I want to like Strats but....

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Randy, May 21, 2008.

  1. Randy

    Randy Member

    Sep 9, 2002
    every single one I play sounds plinky, thin and bright. :mad:

    So how do you get thick, warm single coil tones that don't have that metallic high end plink to them? I want to sound like SRV but instead I sound like Eric Clapton... :(

    I've been contemplating a partscaster and to get it as thick and warm as possible was going to go with a hollow mahogany body, 24 3/4 scale conversion neck, Callaham trem, nitro finish, but it's not going to be cheap. And after all that I'd hate to find out I'm just not a single coil guy.

    Anyone else travel down this road already? Did overwound pickups or non traditional pot and cap values help?
  2. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

    Nov 25, 2005
    In The Basement
    If you go that route you really won't have a Strat, will you?

    From your complaints I'd say either a Strat isn't for you, or you need to try something different.

    I'd try an alder body and a rosewood fret board if I were you. Pickups known to be FAT sounding might help too.

    I assume your current guitars have HB's. Are you adjusting the EQ on your amp when changing guitars?

    I mainly play Tele's and every time I plug the LP in it sounds like complete poop. Then I adjust the EQ and it's not so bad.

    Get out and play as many as you can and if it's possible bring your amp along.

    Good Luck
  3. hazmat33

    hazmat33 Supporting Member

    May 27, 2002
    Y-town, O-high-O
    I feel the same way about Strats. I've tried a ton of boutique pup's but still sounds too thin to me. My next step is to try a set of SDuncan pups-- Lil '59 in the bridge and Cool Rails in the mid and neck.

    I have to find something that works. My wife bought me this guitar so I really can't sell it.
  4. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    There out there and you have to keep looking. I've tried many new strats lately and found them to be real plinky. Try some CS strats. I also recommend alder/rosewood.

    A few of the SRV strats had a pretty dark sound. One I tried was very heavy in weight and it was real dark and full. But sounded like a blanket was over the speaker. Strats vary incredibly.
  5. Kenny D

    Kenny D Member

    Jan 21, 2008
    The middle of Nowhere
    I have always owned the Fender Deluse Strats. The last one I had came with the S1 switching option that can give you a fatter sound.

    Even without the S1 switch, the Deluxe Strats sound meatier than the average Strat.
  6. geetarboy

    geetarboy Member

    Aug 23, 2007
    Indianapolis, IN
    I think the info below is key. My EJ Strat is nice and fat, but that's because my tone control is wired to my bridge pup with the tone rolled down to 7 and I set my EQ for my Strat. When I switch to my LP, I switch my EQ accordingly.

  7. dave s

    dave s Member

    Apr 24, 2003
    NE Ohio
    A couple of 'strat-fattening' ideas:

    1) Alder / Rosewood copies sound more focused to me and cut through mix better in a live situation than the ash/maple counterpart

    2) A bridge pickup like a Fralin Steel Pole 43 is WAY thicker than most Fender standard or even CS pickups

    3) A tone control that works on the bridge pickup is essental for getting bite but not ice-pick-in-ear high end.

    4) Deaden the tone from your amp a bit and turn it UP!!! Use the tone controls on the strat. Put on fatter strings (.010 at min) use pedals that lean a bit more toward the 'darker' side of tone.

    All that aside, I have the a similar set of problems with HB-equipped guitars. Just can't seem to get that bite and clarity that dials in so easily with a strat!

    Keep at it. Maybe you'll become a single-coil convert like myself.

  8. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2005
    New Joisey
  9. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    western ma
    Tone knob?
  10. supergenius365

    supergenius365 Silver Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2005
    Clemmons, NC
    Set your pickups low.
    Boost the Mids on your amp.
    Stick a Barber Tone Press in your line up and leave it on.

    These have worked pretty well for me :BEER
  11. Nick Sorenson

    Nick Sorenson Rocketfire Guitars

    Jul 5, 2007
    Well, as a guy who's built a few guitars (mostly in the s-60s genre) I agree with the guy who said would this still be a strat? You mention SRV, and you're on the right track. He played a Strat. Look at his sound, how did he get it. If you can figure that out, you'll be in the ballpark. The only thing else you'll need at that point, is to be SRV. Good luck there:) I've played setups that were VERY similar and I'm still not SRV. But if you get the right guitar/pedal/amp setup and like another member said, eq properly, you'll be there. If you're used to humbuckers, you probably have your amp set somewhat bright to compensate for the dark humbuckers as well as mahogany guitar body.

