Understanding Strats

dancehall

Member
Messages
1,867
I guess, in my hands at least, it actually doesn't have the "most collection of tones".

If I record my tele, SG or ES-335, there are signature sounds I can get out of them, but I can also get them to overlap enough that on a recording I would have a hard time identifying what guitar was used. But with this strat, no matter how I dial it in, it is CLEARLY a strat in the recording. I have a hard time describing it other than to say that all 5 pickup positions are just VERY "stratty".

So I'm trying to figure out if my initial impression that it is a "great strat" is correct, or if maybe it's actually more limited in range than a truly great strat?
IMO you have it exactly right, I feel the same way. A tele or 335 etc often just sounds like a textbook example of "electric guitar" whereas a strat sounds like a strat, and I mean that in a good way in both cases. Strats have various tones in terms of things that work well in certain parts of a song, but they all sound stratty. I'm sure you could change that with different non-traditional pickups, but it would defeat the purpose of owning a strat, to me.
 

Capstan Philips

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
639
I don't buy the idea that one guitar sounds more 'vanilla' than another - it's like telling me that I 'have an accent' because I come from Scotland but that you don't because you're from Milwaukee. Oh yeah?

It's all relative and depends on your point(s) of reference.
 

twotone

Member
Messages
4,162
I started out with a Strat copy, and I really liked the contoured body. But that was back in the mid-1970s, and single coil pickups were pretty weak and amps didn't have enough gain to get overdrive with a Strat. As amps and pickups improved and I learned about wiring a tone control to the bridge pickup, I can rock just as hard with a Strat as I can with a Les Paul.
 

steam boat

Member
Messages
1,406
Fender Strats are bleh. Strat style Partscasters assembled/built by obsessive musicians are incredible. You should acquire that guitar. You will find it very comfortable after a short while. Also try to write as much music with it as you can during that period where it feels weird...a guitar that's unfamiliar can result in some true inspiration.
Sounds like a man with a trunk full of partcasters they’re trying to sell
 

Yamaha 350

Member
Messages
7,165
My cheap Yamaha Pacifica sounds amazing. Over 15 years old and is a HSS. Sounds amazing. just learn to use the controls knobs on the guitar. You will thank me later.
 

Gclef

Member
Messages
2,800
A strat is my number 1, but not my main guitar. That varies from week to week.

And a good strat is considered that when it sounds like a strat should.

As someone above said, you need to play a strat with attitude.
As someone else said, gain, compression, and tone controls are your friends. The clarity let's you use more gain and eq than you'd think.

As for secrets, I use a clapton setup in my hardtail partscaster. It makes a strat sounds like a strat and then some. I use the heck out of the controls for variety.

I also have a bridge/neck position.

Maxed out, my strat drives my rig as well as a superdistortion.
 

HughesP

Member
Messages
1,283
I don't buy the idea that one guitar sounds more 'vanilla' than another - it's like telling me that I 'have an accent' because I come from Scotland but that you don't because you're from Milwaukee. Oh yeah?

It's all relative and depends on your point(s) of reference.
That is such a great analogy and really eye opening for me. I never thought of it that way,

Thanks to everyone who added to this thread. I bought the guitar!
 

Jabby92

Member
Messages
3,739
The last strat style guitar I owned was nearly 20 years ago. They've always sounded good in other people's hands, but not mine. Even in studio situations, I've tried a few strats, and they never have had "that sound" when I've played them.

But that changed this week - a friend has loaned me a partscaster strat which - for the first time ever - sounds like an amazing strat in MY hands. It's a great guitar, custom shop pickups, Callaham bridge, warmoth neck & body, locking tuners, nitro finish, put together by an actual luthier, etc...

The first day I borrowed it, I was thinking "oh my goodness, this is IT" as I suddenly had access to all of those beautiful strat sounds.

But now after 5 days with it, I'm realizing that while it absolutely sounds like an incredible "stratocaster" (the way I think of them in my head, and giving me sounds no other guitar has), it also never stops sounding like a really particular strat. Sure, there's a 5 way selector, but honestly, both my telecaster and es-335 seem to still have more range for me. Those guitars can have their "tele" or "335" character, but can also act as musical chameleons. This strat sounds beautiful, but no amount of tone knob twiddling/pickup selecting seems to get away from that sound.

