Warmoth.com darrenriley.com Amplified Parts Lollar Pickups

Warmoth.com darrenriley.com Amplified Parts Lollar Pickups Guitar Pickups

Warmoth.com darrenriley.com Amplified Parts Lollar Pickups Guitar Pickups

Join Strat-Talk Today

Fatten up your sound

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by fretnickspeed, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. fretnickspeed

    fretnickspeed Strat-Talker

    Mar 17, 2010
    Hi all, Which pedals do you guys use to fatten up your Strat sound? I use a Keeley modded blues driver which i love into a Laney Lion Heart 5watt combo with an EJ Strat, but want to add something to my board that fattens the sound but at friendly volume levels. I use 9's on the EJ and cant put 10's on because i just cant get used to a Srat with 10's, it just does not feel like a Strat to me with 10's but thats another topic. Anyway what do you use if at all to fatten up your sound? Thanks in advance.

  2. thaus

    thaus Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 6, 2007
    London Canada
    I just got a TIM pedal..........can do it all basically as far as mid-gain tones. Everyone will tell you to go with a bigger string gauge but if you don't like the feel of heavier strings, you definitely will not hear the fatter sound!! I tend to use my fingers more than picks as well even though I just got some V-picks which are incredibly good and really do have a thicker tone to my ears.

  3. johnreardon

    johnreardon Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 18, 2006
    Brackley, Great Britain
    Why do you think you have to use a pedal to fatten up the sound of any guitar? :confused:

    I always plug straight into amps and twiddle the knobs until the sound coming out is ok for me.

    To be honest the difference in sound between 9s and 10s is extremely small and unlikely to make a guitar sound 'fatter'
    As Thaus suggests, using your fingers will make a bigger difference

    Good luck anyway

  4. VENTgtr

    VENTgtr Strat-O-Master

    Dec 3, 2009
    Philipsburg, PA
    There are a few around that work. I tried a few things, looked into others, and settled on the FullTone Fatboost 3. Had a V.1 and it was okay. The V.3 works really well for me.

    I also have a Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster that works really well for that kind of thing better than as a volume boost/fattener for lead stuff.

    Still, if I wouldn't have already had the Fatboost, there's a guy here in PA who builds pedals. I would have had him build one. For what you're looking, he has one called the "Stage 3" that a lot of guys seem to really like.

    His site is:

    Home - Barry's Guitar Stuff

    He's very responsive to emails and such for any inquiries.

  5. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Most Honored Senior Member

    Jun 8, 2009
    Area 51
    The two I've used and been happiest with are the Xotic RC Booster and EP Booster.
    The EP is based on the preamp of an Echoplex EP-3 - just one knob with an internal bright switch and bass boost. It makes the guitar sound 3 dimensional - with the bright switch on it adds both sparkle and girth - really great product.
    Before the EP I used the RC - with separate treble and bass knobs it has more tweakability and gain than the EP - maxxed out it will give you a slightly broken up sound.
    If you want maximum flexability - go with the RC.
    IF you want one knob of FAT - go with the EP.
    Here's a vid demoing both:
    YouTube - Interview with Dean Brown EP Booster RC Booster AC Plus

  6. Volusia

    Volusia Strat-O-Master

    Feb 20, 2010
    Dayton, OH
    There are already a lot of good replies and recommendations. Here's what I do. I am a huge Robin Trower fan and I love his FAT tone. He uses heavy hybrid string gauges and tunes down a whole step. Also, he primarily only uses his neck and middle pickups.

    I have the Fulltone RTO Overdrive as well as the Fulltone MDV2. The MDV2 also includes a volume boost. I find these pedals along with tuning down can provide a unique and interesting effect that makes my strats sound "bigger" or "fatter". Also, I only use Dunlop Jazz III picks. Hope this helps.

  7. fretnickspeed

    fretnickspeed Strat-Talker

    Mar 17, 2010
    Thanks for the replies guys, I've been looking at the Fulltone FB3 and the Xotic BB but never seen the EP, i will check that one out, cheers Ventgtr and ToneRanger. John and Thaus i do often play with fingers alone but mainly for rhythm playing not so much for lead.

  8. Strat-Man-Do

    Strat-Man-Do Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 12, 2009
    New England
    I use an overdrive. But with Strats I use a Totally different amp EQ than with humbuckers. I use more bass and mids than treble. Depends what amp your using I suppose.
    Play with the amp EQ first though.

  9. fretnickspeed

    fretnickspeed Strat-Talker

    Mar 17, 2010
    Cheers also Volusia, I was going to go with 9-46 instead of 9-42 but not sure if i would need to set up the EJ, i really dont want to start altering the truss rod if i can help it, only had the guitar about a month so i'm still in the cant put it down mode and i dont trust doing it myself with old fashioned truss rods, too much messing.

  10. fretnickspeed

    fretnickspeed Strat-Talker

    Mar 17, 2010
    Good advice Srat Man Do cheers.

  11. Uberstink

    Uberstink Strat-Talker

    Dec 31, 2009
    I like small amps, so a second or third amp fattens things up quite nicely and typically fixes the reverb problem.

