What does a 1962 Strat Really Sound Like?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by johnh, Jul 16, 2007.

  1. EXP

    EXP Supporting Member

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    The J.M. Rolphs get as close to the real deal as Ive heard IMO, I have a set of 1963's in my 62 reissue. They sound better than alot of the vintage strats Ive played including a slabboard 1959.
     
  2. Vintagegitar.no

    Vintagegitar.no Member

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    A lot of the magic in old guitars are the pickups IMHO.
    A lot of the guys who make pickups have captured that vibe.
     
  3. jazzguitarplay

    jazzguitarplay Member

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    fantastic, i have a backing track on it and play it on my beach gigs, i saw Dick Dale years ago, now a old guy with leather pants and a bandanna, still playing his a__ off, louder then heck too,
     
  4. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    The old ones were all over the map tonally. All guitars are like this to me; every one seems to have its own personality. So it's hard to generalize. I've played my '61 for 32 years. Goes from rather bright on the bridge, to snappy, punchy on the middle, warm on neck only and the in betweens. I've heard many others brighter, more brittle sounding. The magic isn't in the fact that it's a '61 ... it's in the sound and feel of that particular instrument. For every vintage instrument I pick up that warrants the hype, there are 3 or 4 others that don't.
     
  5. EBGB

    EBGB Member

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    I agree that not every vintage strat is awesome, but in general the old guitars are really cool. I don't believe new guitars can capture the same sound and feel. Part of the reason they can't is-- We don't totally know why some of the vintage guitars are so good.
    I have a 60 (refin). The neck pickup sounds like a jazz guitar-- fat, warm, and a bit hollow. The bridge pickup sounds like beautiful compressed chime. There is a strength and authority to the notes, and a real musicality to the sound.
     
  6. Rossl

    Rossl Member

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    CS69 PU's are very bright, I don't really like them. I would try 50's or the early 60's PU's. Kimmans don't sound like "real" strat's, at least to my ears they are little too dark
     
  7. MightyGuru

    MightyGuru Member

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    I've played a few pre CBS 60s strats. A friend of mine owns a beautiful 3 tone SB '64. It sounds very nice, especially in the neck position.

    Gotta say I prefer my Nash S63. He has a couple Nashs and prefers them over his real '64 as well. Funny isn't it?:munch
     
  8. JackButler

    JackButler Supporting Member

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    Back when I had them, and many at that, 9/10 times I preferred aftermarket pickups, but times were different then too! So many variables we mgiht never fully understand. I think ti is the actual aging and such that has a big impact. I agree with most above as well, that it wasn't as much the sound, but the feel and vibe with vintage strats. I had quite a few "duds" as well, they just didn't have it. Most of the time, the ones that were played or refinned say 10-15 years when I was into them were likely to be the ones that "had it". Just like today, you cna have 5 identical guitars and one will be a keeper for purists.
    Best one I had was a '58 neck on 62 or 63 Olympic White body ( I forget!) with stock 60's electronics, friggin just beautiful, fat, twangy, it had all the tones. Of all the awesome guitars I have had through the years, many worth more, that was the one I have always regretted selling and likely always will.
     
  9. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    EBGB: There is something magical about some of the oldies, don't get me wrong. It's such an elusive quality. Might have something to do with so many years of use. The best of them feel alive in my hands, for lack of a better way to say it. As others have said, it isn't just the sound. Perhaps they train us over time. My '61 strat feels far different to me now than I remember it feeling 30 years ago. It's much more likely that I have changed, and learned over time how to bond with this instrument.
     
  10. EBGB

    EBGB Member

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    The neck on my 60 feels like a polished stone. Polished smooth, as if by water, and stone because it feels so rigid and stable. It also has some serious flame, which looks great.
     
  11. GTRJohnny

    GTRJohnny Member

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    Everything affects tone.. every tiny detail. When I think 60's, I think alder bodies with rosewood necks. For the 50's, I think swamp ash or ash bodies with maple necks. Very different tones, but both very cool. And, the amount of variation is incredible, due to age, wood, and everything else. Best advice is to try as many guitars as you can and start to find out what you like. With enough combinations, you will find consistancies. Happy hunting...
     
  12. johnh

    johnh Silver Supporting Member

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    So let me see if I've got this right - even really old strats are totally variable. But just like new strats the best ones are vibrant and resonant.

