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What makes people say that Strats are the most versatile guitar?

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3,403
I'm not bashing, I do own two of them myself but I just don't get it when people say this. To me, there are so many situations where I would not want to have one and where humbuckers just seem to be such a better fit. I'd have little use for one in Jazz (though I do happen to have one MIJ Strat that might be 'interesting to use here) and although I don't really play metal anymore, I'd never want to be stuck with an S/S/S Strat for that setup. I also find my 335 to be much better for ambient stuff as well.

I really find the nature of the Strat sound (in the hands of the average player, not someone like Hendrix) to be quite a limiting one, good for blues and Classic Rock (but so is a Gibson), Funk and no doubt quite a few other things but overall a 335, a good Tele or even a Les Paul seem like they would all cover so much more ground to me.

But as I said, this isn't a bashing thread. My question is, to the people who say that a Strat is the most versatile guitar, what do you do with yours that has brought you to that conclusion? I'm saying this about an S/S/S Strat, I can understand why people would regard an H/S/S as versatile (I'd share that view myself). Anyway, lets hope this doesn't turn into a flaming war at all.
 
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3,403
a lot of people think tele is more so..
Oh yes, that is true. I just see all these, "Get a Strat, it is the most versatile guitar out there" comments and they make me wonder. I've personally found the controls on Strats not be as rewarding as the one on a Tele.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
15,468
I'm a HSS player myself but even a SSS i find a lot more versatile than anything else including a tele. Those 2 notch positions alone are a huge departure from the guitar's other 3 positions. There are 5 distinct sounds with either HSS or SSS. IMO more distinct from each other than other guitars. Take the bridge/middle position for example. Theres nothing else that sounds anything like that, and it's a incredibly useful tone unless you are a 1 type of music guy and that doesn't use that sound. Then that bridge tone....don't even get me started. I never got a tele to do that quite the same, even when i once put a strat pup in the neck.

I have been deeply in lust with my 4-5 month old LP special P90 lately and don't even want to touch my strats. It's just much too juicy sounding and just kills for a lot of things. But it's not remotely as versatile as my strats and if i did a gig tomorrow and could only take one theres not a chance in he|| i'd take the LP.

It's all subjective, but thats my take. Done 100's if not 1000's of gigs with strats and every time i'd bring a LP or tele or whatever i'd always pick them up for a song or 3 then just have to go back to the strat the rest of the nite. When i have a HSS strat in my hands theres no sound i can't approximate. I can't say that about anything else.
 

Lewguitar

Senior Member
Messages
5,663
I think Strats are the most versatile guitar there is.

With a Klone or Soul Food I can take my Strat single coils into humbucker territory and beyond - but there's no way to make a humbucker sound like a great Strat single coil.

You can split the humbuckers into single coils but the tone is never as good as a real Strat pickup, IMO.

But with a good clean boost or Klone you can give a Strat's single coils the drive and full tone that a humbucker gets and it will be an inspiring tone. ;)
 
Messages
3,403
I'm a HSS player myself but even a SSS i find a lot more versatile than anything else including a tele. Those 2 notch positions alone are a huge departure from the guitar's other 3 positions. There are 5 distinct sounds with either HSS or SSS. IMO more distinct from each other than other guitars. Take the bridge/middle position for example. Theres nothing else that sounds anything like that, and it's a incredibly useful tone unless you are a 1 type of music guy and that doesn't use that sound. Then that bridge tone....don't even get me started. I never got a tele to do that.

I have been deeply in lust with my 4-5 month old LP special P90 lately and don't even want to touch my strats. It's just much too juicy sounding and just kills for a lot of things. But it's not remotely as versatile as my strats and if i did a gig tomorrow and could only take one theres not a chance in he|| i'd take the LP.

It's all subjective, but thats my take. Done 100's if not 1000's of gigs with strats and every time i'd bring a LP or tele or whatever i'd always pick them up for a song or 3 then just have to go back to the strat the rest of the nite. When i have a HSS strat in my hands theres no sound i can't approximate. I can't say that about anything else.
I can see that the Strat does have a lot of unique sounds within it. I guess that for what I do, a lot of those sounds just aren't so useful. So as you say, this whole thing is deeply subjective.
 
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3,403
I think Strats are the most versatile guitar there is.

With a Klone or Soul Food I can take my Strat single coils into humbucker territory and beyond - but there's no way to make a humbucker sound like a great Strat single coil.

You can split the humbuckers into single coils but the tone is never as good as a real Strat pickup, IMO.

But with a good clean boost or Klone you can give a Strat's single coils the drive and full tone that a humbucker gets and it will be an inspiring tone. ;)
Interesting. I haven't had the luck with getting my Strat into humbucker territory with overdrive or boost but maybe I simply don't have the right gear. I recall one time, close to a year ago when I was playing with a jam buddy and using my MIA Strat (now sold). I was convinced it was the key to my signature sound, certainly for the band we were trying to get together then but on a whim I decided to plug in the 335 halfway through the jam and I was really stunned at how much bigger and fuller my tone instantly became.