  12. Strat-o-mojo

    Strat-o-mojo Strat-Talk Member

    Mar 2, 2010
    North Carolina
    I have learned playing with your fingers instead of picks in certain ways adds a little bit more warmth/fatness to lead-work, also I use an EQ pedal to gain more control over the output as a whole. It seems to help once you've got your amp dialed in then play around with the EQ to get a little more girth to the sound in the mids and bass frequencies.

  13. fretnickspeed

    fretnickspeed Strat-Talker

    Mar 17, 2010
    Thanks to you all for the replies, gives me plenty to think about. Cheers.

  14. walkerdata

    walkerdata Strat-Talker

    Sep 27, 2009
    Mid TN
    A BBE Sonic Stomp might do the trick for you. I tried one and it thickened up the tone. I then realized that I didn't want a thicker tone.

  15. Jimi Hendrix

    Jimi Hendrix Strat-O-Master

    Jan 18, 2009
    Alot of good advice here already.

    A few tricks that i use....

    Amp EQ, dial the treble back a little...Strats are bright enough already.

    Guitar controls, they're there for a reason, rollin' off the vol a little can get a fatter sound...Strats can sound pretty hard and thin on 10, likewise don't be afraid to turn the tone controls down if necessary and don't be afraid to readjust amp settings to suit.

    Turn the amp up, if you can get away with it a little more amp volume will sometimes yield a fatter sound.

    Neck pickup, isn't just for rhythm playing it'll do lead too, as will the middle pickup. I like to swap the second tone control to the bridge pickup and leave the middle pickup with no tone control, this makes neck + mid less muddy and lets me dial out that hard edge from the bridge pickup.

    These aren't hard and fast rules, just a few little tricks that i find work for me. They may or may not work for you.

    Good luck.

  16. Blackmore Fan

    Blackmore Fan Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 10, 2010
    The Midwest

    For the longest time, I've been a "set it and forget it" type of player. Can you help me understand how an EQ pedal can give you a more precise setting than simply spend a good hour or so experimenting with the basic amp settings? Not a flame--I'm just intrigued at what I would gain (other than perhaps the ability to produce TWO different settings depending upon whether the pedal was on or off).

  17. Kyri

    Kyri Senior Stratmaster

    Apr 28, 2009
    Excellent summary, especially about moving the tone control from mid to bridge. In addition to that I find that a hotter bridge pickup gives a fatter sound which also balances better with the other pickups.

  18. scotzoid

    scotzoid Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 16, 2009
    Music City
    If you're lucky enough to have an amp with a good variety of tone controls, an EQ pedal wouldn't add much at all; trouble is, most amps stick to the basics, you're doing well if you have treble & bass, & a mid control is like a gift from the gods! My 2 guitar amps are a vintage Gibson GA 30, & a vintage-style Ampeg J20, & each gives me only volume & tone; the Ampeg has a normal or bright input, & the Gibby has a "Tone Expander" switch that does nothing, as far as I can tell. So an EQ pedal (or 2) might do me a world of good, in fine tuning the overall tone. Now if I can just win the lotto so I can have all the pedals I really need & have been GASsing for...

  19. elnano1588

    elnano1588 New Member!

    May 12, 2010
    Houston, Tx
    Similar Question...

    Hey guys, I have a similar question that Fretnickspeed's had except I have a few more problems.

    ok, so I play a 88 american standard strat with a maple neck and play through a 32 wat crate tube palimino. My issue is that i've messed a lot around with my amps eq, my guitars eq and no matter what I do the middle pick-up sounds blah. It just sounds so meh compared to the neck.

    I thought maybe using a thinker gage would fix it and it kinda did. I have 10's on the E-d and 11's on the g-e. It did give my sound a bigger umph in the neck but in the middle position it just sounded dull. I considering changing out the middle for maybe a custom shop fender 69's or a texas specials. but, short of changing the pick up out, do you guys have any suggestions to adding ump into my middle pick-up?

  20. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Most Honored Senior Member

    Jun 8, 2009
    Area 51
    There’s two possibilities:
    1) Your pickup is, like you said, meh.
    2) Playing an ’88 American Std, you have the bridge and middle wired to the same knob which has the TBX tone control. I have an ’89 Am Std myself – and I never liked the TBX because it made an already trebly guitar even more so. Also, say you set the tone on your bridge lower to reduce some of the harsh high end – well now your middle is darker as well when it maybe could have benefited from a slightly brighter sound.
    What I did was ditch the stacked pot TBX control in favor of a normal tone knob wired to the bridge pickup – just like the Jimmie Vaughan and Eric Johnson models. This leaves the middle pickup on wide open which to my ears sounds better this way especially in positions 2 and 4. I even put separate caps on each tone control so I can get a more drastic treble cut for the bridge but a more subtle control on the neck.
    Then again, if you’re someone who tweaks the tone knob on the middle a lot that mod might not be for you.
    FWIW, I never used to use the middle pickup by itself, but when I installed a set of Klein S-7’s (“EJ Specials”) I was STUNNED how good it sounded – to the point I actually am using it now on occasion. I know you can order just the middle p’up off that set for only $65 (go to the link and hit the video clip to see yours truly demoing the S-7 set…;))
    Klein Pickups 50's/60's S-7 Stratocaster Set