2019 Player Stratocaster too bright / harsh / spiky

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Chevy, Sep 12, 2021.

  1. Tremdaddy

    Tremdaddy Strat-Talk Member

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    Maybe lower the pickups and change out the tone pot for an old school CTS? Those roll back nicely without losing character. Funny, on my Suhr Classic Pro I may change out the tone pot also, when I roll it back it even a little it sounds muted. Doesn't happen with my older Fenders.
     
  2. db0967

    db0967 Strat-Talk Member

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    There is a reason guitars come with knobs but unfortunately many players think that all knobs should be set to 10. Early on in my playing someone told me just turn everything all the way up to 10 on the guitar and I listened to them I did it for years and didn't know why my tone was so bright. It wasn't until I rolled back the tone and volume that I finally got the tone I was looking for. I have a 1989 Strat Plus and Deluxe Reverb amp. Both are on the bright side. When I play the neck and middle pickup together the guitar sounds great with all knobs on the guitar set to 10 but if I switch to the neck pickup I find it sounds great by rolling the volume to 8 or 9 and the tone to 9.
     
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  3. Afishman9

    Afishman9 Strat-Talk Member Gold Supporting Member

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    As others said try lowering the bridge pickup!
     
  4. juanabet

    juanabet Strat-Talk Member

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    Did you try adjusting the pickup height. I assume you did.
     
  5. Graham T

    Graham T New Member!

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    Hi
    I have just remedied exactly the same problem. Assuming your tone controls are currently on the neck and middle pickups do the following.
    Take the wire from the middle tone pot off the switch and resolder it to the nearest empty switch lug, this should route the bridge pup through what used to be the middle tone pot. Doing it this way you will have tone control over bridge, neck and both notch positions which is pretty much all most people use anyway.
    I think I am going to wire all my strats like this in future.
    Hope this helps.
     
  6. Uncle Fiesta

    Uncle Fiesta Senior Stratmaster

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    Forget all that paper in oil garbage. It matters not a jot what your caps are made of, it's the value that's important. A cheapo plastic chiclet will be fine as long as it's the correct value. Remember, though, that good quality caps have a lower tolerance and are therefore more likely to be the value you are looking for.
     
  7. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    .

    Hendrix lowered his pickups and tipped them for more/less bass/treble (plus he naturally had the reverse angle bridge pickup pickguard slot).




    To fix tone issues on any guitar:

    -Adjust pickup heights (better tone is often lower), tip bass/treble, adjust screw poles like an EQ if you have them. Ceramic pickups should be set lower than alnico for equivalent output. Use your ears not 'the specs!'.

    -Measure and swap Pots 'n Caps. Pots have a 20% tolerance range and max vs min does the same like you already know 250k vs 500kohm pots change things up. Try different caps. If too muddy of a pickup use a series cap.

    -Last is swap pickups and go back to the top of the list. If you are diligent about the first two steps you'll never need to swap pickups.
     
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  8. guitarface

    guitarface Most Honored Senior Member

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    Why have I never had problems like this with any guitar I’ve owned?
     
  9. StratQuaken

    StratQuaken New Member!

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    Try flatwound strings. They are slightly warmer in tone and still have nice highs. They were my answer to finding that blues tone I was looking for.
     
  10. ThreeChordWonder

    ThreeChordWonder Senior Stratmaster

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    1. Different strings - go for nickel wound or pure nickel instead of nickel plated
    2. Pickup heights - you can always lower them more on the high e side compared to the low E, remember
    3. Remember it's a single coil Strat and it's naturally quite bright
    4. Remember it's a $800 Player not a $5000 Custom Shop
    5. New pickups - and down the rabbit hole we go.
     
  11. budglo

    budglo Strat-Talker

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    I like pure nickel strings for my Fenders. Much warmer tone than nickel plated. Not very expensive either.
     
  12. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music.

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    Is there a treble bleed?

    This scenario happened on my Deluxe Player Strat, which I believe is a completly different animal. But when I clipped the treble bleed the guitar sounded normal.

    Its worth a look at least.
     
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  13. Stratula

    Stratula Strat-O-Master

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    Point of information: did you measure the pot, or is that from what is stamped on the back of the pot? Pot values can vary widely. If the potentiometer in question is actually closer to 300k, that's going to make a difference. Also check the value of the volume pot. Volume pot values change the resonant peak of the pickup. Ever replace the stock 300k pots in a Gibson with 500k? It's like pulling a blanket off the amp, but also changes how the volume control works through its range.

