favorite strat tones?

nathan a

Hero Member
I had a debate like this with my pop the other day-- Who's got your favorite clean and dirty strat tones EVER?

clean: Mark Knopfler
dirty: SRV, of course. David Gilmour close second **EDIT-- Okay, not too close. In my head nobody can touch stevie**

I guess if you really love your own rig, you could choose yourself. But then you gotta put up a video or something so we can hear it too!
I'm not really into the SRV signature tones - but can take 'em. 

Look what Buddy Guy does with a Strat.  He'll do , during his sets, tributes to SRV, BB, EC, Jimi... even RoyB and crap, all from his Strat!  And it sounds GREAT.

If strats didn't have a bridge pickup, it wouldn't bother me <gggg>.
You left out Jimi????

CB- Agree with the Strat bridge sentiment; almost never use mine, the really "Strat" sound comes from the neck/mid pickups, BUT - try replacing the bridge with an SD Lil' 59 or JBJr in the SC form factor, you'll start using it a lot more...

I know you're a P90 afficianado; Rio Grande makes some P90s in an SC form factor called "Dirty Harrys", haven't tried those yet, but may in the future; anyone on the board used the RG Dirty Harrys???? Feedback please?

I've got a gold TX BBQ set from them in the VIP waiting on the neck, checked Friday and the Wenge tree was in fact cut down, but still have at least another 4 weeks of wait time, all the parts for the "Telecaster Special" will most likely beat it here.
yah.... ya know, few years ago, it was just a 78-79 Strat.  Now these days they're starting to be looked at, as prices of older ones go very high.  And the damn thing is original, with plenty of wear.  So that one wont get changed.

In my mind - terribly wasted there - was an idea to build up something like "brownie".  But I dunno... it just does not seem to spring past the idea stage, esp with all these amps I still have to go thru here.
Funny, ain't it? Those 3 bolt Strats were in general some of the worst Strats to ever come out of the factory, had a '74 I bought new I kept about 5 years, and flipped a '77 I picked up on the cheap through eBay, used the cash to buy more Warmoth parts, hated that '77, never played it.

What is "brownie"?
CB- I can at least agree with the strat bridge pup thing. Although, since wiring mine into the middle tone control, I use it quite a bit more. I've always been fond of the 2nd position in strats, but bridge alone.... I wouldn't miss it if it up and died.

I've been lookin at the rio grande p90s too. Also lollars, but I've heard mixed reviews (mostly, that they don't have THE midrange).

His playing is great, the tones sound sweet, but Buddy's heavy blues style has just never been my thing.
jackthehack said:
Funny, ain't it? Those 3 bolt Strats were in general some of the worst Strats to ever come out of the factory, had a '74 I bought new I kept about 5 years, and flipped a '77 I picked up on the cheap through eBay, used the cash to buy more Warmoth parts, hated that '77, never played it.

What is "brownie"?

EC's #1 before Blackie

Its pictured on Layla.. some of his other records.

Strats (in my humblest opinion) are tricky. I hate 99.9% of them.
It wasn't until the advent of the 5-way switch that they started to make any sense to me.

Jimi and Rory Gallagher were the exception - maybe a few others!
When Clapper and others went to the Strat, they lost tone.

Position #4 on the Strat is very sweet though.

I own only one Strat - a LITE ASH with Duncan pups.
I don't use it much, but I like that one. There are a few Strats that interest me.
Jeff Beck Strat, Jimmy Vaughn Strat, Big Apple Strat, '50's, '60's.....but not many else.

To each, his own I guess...........

Oh, the '56 burst; when did that start getting called "brownie", curiously never heard that reference?

Vic - Which Jeff Beck/JimmieVaughan Strats do you mean? Their originals or the current Fender offerings with their names on them? VERY unimpressed with the Jeff Beck model; the Vaughan is just a MIM Strat with a different neck profile and SLIGHTLY better pickups than a MIM model.

If we'd only had the foresight to pick up more 50s/60s Strats in the early 70s when they were typically under $250 in pawn shops, and not sell/trade them....

In response to the couple of PMs about the 1977 Strat; sorry I didn't make it clear enough, did NOT "pick it up on the cheap" from eBay, that aprty was over before it started; found it in a garage/"estate" sale; some old woman died and her daughter was selling most of the contents so they could flip the house, it was apparently bought for one of the sons who in typical fashion tried to learn to play it for a month or two and it had been sitting in a closet/basement in a black Fender OHC for near 30 years untouched. They had no clue and were happy to take 4 c-notes cash for it, thought it was "some old guitar..."  Flipped it "as is" (neck a little warped) for $2235 on eBay.

