2019 Player Stratocaster too bright / harsh / spiky

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

  1. Leofender

    Leofender Strat-Talk Member

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    That is correct, the Player employs modern standard wiring harness, where the Bridge has Tone control.
    The Neck and Mid pups share the same Tone dial.
     
  2. Leofender

    Leofender Strat-Talk Member

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    So far so good.
    Now did you try changing the pup height?
    Did you try changing the strings?
    Is your Amp set flat on EQ?
    Are you using pedals?
    Can you A TO B another guitar on the signal path?
    Enter Sherlock Holmes... The answer is there... Something is going on! Sometimes it is the least obvious reason!
    Take a picture of the pup setup, and post that here.
    Is the problem present on all pups, or just Bridge?
     
  3. Swaptronics_tech

    Swaptronics_tech Strat-Talk Member

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    If you have Alnico 5 pickups in your rig and decent volume and tone pots (e.g. CTS 250K or equivalent), and a decent tone cap (e.g. orange drop 0.047 or 0.022 ufd) then I would experiment with proper pickup height. Most people hike them way up close to the strings and tone sounds like ****--including ice pick treble sound. Read the WGS article on pickup height and try those heights first for best tone. Don't fret your guitar at the last fret to adjust pickup height using the suggestions in the WGS article--measure pickup height unfretted from the bottom of your low e-string and high e-string for each pickup to the top of the pickup magnet. I have a 2014 USA Deluxe strat and put Alexander Pribora Voodoo pickups in it. I sold the crappy Fender "noiseless" pickguard that came with it. Tone starts with pickup height, unless you have crappy ceramic single coil pickups in your guitar (which should be thrown away). Use a digital caliper or ruler with 32nds and 64ths on it for best results. The pickup height settings that Fender recommends are complete garbage--I know from much experience.
     
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  4. Swaptronics_tech

    Swaptronics_tech Strat-Talk Member

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    Here is a link the article I mentioned above: https://wgsusa.com/how-adjust-set-pickup-height-stratocaster-ultimate-strat-tone
     
  5. docslingerland

    docslingerland Strat-Talk Member

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  6. docslingerland

    docslingerland Strat-Talk Member

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    My strat has HSH pickups with coil splitting. I'm really impressed with the tonal versatility .you could do something similar with Hotrail Humbucker Pickups and upgrading with coil splitting toggle switches ,or push pull knobs or perhaps go with ceramic single coil pickups which are quiet and more conventional .
     
  7. OldStratPlus

    OldStratPlus New Member!

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    Before attempting any guitar surgery, you should try an EP Booster / Echoplex preamp, it’ll smooth out the highs and generally your sound much more rounded. It can add a bit too much bass with a 4x12 but I just dial that out on the amp
     
  8. Dain Bramage

    Dain Bramage Strat-Talker

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    Initially, I would go through the on-board electronics with the original "fine-toothed comb"; something doesn't sound correct from your descriptions and answers to some good suggestions on here. If the problem is consistent in any combination of pickups, it might be the ground being incorrect (insufficient, in the wrong place), one component being well out of tolerance or simply a solar system away from correct. If you can swap the entire pickguard and the problem follows that, the problem must be there. I have seen when a set-up was just close enough to the frets or pole pieces that a hideous spike was in it. Also check pickup proximity to the string(s), a bit further out either "opens up" the tone or gets weak when you've gone too far. I have encountered this with a pot that was just completely wrong.
     
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  9. Baelzebub

    Baelzebub Dr. Stratster

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    If you think it may be the playing dynamics try switching up your attack?
     
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  10. publius

    publius Strat-Talker

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    So after reading the OP and answering it the best I could while trying to stay buoyant amongst the Very Knowledgeable Stratocaster responders here a question came to my tiny mind.....What is the best Strat color....no seriously .....( For the purposes of this thread) What is the definition of STRAT TONE?.....What are we chasing? The tone produced by the early 54' or subsequent years and Strat playing pioneers of the day? Assuming that all magnetic field variables are dialed in is it the Tone generated by the Neck and Middle Alnico 3 Pickups or from the rocking' bridge...Or, Or, Or... from Mr. Marvin of The shadows, Buddy Holly, Rory Gallagher or Stevie Ray's axe's..... from Jimmie, Jeff Beck, John Frusciante, Bloomfield? Does THE tone only emirate from American Made Standard Strats with nitro finishes? Is it definitively Clean and Bell like or is there not a range of Strat Tone with all the pick ups variations and amps & players? How does the amp and VOLUME factor in and that hummmmm? How about the brain to finger factor?

    As noted by a previous responder, by definition the less than desirable tone produced by the OP's MIM Player Stratocaster is a "Strat Tone". Are not the sounds emanating from my 1997 MIM Ceramic pickups pushed through a Hot Rod Deluxe or even a Champion 110 Solid state amp, Strat Tones? Let's decide this now and for all history and time, Strat Tone is :



    In search of the answer I looked for STRAT TONE via a popular search engine,( Strat talk came up once or twice) One humorous result was a question "Why does my Strat sound bad?"

