So let's say I want to turn a Strat into a Tele...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Jarick, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    Well, sound- and playing-wise.

    I've got a California series Strat that, for sentimental reasons, I can't get rid of. And she's really pretty, CAR and rosewood. But I've never been a Strat guy. For some reason, Tele's play much better and sound much better to my ears. Meatier guitars that seem to play more like a Gibson.

    I'm wondering what the best way to get that Tele feel and sound out of my Strat would be...here's what I was thinking:

    - Seymour Duncan Twangbanger in the bridge and Alnico II Pro Flats in the neck and middle. This gives a Tele-ish bridge sound and tames the highs a bit for more of that fatter single-coil sound.

    - Doing a master volume and tone

    - Doing a 3-way (bridge & neck) switch with a middle-on toggle for variety

    - Fixed bridge (which one?)

    - Brass saddles

    Thoughts?
     
  2. fyrwyr

    fyrwyr Member

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    Sounds like you are on the right track to me...

    I would either block the trem if you have one or put in a hard tail or tele bridge. I would be curious to hear it when you are done!
     
  3. Ross Kingston

    Ross Kingston Member

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    An alternative wiring scheme that keeps the 5-way is here:

    http://www.guitarnuts.com/wiring/stratlovers.php

    I converted a trem strat copy to hardtail years ago by patiently carving a block of wood to fill the cavity and screwing in a hardtail bridge. I found it very time-consuming and I agree with fyrwyr's suggestion about blocking the bridge, to start with anyway.
    Ross
     
  4. LReese

    LReese Member

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    What kind of route is on the California Series? If it is universal or a swimming pool, might be able to put a genuine Tele pickup in there. You'll need a new pickguard, but that's no biggie...

    You have a lot of options with the wiring. Maybe a 3 way with a blender for one of the pickups.
     
  5. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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  6. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    I believe it's swimming pool. I was going to do the Tele-ish Strat pickups to retain that Strat look, but I'm definitely having a new pickguard made. I hate the location of the volume control and only want one master tone.

    I also might see if I can get the bridge pickup moved slightly closer to the neck to tame the brightness a bit.
     
  7. BBQLS1

    BBQLS1 Member

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    Don't. Just go buy a Tele.
     
  8. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    I could. And it'd be easy to build my dream Tele, but I'd still have that Strat in the corner not being played that I can't get rid of.
     
  9. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    True, but can you explain to me why a Tele plays and feels different than a Strat?

    Looking at the specs of each, they have the same nut width, scale, both are bolt-on, same woods, etc. But the Tele is fixed bridge, may have more body mass and different pickups.

    If I can bridge the gap, I can sound and feel closer to a Tele, which is my goal.
     
  10. Giraffecaster

    Giraffecaster Member

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    If teles feel better to you than you can change the electronics all you want but strats have contours and that large heastock that won't go away without major surgery. So you could whip out the bondo and the scroll saw...

    I would get the pickup you suggest and put 5 springs for the trem and tighten them a lot so the back of the bridge sits on the body. Almost the same as blocking the trem but easier to do IMO.

    but no matter what you do it won't be a tele. I'd just keep the guitar as is and let it sit in the corner because once you hack it up you can't go back.
     
  11. alanbass1

    alanbass1 Member

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    Well, the neck join and lack of upper cut out will affect the way the strings vibrate (as well as the obvious restricting upper access). The way the bridge pick up is mounted into a steel plate that will be more directly influenced by the string vibrations travelling via the bridge saddles onto this metal plate. No body contours increases the mass of the body and how the guitar rests on you. Placement of the pickups in relation to the natural harmonics.

    The above are things that you will not be able to effectively resolve, at least without major rework.

    Get a tele and keep the strat. Have you ever wondered why you can't part with your strat? It must be doing something right for you to have such a conneion with it.
     
  12. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    The body and neck joint influence I'll have to live with.

    The Twangbanger has a metal plate on the bottom, so that helps. And I think that with a new pickguard and a swimming pool rout, I should be able to move the bridge pickup towards the neck a bit.

    Nah, I got the Strat about 10 years ago on a family vacation to California. My mom has forbidden me from selling it and I really don't want to...I just want to make it more fun to play. And since I don't like the dull pickups, haven't used the twang bar since I bought it, and keep knocking into the volume control, I figure a couple hundred bucks of parts should give the guitar a fresh place in my heart.
     
  13. Greggy

    Greggy Member

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    An alternative to the twangbanger: Rio Grande Stelly. It gets you in the ballpark, for sure. I have one on my swamp ash strat, and it sounds very close to the bridge pup on my tele (American vintage).
     

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