Why don’t I like Strats??


Silver Supporting Member
I love strats. I love the R&B variety with vintage trems and tuners. Ash body with maple necks. ML Standards for quack. Very round tone that is uniquely strat. I have built 3 and bought 10 plus over the years. Getting this strat tone isn't easy.

Most strats sound just like an electric guitar. They can have more boutique trems (like Mann strat replacements. Tuners....etc). Plus all kinds of interesting PU recipes. But I like real strat sound artifacts, 5 way switch pops, trem arm noises, volume knob swells.

Most strats should be coupled with a more direct signal chain. Be careful of OD pedals into a Fender (thick sounding) amps. Hard to get the best tone for loud gigs at bedroom levels. But once you get it, gig level volume is better.

Plus the strat contoured body feels like it wraps around you. Additionally, I love my 2011 PRS DC-3 strat body with the great Mann trem.


Have Tele, will travel; why fight it!

Try a Lollar Royal T in the neck if you're looking for a Strat tone from a Tele; they sound fantastic. The Tele bridge pickup is just hard to beat, my current Uber Thinline build has a Lollar Special and Royal T and it's a monster and great combo.

I like Strats, my main guitar for a decade plus was a CS American Hollowflake beastie that sounded amazing and then I phased out of it. I still own one Strat and always oggle rosewood board Strats which I don't "need" but still "want." As stated above, they can be a challenge to dial in. I cheat, I have a '63 Bassman and you plug a guitar into that thing and crank it and well, everything sounds good including Strats. Marshalls and my Mesa don't line up quite as well, the Marshall I can get there but then when you switch guitars you're back to tweaking; add one good EQ pedal and you'd solve this but...



Platinum Supporting Member
Sell the G&L.

Seriously, I know it sounds stupid, but just try being without it, wait until you miss it and if that happens, there you go, now you like Strats and hopefully get to find out why, and if not, go buy something else.

That's what happened to me. I used to hate Strats with an unreasonable passion, I did love a lot of music made with them, but they didn't serve a purpose to me, I couldn't make music myself with them, they felt weird and sounded awful in my hands.

Then a stupid cheap one came up near me, which I knew I could clean, set-up and flip for twice the price, and so I did. I regretted that sale instantly.

A while later another one just like it at the same stupid price came up, and I bought it, breaking even and ending up with a free Strat, only this time I let the thing be what it is, and instead of trying to make it do the same things as the Les Paul or Tele, I just let it do its thing, and that's when I figured out Strats. Now I just love that stupid guitar.
I think this nails it. I hated strats for almost twenty years--couldn't get anything I liked out of one. Then I a) found a good one, and b) stopped trying to pretend it was a Les Paul. That helped a lot.


I played Gibson and Gibson style guitar for years before I got a Strat.Now I play both and love them equally.If you jump off a Gibson etc and think you're going to transition on to a Strat quickly chances are you will be disappointed.This is my experience but I think it's fairly accurate.The way I approach fretting,picking and muting is different and it took a while to adapt.On a Gibson where you place your picking hand is different.On a Gibson I use palm muting more where as on a Strat I'll mute a lot more with my fretting hand.I'm talking about a Strat with all single coils not humbuckers.If you palm mute like a Gibson you'll lose a lot of sustain.If you keep bumping the volume control chance are you need to readjust your picking hand.I use boost pedals more with a Strat but you're starting from a cleaner place so for certain music that's an advantage.If you play something else and you're not willing to spend a good amount of time learning a new approach to playing don't waste your money and stick to what you like.
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Every time I play my Strat, I'm reminded of the death scene in Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life"

Grim Reaper: Be quiet! You Englishmen [replace with "You Stratocasters"]! You're all so ****ing pompous. None of you have got any balls!

But it's still the best feeling guitar I own . . . I keep thinking I'll switch out the pickups, but then I realize that it will just be another high output guitar and you really do need that thin, weedy, ball-less single coil tone for certain applications :)


Why Don't I like Strats??

Nah, just kidding. Not everyone likes every guitar, or even every brand. I know a guy, a local celebrity guitarist, who told me he loves the sound of Fender but just can't play them because of the flat body and neck. The last time I saw him he was using an old Electra.

But if you're using a G&L Legacy that's basically a souped up Strat in most ways, anyway...


