Thinking about strat that doesn't sound stratty

RyanC

New member
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11
Hey all, new here and hopefully this thread isn't as dumb as the title sounds-

So I had a chance to play an acoustic lately with a 1 7/8 nut and 2 3/8 (maybe, wider than normal) bridge spacing and I immediately realized that superwide is what my fat fingers have been waiting for my whole life. So while I'm waiting on the SW neck for my mexi-strat, I'm starting to think about a super versatile studio guitar that isn't a *strat*.

But... I still love the form factor of a strat and love that pickguard blanks are cheap so I could experiment with pup setups without routing etc. Basically I just don't want the strat quack and for lack of a better way of saying it, a more generic electric guitar sound that could get into LP/other territory.

Pups will obviously be non-strat ones- likely starting out the tinkering with some sort of HHH setup with coil tap/split.

So the questions-

* Do you all think the 24.75 scale is necessary to get away from the stratty/fender sound? The fat fingers also prefer 25.5, but has anyone with big fingers used a 24.75 superwide?

* Mahogany neck with jumbo SS frets? Or other options to tame the strat quack?

* how important is body wood here?

* or, is this whole thing a bad idea and it's still going to have that stratty sound no matter what?

Thanks!
 

TBurst Std

Senior member
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2,663
Well the strat quack has to do with the placement of the pickups and positions 2 and 4. As long as you don’t replicate that, you won’t have quack.

Many other guitars use 25 1/2 scale necks and don’t sound Fenderish. Many Gretsches for instance. You don’t thin Malcom’s rythym tone sounds Fenderish?
 

ragamuffin

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1,004
-24.75 is definitely not necessary to get away from a Fender sound, especially if you're using humbuckers
-Like Tburst said the strat "quack" comes from strat pickups in the parallel positions. SS frets are great! Fret size is up to you.
-Body wood is not a big deal
-Not a bad idea! My Musicaman Albert Lee style build is pretty close to what you're describing and I love it.
 

Orpheo

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2,771
That strat has a swamp ash body, ebony board, 25.5'' scale, 22 frets, a bubinga/wenge neck, sycamore top. Doesn't sound like a strat. At all. It roars, it barks, it is a loud maniak with a slight polite edge. But strat? nah. Only if I engage the middle pickup and split the humbuckers, then and only then does it kinda resemble a strat but that's very difficult on this axe to achieve.
 

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bruzanhd

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180
Sounds like you want a super strat. HSH is arguably the most versatile pickup setup. As far as woods go with what you like the look and feel of the most. For scale length, superstrats have been primarily 25.5” scale for a long time and most don’t really sound any more stratty than any other humbucker guitar. Look at guitars like the Musicman Lukather or Pete Thorns signature Suhrs for inspiration if a studio weapon is what you’re trying to build.
 

PFDarkside

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109
I’ll link to @aarontunes awesome video comparing the two scales. I’ll also link to Jim Lill’s awesome video of scale length comparison. (I think his whole “where does tone come from” series is good watching as well). It makes a little difference but it’s not the thing that makes a Les Paul not sound like a Strat, IMO.

For your purposes I’ll say “pickups, pickups, pickups”. You don’t want Stratty quack, do you still want brightness? Do you want PAF clarity or a little thicker and hotter?

Two pickup setups that I think would be ultra-versatile are:

-EMG (81TW or 89 - SA - 89R; push/pulls or switches to split the Humbuckers and a PA2 to flip phase of the single. Maybe an SPC or EXG for more EQ) This would from thick HB neck and bridge to thin and bright split with out of phase middle

-Duncan (JB - Hot Stack (b) - Hot Stack (b); Series/Parallel switches for each, add in a preamp like Demeter)

The first is a juiced up version of the studio setup Lukather, etc. were using and the second is the studio setup that Dann Huff used. You could also sub out Dimarzio’s like a Tone Zone - Cruiser - Air Norton S with a similar setup. Of course I think the aforementioned Pete Thorn Thornbucker H-H with splitting 5-way would be nice too.