    You might have bright old strats or dark old strats - but the best would be resonant - whether they're dark, bright or whatever.

    Bummer - that means that there is no way to prescribe any single type of pickup. I'd thought that old strats would be generally more rounded at the top end than new "bright" strats.
     
  13. newstrat60

    newstrat60 Member

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    "Vibrant and resonant" : makes me think about my CS '60 Closet Classic :dude (god I dislike those smilies)
     
  14. jpastras

    jpastras Supporting Member

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    Pickups are, at best, a third of the tonal equation. The guitar and the player are the other two thirds.

    I have a bunch of strats with exactly the same build specs and p'ups, and I'm constantly thinking, "I wsh I could get strat "a" to sound more like strat "b"". The wood in that particular guitar, the fret job, the cap and pots, the finish, and more, are significantly playing into the sound.

    Fender guitars are examples of mass production, and Leo Fender intended it to be that way. It's nostalgic to think that there's something extra-special going on with vintage guitars. Americans may have taken more pride in their work in 1962 than they do in 2008, but that doesn't mean that the slab of wood the guitar was cut out of in 1962 is better or worse.

    Ronnie Earl plays off the rack Relics, and he thinks they're very believable. Who gets better strat tone than Ronnie Earl? Ok, ok, maybe Robert Cray, but he's playing vintage- oh wait - he's playing new, custom shop guitars, too! Y'know, both those guys are bad-ass players, besides. Hmmmmm......

    I've played a bunch of 60's strats, and three 50's strats, and I thought they sounded good and played terribly, due to the fact they were worn out. I've played many more relics, Suhrs, Kellys, and even quite a few Nashes that I thought were exceptional guitars.

    In the end, it's the individual guitar. Formulas will fail when the rubber hits the road.
     
  15. samtheman

    samtheman Member

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    Cunetto 60´s sounds like:

    This

    and

    This

    ;)

    /sam
     
  16. Curly

    Curly Member

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    FWIW, Seymour compiled a table of strat pickup values through the years. '62s, at ~ 6.2K were near the top in output (~6.4K in '63). The 50s pickups were lower wound with lower value caps.
    The point is that a '62 should sound as warm as any vintage strat. Yes, the old pickups varied a lot - things were less scientific in those days, but they were all hand wound, so they had the potential to sound good.
    Some strats were very bright, but part of that was the fact that the bridge pickup wasn't wired to the tone pot as many are today.

    I owned an early 60s strat in the 70s. It was not my favorite guitar, although I'd love to have it back today. :)

    I recently got a nice '62 Hot Rod. I like it, but ironically, the pickups are a little under 6K. I guess that's popular now, but I'll probably get pickups with a little more output.
     
  17. apoyando

    apoyando Supporting Member

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    Possibly you'll find my opinion a bit unpopular, but...I have played literally dozens of Strats form the 60s ( and 50s) etc; working as a repairman. Some guitars have magic, some are just old. Magic itself is defined by the player first I think, and then the listener (sometimes the same person, lol) We can quantify all the parts, but we can't really quantify that something intangible that makes us want to play certain instruments. This is a hard grail to chase..is it wood density as well, for example? Wood of a certain moisture content? Pickups that have demagnetized/ Type of fretwire? Component break-in or break-down? My .02 says to simply find what you like, and don't mystify somethin that was most likeley a happy accident of the marriage of great design and fortunate circumstances....
     
  18. shuie

    shuie Member

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    Unless you have a really generous friend with a collection of old stratocasters who is willing to let you play and hear them, you are never going to find a better representation of what they sound like than Hogy's vintage strat shootout thread. Pretty amazing spread a spread of strats in that thread. Old, new, boutique, a modern reissue, an import w/old pickups, a masterbuilt, etc..

    https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/350482
     
  19. starfish

    starfish Member

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    I think the best combination for a 60's Fender is resonant alder body, black-bottom pickups, and slab rosewood neck. You aren't going to get a warmer foundation IMO.
     
  20. GTRJohnny

    GTRJohnny Member

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    Might be easier to find a Strat you mostly like, and swap pickups and parts based on the advice of guys like Lollar or Fralin, etc. A lot of one's love or hate of a guitar is in the setup and adjustment. The upper crust of Strats just give you a better (more finely adjusted) starting point. That's not to say that a $300 Strat can't be incredible...
     

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