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

Messages
3,403
why is a strat versatile? simple its featured everywhere, every genre has a legend playing a strat

obvious ones, funk, rock, blues, punk, country

other less obvious genres -
jazz : allan holdsworth had a strat era
shred guitar: yngwie
R&B: Nile ROdgers
metal : Iron Maiden

name any genre out there, theres one guy with a strat that made it big and is a legend in it. apart from tele, LP and the 335 (then again ive not seen anyone do metal on a 335) i think no other guitar brand in this world has such a presence

the other factor these days is that humbuckers now can be fitted into the ss slot pickup, which gives you humbucker tone but a SS configuration. so all you need is a screw driver and some soldering iron and you can mod your strat into something else.

try modding your 335 into a single coil guitar and see how had it is
In my OP, I'm pretty sure I made it clear that I had S/S/S Strats in mind. In Holdsworth's Just For The Curious book he makes it clear that he wasn't happy with the sound of the singles coils in the Strat and I'm pretty sure he modded it to be HH. And I'm not a fan of Iron Maiden but I don't think Dave Murray used purely S/S/S Strats most of the time.

I've done Black Metal inspired stuff on my 335. And I've never heard of anyone wanting to put a single coil in the bridge of a 335 so who cares if its really hard? Plenty of people mod S/S/S because (as you say) it isn't hard and because the S/S/S configuration is so unideal for so many things. The fact I've never heard anyone express the desire to put a single coil in the bridge of a 335 speaks volumes in my opinion.
 

huw

Member
Messages
1,410
Whenever I've had a similar conversation with my friends (and it's not something we worry about too often :) ) the "versatility" argument always seems to come down to numbers: more pickups + more switch positions = it must be more versatile, right?

However, my preference is for guitars with individual vol/tone controls for each pickup, and I've found that I can get more out of a two pickup guitar, like a Les Paul for instance, than I can from any guitar with a single volume control. In fact, I'd even say that I'd be happy with a guitar with just one pickup, as long as it had 2 x vol/tones & a 3-way switch.

So I don't agree that "more pickups + more switch positions = more versatile".

In fact, to me the five positions on a Strat are somewhat overrated: positions 2 & 4 are kind of similar, and the middle pickup & neck pickup are also kind of similar to each other. The bridge pickup, though, is the main reason that I prefer Tele's to Strats anyway...

But isn't it great that we have so many guitars to choose from, and we can all find something that suits us?

:)
 

+3kk!

Member
Messages
772
In my OP, I'm pretty sure I made it clear that I had S/S/S Strats in mind. In Holdsworth's Just For The Curious book he makes it clear that he wasn't happy with the sound of the singles coils in the Strat and I'm pretty sure he modded it to be HH. And I'm not a fan of Iron Maiden but I don't think Dave Murray used purely S/S/S Strats most of the time.

I've done Black Metal inspired stuff on my 335. And I've never heard of anyone wanting to put a single coil in the bridge of a 335 so who cares if its really hard? Plenty of people mod S/S/S because (as you say) it isn't hard and because the S/S/S configuration is so unideal for so many things. The fact I've never heard anyone express the desire to put a single coil in the bridge of a 335 speaks volumes in my opinion.
but thats the key thing about it as to why its soo versatile, when you want something that is not coils you can swapp it out. its easy, sure it might not be a real "strat" in your book but it can indeed be done. ive also seen videos of robbern ford use strats

the reason no one wants to put a coil in a 335 because its impossible to do it. theres nothing about tone in there, you just cant do it unless you want to really mod the hell out of a guitar. ive also not seen anyone take a 335 or a gibson to do funk, so erm ya.
 
Messages
3,403
Whenever I've had a similar conversation with my friends (and it's not something we worry about too often :) ) the "versatility" argument always seems to come down to numbers: more pickups + more switch positions = it must be more versatile, right?