    The obvious answer is Lack of Tone.

    From my research I have come to the conclusion that one knows it when they hear it. When you find it you have it, then likely will lose it trying to refine it more and hold it captive. It is solid and mercurial simultaneously...... If I recall correctly, Dylan called it that wild mercury sound.

    'nuff said
    Peace,Out
    Asterion
     
  11. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Dr. Stratster

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    I feel like this is pretty worthless without audio clips. I’ve never had a Strat that’s been too bright. And I’ve had a lot of strats.
     
  12. kurher

    kurher Strat-Talker

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    What is the action and relief on your strat?
    If your action is on the low side it may be worthwhile to increase the action until you can hear a difference.
    With a low action and light gauge strings, the strings are hitting the frets (even if there's no buzz) and you can hear a lot of high frequencies on the overall sound.
    Trying different strings might also help.
     
  13. Antstrat

    Antstrat Most Honored Senior Member

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    I’m very sensitive and don’t like too bright, ice picky tone.

    Having said that my Player sounds nothing like that.

    I don’t think it’s the guitar or pickups, you just have different tastes.

    If you really like the guitar over all I’d try a set of 57/62’s. It’s the only solution I can think of.
     
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  14. Wylde Horses

    Wylde Horses Strat-Talk Member

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    This has me thinking what you really need is a SMALLER cap, 22pf or maybe even 15pf. You may already know this, but I like to visualize the cap/pot interaction like an EQ pedal with all the sliders on max. Your cap determines how many of those sliders you are working with, and as you roll the tone down, that determines how far down you pull those sliders. A 47pf cap might be pulling down most of those sliders, so you are rolling off all the highs and most of your mids, leaving the low-mid and low frequencies alone. A 15pf or 22pf cap will only roll off say 2 or 3 of those sliders, targeting the frequencies you really don’t want, without touching the rest.

    Something else to consider: the tone pots are always a little hit “on” - even when they are on 10, a little of the high end is still getting trimmed off. So while a smaller cap might actually sound a tad brighter initially, what you want to focus on is the frequencies you’ll be left with once you start rolling the highs off.
     
  15. wurly

    wurly Strat-Talk Member

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    And why not the neck?
     
  16. Chevy

    Chevy Strat-Talk Member

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    OK, finally some more info for you... I did read the WGS article.

    I lowered my pickups a tad further, and now the neck pickup is at around .175 at the hi E unfretted, and around .2 at the low E unfretted. the mid and bridge are just a tad higher. This is pretty close to the WGS recommendation.

    So... what happened? There seems to be a difference for the neck pickup. Not dramatic, but it is much more acceptable now. So that is good. Thanks! But... the mid and bridge pickups are still spiky. I don't want to lower them due to volume imbalance with the neck, but I guess I'll try it anyhow, see what happens.

    I guess I'm bucking some elusive and hard to define guitar attribute here... and clearly beyond my depth. Just not enough experience with guitars... if I had a dozen strats here, some good and some not so good, it would be a heck of a lot easier. However, I did recently have a '62 reissue strat that did not exhibit this particular quirk... but then again, it did not have the top end I was looking for.

    I've heard recordings of stellar strat tones that have incredible top end, chimey and airy, and it's all just as smooth as silk. No bite, no harsh. That's what I was hoping for.
     
  17. Bob the builder

    Bob the builder Most Honored Senior Member

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    Now you're close?
    Put any measuring tools away + use your ears
     
  18. stevierayfan91

    stevierayfan91 DEEPLY SHY.

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    Hi , @Chevy

    it may be a compressor pedal smoothing the sound out ?
     
  19. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985

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    I long for the day when everyone will realize that there are knobs on their guitars and amps, and said knobs actually do something when you turn them.
     
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  20. Chipss36

    Chipss36 Strat-O-Master

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    I have changed necks, the sound does not follow the neck, it follows the body.
    And why I said it that way.
    Using the two of the same guitar, same year, same color, same model.
    One that’s really bright, and one that is not.

    why? You tell me!

    I long for the day people understand that a bright guitar also has bright harmonics that a tone knob will not change,
    it’s just not that simple. The “q” of a tone knob is pretty wide. And will also cut pleasing high end as well, such as chime.
    Even using a surgical mastering level EQ , and the perfect notch filter will leave the harmonic content of that ice pick tone, it never does sound right, you can make it better, but you will never make it warm…
    It’s a complex issue that no one completely understands.
    Eq in itself is not that simple.

    a bright guitar, is just a bright guitar.

    And nothing I have found over many years will change a guitar like that into a warm guitar. It is what it is.
    I have had an real ice pick guitar sense 1990,
    Nothing I have tried over the years has changed it, it’s just irritating and bright.
    And used sometimes to cut in a really dense mix.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2021 at 5:55 AM