Thinking about strat that doesn't sound stratty

JohnnyHardtail

Senior member
Messages
358
The Strat tone has something to do with the wood. Changing to a guitar with Mahogany neck and body will make a noticeable difference. Change in scale length has some effect as well. However the single biggest factor is the pickups. IMO your Strat has vintage quack because Fishman designed the pickups to sound like that. If you put pickups that have hotter tone (more mids) you will lose most of the quack. Putting rail pickups like a set of Dimarzio Cruisers you will lose a lot of quack, unless you mount them at an extra low height. It depends if you want a guitar that sounds *exactly* like a Gibson, or you just want a guitar that has playability like a strat, with tone that it significantly warmer and much less quack. To me it seems that you probably want a Strat and simply change the pickups. It could make more sense to try a new pickguard on your current Strat before spending money on a new guitar.
 
Last edited:

RyanC

New member
Messages
11
Spank in a guitar I have found is related to picking technique. As are other tonal aspects.
Yeah, for sure. This is where I'm not sure Aaron's videos (as awesome as they are), quite answer this question for me because he seems to be playing with really controlled picking.

I guess, to me it feels like different guitars respond differently to that technique though no?

My strat really responds to it a lot (even unplugged I can hear it), my dad has a 70's Strat with lacquer sprayed over the frets (which he calls a fretless wonder) that is still very straty, but far less responsive to spanky playing, and then the EC1000 I have is almost completely unresponsive to the spank.

The EC1000 has been a good compliment to my strat for that reason.

I hope I'm not coming across as combative here in any way! I'm here because I don't know a lot about guitar construction, and hoping to learn from people who do. Describing guitar tones with words can be a little difficult- reminds of that quote "talking about music is like dancing about architecture".

I could mic up the EC1000 and the strat and post a clip if that helps?
 

PFDarkside

Senior member
Messages
109
I think the bridge makes more of a difference than the body wood for amplified tone. If you are comparing a TOM on the LTD to a Strat style on the other, that contributes to the tone, IMO.
 

Rick

Senior member
Messages
4,511
I will say one thing, regardless of whether it's useful a middle pick up looks cool.

PF is on to something, the bridge. If your going from a regular strat trem bridge to a hardtail, there will be a difference. All the little changes add up, but the bridge and pups are biggies, as is scale length.

As before, if you're like me and have fat fingers a shorty scale length will make you unhappy.
 

Spud

Senior member
Messages
1,282
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
Well Alex, maybe for you it would be more of a pup tent champ.
 

Street Avenger

Senior member
Messages
2,250
You're making this more complicated than it needs to be.
Put humbuckers in a Strat and it no longer sounds "Stratty" (regardless of wood type).
Same for a Tele. With humbuckers, it will never have the Tele sound.
You do get a tiny bit more of that Strat "spank" from the vibrato bridge & springs (that Leo Fender incorrectly referred to as a "tremolo") than you do with a hardtail, but the pickups have the greatest affect.
 

BroccoliRob

Senior member
Messages
912
this might be weird and jokes aside but I agree with every word BroccoliRob says! You are the boner champ dude.
no one can be both the Broc and the B----r Champ thats just too much for one person to handle. the very idea gives me inverted goosebumps (when your skin is like a golf ball). i'm just a dude possibly vaguely heading to midlife looking for an excuse to have a crisis, but not a boring one where you buy a lame sports car, i'd do a cool crisis like getting a falcon and starting my own cult Social Club for once. will people worry about me? not when they join my Club as dues-paying members (gotta make those falcon payments somehow)
 
Last edited:

johnnyj

Active member
Messages
45
since i am going the way always in the opposite direction and try to make them sound as strat as possible while maintaining awesome playability, here are my most important observations:

1. most important, as already mentioned are pickups. if you dont want them strat like, dont use singlecoils. also some singlecoils sound more stratty than other ones do. i f.e. use a duncan ssl5 neck true single coil on my superstrat that does not sound all too much like a strat coil (maybe because it is heavy overwounded).
2. alot of the strat character comes from the tremolo. especially the 6 point trem with the bent saddles really adds to all the honky sound and strat character. if you want to lose that, try a floyd rose style or a wilkinson vs 100 2 point blade tremolo that uses massive saddles. i have the feeling that on these trems where everything in the saddles is fixed and parts are not moving sustain and stability is increased but the strat character in the sound vanishes. you can also use a gotoh 510 series with massive saddles instead of the bent ones.
3. i feel also alot of strat character is in the usage of a pickguard. i am not sure if it is because the pickguard at all makes the guitar sound and vibrate differently acousticly or if the reason for this is the pickguard mounting of the pickups in contrast to the wood mount if you are missing the pickguard, but there is a big difference.

i guess the list can go on and on and many things are somehow relvant, but the above points are my top 3.
 
Last edited:

RyanC

New member
Messages
11
I think the bridge makes more of a difference than the body wood for amplified tone. If you are comparing a TOM on the LTD to a Strat style on the other, that contributes to the tone, IMO.
That's a good point-

Evertune on the EC1000, which is an interesting one because the saddles can move, but I always keep them at zone 2 where they don't. And the strat had a wilkonson , which I changed for a babicz wide. Not a big difference between the Wilkinson and the Babics in the spank/snap aspect- but it seems like there is a little more sustain from the babicz- it's always so hard to actually be sure. I like the width a lot though, and the saddles aren't held on the side so when I get the superwide neck it would be possible to shim them apart further.
 

