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Couple questions about Clapton Strats

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by RaySachs, Feb 13, 2019 at 6:46 PM.

  1. RaySachs

    RaySachs Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    59
    878
    Jun 25, 2017
    Philly area
    My curiosity is working on me regarding Clapton strats. When I've picked them up in shops, I LOVE the necks on them and how they play. But I've never plugged one in so I have a couple questions about the sound.

    I basically get how the TBX tone control on the first tone knob works and how the mid-boost on the second tone knob works. But,

    1. Do they work the same on all three pickups, so they do what they do on whatever pickups are in play based on the position of the 5-way switch?

    2. What happens if the battery dies or you run without it at some point? I assume the mid-boost doesn't work since there's nothing to drive it, but will the guitar still work just without that feature? Does it have any impact on the function of the TBX?

    3. I assume the battery lives in the trem cavity behind the plastic cover. If you just keep the cover off the guitar, is the battery held in place somewhere in the cavity or will it just dangle loose? I generally keep the covers off of the strats I've had with tremolos (just for ease of restringing) and would hate to have to keep one in place and take it off whenever I needed to change the battery. I know the trem is blocked and I'd keep it that way, but would still probably rather run without the back cover...

    4. I assume the battery is draining anytime the guitar is plugged in? If so, I guess you need to keep it unplugged when not playing it right? That could be a problem for me as I'm used to keeping either a cable or wireless transmitter plugged in pretty much all the time and I'd no doubt space out and drain the battery periodically.

    5. Between the noiseless pups and all of the non-standard electronics in this guitar, how are the #2 and #4 quack sounds? Do they still quack with any conviction? Since that's a key part of what makes a strat a strat to me, the lack of quack would stop me from even thinking about one of these any further.

    Thanks all. I'm really happy with my Cray and not looking to upgrade, but I might be thinning my acoustic herd soon and could have room for another electric. Or not, but it's kind of fun to speculate...

    -Ray
     
    Nate D likes this.
  2. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Squier-A-Holic Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    42
    Apr 19, 2014
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    1 - the TBX/master tone is for all 3 pickups, so yes it controls all 3 no matter what position the 5-way is in - same with the boost. It's for the entire guitar and all pickups.

    2 - if the battery goes dead, you lose all signal and the guitar becomes unusable until a new battery is put in

    3 - the battery is indeed where you think it is....the battery is held in place by foam....it will probably jiggle loose if you don't use a back cover....

    4 - the battery and the system is ON when a jack is plugged in. Yes you have to keep it unplugged when not playing or the battery will die in a week. If you unplug it it will last 18-24 months

    5 - this guitar is quacky if you put the boost at 0, the volume around 7, and the TBX/tone at 5

    Another thing to note, the frets are VERY small on the Clapton - like vintage frets that have been leveled and crowned a couple times.....make sure you try it a LOT and see if you can do bends etc on it and if it suits you....the frets were the reason I sold my Clapton....
     
  3. RaySachs

    RaySachs Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    59
    878
    Jun 25, 2017
    Philly area
    Thanks - very helpful. Sounds like a non-starter for me. Loved the feel of the neck and wasn’t bothered by the small frets (although I probably ever played one longer than 15 minutes or so). But the battery issues would just be a pain in my butt - I’d no doubt have to change a lot of batteries before I got through my skull to keep the guitar unplugged. And it sounds like you have to set everything to dead neutral to get any quack, and I like to vary my tone controls some in the #2 and #4.

    Oh well, it was a nice thought, but not gonna happen...

    Thanks again,

    -Ray
     
  4. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Squier-A-Holic Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    42
    Apr 19, 2014
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    Well, the tone can go wherever you want for quack....but I was just saying with the master volume around 7 and the boost at 0, the volume and sound will be comparable to most non-active Strats......you can vary the tone all you'd like .....
     
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  5. EC Strat-boy

    EC Strat-boy Strat-Talker Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    48
    273
    Dec 16, 2018
    Louisville Kentucky
    CA596C28-DB42-43ED-AA7B-C16CC50849F7.jpeg What Guitarmageddon said is 100% accurate except for the frets - I think they’re great! Playing anything other than the vintage frets for me is tough now.

    The Clapton Strat is the most versatile Strat that fender makes in terms of tone (equal to an elite in variety of tones you can dial up). Very quacky on 2 and 4 and the PUPs are very organic responsive and quiet

    It’s a warm sounding guitar though. So don’t expect chime and bell-like. It’s much more bluesy and warm but with a wide array of tones bc of the TBX and mid boost. I have trouble hearing the difference bt it and my Guitar that has Dimarzio 36th anni humbuckers when the boost is on say 3 (the dimarzios are basically ‘59 vintage style)

    But make no mistake - it can crank, blaze and sing Cuts through the mix in a band situation like a champ. Will never let mine go.
     
