Anyone ever have a dead sounding Strat?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by xfabianromerox, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. altar

    altar Former Member

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    I think there might be some truth to that. I have an early 2000s American Series/Standard that I put 12s on and left the action really high and it sounds unreal although it is a beast to play.
     
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  2. knh555

    knh555 Most Honored Senior Member

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    So what I think I'm seeing here is, for $0, you've already made meaningful improvements on your own with the possibility that fresh strings may still get you to where you may be satisfied. A quality pro set-up may do even more, or maybe not. It seemed to me just b/c some of us have had no luck with getting a setup to liven up a dead guitar doesn't mean yours is dead, at least until you do the basics for short money to find out. Always to the free and cheap stuff first before swapping out significant parts. You just may be surprised and might learn something along the way, no matter how it turns out.
     
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  3. xfabianromerox

    xfabianromerox Strat-Talker

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    You know what, that's what I did and it did sound better. Also could be why I usually can't find a strat that sounds as good to me as my #1. It's got jumbo frets, which I guess let the strings have a higher action without having to press down as hard.
     
  4. xfabianromerox

    xfabianromerox Strat-Talker

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    Yes, guitar adjustments and modifications have been a fun learning experience. I definitely enjoy the headaches! The Strat Talk community is of course the best community (IMO) for advice! Thanks once again ;)! I might end up putting in the original guard in later on to see if it sounds any better.
     
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  5. CGHguitars

    CGHguitars Strat-O-Master

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    Don't give up on your guitars too fast...
    You need to go through the process and make sure everything is set up appropriately, strings are fresh, all the mechanical pieces/parts are working correctly, etc. before you deem it dead or lifeless.

    My .02 I'm glad this one worked out!!!
     
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  6. klobasa

    klobasa Strat-Talk Member

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    If it's already not mentioned, under normal string tension, open all of the neck plate screws just a tiny bit (1/4 turn) and you will hear how the neck connection to the body snaps in the correct place. After that, tighten the screws fully again.

    This simple trick just made a week ago once again one mildly boring sounding strat to come alive when I tried it.
     
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  7. Mansonienne

    Mansonienne Mod admin Staff Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    mine screams in agony sometimes, but I don't seem to have killed it quite yet.
     
  8. orcslayer

    orcslayer Senior Stratmaster

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    I hear what people are saying about "Tonewood" being a fallacy. I used to think that too.

    However, that hasn't been my experience. I once bought a 1996 Roadhouse Strat equipped with two Texas Special single coils & a Jeff Beck Full size Humbucker in the bridge position. The neck was a Pau Ferro fret board. The body was Alder.

    This was a "Dead" sounding guitar. I kept trying pickup adjustments to no avail. Finally I started looking & I found a Japanese made '68 Strat reissue. It had stock pickups (all single coil alnico), an Ash body and a one piece Maple neck. The difference was night & day!

    I sold the Roadhouse & bought the 68 reissue.

    I am convinced the wood made a big difference.
     
  9. CGHguitars

    CGHguitars Strat-O-Master

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    I wouldn't say that wood has ZERO influence on tone, mostly because I've spent a ton of $$$ buying one piece alder or ash bodies.....
    However, I think we tend to find issues with our tone, get rid of that guitar, buy one that has a different body wood, and assume that must be the important difference.
    I think it is low on the list of culprits almost every time.
    Watch out for Ron Kirn to jump in on this.....
     
  10. CGHguitars

    CGHguitars Strat-O-Master

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    I wouldn't say that wood has ZERO influence on tone, mostly because I've spent a ton of $$$ buying one piece alder or ash bodies.....
    However, I think we tend to find issues with our tone, get rid of that guitar, buy one that has a different body wood, and assume that must be the important difference.
    I think it is low on the list of culprits almost every time.
    Watch out for Ron Kirn to jump in on this.....
     
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  11. Vjerilood

    Vjerilood Senior Stratmaster

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    My Tele weighs a ton and sounds great. On the other hand my Squier is relatively light and sounds great because I upgraded the pickups. But then I also upgraded the hardware so it’s a lot heavier than it came out of the factory, but not because of the wood.
     
  12. twhrancher

    twhrancher New Member!

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    I had a problem with a similar strat. Wouldn't stay in tune and wouldn't ring... I finally had to take the pick guard off and noticed a crack in the body by the tremolo post insert. In my opinion that is a major flaw in the start design... I tried epoxy and it didn't last long and cracked again... so I got pissed off and routed out the whole pick up cavity and glued in a mahogany block then re routed it for the bridge, and pickups... I didn't give up on it but showed it some love... I ordered a flame maple veneer and covered the front and back with the veneer and installed the vintage noiseless pickups in it with the 920D mid boost circuit... sounds great now... I would have never carved up an Americian Strat body but it was already junk so I had nothing to loose.
     
  13. Wrighty

    Wrighty Most Honored Senior Member

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    There are endless debates here on what affects the way a guitar sounds. Now, if I wanted to troll, I could say 'it's all in the fingers, Eric would make it sound like a custom built', but I don't, so I won't.
    Whenever I've had an issue with lack of resonance, balls or whatever the term is, I've always improved it by a new set of strings and a set up. OK, the difference between a Squier Bullet and a CS will always be there, but that is just because they are holistically entirely different. It doesn't mean that the cheapo can't sound better than totally unsatisfactory. Problems with the nut, pick up height, bridge pieces etc. can all detract from a guitar sounding as good as it can. I usually resort to stripping it down, including removing the neck, and reassembling it, checking at each stage. Works for me. I always find a noticeable improvement when I'm done. If I've set my hopes too high for the instrument I'm working with, then it's time to consider why...................wrong pickups, frets need leveling or whatever. Knowing it's a good as it can be without further expense allows me to consider how much it would cost to improve it and whether it's a worthwhile outlay.
     
  14. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I find zombie guitars to be pretty dead sounding, pretty much like zombie threads.

    zombie.gif
     
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  15. 57Strat777

    57Strat777 Strat-O-Master

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    It is pretty simple. Does it sound dead unplugged? If so, nothing you do with the electronics will fix it.

    I've never had a Strat that sounded dead. Some better than others for sure though. I bought three brand new USA PRS guitars (DC3, NF3, and DGT) in the last several years and all three were dead sounding.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2020
  16. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Most Honored Senior Member

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    try adding weight to the headstock.. just something like a clamp.. padded to protect the finish.. it may identify a neck that is sapping the amplitude away from the strings by allowing them to cause it to resonate too much.. and remember, "resonance" is not a broad superhighway toward superior sound... Remember, resonance is just another one of those remote country roads that CAN get you to where you're going, but if you're not careful, you can wind up lost..

    This CAN also work if you have dead frets on a neck.. adding a small weight moves those "spots", hopefully off the fingerboard...

    r
     
  17. Hudman_1

    Hudman_1 Strat-Talker

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    I don’t believe in dead sounding Strats. You should take it to a tech and get a professional setup. This includes action and pickup height.