Just bought a Strat. Should it sound this bright?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by fiveightandten, Feb 22, 2020.

  1. fiveightandten

    fiveightandten Member

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    EDIT / UPDATE from 2/28:
    I swapped the pickups out to Fralin Blues Specials and I’m loving the sound now.

    ————————————

    I just picked up this 2012/13 American Standard Strat used and I’m on the fence about keeping it. It’s my first Strat.

    In the store, I noticed it sounded bright, but the pickups were nearly pressed against the strings, so I figured it would warm up after lowering them.

    I also have a US Standard Tele and the Strat has less bottom end and is way brighter. Is this normal?

    What pickups came in these? The bridge is particularly bright and thin. I love the way the guitar plays, and it’s like 8 lbs so it’s very comfortable. But I’m wondering if it’s normal for Strats to sound thinner and brighter than a Tele, and if a pickup swap would solve things, or if I should just return it and keep looking.

    [​IMG]

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    Also, are the tuners supposed to be different like this?
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2020
    Gig Young likes this.
  2. Crunchtime

    Crunchtime Supporting Member

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    Could try a pickup swap such as a Dimarzio Virtual Solo. Also, the color of that teapot would look sweet on a Strat.
     
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  3. Tony Done

    Tony Done Member

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    It has a plain 3rd string with a vintage stagger pickup, so I wouldn't expect it to sound good to my ear. - The 3rd string will sound too hot compared to the 4th string. I would either be using a wound 4th, or if the pickups have plastic bobbins, moving the alnico slugs to modern stagger. However, my limited experience with these pickups is that they sound a bit too "thin" for me.

    I also see that the saddle haven't been adjusted for correct intonation.
     
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  4. LBXPDX

    LBXPDX Member

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    The pickups still look high to me. I start with them flush with the guard and slowly bring them up to my liking. The tuners are staggered to bring extra tension on the nut, theoretically the headstock would not need strings trees, though there is one.
     
  5. MuddyDitch

    MuddyDitch Member

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    If you have already lowered the pickups in those photos they are still way higher than where I set mine. Particularly the neck and middle. I'd fiddle with them some more.

    It's a great looking strat.
     
  6. KevinD

    KevinD Member

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    Tuners are ok. They are staggered. I dont remember if those came stock on any models. The pickups still look high to me. Maybe it's the camera angle.
    I have a mim tele, and a mim strat. The tele has tex-mex pickups. The strat has texas specials. Both maple fretboard. The strat is brighter, no doubt.
     
  7. LReese

    LReese Member

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    I'd have a look under the pickguard and check for a treble bleed. I've clipped mine out when the urge hits me.

    I tend to start with 7/64" height for the treble side and 1/8" for the bass and tweak from there. Stagger should be fine - G's louder with those but not a big deal to me.

    .
     
    Timbre Wolf likes this.
  8. BOBBYBOO

    BOBBYBOO Member

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    "I just bought a Strat" There's one born every minute. :D
     
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  9. KevinD

    KevinD Member

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    Oh, and if you decide to sell, dibs. I lust for a American candy apple strat.
    Tony Done had a good catch with the saddles. Take it to a luthier for a good setup if you cant do it.
     
  10. Tootone

    Tootone Member

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    The tuners are normal... they are staggered height tuners... idea is to remove the need for a second string tree.

    It would be useful if you could state the exact year from the headstock serial number... it should start with US12xxxxxx or US13xxxxxx.

    The Factory pickups were Custom Shop FAT50s at that time. The operative word there is 50's. They can be typically "wiry" as per 50s vintage strats.

    Check internet/databases for USA Std Strat colour finishes in 2012/13.... I don't think USA Standards came in Candy Apple Red... but the cheaper Highway One strats did. You might have a partscaster. USA Stds did have a similar colour called Candy Cola.

    Maybe pop the neck off and see if the body and neck stamps match up and post photos.

    If it is a Highway One body, they came equipped with CS Texas Special pickups. Visually, your pickups look like FAT50s - they have bevelled pole pieces. So, I think it is likely a USA Candy Cola Strat.

