Making my Strat easier to play - refret? lighter gauge?

1973Marshall

Member
Messages
6,780
Frankly this could go for my Tele too.

I love my Fenders, esp my Strat. Part of it's charm is the bell-like tone and brightness, but darn if the vintage frets combined with tens don't make it a lot more effort. This despite having a low action.

There's no way a vintage Strat should play like a Les Paul or Super Strat, but I wouldn't mind some kind of change to make it a little easier. For months now I have considered a refret to larger frets because I've loved this feature on some guitars, but I fear drastically changing the tone. Also, most guitars with larger frets have flatter radius so that could be tainting my decision.

The thought of switching to 9's came to mind, but that's concerning as far as tone too. I have CS69 pickups and they are pretty bright. To me that's part of the bell tone, so higher wind pickups aren't really a consideration. I've had a Duncan SSL-5 and I felt it was amazing but ruined that magical 2nd position bridge/middle tone.

Any suggestions?
 

8len8

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,588
Frankly this could go for my Tele too.

I love my Fenders, esp my Strat. Part of it's charm is the bell-like tone and brightness, but darn if the vintage frets combined with tens don't make it a lot more effort. This despite having a low action.

There's no way a vintage Strat should play like a Les Paul or Super Strat, but I wouldn't mind some kind of change to make it a little easier. For months now I have considered a refret to larger frets because I've loved this feature on some guitars, but I fear drastically changing the tone. Also, most guitars with larger frets have flatter radius so that could be tainting my decision.

The thought of switching to 9's came to mind, but that's concerning as far as tone too. I have CS69 pickups and they are pretty bright. To me that's part of the bell tone, so higher wind pickups aren't really a consideration. I've had a Duncan SSL-5 and I felt it was amazing but ruined that magical 2nd position bridge/middle tone.

Any suggestions?
Page and Gibbons use light strings, so don't think about tone too much. I'd go with balanced tension 9's (D'Addario), but to tell you the truth the scale length isn't helping any IMO...
 
Messages
267
Have u by CHANCE ever had somebody real PRO set up your favorite guitar???? Not just some kid at GC, or guitar repair school grad- I mean sombody who plays better than you & really knows his sh*t on setting up a guitar to suite you??
 

1973Marshall

Member
Messages
6,780
Have u by CHANCE ever had somebody real PRO set up your favorite guitar???? Not just some kid at GC, or guitar repair school grad- I mean sombody who plays better than you & really knows his sh*t on setting up a guitar to suite you??
Absolutely. Small frets and an inherent propensity to be a touch stiff (not a horrible thing, it adds to the tone). A different string brand (I have NYXL's IIRC) or gauge may be the trick. However, I also want it to fret a little easier and I tend to love that about the hot rodded Fenders.

This guitar has a ton of magic so I am pretty set on making the small adjustments to possibly get excalibur. Honestly, I with there was a way to have an overwound bridge AND have the exact same CS69 that's in there as I do like it. lol this is arguably why we have more than one Fender per collection.
 




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