So my questions for those who use strats more:

1. Do particularly great stratocasters ever stop sounding "like a strat"?
2. If you are using a strat as you main guitar, is it because you think of it as versatile, or is it because of that particularly iconic, singular voice?
3. Are there perhaps secrets to getting the most out of a strat that I just don't know about?

Right now, I really do enjoy this guitar and might buy it from my friend. It really does sound GREAT. But because it sounds/feels/plays different from what I'm used to, I'm having a hard time figuring out whether I could actually gig this guitar, or if it would be more of a "character guitar" for recording. Yet I know lots people gig strats all of the time, so I figure some of you might have some advice!
I hated Strats for a long time until I changed my approach to playing one. One time I spent 2 months with just my Strat to see what I could do with it with practicing and recording. Its an SSS model. Because of the more thin sound and weaker pickups.. I found what I had to do was adjust the EQ on my amp a lot. More bass and mids.. less treble.. especially for lead sounds. I really fell in love with the Strat bridge pickup once I started dialing it in to be warmer and fatter sound. Thats pretty much the main mistake I made over the years is I wouldn't EQ the Strat in correctly. Strats also tend to be mid-scooped to get that 'glassy' sound.. which is great when playing clean and overdrive, but for a distorted lead tone it can sometimes be too thin. You have to find the right balance and it can be tricky at first.

Also.. just playing one in general takes a new approach. You really have to adjust your pick attack and where you pick. Each pickup can sound warmer or brighter if you pick in certain areas (i.e. closer to the bridge or neck). This is something you have to be aware of as well I find.

IMO a great Strat is hard to beat. Its not my main guitar.. but I really love them for clean sounds. You can really make them sound beautiful. I've had best results with Alnico 5 pickups and lower output.. this is an example of what I consider the 'ideal' Strat tones:

 

enocaster

Member
Messages
5,236
In addition to the great advice already here (add mids, use those tone and volume controls), try tuning it to E-flat for a while. There’s something special about the that tuning on a Strat.
 

hchoe741

Member
Messages
520
That is such a great analogy and really eye opening for me. I never thought of it that way,

Thanks to everyone who added to this thread. I bought the guitar!
Doood u shoulda built your own warmoth strat, its so fun! Or at least spec'd out what you want and have it assembled by a luthier
 

HughesP

Member
Messages
1,283
Doood u shoulda built your own warmoth strat, its so fun! Or at least spec'd out what you want and have it assembled by a luthier
Maybe one day... but I'm getting this guitar for only slightly more than it would cost to buy the pickups alone... maybe next time!
 

MIke MM

Member
Messages
786
The 2 and 4 positions on the Strat selector switch give two of the greatest Guitar tones in guitar history (especially played through a compressor).

And I agree with others on this thread, the Tele, Strat and 335 are the 3 greatest guitars ever designed and built.

IMG_3618.jpg
 

ChrisP

Member
Messages
2,330
Fender Strats are bleh. Strat style Partscasters assembled/built by obsessive musicians are incredible. You should acquire that guitar. You will find it very comfortable after a short while. Also try to write as much music with it as you can during that period where it feels weird...a guitar that's unfamiliar can result in some true inspiration.
Yeah those boring fender strats. Probably won't be around long. No one likes them.
 

Argus_Floyd

Member
Messages
18
To the OP: a Strat can easily be modded to provide additional tones, which would make it more versatile.
Quick examples:
1. Get a humbucker tone in the neck by converting one of the pots to a push-pull, and wire it to put the middle and neck singlecoils in series with each other.
2. Similar mod can be done with bridge and middle pups to get a humbucker tone in the bridge position.
3. Convert one of the tone pots to a blender pot to get the neck and bridge singlecoils in parallel w each other like on a telecaster.

So, OP , what particular tones do you feel the strat is lacking that you would like to add if you could? Also, which of the current 5 positions do you really like - and which do you feel are expendable or redundant (if any)?
 




Trending Topics

Top