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2 pre cbs Strats. 2 totally different sounds..?

Discussion in 'Pre-CBS Strats (before 1966)' started by niksevig119, May 14, 2017.

  1. Jack Frost

    Jack Frost Strat-Talker

    Nov 8, 2014
    They all sound the same to me! So either my headphones are rubbish, or my hearing is rubbish, or both! :confused:

  2. slowerhand

    slowerhand Strat-Talker

    Feb 26, 2010
    I know there is disagreement on this, but in my experience, lighter guitars tend to be more airy sounding and heavier ones tend to have more mids. What's the weight of yours?

    I assume both are alder, but generally, alder has more mids than ash.

    I've also read about guys who did a lot of experimenting swapping necks, and the consensus seems to be that the tone follows the neck. When you think of the guitar as a physical system, it makes sense. Better energy transfer from the string to the wood via the nut than via the bridge system, and the neck is lighter. A guitar is basically a system to suspend strings between two points, one a long plank sticking out of a bigger, heavier one. Which one is going to vibrate more?

    It would be an interesting experiment to swap necks between both guitars.

    Others mentioned the pickups already: resistance, magnet type, wire, winding pattern, height to string....

    To experiment, I'd try first swapping the neck, then the pickups. I doubt the body makes much difference.
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
    Ditchgator and The Guy like this.

  3. Renz

    Renz Strat-Talker

    Sep 18, 2014
    Do they sound different in the same way when you play them unplugged?

    I wouldn’t bother swapping necks, because what’s the point? The wood sounds the way it does and one can’t do anything about it. Besides, the less you touch a guitar the better it is IMO.

    Now, I would be curious to see if swapping those pickup springs on the 61 with vintage correct tubing would make a difference.

  4. Miotch

    Miotch Senior Stratmaster

    Jun 28, 2011
    Never played pre-CBS (that I know of). But back in the day, I had a '67 and my friend had a '67 (much much nicer than mine) and they sounded different. Not crazy different, but different enough to where if you left the amp alone and switched guitars, you could tell they were different.

  5. StoogeSurfer

    StoogeSurfer Strat-O-Master

    Jan 13, 2010
    Do both guitars still have all 5 of the original trem springs? Was the '61 an oversprayed sunburst by chance? But truth be told, we just cannot help you with this burning issue until we get more pics, lotta pics.

  6. sensei

    sensei Strat-Talker

    Jul 5, 2011
    Milano, Italy
    Same as mine, which are even closer to each other than yours. 1962 LPB all original and 1961 Oly white, refinished.
    The LPB is aggressive sounding, strong output, the tone is right in your face, LOTS of bass. Oly white has a weaker output, very balanced, very gentle sounding, a tone which is kind of caressing your ears.... go guess...

  7. ripgtr

    ripgtr Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 16, 2012
    On my '60 the bridge and neck were 6.4K and the middle was 6.8. When I got a fret job on it in the early 80s, the tech noticed this, and since I play on the bridge a lot, we moved the middle to the bridge. Yea, it sounded different. So even the pickups in the same guitar sound different from each other.
    The pickups were wound on basically a converted sewing machine. They weren't looking for a scientifically repeatable approach, they were looking for pickups to put on a guitar to sell.
    Different winders would be different people, how tightly they hold the wire, how they wrap it will be different. How the wires lay next to each other affects the inductance (the ability of the current in one wire to induce a current in another nearby wire), which affects the sound.
    So, yea, the pickups may be different.

    But here is what I think is going on. 59 has a wax cap, you already know the 61 does not. Cap is supposed to be .1 uF
    In my'60, I measure that cap at .6 uF. YES .6. That is like crazy high. Even with the pot on 10, it changes the sound and a lot. How do I know this? I lifted one end of the cap, soldered a wire to the other end, soldered a wire where the cap went to and soldered another to where it started. So I could just a jumper cable to hear no cap, original cap, or various caps I wanted to test.
    It was REALLY obvious with the wax cap, even on 10, with it in or out. I tried various caps, I found that a cap of .022 made so little impact on the tone with it in, that it was like having no cap - at least with the tone on 10. Larger caps made more of an impact, even with the tone all the way up, and was more noticeable as the caps got larger.
    You need a meter that test capacitance to do this. It may require you to also unsolder one end of the cap. On mine, mine is a player, volume pot and some of the wiring was replaced years ago, so it wasn't like I was breaking the magic solder. You may not want to do this.

    Wax caps drift. Badly. Ceramic caps, not very much usually.

    And be aware this will have no affect on the bridge pickup, if it is stock wiring. Did you compare those two?
    Last edited: May 19, 2017

  8. T Guitar Floyd

    T Guitar Floyd Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 27, 2014
    They all three sound very similar to me as well. What's that tattooed on your fingers, btw?

  9. BobbyS

    BobbyS Strat-Talker

    Dec 11, 2011
    Los Lunas, NM
    paint...........it's the paint..

    one has 3 coats of paint and the other has 4

  10. niksevig119

    niksevig119 Strat-Talker

    Jan 26, 2009
    This is great info. Thank you. I know what im doing tonight!

  11. StratoTerr

    StratoTerr Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 21, 2011
    Lewes De.
    I saw one other post about switching necks. I just got a Alder '62 that an owner had enlarged the Neck and Bridge slots on for HBs. Nice Rosewood slab neck. I intuited that it needed Maple. So I put the Rosewood neck on my '63 ash body and its non vintage Maple neck on the '62. The '62 sounds much better w the Maple and the '63 sounds absolutely fantastic like it did w its original Rose neck that I sold since it didn't fit my hand right. Point is try that if you haven't , Clapton and Hendrix use to get music stores to do it.

  12. ripgtr

    ripgtr Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 16, 2012
    Report back what you find. There are so many variables, but this one really took me by surprise. I have never heard word one about it on the forums I go to. Made a BIG dif.

    I will say, with the big cap, roll it off, made the neck pickup sound like a jazz box. I did one of the challenges like that, I think it surprised a few that it was a strat.

  13. montemerrick

    montemerrick spiritual birthday, April 1 Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 13, 2015
    it sure does, thick yet still clear and bell-like - sounds just great.