Why some Strats have more bass?

rotren

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2,905
I have a few strats, and one of them sounds much beefier in the bass.

Just wondering what your thoughts are on why some strats have more bass than others? .

What physical aspects of the guitar contributes the most for this? The body? The neck? The kind of wood in body and neck? The density of the wood, the age? The bridge?

In my case, this one guitar sounds fatter ("better") even when I have the same pickups as in my other guitars.

Some strats can sound thin, when there isn't enough bass coming from the guitar itself. It something it's hard to fix by adjust the amp or the effects.

There is also the question about mid-range - some of my guitars don't have the "right" kind of mid-range in them as I would like - they sound a bit weak. It seems like my best sounding strat has both better sounding bass and mid-range than my other strats. Perhaps the bass and mid-range are tied into each other, so to speak. I'm just hearing this subjectively of course - this one guitar just sounds fatter and fuller to my ears, which makes it much more fun to play!
 

jiml

Gold Supporting Member
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11,165
Ash bodies sound more "scooped" than alder. Alder has more midrange. Other than that, pickups would be the only other factor.....
 

omfg51

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Density of the wood possibly. Also, the number of pieces used to construct a body will factor in. Mexican models are constructed with 5-7 pieces forming a body, where American models are 2-3 pieces. That's also why vintage pieces sound better, they are made from a single piece of wood.

Also, the actual wiring, outside of the pickups, will have some effect on tone.
 

buddastrat

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14,689
It comes down to the individual pieces of wood. I have swapped same wood bodies or necks for another and got a much different response. More than anything, it's the wood. Always nice when you can try before you buy and that's why I always recommend playing it acoustically and listening to the guitar's natural voice. You'll hear and feel a deeper resonance in some while others may have more a chimey thing and so on. Pickups can compliment that stuff, but it's always down to the wood for the guitar's DNA.
 

ModdersAnon

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1,403
Pickup height and bridge adjustment.
Bingo! This is a large part of it. Pickup height adjustment and how it affects your tone seems to be one thing that many guitarists are unaware of. It is incredibly easy to change, and impossible to screw up!
 

buddastrat

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14,689
Bingo! This is a large part of it. Pickup height adjustment and how it affects your tone seems to be one thing that many guitarists are unaware of. It is incredibly easy to change, and impossible to screw up!
Pickup height adjustments, affect mainly volume and attack. I've never adjusted pickups and all of a sudden start getting a big bunch of low end resonance. You may be hearing more volume and thinking that's more lows. Pickups mostly affect mids to begin with. That low resonance is really from the wood. Some strats got that to begin with, even with light strings, they have that big tone.
 

buddyboy

Platinum Supporting Member
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2,222
The ash body '70's monster seem to have a ton of bass. Wound up through a loud amp, you get that throaty thing pretty well on the neck pickup, with reduced mids and a lot of sizzle on top.
 

rhinocaster

Gold Supporting Member
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23,600
Density of the wood possibly. Also, the number of pieces used to construct a body will factor in. Mexican models are constructed with 5-7 pieces forming a body, where American models are 2-3 pieces. That's also why vintage pieces sound better, they are made from a single piece of wood.

Also, the actual wiring, outside of the pickups, will have some effect on tone.
If you're speaking about Fender, the part in bold is not correct. Fender's practice has always been to use 2 or more pieces to create bodies. Vintage Fenders with one piece bodies are quite uncommon.
 

VaughnC

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18,102
IMO, after numerous neck swapping experiments on alder/rosewood Strats, I've come to the conclusion that the voice of a Strat is in the neck wood. Followed by a sum of the parts. The voice of a Strat always seemed to follow the neck, no matter which body it was attached to. The body made a difference for sure...but it wasn't as big a player as the neck. And, when it all comes together just right, some Strats just sound better than the sum of their parts.
 

mikefair

Silver Supporting Member
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1,447
A whole bunch of things effect how a Strat sounds. To me, they're the hardest of all the guitars to get the magic combination right. Nut and saddle material, pickup height, the angle of the trem, the block material and size. I agree with Vaughn C; the neck is the biggest factor - size, shape, how it's cut from the tree, how it's dried.