However, my preference is for guitars with individual vol/tone controls for each pickup, and I've found that I can get more out of a two pickup guitar, like a Les Paul for instance, than I can from any guitar with a single volume control. In fact, I'd even say that I'd be happy with a guitar with just one pickup, as long as it had 2 x vol/tones & a 3-way switch.

So I don't agree that "more pickups + more switch positions = more versatile".

In fact, to me the five positions on a Strat are somewhat overrated: positions 2 & 4 are kind of similar, and the middle pickup & neck pickup are also kind of similar to each other. The bridge pickup, though, is the main reason that I prefer Tele's to Strats anyway...

But isn't it great that we have so many guitars to choose from, and we can all find something that suits us?

:)

Wow, you've really summed up a lot of what I've been trying to say, especially with your second to last bit about the 2 & 4 positions. To me, they just aren't good for that much and they really do sound very similar.

Maybe my error is that I've thought of versatility in terms of how comfortable I would be using a guitar in as many different situations whereas others have thought about it in terms of what you describe, more pickups and switch positions.

In any case, it seems that you and I think alike in our approach to this :)
 
Messages
3,403
but thats the key thing about it as to why its soo versatile, when you want something that is not coils you can swapp it out. its easy, sure it might not be a real "strat" in your book but it can indeed be done. ive also seen videos of robbern ford use strats

the reason no one wants to put a coil in a 335 because its impossible to do it. theres nothing about tone in there, you just cant do it unless you want to really mod the hell out of a guitar. ive also not seen anyone take a 335 or a gibson to do funk, so erm ya.
You could always use coil splits with humbuckers though and then maybe use a 335 for Funk. It won't sound like a Strat maybe but then again, a Strat with humbuckers probably won't sound like a Gibson.
 

+3kk!

Member
Messages
772
You could always use coil splits with humbuckers though and then maybe use a 335 for Funk. It won't sound like a Strat maybe but then again, a Strat with humbuckers probably won't sound like a Gibson.
but if its based on your personal taste, you could use anything for anything. for that matter, i could use a superstrat with blackouts for the blues, which i do smetimes. its not ideal but i do. with enough googling and pub cralwing im sure you will find someone who uses some weird and odd configuration for their setup.

i belive why you cant undestand it is you dont think strats or specifically SS sounds good to you. which is ok.

but in the grand scale of things, you do see strats almost everywhere. a basker in the street covering various songs, the giging musician at teh bar, the bedroom guy, the guy who is going into Berkeley.

so when everyone sees a strat everywhere played by many places with many different configurations, and many guitarist around that use them for whatever they want to use, someone is going to say they are versatile.

might not appeal to you, but hey it works for someone
 

Texsunburst59

Member
Messages
5,274
I own a lot of guitars which includes Strats,Teles, 335, LP, Super strat,and the most versatile guitar I own is my Rev. Jetstream 390. I does what a great strat does, but it also covers the fat and thick tones the strat can't. The bass contour on the 390 makes all difference in the world. I think that most guitars with a 390 setup can cover way more tonal ground than a regular standard Strat,Tele,LP, PRS or SSH Strat. I think it just offers way more tonal combinations.
 

sanhozay

klon free since 2009
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,049
people say the darndest things, and whatever serves them best.

guitar players were born for hubris. all instruments present the same equal opportunity of pain in the balls. the magic bullet is the conversation that occurs with the brain right before the purchase.
 
Messages
11,596
people say the darndest things, and whatever serves them best.

guitar players were born for hubris. all instruments present the same equal opportunity of pain in the balls. the magic bullet is the conversation that occurs with the brain right before the purchase.
Basically this. Versatility is overrated. Most guitarists come back to the same sounds that define them. Some instruments might be better in a certain situation than others, but overall, we play specific instruments for what they do best for us, not the other way around.
 

Dereksslide

Member
Messages
3,297
Les Paul Jnr for me. Play loud, not so loud, quiet.
This all the way, I'm amazed what limiting myself to a single P90 has done to improve my ability to get sounds I can work with from one guitar.

