Why do superstrats still not sound like a fender strat???

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by Glowing Tubes, Nov 5, 2004.

  1. Glowing Tubes

    Glowing Tubes Gold Supporting Member

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    Im wondering about this. The superstrats all seem to have their own sound but I have not heard any that sound exactly like a strat. There can be no doubt about the HUGE difference in quality and playability of these high quality guitars. The sonic gifts my Andersons have is just awesome. That being said they dont sound like a strat.

    Any thoughts?


    AG
     
  2. carlygtr56

    carlygtr56 Guest

    Some get closer than others. The Andersons I owned weren't Strats, they were Andersons. They are voiced higher.

    A couple of Tylers I had were closer.
    A few Suhrs I had were in the middle.......same with the Groshes I owned.
     
  3. Mark C

    Mark C Member

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    When you change aspects of the guitar, you change the sound. It's of course not necessarily a matter of better or worse, but strats sound the way the do because of the way they are made.
     
  4. stark

    stark Supporting Member

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    Big locking tuners sound different than vintage. Flatter radius neck adds more rosewood = darker than vintage. Big frets sound way different than vintage. Anything other than a 6 screw bridge sounds way different. Anything other than vintage repro pickups makes a diff. The word "Super" is not necessarily a good thing.

    Adam Stark
     
  5. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    Yup, I agree...."everything affects everything".
     
  6. Riscchip

    Riscchip Supporting Member

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    I don't think the headstock logo impacts tone--I've played strat clones (not superstrats) that sound just like strats and might as well have been some kind of Fender strat.

    That said, I think the "super" part of a super-strat is going to, by it's very nature, start shifting you away from the classic strat tone.

    Pretty much everything Adam mentions is part of that shift, but I think even more subtle things have an effect as well. Fender strats (and teles) are pretty rough-around-the-edges creatures. Once you start adding gourmet grades of ash, alder and maple, one and two piece bodies, super tight neck pockets, elaborate finishes, modern or modern-wanna-be-vintage pickup designs, etc. you're starting to mix a different cocktail.

    Another big thing for me personally is playability. A strat that's setup for pristine playability like a lot of the expensive superstrats feels very un-strat-like to me. I'm not just talking about the setup, but the flatness of the fingerboard & core design features along those lines made to make the instrument play better. Fretwork comes into play, too. A real strat offers a little bit of a struggle, and I think that comes through in the tone & playing (in a good or bad way, depending on your style).

    Of course, this is in my mind--other's may or may not share my take. That's the answer to the superstrat riddle for me, though.

    I've certainly played plenty of non-Fender brand strat copies that have the sound and the feel, just like a genuine Fender...but they're not what I'd call "superstrats."
     
  7. phretbored

    phretbored Member

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    Andersonguy,

    You have a Shiva? :D
    Aren't they just killer amps?!
    I have a Shiva 1x12 6L6 and it has never met a guitar that it did not like!

    As far as superstrats go I would buy one because it does not sound like a Fender Strat.
    Tom Anderson makes amazing guitars.
    Suhr are pretty cool too.
    I bet the McNaught G4 and G5 sound and play great but so far I have not had the chance to check one out.
     
  8. Glowing Tubes

    Glowing Tubes Gold Supporting Member

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    Phretboard,
    Yeah my shiva just kills!:dude
    I especially like my Anderson hollow T through it. I love my Andersons!

    I switched mine out from a combo to a head and bought two 1x12 bogner cubes. It is a great sounding rig. Easy to fit inside my little trunk, dosent weigh much, gives me some great seperation.
    The combo weighs a TON!!! LOL

    Im looking into another head for some different sounds. GAS always strikes when you least expect it!:confused:

    AG
     
  9. Joe

    Joe Senior Member

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    Most super strats are no two piece ash or alder bodies either, that beautiful maple top alters things as well.
     
  10. Blueser

    Blueser Member

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    My Don Grosh stuff sounds pretty damn Stratty! Certainly enought for me.
     
  11. Eugene

    Eugene Supporting Member

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    Agreed. My Grosh sounds as good if not better than any custom shop Fender I've owned.

    Eugene
     
  12. Joe

    Joe Senior Member

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    Also, what does "stratty" mean anyway?

    If we are referring to todays American Standard, and if it is so good, why has it been changed so many times? Any why can't any of their endorsers just use it as is? Why does Clapton, Yngwie, SRV, Jimmy Vaghaun, etc...all need a custom model named after them and altered from Standard?

    You can easily find as much variation from Fender themselves as these outsiders create.

    Its nice to think of the Standard as being like apple pie and mom in the 1950s, but even Eric Johnson has his modded. Turns out mom was a drunk and her pie wasn't ideal. :p
     
  13. Balance

    Balance Member

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    This thread got me wondering how good the build quality was on 50s strats. Are the neck pockets as tight as a Suhr? Are the frets dressed as well as an Anderson? How much thought was given to the neck carves and how much did they vary?

    If there are "flaws," do they add up to better tone? I've never played a vintage strat, and I'm curious.
     
  14. Mark C

    Mark C Member

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    The Vintage strats I've played have all been well built in terms of tolerances. They aren't as tonally consistent as some would have you believe - some are magical and some are dogs. I've noticed the good ones are usually worn, so this brings up the question: Do they sound good because they've been played and worn in, or are they worn because they sounded good and people wanted to play them?
     
  15. guitarcmf

    guitarcmf Member

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    My Grosh sounds just as stratty as my Masterbuilt J. BlackCS54 Fender
    The Grosh has a more playable Neck than the fender. A little wider and more comfortable! The grosh in the sound dept loaded with Fralins Vintage Hots and pole 43 bridge is a 9.95 while my Fender ranks at 9.5 with its CS54 pups. I did replace as an experiment the cs54 pups with Fralin Blues but still the Grosh won out by a slim margin.
    Larry
     
  16. mountain blues

    mountain blues Member

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    Which Strat are you using as a reference? Your question is very vague, to me.

    Assuming my Callaham and Lentz Strats fall in the category of 'Superstrats' as you name them, they sound very much like Strats to me. If they didn't, I wouldn't own them.

    Given the changes in Strat pickups from one decade to the next, IMHO there just isn't one Strat sound to use as a reference for this kind of question.
     
  17. Dave Paetow

    Dave Paetow Guest

    What's your basis for comparison? My 1963 Strat sounded a lot different than the 1957 Strat I used to own. My brother has a ton of Strats, they all sound different from each other in some ways. There's a lot of variables!
     
  18. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    My buddy Adam and I had 2 Slab board "59 Strats that were only 40 serial #s apart. Mine was mint and his was seriously played in. My guitar sounded so britttle and reflective and his had a resonant and beautiful lower mid thing going.
     
  19. Dave Paetow

    Dave Paetow Guest

    Don't you love the inconsistencies? ;)

    Best Strat I ever played was a '58 that looked like it went thru a wood chipper and dragged down a gravel road, unbelieveably rich, woody, bell-like tone with no harshness. Still regret not grabbing that one.
     
  20. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    That's what makes these guitars cool. At one point I had a number of Pre CBS Strats and they were all quite different, one from the next.
     

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