  6. Electgumbo

    Electgumbo Lost Planet Airman Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 26, 2010
    Scott La.
    @RaySachs
    What @Guitarmageddon means is with the TBX at 5 it’s like a normal tone control at 10. 0 to 5 is the normal tone control range of the TBX. Once you turn it pass 5 the TBX part of the control begin to function.

    Honestly I think my bastard EC excels at clean tones and the inbetween quack sounds. It’s my favorite to take to open mic or blues night situations where I’m not using my own amp or pedals. I’m confident it will sound good thru anything.

    But it may not be what you want.
     
  7. EC Strat-boy

    EC Strat-boy Strat-Talker Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    48
    273
    Dec 16, 2018
    Louisville Kentucky
    Totally agree here - I can dial up almost tone minus country twang. I played at an open mic / jam, no pedals or my amp and it cut right though Bass player commented on it.
     
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  8. RaySachs

    RaySachs Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    59
    878
    Jun 25, 2017
    Philly area
    Well, bluesy and warm is my wheelhouse for sure, with liberal doses of quack at times. It may be worth another look. If I can get around dealing with a battery. I'm basically a man-cave player these days, so cutting through a mix isn't an issue. I expect I'd find plenty of use for the mid-boost and might even get a bit of use out of the bridge pup with this combination of controls.

    I'm not worried about the frets given my previous experience, but I'd give one another good long play to be sure, based on the mixed opinions on them thus far.

    Thanks for the input!

    -Ray
     
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  9. Nate D

    Nate D Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    38
    Apr 2, 2016
    Philly, PA
    I want one too.
     
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  10. harrysmo

    harrysmo Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 12, 2009
    Memphis, TN
    I think it’s one of the most versatile Strats Fender makes. Covers lots of ground. Probably can do the Gibson tones better than any Strat with single coils. Great neck allows for easy bends without fretting out with 9.5” radius. Try one.
     
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  11. John C

    John C Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 17, 2012
    Kansas City
    It's been a little while since I played a Clapton - but if I'm remembering correctly the back plate holes are lined up with the holes in the sustain block in the factory set-up (with the bridge blocked).
     
  12. zimbo

    zimbo Strat-Talker

    162
    Feb 21, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    If you can find an older Clapton strat with gold lace sensors the tone is far superior to the newer noiseless models. However I have one of each and really like the sounds and the small frets. Once you get used to playing on small frets you have to put more effort into playing on regular frets.
     
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  13. Tone Deaf

    Tone Deaf Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

    Age:
    67
    Feb 12, 2009
    New Jersey, USA
    I've been thinking that a good boost pedal that can select mid-frequencies
    ( or a parametric eq / boost ) plugged directly into the amp may be the ticket to Clapton-esque tonalities.

    If I'm not wrong, isn't that what the on-board pre-amp in the Clapton model does?

    Someday, I'll give it a try on my Strat Plus with the 3 original Gold Lace Sensors.
     
    Electgumbo likes this.
  14. Swampash

    Swampash Senior Stratmaster

    Jun 13, 2012
    Here
    Here's a clip of me noodling around testing DI recording settings a while back. Clapton-style partsocaster, 3x Gold Lace Sensors, midrange boost. Amp is a THD Univalve with Chinese 12AX7s and a single EH 6v6.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/w23epwdx577f803/laces.ogg

    No idea why I saved it as an .ogg, must've been drunk. Just working through the pickup positions from neck to bridge. Boost on 0 except for the last chord, which is the bridge pickup with the boost wound up so you can hear the amp drive. No pedals. Bit of reverb added after I recorded it.

    Nothin' wrong with that tone IMHO.
     
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  15. ido1957

    ido1957 Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 13, 2014
    Canada
    I think I've changed batteries 3 times in 20+ years. I did it because I could not remember when it had been done last and if it corroded (didn't). I've stopped using the overdrive as I prefer a different sound which I am getting with pedals/amp. Not better, just different. I should probably throw a new battery in the guitar case just in case.
     
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  16. Swampash

    Swampash Senior Stratmaster

    Jun 13, 2012
    Here
    I once left my partsocaster plugged in 24/7 just to see, and the battery died after about 3 months.
     
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  17. RaySachs

    RaySachs Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    59
    878
    Jun 25, 2017
    Philly area
    That’s not bad - certainly would allay any fears of the battery being a problem... I have a 9v in a little Velcro’d bag that drives the pickup in my acoustic, and I’ve been really good about never leaving that plugged in. Then again, I play it unplugged about 95% of the time if not more, so being plugged in simply isn’t it’s natural state... I’m sure I’d leave any strat plugged in on occasion, but probably not for more than a few hours before I’d think of it or notice it...

    -Ray
     
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