So, maybe it's time for a Strat

I'm a pretty solidly avowed LP kinda guy, but I'm starting to think I need to explore a Strat again.

I had a Strat until a few months ago...didn't like it. It was a baseline American Strat, with the 'Texas' pot (something about bypassing EQ when at 10'). It didn't sound, well, even remotely good to me. No balls, no mojo, I sold it.

But, I listen to Strat clips on YouTube, and my Strat didn't sound like any of them...I wonder if I had a lemon.

SO, long story short, I'm going to get another Strat. I need that sound in my arsenal. Criteria:

-I want a traditional Strat. No EMG's, etc.
-I'd like the PUPs to be 'kinda' hot, but want warm likey versatility.
-I DON'T CARE where it's made.
-I like 'V necks'. I DON'T like baseball bat necks.

I *kinda* like those roadworn's, but I'm not ready to spend that much money on one. I'd like to spend at $400 used for a decent one...Suggest away please for the model I'm looking for.


Silver Supporting Member
Whatever you do, play as many Strats as you can. There are dogs & gems at all price points and Strats, with the exact same specs, can sound/play very differently. IMO, there are a lot more dog Strats out there than got to have good wood in the neck or the game is over.

Sounds like the Jimmie Vaughan Strat might work for you if you like a V neck carve with a maple fingerboard. But, again, play a bunch of them until you find a gem.

My personal favorite is the '62 Vintage Hot Rod...chunky C neck but I wouldn't call it a baseball bat...but it did need a Mare pickup swap to bring out its best.

Let the Strat-o-quest begin ;).


Plus remember that it takes time to bond with a new and very different feel than your LP. I was a total gibson man for my first 10 or so years. Couldn't stand or play strats to save my life. I started to tho because at the time everyone was using strats and being in a cover band i needed that sound. Today i can't play gibsons ! It's all in what you're used to, so either make it a point to give it time no matter how you feel at first or don't bother. Once you are used to strats tho you'll have a even harder time going back. Thats why strats are the #1 most played guitar. Once you "get it" you'll wonder why it took you so long.


I think there are some Jimmie Vaughans in the classifieds. V-neck, kind of hot pickups, vintage-style hardware. The only caution I have is that I think your American Standard/Series (whichever it was) may have also had the Tex-Mex pickups, which you didn't like. Did you try lowering them to get that more fluid sound?

The MiM Buddy Guy Polka Dot is another consideration; if you can find one, you may be able to get a really good deal, since not many people go for polka dot guitars.

If you don't mind losing the tremolo and going with a "C" neck, there's also the Cray.

Also try out some Classic Series/Classic Players.


I would highly recommend the Deluxe Lonestar strat. IT has a Pearly Gates humbucker in the bridge and Texas Specials in the neck and middle. I have been gigging with this guitar for over two years. I love it!! It plays like a dream and sounds better. Best of all you can easily get a used one for around $350. Brand new they are $550-600!!
What do people think of the 'Tex-Mex' pickups?

You know, I don't really know what kind of vibe I'm going for. I'm a Blackmore kind of guy really, so if I can get in that ballpark, I'm good.

Well, that and a great clean tone.


I'd say more than this, but it has already been said, so I will say one thing.

Wire the middle pickup tone pot to the bridge pickup.

Opens up the tonal possibilities quite a bit.

And, yes play alot till you find a good one.

Okay that was two things. Good luck.:AOK

The Captain

I had the same experience. I did get better toens when I totally changed teh eq on my amps and turned teh volume up a lot, but overall found it too much hassle.
Now I have an ESP with SD pups and coil tap. I use the single coil tones a little, but can run for cover as sson as I decide I don't like it again.

Doug G

I'd go with a vintage-style strat. At the price you are looking at, a used MIM 60s would do well as a start (like a roadworn without the wear). I am not sure why, but I always feel like I get a slightly beefier sound like you are looking for from a strat with vintage appointments.


Tex mex are a good value, but you really are going to want ones with vintage style construction (wires wrapped directly around the magnets) for the sound your probably looking for.


Silver Supporting Member
I played LP's and Tele's for years and always hated the way strats sounded when I played them, like you, I decided to give them another shot. I bought a Greco SE450 from the late 70's and it scratched the itch. It's a great guitar with a lot of what I was looking for. I would like to change the pots and pickups to give it a little more character. If you are looking for under $400, I would say that is the way to go.


Platinum Supporting Member
Until you said, "$400" I was going to highly suggest getting an early Plus model. I'm also a LP/SG/Hollowbody style player and those are the only ones I've ever liked. The one I have now is amazing.

It might be worth it to find a used MIM (you can get them as low as $200 sometimes on craigslist) and throw some Lollar Strat Specials in it - they're much warmer, fatter, and rounder than most other single coils. In fact, he was going for that "Gibson" sound when designing them.

I hope it works out!


Strats are finicky guitars. They can sound very sterile and dead, but, given the right combination of woods and pickups they can be some of the most versatile beautiful sounding guitars around. They also require a bit more work, IMHO, to coax the sounds out of them, I've found you really need to play around with the volume and tone controls more than humbucker based guitars to find the "sounds". Pickups also can make a substantial difference. Investing in some custom shops, fralins etc... is well worth the price.

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