But this could be all to an individual rig and it is definitely hugely determined by what sound the player is after. Good responses so far.
 

Lewguitar

Senior Member
Messages
5,663
Interesting. I haven't had the luck with getting my Strat into humbucker territory with overdrive or boost but maybe I simply don't have the right gear. I recall one time, close to a year ago when I was playing with a jam buddy and using my MIA Strat (now sold). I was convinced it was the key to my signature sound, certainly for the band we were trying to get together then but on a whim I decided to plug in the 335 halfway through the jam and I was really stunned at how much bigger and fuller my tone instantly became.

But this could be all to an individual rig and it is definitely hugely determined by what sound the player is after. Good responses so far.
You'll not an argument from me on the value of a good ES-335...that's my other very favorite guitar. :)

Long as I have a nice Strat and a nice ES-335 any of my other electrics are nice to have but really, an unneeded luxury. Well not quite: I have a nice MIJ Tele Custom that is my main guitar for slide.
 

Presc

Member
Messages
1,449
I own a strat, tele, and 335; you could make an argument for either one being the most versatile. They all can cover a good amount of ground but all have certain points of weakness. It really just depends on what shades you generally like to color and what guitar fits those best.

I personally get more out of Fender-styles, and the Gibson is more of a "sometimes it fits" for the way I play. But that's just me.
 

tonewoody

Member
Messages
1,683
Most music can be played on any guitar but recording engineers and producers often are less than pleased to see a guitarist show up with just a stratocaster.

Classic sounds for sure, tons of great music done with them but versatile?

Teles on the other hand...
 

Rick51

Member
Messages
3,742
Strat - 5 position switch

335 and Tele - 3 position switch

Simple. The Strat has 66% more positions, therefore 66% more versatile. Of course, if you need a Tele or 335 sound and all you have is a Strat, you are SOL.
 

fjblair

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
14,629
I love my Stratocaster but its not the one I would choose to my "do anything" guitar. It's all subjective of course but I would take the Telecaster or Les Paul over the Strat. I would however choose the Stratocaster over my ES-335. The 335 is a great guitar but I think it has become a little overrated. Just my opinion.
 
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RJT

Member
Messages
604
I have an HSS config Strat. Personally, I think It's the most versatile guitar I've ever owned. I rarely pick up my LP anymore and sold my Tele. The LP is approaching imminent sale, as well. The Strat just fits my needs. My guess as to why a lot of people say It's the MOST versatile? Probably because you can drop in any pickup configuration you can shake a stick at.
 
Messages
3,403
Strat - 5 position switch

335 and Tele - 3 position switch

Simple. The Strat has 66% more positions, therefore 66% more versatile. Of course, if you need a Tele or 335 sound and all you have is a Strat, you are SOL.
I get that it has more positions but I still find personally that all 5 of those positions leave a lot of areas uncovered. Again, that is just my opinion. I find by using the tone knob on something like a 335 or Tele that I can cover a huge amount of areas whereas the tone knobs never seem to do much for me on a Strat.
 

lpdeluxe

Member
Messages
1,529
I have to say, I don't get this whole "versatility" thing. To me, "versatility" means "I get to sound like a lot of other people without having to find my own voice."

I have a 335 and Carvin SH550 and I wouldn't call either one "versatile."

What they are, is that they provide a voice that I can express my music with.

Just as I do with my Dobro and my collection of basses.

For what it's worth I owned a Strat. Meh. :D
 
Messages
3,403
I have to say, I don't get this whole "versatility" thing. To me, "versatility" means "I get to sound like a lot of other people without having to find my own voice."

I have a 335 and Carvin SH550 and I wouldn't call either one "versatile."

What they are, is that they provide a voice that I can express my music with.

Just as I do with my Dobro and my collection of basses.

For what it's worth I owned a Strat. Meh. :D
335s are great for expressive playing. I think of the versatile thing as meaning how many genres a type of guitar fit happily into, though this doesn't mean that you won't find your own voice with it in every application. I find that there aren't a whole lot of situations where I feel unhappy using a 335 but there would be plenty where I wouldn't be happy with one of my Strats.
 

rhinocaster

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
23,917
I've really been into Strats for the last year and I've always been a Tele guy.

I think that the simple answer is that many people think that the more controls/pickups=the most versatile guitar because there are more options.

I tend to think that versatility is in the player. Danny Gatton or Roy Buchanan could create more viable/recordable/different sounds with an Esquire that most of us can create with an arsenal of guitars.

Simple truth is that a Strat is a GREAT guitar. From Hendrix to SRV to Ronnie Earl to Yngwie, to (insert any great Strat player here), you'll find great music that doesn't make you think of the guitar, just the playing and incredible tone.

This stuff is ALL more alike than it is different.....:)
 

peskypesky

Member
Messages
5,615
I thought the Strat was the most versatile guitar....until Saturday, when I played a 1966 Goya Rangemaster. Now that guitar is VERSATILE!




This baby literally sounds like different guitars when you choose different pickup combinations.
 




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