Its amazing that Claptons current "signature" model has that beefy mid boost.... recalling the tone of his early (pre-strat) days.


I live 1.5 hours away from the nearest guitar shop with a $12 toll (one way) across
the Cheaspeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel to Va Beach. So, when new gear comes out,
I can't just hop in the car and drive to the local store to try guitars out. So, I hear
about alot of guitars but don't get to try them out. I just go over and buy what I'm
looking for or order on-line.

Rumor has it that in my town there's an old-timer with a '50 Strat under his bed
but I don't know the guy...........

Depending on the Strat, he might be better off keeping it in a safe....

I've owned two 50s Strats, a '57 white with maple neck bought when I was a kid in '73/74 for about $300 to the best of my recollection. My main playing guitar at the time was a late 60's SG and I had a '65/66 Strat that sounded better to me, wound up selling the '57that same year for $400 during a period of extreme poverty.

The late Charlie Wirz of Charlie's Guitar Shop in Dallas had just opened his storefront during the recession of '81 was having trouble making rent and sold me a '54 burst s/n 1012 for $1100 that August (threw in a 50s Champ amp that had the original tweed gone and was recovered in cowboy print fabric). Although I loved the tone of that guitar I couldn't deal with the baseball bat neck. About six months later a guy waved $3000 cash at me for it, which I snapped up. Of course about a year later the Japanese started collecting vintage Strats and the value went to 5-6 figures....
I say, lets hold on to the guitars we have right now. Perhaps someday, some idiot will pay BANK for my 2003 strat... 
Rather seriously doubt it; back in the 50s, Fender only put out under 20K guitars a year on average (see below), and through the 60s never approached 50K units a year. These days they're selling hundreds of thousands of units, so don't know if you'll ever see the relative scarcity to push those prices up; maybe your great-grandchildren would...

Fender Serial Number ranges

0001  to 6000  = 1954
6000  to 9000  = 1955
9000  to 16000 = 1956
16000 to 25000 = 1957 (some numbers with a "0" or "-" prefix)
25000 to 30000 = 1958 (some numbers with a "0" or "-" prefix)
30000 to 40000 = 1959
40000 to 58000 = 1960
55000 to 72000 = 1961
72000 to 93000 = 1962
93000 to 99999 = 1963
Definitely whatever Ian D'sa  does to get his tone.  All i played on for my first 5 years of guitar was a strat, and now that i own 5 guitars, its the one i play the least.  If I could get a tone like this guy can out of his strat I'd play it all the time.

For clean AND dirty hes the winner in my eyes.  Might just be the way he plays though.  He does a lot of complex chording and he does it very quickly.  I've tried to emulate his sound but My Squier strat is a piece of trash, or at least the pups in it are.

I've seen him recently with one just like this but with a red pickguard, maybe its the same guitar.  Warmoth maybe? I dunno.

Not sure how big Billy Talent is outside of Canada but they're pretty huge here especially with the youth.

Just off the top of my head, my favorite strat tones go something like...

Eric Johnson
Jimi Hendrix
Michael Gurley

Jeff Beck
Jimi Hendrix
Eric Johnson

Honestly, it's really tough to select just one player for the perfect Strat sound.  The Strat alone has the great tone, these players then inject themselves into it making the tone what it ultimately is.

To me, the stratocaster is the perfect guitar.  Lots of room for debate, but that's my opinion.
  I have a lot of favorite of everything when it comes to music.  However, I would like to point out one of the most under-rated Strat guys out there...Richard Lloyd of the late seventies band Television. While they were at the time lumped in with all the other NYC punk rock bands, their album Marquee Moon was a masterpiece of dual guitar lines and quite unlike anything before or since.  Anyone who has never heard it owes it to themselves to check it out.  This guy went on to play on many other albums, and is a phenomenal teacher, so I hear,  And I'm pretty sure he is playing the very same Strat he did all those years ago.
hmmmmm... tough choice but i'd say:

                                Mark Knopfler
                                David Gilmour
                                Jimi :guitaristgif:
                              David Gilmour (again, he has excellent tone)
                              David Murray, Adrian Smith, Janick Gers from Iron Maiden. they get the heaveist tones form strats that i've heard