Silver Supporting Member
Lol....yes. I tend to prefer position 4
I feel like this means you're "getting it". Spend a little more time with it and experiment with some different tones. I cut my teeth on humbuckers so it took me a while to warm up to strats. That said, I now have two and a couple of super strats with coil-tap options. I keep them around for when I need the spank or funk that only a strat can provide. Funk, disco, Gilmour, some ambient type stuff. Not so much for straight ahead rock [not knocking the guys that use them for that].

It's a tool in the arsenal. Use it where it calls for it.

Oh, also, try it in the mix. You'd be surprised. What you may perceive as weak vs a higher output guitar actually cuts better in some cases because it's a narrower frequency output.


I’m actually the opposite. I started with an old SG, decided to have it refinished, and in the meantime played an older Strat. I hated it at first but now that’s all I am used to. I’m on my 4th SG because I cannot seem to find a guitar that has humbuckers and a thick baseball bat neck.


If you don’t like the pickups, the neckshape the bridge the playability the noise, all those things can be fixed.

If you don’t like the tones from Hendrix, SRV, Jeff Beck etc then move on. Listen to Belly of the Beast, David Grissom.
60’s Strat in to a Marshall 20W for the main parts. If you don’t like that then move on.


Silver Supporting Member
I have two "strats"- a Fender EJ and a Suhr Standard.

1. I will never buy another strat that has a single coil in the bridge position.
2. I will never buy another strat where I can't control the tone of all three pickups.
3. The single coil neck pup on most strats is magic. Someone else pointed that out.
4. NOTHING cuts like the middle pup on a Strat when its' opened up.
5. I love the bridge/middle pickup position for almost all rhythm applications.

I have a Lester, too- and I love it- but I can't imagine not having a Strat as part of the arsenal.


Silver Supporting Member
I played only a Strat for 20 yrs
Loved it
Then decided to explore other sonic options.
I don’t own a Strat currently but have been thinking about getting another one.
I play 25” scale length now, and really like it. No not a PRS but I noticed that for some odd reason those guitars were such a pleasure to play compared to
that the short (G) and long (F) scale length

Mark Robinson

Platinum Supporting Member
With an original spec Stratocaster, IMO you need some amp, you need radiating area, cold minimum of 2 x 12" and and ante of 30- 40 watts or it's plinkety plinkville. If you are committed to a smaller amp, then consider an HSS equipped Stratocaster, or a two bucker Stratocaster. The classic wild ass wonder of a great original spec Stratocaster, becomes evident to my ears when some air is moving and not a moment sooner. Thats for dirty or clean IMO, and especially the middle and bridge pickup. Lots of folks swear by a 22 watt deluxe reverb and a Strat, but not me.

There is not a guitar in the world that benefits more from a 4 x 12" cab than a stock ass Stratocaster.
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I never liked domestic strats. I didn't like them until Asian countries started exporting theirs. I get along with Squiers just fine. I could never get domestic Strats to hold intonation well and I found the necks a bit unstable.
I couldn't get the action to feel right.

The Squiers seem to have very stable necks and hold a good setup for a long time, so I use them now.

The reality is that it doesn't matter why you don't like them, if you don't you don't.
I don't like pasta, it doesn't matter why. I don't have to eat it if I don't want.
And I don't have to play a strat if I don't want.
And I don't owe anyone an explanation why.

Play what you enjoy, that is what it is all about.
Stevie Ray Vaughn, John Mayer, David Gilmour, Ronnie Earl, to name a few, definitely don't have thin, weak, and shrill tones. However, in my hands, that's what my Stratocaster sounds like. There's nothing wrong with the guitar. I've just yet to figure out how to dial in those tones. And I feel the majority of the problem is setting up my amp and pedals with the volume and the tone controls of a Strat on 10. Advice here would be appreciated.
Run your amp hot, roll back the volume, and stay away from the bridge pickup unless you've got it wired through the tone. You'll have to turn the knobs on the amp to find what you like, but with neck or mid pickups, you can ride the line between clear and wooly really well. Neck and neck+mid both respond well to this treatment ime.


I didn't particularly like Strats until I started using the volume and tone knobs more. The Strat opened up my world to guitars once I figured out the knobs were actually useful rather than just leaving them wide open. As embarrassing as it is this took me nearly 20 years to figure out...

Basically I like to set the bridge tone at about 6-7 and dial in my amp around that. Usually the volume on the guitar is around 8-9. I back it off just to roll off a little more high end.

Turns out this little trick works equally well with hotter pickups. Anything perceived as shrill/bright benefits a lot from bringing back the volume and tone knobs.

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