejazzoid

    bluejazzoid Supporting Member

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    Not a weird question at all! But seriously - amplification eventually overrides any acoustically significant properties of an electric guitar. So in other words, turn it up and celebrate! :)
     
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  10. cruiserman

    cruiserman Member

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    Thanks but if the pickups are based on picking up vibrations is the rest of the guitar vibrating dissappating that energy? Seems ideal that all/most the vibration would go into the pickups.
     
  11. Tony Done

    Tony Done Member

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    In the case of my guitars it is more or less related to weight - lighter is louder. The fact that more is escaping into the air as sound means that less is getting to the strings as sustain, so I'll take acoustically quiet over loud. However, string energy can be lost as friction/heat as well as sound, so quiet doesn't necessarily mean more sustain, it just means greater possibility.
     
  12. Jimmy R

    Jimmy R Member

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    Are you content with its sustain? If so, leave it alone. Personally, I love resonant solid bodies.
     
  13. cruiserman

    cruiserman Member

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    Oh...I didn't even know that was a thing. I just thought my guitar was a one-off. I don't mind it but y'know how it is always trying tweak your guitar (even if it doesn't need it).
     
  14. bluejazzoid

    bluejazzoid Supporting Member

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    All vibrational resonance --and dampening-- within the total system of any guitar (woods, shapes, metal, decoration) ultimately creates the sum of what the strings produce, and that indeed is what pickups translate into an electric current. But that current --when amplified and filtered through various circuits and effects, and finally reproduced via speakers-- can override the normal "vibrational spectrum" (or whatever it may be called!) of the un-amplified guitar system by sheer force.

    So in other words, kinda like a tsunami can overwhelm and ultimately push the flow of a river backwards, the amplified side of the equation will dominate the acoustic side if the volume knob is turned up enough! Unwanted feedback is an easily demonstrated example of this.

    :aok
     
  15. Binaural

    Binaural Supporting Member

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    There are a lot of possible factors, but it really has to do with the fact that different pieces of wood will resonate differently. I have vintage guitars that don't sound as good as guitars have been recently manufactured and vice versa. But I've never came across a guitar that sounded nice unplugged that didn't sound great plugged in, as long as the electronics are functioning properly.
     
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  16. Mr Fingers

    Mr Fingers Member

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    Too many variables involved in this discussion to isolate any as either impactful or inconsequential. Everything mentioned, and about another 20 features that are often cited, could contribute... or not. Most of us try to maximize the positive attributes in the guitars we buy, but only the obsessives consider every nit worth picking. Tight neck pocket -- yup, better than loose but some guitars with roomy pockets sound great. Light weight... or heavy weight... which? What species of wood? What age? What finish? Good builders virtually all say that the unamplified, acoustic tone of the body is likely to be significant, and they build to that purpose. This makes sense because the body contributes to the nature of the strong's vibrations which then generate the pickup signal that = volume and tone. But even this is not a certainty -- just a generalization that is often true. What is generally true is not guaranteed in any individual instance. Play before you pay. And however many super features a guitar may have, if it doesn't sound or feel right, forget it. It's like drilling for oil. Do the geology, but then see what really occurs.
     
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  17. cruiserman

    cruiserman Member

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    So it is essentially "drier" or might be what i thought emulating a "vintage guitar body" sound. I mean that's all the hype about old acoustics, that it has lost any moisture in the wood therefore more resonant, sounds better & valuable (due to the grain of the wood being closer together).

    Thats why i brought up vintage Strats because although I've never picked one up or have actually seen one, I assume they have really tight pockets, drier and resonate/vibrate more.
     
  18. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    not hardly.
     
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  19. Halo of Convenience

    Halo of Convenience Member

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    I prefer an electric that is resonant which is why I prefer semi hollows and solid bodies with nitro. Vintage gear was generally made with drier wood so that might explain their lure. I had a G&L Legacy that was especially resonant and I had read that they still dried wood the old fender way. I also find that swamp ash seems to be the most lively wood.
     
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  20. jvin248

    jvin248 Member

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    .

    Often a few sources, that are not the usual suggested causes:
    -Rigid plastic (often single ply) pickguard vs softer vinyl (often multi ply). ABS plastic is harder and stiffer while vinyl is soft and more thuddy.
    -Body pickup route -- a swimming pool route will act more acoustic/semi-hollow.
    -More vibrating trem springs on one guitar than the other
    -Headstock rigidity or how much it bends about the nut

    .
     
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