[video]

[video]
 

PFDarkside

Senior member
Messages
109
By the way, I have a masochistic desire to buy the Superwide Fatback in the showcase, just to see what it would feel like. I don’t even know if I could play it!
 

BroccoliRob

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912
yo a Supa-wide gibson scale neck sounds dope but i just tried the website and it doesnt allow it so I guess moot point? maybe king Aaron can confirm, anyway no I don't think the scale is what it makes it sound like a Strat, its all about them p'ups homie

Get some not-single coils and boom, you will be well outside the city limits of Strats-ville. you'll be in for one spicy slam dunk of a no-nonsense guitar, my dude. Well, some would say "no frills" , but i say "no nonsense." the problem is that sometimes frills and nonsense overlap
 

NedRyerson

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452
Red Death isn't very Stratty at all.

 

Spud

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1,289
Red Death isn't very Stratty at all.

Awe c'mon, I can hear that thing playing "Sultans of Swing" right now.
 

J-Bones

Active member
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37
yo a Supa-wide gibson scale neck sounds dope but i just tried the website and it doesnt allow it so I guess moot point? maybe king Aaron can confirm, anyway no I don't think the scale is what it makes it sound like a Strat, its all about them p'ups homie

Get some not-single coils and boom, you will be well outside the city limits of Strats-ville. you'll be in for one spicy slam dunk of a no-nonsense guitar, my dude. Well, some would say "no frills" , but i say "no nonsense." the problem is that sometimes frills and nonsense overlap
Unless I'm misremembering my CSR days, the Superwide nut width is not available on any conversion construction.
 

Rick

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4,515
* Do you all think the 24.75 scale is necessary to get away from the stratty/fender sound? The fat fingers also prefer 25.5, but has anyone with big fingers used a 24.75 superwide?
No pickup placement, and pick up choice will take you in another direction.

* Mahogany neck with jumbo SS frets? Or other options to tame the strat quack?
Mahogany neck with jumbo SS frets is a great combo. These will have nothing to do with "taming" the strat quack.

* how important is body wood here?
DeMinimis. You will hear a difference only if it's side by side in ideal conditions, all other things being equal. At a gig, no, unless you are solo.

* or, is this whole thing a bad idea and it's still going to have that stratty sound no matter what?
Nah, it's a good idea, and you will not have strat quack.

As to the neck width and girth, you'll only know if you try it. As someone with fat fingers, the superwide is great, though the wider the neck, the less girth you want. Girth of the neck is personal, so you won't know till you try. For the first one, I'd go with something middle ground like EVH neck (I forget what warmoth calls it) to me that profile is like chicken, goes with everything. As to my next neck purchase it will be a superwide neck in standard thin.
 

Hendrix

Senior member
Messages
709
What made biggest difference Recipe factor Ranking : pickup > body wood > neck wood > scale length

So I assume : , PAF Humbuckers + Korina or Mahogany body + all Indian Rosewood neck + 24.75 scale , can get you biggest difference .



neck width is about personal comfort and playability , not much effect on tone , Apart from In addition to making the neck got more wood
 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
505
yo a Supa-wide gibson scale neck sounds dope but i just tried the website and it doesnt allow it so I guess moot point? maybe king Aaron can confirm, anyway no I don't think the scale is what it makes it sound like a Strat, its all about them p'ups homie

Get some not-single coils and boom, you will be well outside the city limits of Strats-ville. you'll be in for one spicy slam dunk of a no-nonsense guitar, my dude. Well, some would say "no frills" , but i say "no nonsense." the problem is that sometimes frills and nonsense overlap
this might be weird and jokes aside but I agree with every word BroccoliRob says! You are the boner champ dude.

4f0191ad-a90e-4a5e-93c6-3738bf3e1815_screenshot.jpg
 

RyanC

New member
Messages
11
Awesome thanks everyone-

That's all pretty much what I was thinking...but one thing then that I guess I still don't understand. I have an Ltd EC-1000ET HSH (fluence classic H and fluence Strat style middle) and the mexi-strat (actually also with the strat SSS fluence setup).