    I would:
    1. check the actual resistance of the pot
    2. replace the pot, if necessary (and there's nothing sacred about the 250k pot - a pot closer to 200k, for example, will darken everything down a bit, but maybe not in a way you like)
    3. get yourself a collection of capacitors in various values and constructions (they're cheap). Some swear by the boutique caps. I have tried the spendy PIO, orange drops, cheap ceramic chicklets and caps I've desoldered from trashed printed circuit boards - all of them sound good in something, but none of them sound great in everything. You can solder wire leads from the pot, leave out a pickguard screw and have them hanging a bit outside the pickguard - this allows easy interchange of various capacitors. Find the recipe that works for this guitar. They're all a bit different and the component values are always other than what is stamped / inked on the side.
    One man's opinion, YMMV, hope this helps.
     
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  14. Willmunny

    Willmunny Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    +1
     
  15. Johnny Rockin

    Johnny Rockin New Member!

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    Fender sells PIO Tone Capacitors. Put one in my '07 American Strat with Fat 50 PU's. Really like the new sound
     
  16. Uncle Micky

    Uncle Micky Strat-Talker

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    All too often we alter guitars we like in search of 'getting more' out of the guitar somehow. But with an electric guitar we need to also include the amplifier's tonal contribution as well as the speakers. For example, a Strat running through JBL D120's can pierced armour plate at thirty feet (sonically), whereas the same Strat and amp using old Jenson alnico speakers can be a true joy to behold. Horses for courses.

    Often the solution to this is changing speakers or amp/speakers. Each individual guitar seems to have one perfect soulmate amplifier out there somewhere, it's just a matter of finding it. Let me tell you a little story by way of example. I was waiting in a music store for a friend and noticed a nice older Fender amp with reverb (silver drip late 60's?) on the floor for people to assess guitars with. It sounded really really good with every guitar I heard so naturally I asked the store owner how much he wanted for the amp. He said it wasn't on the floor for sale, just demo. I asked if I could buy it anyway and he declined. Before I left the store I politely approached him again and asked purely out of curiosity why he wouldn't sell it. He said that amp sold more guitars all day long that I could imagine, so no he wasn't about to sell it. The honey was in the amp at least as much as in the axe. Any axe.

    So, I recommend experimenting with different amps and speakers before doing anything to a guitar that has highly desirable sounds already. External EQ shouldn't be needed in most cases if there is a good tonal guitar/amp/speaker match to begin with. Good luck in your quest!
     
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  17. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    It depends on the model.
    Fender has bounced around between the 2nd tone pot being on the middle, bridge, or even both.
     
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  18. publius

    publius Strat-Talker

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    I picked up a used 2020 Player telecaster a few months ago with the same issue. Too bright. There was still the same model ( Surf Pearl Player) new on the rack and with the Alnico pickups so I expected more brightness than my other tele's. A string change,( the strings on it were DEAD) truss rod tweak, and yes a pickup height adjustment (the previous owner had the bridge p/u's set as low as they would go trying to tame the beast) among the basic setup routine. Still brighter than my tiny brain had in mind.With my space collection of pedals, tone knobs &c. I then just began playing it and we got to know each other better, now it's just one of the crew. I figured when I played it in the store that besides correcting it's horrible set up ( the previous owner was lost trying to get things lined out, which is likely the reason it was returned with the matching hard case I might add) I would be switching out pickup's - and maybe I still will but for now it is no longer an issue and I enjoy the somewhat different tones I get from all the boys in the band.... if it becomes an issue once again I may try some of the other suggestions here.

    P.S. I did see on another forum that referring to the Player Series Alnico (5's) pickups Fender Corp says:
    "Designed for authentic Fender tone—with a bit of an edge—the Player Series pickups keep a foot in the past while looking to the future."

    And I suppose then that perhaps the future is now?

    Peace, out.
    asterion
     
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  19. Chevy

    Chevy Strat-Talk Member

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    Sorry for the slow response... have very little usable time available for my hobby (health issues). Will try out suggestions soon as I can. Thanks for all the responses!

    Fair enough... specifics it is... 2019 Player Strat, Pau Ferro board.
    Volume usually on 10, as I don't yet have a treble bleed cct installed, and obviously really like a good amount of top end.
    Stock pickups. Stock tuners. DR blues strings 9.5-44. Pups fairly low. Stock bridge and trem. Stock nut... stock caps... guitar is totally stock.

    Of course when I turn the volume down to 7 or 8 or so, the bite goes away, but so does the very top end I was hoping to preserve.

    Like I mentioned before, I'm not sure which is the worst component of the spikiness... the actual offending frequencies, or their sharp attack in terms of dynamics. This may be like one of the contributors said... it's the guitar. Perhaps a resonance at certain frequencies that result from the overall build...?
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2021
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  20. stevierayfan91

    stevierayfan91 DEEPLY SHY.

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    Hi , @Chevy

    a .047 cap may be worth a try ?