• New Sponsor: ShipNerd, Ship Your Gear with Us... for less! Click Here.

I still can’t make a strat sound good

ozraves

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
986
Use your ears and trust them. Some of the Hendrix sounds are middle pickup which 90+ percent of Strat players never use. But, Hendrix, SRV, Mayer... A lot of it is they are listening to their own playing and playing to a sound in their head.

Remember with Hendrix you are copying a guy who at times played an out of tune guitar and sort of bent things in tune because he could. Hendrix was otherworldly as a player.
 

David Garner

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,931
The basic bits are there. Turn up the amp/pedal, and turn down the guitar volume to match. Dig in and go for it, especially with the neck pickup.
This. More volume. More attack.

Your playing is solid, but a Strat wants you to explore the dynamics. You have to have volume to do that, and you have to be willing to smack the guitar around a bit to get the most out of it.
 

Tele-Vision

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,944
In listening back I realized how much that one bend was a gilmour influence. I’m still a billion light years from him too, but if I end up closer to David than Jimi I’ll be okay with it.
Play a little Shine On You Crazy Diamond and let us hear. I bet you are just more of a Gilmour, Green, etc kind of guy.
 

cra1987

Member
Messages
723
Use smaller strings (seriously, they sound better)

Don't use vibrato on every note (leave the note alone, it did nothing to you)

Ditch the pick and learn to play with your fingers

Breathe
I appreciate this but the specific examples I’m after are definitely with a pick, and most times the guys have a more severe (albeit better) vibrato than what I used here.
 

David Garner

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,931
Watch this and pay attention to his hands. First the right, then the left. It doesn't necessarily sound like it, but at times he's just swatting the guitar, and exaggerating the bends.

It's still a clean-ish tone, and I don't subscribe to all of the tone tips in this video, but his attack of the instrument is spot on for great Strat tone.

 

Chaoschoir

Member
Messages
192
Sounded good to me but ‘I’ think it’ll sound better on the bridge pickup with a little grit added to it. Turn up the gain and back off the master volume on the amp.

Happy playing!
 

Tele-Vision

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,944
Watch this and pay attention to his hands. First the right, then the left. It doesn't necessarily sound like it, but at times he's just swatting the guitar, and exaggerating the bends.

It's still a clean-ish tone, and I don't subscribe to all of the tone tips in this video, but his attack of the instrument is spot on for great Strat tone.

This guy sounds great on a Strat. It’s likely he sounds great on anything. Seems like more about his level of skill than anything though.
 
Messages
134
I have a 65 drri and use a tube screamer. For OD I turn my guitar down to about 7, my tone pots are backed of between 5-7 . My amp is usually set to 4 at least . I use my picking attack to control the volume . Amp tone , I start at 5-5 and adjust it according to what sounds best.
Similar-ish, I’m running into a Deluxe Reverb that’s a bit over 6 vol, treble up to 6 and bass dropped back to a bit under 3. I’ve got a Tumnus set to just give a slight mid and treble coloured boost and at the min if I want bluesy it’s a hot cake set to boost a little I run into the Tumnus. Just a different way around getting to the old tube screamer set to clean boost. I have neck/mid tone wide open, 2nd tone wired to bridge and backed off. Aim usually is to get neck as vol - 7 and tone 10 to just sit edge of break up as base tone before clicking any pedals I consider on/off so play around there because it depends on your attack and pickups where the numbers are for you. Aim is normal picking is a little dirty, softer cleans and dig in gets the real stand outs
 
Messages
134
Watch this and pay attention to his hands. First the right, then the left. It doesn't necessarily sound like it, but at times he's just swatting the guitar, and exaggerating the bends.

It's still a clean-ish tone, and I don't subscribe to all of the tone tips in this video, but his attack of the instrument is spot on for great Strat tone.

Was thinking of this video, seen Dan live and he’s great. Somewhat amusingly he was supporting Joanne Shaw Taylor who’s a great guitarist, massively influenced by SRV etc but I know she doesn’t get on with Strats!