Pickup height matters a lot. You can have the pickup so close to the string it actually inhibits vibration.
 

jman

Silver Supporting Member
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732
Yep,vintage strat bodies were mostly NOT one piece...also,MIM's are not all 5-7 piece,some are 2-3 .
-a one piece will not automatically sound 'better' ... i don't know why all this stuff is perpetuated.

...i have not really come across a strat with good bass,even the ones with more low end don't seem to match a tele...i have experienced this with both hard tail and trem bridges,larger and smaller necks,nitro and poly,newer/older,lighter/heavier,etc - part of the strat character is that sort of thinner/hollower thing,when it's right it is really right!
 

tnt365

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3,044
It is really a lot of factors, you can't point to just one thing. But then it is possible for one piece of the guitar to shine, or maybe a combination of parts that shine. The neck, body, nut, fret, and bridge material qualities and construction are probably the biggest factors for how the guitar sounds acoustically, pickups color this tone. Setup is really important too: string tension, string height, pickup height, etc. I like my guitar to have a little weight as I think it helps with the bass, but maybe there are lighter guitars that have a warmer, deeper bass, I just haven't tried one yet.
 

buddastrat

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14,689
Some of the worst bodies I've had have been one piece. I have a 1966 strat and it has a real deep resonance and woody top end, 3 piece. My partscaster had a two piece USA CG body on it, and I tried a 3 piece road worn body and noticed a bigger, fatter strat tone. the neck is a huge part of the lows too.
You just don't know until you know.
 

Telebluze

Platinum Supporting Member
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1,785
Density of the wood possibly. Also, the number of pieces used to construct a body will factor in. Mexican models are constructed with 5-7 pieces forming a body, where American models are 2-3 pieces. That's also why vintage pieces sound better, they are made from a single piece of wood.

Also, the actual wiring, outside of the pickups, will have some effect on tone.
:huh This entire post is incorrect..........with the exception of the first 5 words.
 

K-Line

Vendor
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8,382
Number of pieces? Never experienced this before. Quality of wood is a factor for sure. But the recipe is much more than that. Pickups and saddle material will have the greatest impact. String gauge is huge as well. A 50 will boom better than a 46. No one thing will do it. Don't forget a great setup as well.
 

Judas68fr

Member
Messages
1,302
IMO, after numerous neck swapping experiments on alder/rosewood Strats, I've come to the conclusion that the voice of a Strat is in the neck wood. Followed by a sum of the parts. The voice of a Strat always seemed to follow the neck, no matter which body it was attached to. The body made a difference for sure...but it wasn't as big a player as the neck. And, when it all comes together just right, some Strats just sound better than the sum of their parts.


This! And you can extrapolate your observations to Teles as well! I've been swapping necks on a few partcasters for the last few months, and I'd say 80-90% of the "tone" is coming from the neck. Chunkier necks tend to have a snappier sound with more bass.
 

uOpt

Member
Messages
897
(I am assuming you aren't talking hardtails. Hardtails have a lot more bass right there, and can be very boomy on the neck pickup)

In my opinion the most important factor in thin sounding Strats (with tremolo sustain block) is the neck, and I don't mean neck wood. I mean construction. A heavy truss rod can be very bad news. Heavy tuners, or a Floyd shelf nut can be bad. Putting on a cheap fretboard with glue that could hold an aircraft carrier can be bad. Large frets (frets that are both wide and tall) change the sound. But the truss rod is the thing to look out for. Those double-acting, double rods that e.g. Warmoth Pro has are deadly.

Some trems just suck. Don't use them.

Some bodies have removed wood around the 6 screws holding the trem. e.g. Warmoth's regular Strat bodies (they recently introduced vintage style which leaves the area intact).
 

Stratburst70

Member
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5,781
IMHO it's the wood in general, neck in particular as VaughnC and Buddastrat have attested.
Indeed. I've heard of guys yanking the pickups from their pre-CBS Fenders and putting them in their more modern guitars in order to give them that "mojo" and then wondering where the hell the sound went.
 






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