Even just acoustically between the two, the strat is snappier sounding- and overall get's a snappy/punchy/transient-bite with a lot less pick velocity. Maybe quack isn't the right term here. I can ultimate get the Ltd to bark a bit, but it takes a lot more pick velocity.

Like generally this type of spanky funky stuff really shows this, (jazz iii, neck only, pretty aggressive picking)


On the Ltd, I can switch the coil tapping on, turn on the middle and it gets a pretty good single coil tone, but it doesn't snap like that. Which is what I want in the *other* guitar.

Is that just the difference in string tension? right now they both have NYXL 10-46. Or the Ltd is SS frets and the Strat nickel.

I certainly can't say I've made any empirical tests like the videos above, but this type of difference has seemed pretty consistent between the two through different strings and sizes (i've only really messed with 9's 10's and 11's on either though).

I ordered the superwide from warmoth with unfinished roast maple (shaft and fretboard), 6100 SS frets, and 59 roundback- it will be interesting to see what that does to the spank factor.

I really appreciate everyone's input!
 

RyanC

New member
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11
I’ll link to @aarontunes awesome video comparing the two scales. I’ll also link to Jim Lill’s awesome video of scale length comparison. (I think his whole “where does tone come from” series is good watching as well). It makes a little difference but it’s not the thing that makes a Les Paul not sound like a Strat, IMO.

For your purposes I’ll say “pickups, pickups, pickups”. You don’t want Stratty quack, do you still want brightness? Do you want PAF clarity or a little thicker and hotter?

Awesome-

I'm going to look more into those options. I do still want brightness- this guitar will live in the studio and be a studio guitar to the extent that I'm thinking about only having direct outputs for each pickup, with no volume or tone knobs (which I can control in the mix by multitracking all 3 pups). That way there's no risk of me changing something between takes (I hate when I do that).

Then of course wiring out every pickup option available on whatever goes in there. I really like the Fluence bridge humbuckers and am thinking about one of those with all options wired to switches- voice 1/2, humbuck/L coil tap/R coil tap, treble-down/flat.

I might just grab the standard pair of those but put the bridge pup in the middle of an HHH and then play with a different actual bridge option. Listening to some demos I also liked the sound of the railhammer hyper vintage bridge. Then I could ultimately tinker with the middle.


Do you think a middle pickup being a humbucker with split/tap is as cool or versatile in HHH as a HSH? I've never played an HHH with middle split/tap options (not sure I've even seen one).
 

PFDarkside

Senior member
Messages
109
Awesome-

I'm going to look more into those options. I do still want brightness- this guitar will live in the studio and be a studio guitar to the extent that I'm thinking about only having direct outputs for each pickup, with no volume or tone knobs (which I can control in the mix by multitracking all 3 pups). That way there's no risk of me changing something between takes (I hate when I do that).

Then of course wiring out every pickup option available on whatever goes in there. I really like the Fluence bridge humbuckers and am thinking about one of those with all options wired to switches- voice 1/2, humbuck/L coil tap/R coil tap, treble-down/flat.

I might just grab the standard pair of those but put the bridge pup in the middle of an HHH and then play with a different actual bridge option. Listening to some demos I also liked the sound of the railhammer hyper vintage bridge. Then I could ultimately tinker with the middle.


Do you think a middle pickup being a humbucker with split/tap is as cool or versatile in HHH as a HSH? I've never played an HHH with middle split/tap options (not sure I've even seen one).
So on the Duncan setup above Michael Nielsen goes through the options in the video below. (I am starting a guitar based on this one now. It’s so unique, different than my vintage style and super Strats, Tele, Les Paul, etc.) It uses two bridge model Hot Stacks for thicker tone in series and thinner tone in Parallel. Then the preamp adds another layer. The Hot Stacks are Strat style stacks from the 80’s, before they nailed the noiseless sound. So it’s HHH in the sense of hum cancelling, not like 3 Super Distortions. ;)

After the faux Huff guitar I’d like to do the quasi Lukather EMG one afterward. Both are studio staple tones that are quite unique to me.

I also am into the Fluence, I have a Classic set ready for the Warmoth build that’s ready to go. I think you have a lot of great options.

[video]
 
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