What does contribute the most to a good sound on a strat?

marcoluz

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324
I’ve been wondering what does contribute the most to a good sound on a strat, besides all the electronic, which is it, the neck, the saddles or the body?
Thanks
 

Jabby92

Member
Messages
3,386
Hmm.. on all my guitars, Strat included, it seems to come down to electronics -> hardware -> wood in this order of tonal quality. I think that going between brass saddles or steel saddles or another material will impact the brightness a bit, but I feel you can basically the same results by dialing in more treble/presence on your amp. Also, the size of the block does seem to impact the sustain and the material does play into things a bit (check out comparisons on YT).

As for body woods, my ash bodied Strat sounds phenomenal compared to any alder ones I have had. Seems to result in a more crisp tone and a brighter resonance. However, I'm not certain if its because its ash or it just happens to be the lightest wood I have had with a Strat (whole guitar weighs in at 7 pounds). My Tele is also made out of ash and it seems to have a similar tonal preference. My alder bodied Strat that I sold for whatever reason seemed more muddy, but I think overal it was more to do with the hotter pickups. Either way, I'm sticking to mahogany and ash bodied guitars if possible.. they seem to be the best of a warmer or brighter wood in my experience thus far. Alder could be more balanced, but I'm not a fan (personally).
 

marcoluz

Member
Messages
324
Well, I’ve come with this question because I have had a really good strat, an AV57 reissue, everything was right. And I have swapped the same electronics to a squier and check all the myths around it, and there is a huge difference between them, the tone, the sustain, the response and so on... so I was wondering if it could be the neck, the body or the saddles?
Neither less to say that the AV57 was the winner here. Squier with the AV57 electronics sound it weak, lack of sustain, also a lot brighter but duller.

I’ve heard once Blake Mills saying that he kept a Tele maple neck because the way it sounds, more then the body.
 
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Daniel Travis

Supporting Member
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1,827
The time it takes to rip out that bridge single coil and throw a Seymour Duncan custom 5

I kid

I honestly think the pickups are the biggest factor - specifically alnico vs ceramic
 

Shelldigger

Member
Messages
58
Lowering neck and middle pickups to reduce magnetic dampening of strings. Setup is critical -more so than most other guitars.
Truth.

I picked up my Classic 60's Player used and was trying to record cleans. No matter how I adjusted the amp I just could not get the super clean Strat sound I was after. I looked at where the pickups were in relation to the strings and noted they were a tad a high. I backed them down probably 3-4mm and it cleaned right up!

Sounds amazing now. So yeah the answer is setup.
 

GCDEF

Supporting Member
Messages
27,559
True story. The other guitar player in my band plays a Strat. One day he was warming up and I noticed and said how much fatter his guitar sounded than usual. He'd replace the tremolo block. I don't remember what he changed it to, but it made enough of a difference that I heard it and commented on it.
 

Arcadia

Supporting Member
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1,820
OP asked to choose one of: neck, body, saddles. Reading comprehension is poor here.

If you're talking about the neck and body, you're suggesting that variations between different pieces of maple or different pieces of alder are the most significant factor. That's a major stretch. There is some variation of course, but the basic tonal properties of the wood are present.

If we're including fingerboard as part of the neck wood, I think the rosewood vs maple fingerboard sound difference is much more than the variation between different pieces of maple. I can hear the difference between rosewood and maple. I'm not going to say I can hear the difference between different pieces of maple.

A different saddle material will sound different because that is the point where the string vibration is transferred into the body, and different metals have different properties. I've experienced an audible difference with this kind of change before.

So given the OP's question, the answer is saddles or fingerboard wood.
 

MrGuitarhack

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Messages
2,539
This is just my opinion so take it for what its worth (and that might not be much).

The sound of any guitar is going to be the sum of its parts. I think all the things that make up the guitar will affect the guitars sound in some way - some more than others. Materials - body wood, neck wood, fingerboard material, neck scale, electronics and hardware. Construction - how the guitar is put together - fit - is everything tight and in place like it should be. For me the pickups make a big difference.
 

dazco

Member
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13,874
IMO, the trem, mainly the block. I put 5 different trems on a CV strat not long ago and each one completely transformed the guitar's sound like no pickup can. None sounded remotely like the other. 3 import spaced and then plugged and drilled the body out for USA spec and tried 2 others. Among them a callaham. Different blocks are the main cause of the difference, and saddle do contribute but i found not near as much. They will alter the brightness but not completely transform the guitar's voice like a block will. IMO the trem/block is the #1 reason for the wide variation in sounds between strats. Not the only thing, and there are other big contributors like fingerboard material. But there u have mainly 2 different sounds while with trems there are many.
 

germs

Member
Messages
5,760
i had a longtime (since retired) strat companion - and while typical upgrades DID help (pups, hardware, nut, trem, etc) the biggest determining factor i found was:

the amp.
 




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