    I read that USA necks and bodys are tone graded before assembly... they fit bright necks to dark bodies and vice versa. With partcasters someone may have fitted a bright neck to a bright body... you can see where this is going.

    I keep my FAT50s quite low, and angled down towards Bass side... the "FAT" part can be a little overpowering.

    I wouldn't change any hardware or sell the guitar. You need to acclimatise to the different tonality of a Strat first.

    Reference:-

    2013 USA Std Strat neck and body stamps


    2013 USA Std Tele neck and body stamps
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
  11. StummerJoe

    StummerJoe Gold Supporting Member

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    As others have noted, the pickups do look high still...especially on the bass side.
     
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  12. MKB

    MKB Silver Supporting Member

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    The bright thin tone as compared to a Tele is normal for Strat bridge pickups IME. Strat fans love such things as it's part of the characteristic tone, but it drives us Gibson fans crazy. Some ways of dealing with it is to connect a tone control to the bridge pickup (many stock Strats do not have this), or put in a warmer bridge pickup like a SSL5.

    IME if you like how it plays and feels, and the acoustic tone is good, you can tweak it to be a very nice sounding guitar.
     
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  13. eigentone

    eigentone Supporting Member

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    I generally expect a Tele to have more lows on the bridge because of the baseplate and metal surround and a darker tone on the neck because of the metal. A pickup swap could help. But if you just want a Tele sound, you'll get there most easily with a Tele.

    Regarding pickups, I can recommend BKP Sultans for a vintage output set with mellow highs and healthy mids and lows (Alnico 2.)

    https://www.bareknucklepickups.co.uk/pickup/strat/the-sultans-single-coil

    And I usually dial the amp with the guitar's volume and tone rolled back a bit. This tames the pickups' resonant peaks.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
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  14. sunkidd

    sunkidd Silver Supporting Member

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    When playing with a band some of those “thin” Strat sounds work good. you can hear them in the mix of a song and become more musical.
    sometimes they do sound brighter and thinner playing by yourself.
    I like to “jumper” the wire on the five way switch to have the tone control for the bridge pickup.
    Dial it back some when I’m playing in my room and singing a song.
     
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  15. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Great looking Strat!!
    All that is normal for a Strat too. Bridge pups are their Achilles heel. Teles have WAY more output and beef in the bridge, but the Strat should have slightly more fullness in the neck position, although the Tele will still have more bottom. Strats pups are mounted in the plastic pup cover. Teles into the body. Big difference.
    Then add on the trem/bridge system of the Strat. More metal, brighter guitar.
    Enjoy each for what they do.
    :beer
     
  16. drew365

    drew365 Member

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    That looks like it might be Sunset Metallic. If it has Fat 50's pickups, those are my favorite Strat pickup. Yes, a Tele will generally have more balls than a Strat. Think Led Zeppelin 1 and 2.
     
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  17. Tootone

    Tootone Member

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    Btw... USA Std Strats have bridge and middle pups wired to the lower Tone control which is a "No Load" pot.... you will feel it click when you turn it up to 10. This click bypasses the tone pot for a brighter signal. Move it down (out of the click) for a less bright tone.

    And FWIW... anyone posting "Tone Issue" posts on TGP will get the usual hoarde of "Swap Pickup", "Swap Pots/Caps", "50s wiring", "Shudda got a Tele/LP". My advice, ignore them. Unless there is a faulty component, change nothing. Get accustomed to a Strat first. Re-EQ your amp(s) and pedals. If its a genuine all working USA Std, there is plenty of mileage in your hands.
     
  18. TonePilot

    TonePilot Supporting Member

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    No, none of my Strats sound brighter than a standard tele. You do have to use the tone knob a bit more than a Les Paul. You’ll float between 5 and 10.
     
  19. BearBryan

    BearBryan Member

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    If your bridge pickup isn't wired to the second tone control it's wrong. Well, maybe not wrong, but you won't want to use it until you hook it up to that tone pot.
     
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  20. TonePilot

    TonePilot Supporting Member

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    Good advice. I also clip out all the treble bleeds. Whoever thought this was a good idea has high frequency hearing loss.
     

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