Why is a Strat always chosen? Well, the enormous number of pickup configurations and control mods that are possible on a swimming pool routed Strat are just not possible on any other guitar. You could wire up different circuits to switch between, have splits and taps where applicable etc. and just stick a new switch/pot on the pickguard. You can even set it up with connectors for the input jack and have several pickguards you can swap between. No good live but great recording/at home. Even if you don't do this you already have more possible sound configurations than any of the other classic guitars.

Does a Strat do everything? Well, that depends on what a player wants and what else is in their rig, but it will cover more ground than the other classics and is much, much easier to mod. So, if we limit ourselves to the classic shapes, and even standard configurations, a Strat is the most versatile guitar. If we allow modifications then it easily wins out.

I terms of personal choice? The most versatile is what you get along with best.
 

tnjazz

Runs with scissors
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
916
ive also not seen anyone take a 335 or a gibson to do funk, so erm ya.
Leo Nocentelli and I had a good chuckle over this. :rotflmao

I have a strat and I don't consider it all that versatile. My tele is much more so. I used to think teles were meh guitars, but now that I've gotten around to owning one I can see what the fuss is all about. WAY more versatile than a strat.

I will say though, I put one of those Tone Shapers in my strat (SSS) for a while and it does a pretty good job of expanding the sonic palette of the guitar. Stock however, I don't get people saying it's so versatile. I sure don't think so.
 

chucke99

Member
Messages
5,121
People say that their particular favorite guitar is the most versatile guitar and think they hear people agreeing with them. It's human nature. If it seems like more people say Strats are most versatile it's probably because there are a lot of strats out there.
 

JWDubois

Member
Messages
8,030
I can get the heavy sounds I want out of single coils a lot easier than I can get the clean sounds I want out of humbuckers. Even tapped HBs don't really do it for me.
 
Messages
2,678
How versatile a guitar is, is totally dependent on how versatile the player is. An expressive and creative player can make thousands of sounds from a single guitar. The actual type/brand of guitar doesn't make a difference, other than it's an instrument which inspires the player. So, basically, it's whatever floats your boat.
 

lpdeluxe

Member
Messages
1,529
Basically this. Versatility is overrated. Most guitarists come back to the same sounds that define them. Some instruments might be better in a certain situation than others, but overall, we play specific instruments for what they do best for us, not the other way around.
+1. It's worth noting that, out of the five basses I currently own, I have settled on my Fender Classic '51 Precision reissue. One single-coil pickup, two knobs, four strings. I can make it do anything I want, and it goes places my MusicMan StingRay 5 can't.:D
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,689
I think it is. While you can play anything on anything. With a strat you can do it with authority. Just about every genre it can work well. The scale length gives a big sound to it, so that big blues tone ala SRV is there, or stick a bucker in and it can have a huge metal sound. Keep a single in the bridge and do pedal steel licks, or the notched stuff for the funk..and on and on.

the scale length gives a bit sound, you got a vibrato and they're easy to mod. All singles to all full sized buckers, want rosewood for deepness, or slap a maple neck for some spank and do it all in the blink of an eye. Wins most versatile to me.

A tele is pretty versatile too but no shimmery trem stuff. Also not as easily modded.

Gibsons, PRS..they kinda have their thing and not as big sounding due to scale. Plus not much modding. No neck swapping there! Pickups changes are more limited compared to a strat where you can just drop another guard in and change all three instantly or change one fast. Single or humbucker anything fits, as long as the route allows it.
 

Beakertwang

Member
Messages
2,546
I just picked up a Reverend Double Agent. P90 neck and hot PAF-style HB in the bridge. Three very distinct characters. The bass roll-off knob makes a big difference too. It does everything from blues to metal. I think I'm going to coil-tap the HB, then I will have the most versatile guitar in the world!
 

aequitas

Member
Messages
257
It is not.

Strat is a great guitar but it's not the most versatile guitar.
I own only one guitar and it is a strat but some time I want some p90, HB or semi-hollow tone that I can't get from my strat.

But with some pedals and right amp you can do a lot of thing with only one start.
 




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