RyanC

New member
Messages
11
since i am going the way always in the opposite direction and try to make them sound as strat as possible while maintaining awesome playability, here are my most important observations:

1. most important, as already mentioned are pickups. if you dont want them strat like, dont use singlecoils. also some singlecoils sound more stratty than other ones do. i f.e. use a duncan ssl5 neck true single coil on my superstrat that does not sound all too much like a strat coil (maybe because it is heavy overwounded).
2. alot of the strat character comes from the tremolo. especially the 6 point trem with the bent saddles really adds to all the honky sound and strat character. if you want to lose that, try a floyd rose style or a wilkinson vs 100 2 point blade tremolo that uses massive saddles. i have the feeling that on these trems where everything in the saddles is fixed and parts are not moving sustain and stability is increased but the strat character in the sound vanishes. you can also use a gotoh 510 series with massive saddles instead of the bent ones.
3. i feel also alot of strat character is in the usage of a pickguard. i am not sure if it is because the pickguard at all makes the guitar sound and vibrate differently acousticly or if the reason for this is the pickguard mounting of the pickups in contrast to the wood mount if you are missing the pickguard, but there is a big difference.

i guess the list can go on and on and many things are somehow relvant, but the above points are my top 3.

Yeah I'm for sure not going to use strat style pickups! I certainly get this is the most important factor. I'm just also trying to dig into those little nuances.

I have the babicz in the strat now, Wilkinson before it- the babicz has even more massive saddles than the wilkinson did, and the spank is still in full force. But I'm sure that a hardtail on strat style guitar would make a difference. I'm going to have to poke around locally to see if anyone has one I can try.

Interesting point about the pickguard- that is something that I haven't considered at all. I like the pickguard because it would make it easier to try different pickup setups, but it does make for a little resonant chamber there. I wonder if it would be possible to put something on the back of it to damp the resonance- caulking cord is something that I've used to damp resonances in speakers before. Hmmm
 

RyanC

New member
Messages
11
You're making this more complicated than it needs to be.

The story of my life!

Yeah, I hear ya- This is going to be almost entirely for studio use where those little differences are more noticeable. The combo of the a spanky strat, and the not-at-all spanky EC-1000 has been super useful and if I could have that sort of option with superwide necks that will cover a lot of ground.

Maybe I should just get a regal body, but I also want to do some tinkering with pickups, multi-output wiring and wiring setting it up with no vol or tone knobs (for recording, so I can't change them between takes). I'm not 100% sure if I'm going to like that though so with drilling holes for all of it I could end up more or less destroying a body. The pickguard makes that much less of a risk.
 

johnnyj

Active member
Messages
45
regarding trems: in my observation especially the floyd kills the strat spank. from all the floyd trems that killed the most the spank i would nominate the schaller tremolo (not the lockmeister) which just adds so much substance and fatness in a lack of better words. since i love this trem so much i will have this on my next strat build where i otherwise try to retain strat sound in every other regard, i am curious how this will work out.

what also killed the spank somehow was the vegatrem which you can use in the normal gotoh route (or maybe also the standard strat trem route, didnt test that) if you want to have a more invisible trem. the babicz i also tested but just remembered how awkward it was to play because of the high saddles that basically let you not do any palm muting, this was a kill criteria for me.
 
Last edited:

JohnnyHardtail

Senior member
Messages
358
3. i feel also alot of strat character is in the usage of a pickguard. i am not sure if it is because the pickguard at all makes the guitar sound and vibrate differently acousticly or if the reason for this is the pickguard mounting of the pickups in contrast to the wood mount if you are missing the pickguard, but there is a big difference.

I'm interested in the differences between top-routed and rear-routed Strat bodies. I figure the rear-routed body will end up sounding brighter, but I'd like to think it can still work with the right combination of materials and pickups. Are you able to share your experience with a rear-routed Strat style guitar?
 

johnnyj

Active member
Messages
45
tone at all is hard to describe for me, especially in english but i try. but my observation is:

- no pickguard: sounds more tight, consistent, more sustain, more even and more predictible lifecycle of the played note but also in my taste a bit more boring. but generally a good base character for metal and heavy distortion, maybe that is one reason why all the metal guitars dont have pickguards?
- pickguard: more "chaotic" and dynamic expansion of a played note, less sustain, more airy sound, more spanky strat character, shines especially when playing dynamically with crunch

disclaimer: i cannot compare it scientificly since my guitars vary in some other aspects as well. i would generally feel the same like this guy here (even if his comparision also lacks comparability in the testing parameters since it is a different finish and different pickups)

 

johnnyj

Active member
Messages
45
some people also describe that there is even a difference in direct wood mounted pickups and pickup mounting rings on guitars without pickguard, but i could not notice this difference so far.
 

JohnnyHardtail

Senior member
Messages
358
tone at all is hard to describe for me, especially in english but i try. but my observation is:

- no pickguard: sounds more tight, consistent, more sustain, more even and more predictible lifecycle of the played note but also in my taste a bit more boring. but generally a good base character for metal and heavy distortion, maybe that is one reason why all the metal guitars dont have pickguards?
I agree there is a difference, but if playing high output pickups I think the biggest risk is having a tone that is too fat and muddy. Without a pickguard there's one less thing to influence the tone. If we look at Stratocasters there is an enormous range of pickups between vintage single coils, blade humbuckers, stacked humbuckers, and even EMGs. Mark Knopfler played a lot of different combinations in his Strat style guitars, and many did not have anything like a vintage sound.

I'm pleased to hear your perspective and experience. Thanks.
 

RyanC

New member
Messages
11
Really interesting-

Has anyone tried to damp a pickguard? I would think caulking cord would deaden it down quite a bit. I might try to mess with it at some point, but now I maybe I need to grab a cheap squire or knockoff strat to play with.
 
Top