    The main thing that makes a Strat sound like SRV's are the following:
    -Alder body
    -RW neck
    -Kluson tuners (they're lightweight)
    -Steel block Trem
    -Vintage Fender pickups (60's spec and handwound)
    -Nitro-Cellulose finish (and not much as you can see on Number One)

    Then of course good tube amp setup. I recommend any AB763 circuit (Princeton, Vibroverb, Vibrolux Reverb, Super Reverb, etc.) Lots of good old Fender tube amps will do the trick. Seems like most Marshall stacks don't get the tones I like to hear for cleans but that's just my opinion. SRV used Marshalls at some times. My recommendation is Fender Brown or Blackface amps. Silverface if you're on a budget. Not so much Re-Issues.

    Pedals, well without trying to sell you one:) check my other threads. I sell one that I mod for $35 that in my opinion sounds better than the stock TS-808 re-issue for the SRV thing (right on the edge of clipping blues tone). It'll give your amp a bit more bite and strength where amps can lack without that added edge of a pedal. I wouldn't sell it, if I didn't think it was great! Because the money I make on them isn't much for the time invested. I'm sure there are LOTS of good overdrive/light overdrives sold on TGP that you'd be happy with.
  12. paulg

    paulg Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2005
    San Rafael, CA
    A set of Rio Grande Dirty Harry pickups will fatten up your tone while giving you much of the Strat goodness we all love.
  13. 1973Marshall

    1973Marshall Member

    Sep 13, 2006
    I think PARTCASTERS are a great way to go if you feel this way. Say Mahogany and Ebony. It sounds like the OP isn't into the pure strat tone.

    Other ideas are the New DIMARZIO Virtual Vintage pickups. Some of their models are much thicker sounding. Also, an HSS setup might make you happy.

    The secret that finally lead me to Strats was A) The Vintage style models are the BEE's KNEES B) good amps with a thick boost pedal to go with the Strat can make magic.

    Strats need to be married to the right rig.
  14. doc

    doc Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Middle Tennessee
    THE biggest key is the amp and how you set it. Make sure you're dialed in with some mids and bass there and a bit of volume. Don't play through a Twin set on 1. Use an attenuator if you need to to get the amps power tubes cooking.
  15. digthosetubes

    digthosetubes Senior Member

    Jun 13, 2007
    Plinky is a good descriptive word. We gotta get that one an entry in the official Gear Page lexicon.
  16. Digitalman

    Digitalman Member

    Mar 8, 2006
    St Petersburg, FL
    I have a love/hate relationship with Strats too.

    I got a Super Chili Picoso boost pedal (I tried many boosts before deciding on it) to help me deal with switching between single and double coil guitars. Letting me leave my amp settings the same.

    I also stuck a humbucker in the bridge. :banana
  17. 9-Pin

    9-Pin Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    Ashburn, VA
    One of SRV's tricks was that he would use low gain preamp tubes (5751s I think). This would allow him to push the power section harder, leading to a fatter tone. So you may want to swap out a couple of tubes as you experiment, or at least turn the gain down.

    I pedal with more mids also helps. An old tubescreamer or FD2 on the vintage setting would work.
  18. Stevoreen

    Stevoreen Member

    Aug 29, 2005
    Louisville, KY
    I do the same thing with a Bad Bob boost (although I've owned the SCP and agree it's an awesome pedal too). Whenever I switch from my humbucker guitar to my Strat, the boost goes on.
  19. Jellecaster

    Jellecaster Member

    Jul 24, 2007
    I don't know if someone else said this because I only skimmed - but keep in mind that Stevie spent the majority of the time on the neck pickup!

    I had the awesome fortune of watching him play an entire set from about six feet away with his guitar at eye level. I couldn't believe how thick those strings were - they honestly looked like bass strings! When he would bend the veins on his hands and forearms would pop out like crazy.
  20. godotzilla

    godotzilla Member

    Mar 28, 2005
    Motor City
    I always liken playing Fender vs. Gibson to modes of transportation: A Paul is like driving a Cadillac; a Fender is like riding a bronco. You definitely have to work a Strat to get what you want out of it, but when you do the rewards are rich. The aforementioned tone tricks are almost essential--particularly flipping the vintage tone control from the middle PUP to the bridge. That makes a huge difference. Playing with different wood and pick-up configurations is also key.

    I won't lie and say that my perfect Strat sound happened instantly, it took a lot of time and experimentation. But I did know from the get-go that the Strat felt right to me, so I committed myself to making the tone work--with all single coil PUPs. ;)

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