Also worth reviewing for amp set up for blues:
 

David Garner

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,931
This guy sounds great on a Strat. It’s likely he sounds great on anything. Seems like more about his level of skill than anything though.
It is, but in particular, in this case, it's about his skill in playing a Stratocaster. He's playing it a certain way and getting certain results because of that.
 

David Garner

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,931
Something else that works on all guitars, not just Strats -- the whole "turn the amp up and turn the volume down" thing fattens the tone, because the volume knob also acts sort of as a tone control. So I want a setup that with the guitar volume on 10 is too brash and too harsh, but when I back down to 9 it's just right, and 8 cleans up and warms up a little. With a fuzz you can take it a lot lower than that, but the point is, everything gets warmer and fatter between about 7 and 9 on the guitar volume. With the amp low and the guitar on 10, you're basically creating a bright, plinky tone. Which is fine if that's what you're after, but I find myself with the volume at 9 or below for most things these days.
 

cra1987

Member
Messages
723
Strats are so dynamic and expressive, but really finicky and picking attack is so critical .
I think this is part of the problem. I’m sure for a better player than me it’s seamless, but I think I usually find I get a little closer to the sound I want by altering playing style, and then by the time I get it I go back to a Gibson and completely overplay.
 

NashSG

Member
Messages
3,670
It really comes down that many people expect a Strat to sound like a Gibson with humbuckers and the scale length, pickups and even the wood of the guitar are pretty much why it's not going to get 'there' . You also got to setup your amp to the strat and just not use what works with your SG.

You can get a big heavy tone with a Strat, but you got to come at it a different way. Good news is that with a fuzz, you can get there and actually have more clarity. You also might need to play in the neck or middle pickup which to guys with a Gibson that never leave the bridge - seems counter-intuitive. You can also get there using some effects that you might not consider like a cocked wah or I like using an Electric Mistress and turning Flanger and Chorus depth down to nearly nothing (where it just thickens up the signal more than anything).

That said, I do think finding the right combination of pickups and guitar on a strat a bit voodoo like a Les Paul.
 

cram

Member
Messages
13,884
FIrst thought - like immediately was your picking attack; play lighter.
Caveat - I know why you're digging in though and you can address that as well.

I've come to realize the light attack is a skill - so heavily (using that word on purpose here).
I had a great tune we wrote with a great set of parts - good dynamic etc. When we'd play live (I was relaxed) it was good - tensed up in the recording moments I was not playing it well.

It wasn't until I really focused on relaxation that it sounded great. Like night and day.

ALSO - interaction with your rig is key. The practice amp sucks. The amp in a sweet spot that blooms out both gives you the harmonic response and forces you to play lighter on a strat especially.
 

RockDebris

Member
Messages
3,889
Ok, that’s a bit dramatic as a strat was my only guitar for a few years when I took electric playing back up a little over 3 years ago. And I can make it sound good for a lot of styles.

But the strat blues thing isn’t really my thing, and once every few months I step into a frustrating rabbit hole. You know the type of playing, the Hendrix/SRV/Mayer thing. A lot of people make it look easy. But then when I record it, mine just sounds so..thin and dinky haha.

Granted this is a phone recording, but still..


…this is a silverface deluxe reverb on about 3, with an Archer.
I would try boosting the signal before the amp so that you have to play lighter if you want it to be clean, then when you do dig in, the crunch and compression is there. Or try running everything a bit hotter than you normally would and having the guitar volume rolled back. Basically, try to go too far with everything and bring it back in line to your normal expectations either with your playing or with the guitar's controls. Not only can it sound fatter and more interesting, it also keeps something in reserve until you want it to come out.
 

ronmail65

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,557
The better sounding Strats I've had over the years, have always been modified or somewhat non-traditional - such as Seymour Duncan Hot Rails, Dimarzio SD humbucker at the bridge, or a Charvel DK22. I could never achieve a bold sound from a Strat with stock single coil PUPs.
 






Trending Topics

Top Bottom