Anyone ever play a Clapton W/O TBX and mid-boost?

RaySachs

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 25, 2017
1,813
Philly area
So every time I've played a Clapton strat, my hands had little mini hand-orgasms - THAT'S how much I love the necks on those guitars. But I've absolutely never wanted anything to do with the active electronics that those guitars feature. I've just wanted one with the neck, the sort of built-in hardtail with the block of wood and I'm assuming a setup to go with that solid bridge.

I didn't want the hassles associated with keeping a backplate on to hold a battery in place, of having to unplug every time I'm finished playing to avoid running down the battery. And just tonally, even if I really dug the mid-boost and TBX, I'm really happy and comfortable with the basic strat controls - even have my own way of modding them that works for me (two no-load tone pots, one wired to the neck and bridge pickups, one to the middle). So I'm just not interested in that stuff. Clapton designed it that way so he'd have one guitar that can sound like a strat AND a Les Paul - I only want it to sound like a strat...

Well anyway, I was browsing through Guitar Center's used inventory this morning. Checking out some Silver Skys and some American Original Strats - I love my Robert Cray but I'm not against trying a higher end instrument to see if I really like it. And I look on the page(s) of used Claptons, all generally in the $1000-1200 range. And I see a 2015 model for $750, says it's modded. So I call the store and talk to the guy about it. The backplate was off and there's no battery or associated wires for a mid-boost back there, both tone knobs just run 1-10 like normal - no detente at 5 as the TBX control has. So it sounds like the previous owner did the mods I'd have wanted to do and then took a righteous hit on trading it in because it was modified. The guy says the neck is perfect, the frets are pretty much brand new, a couple of minor dings on the body, spec noiseless pickups, etc. So I ordered it.

Worst case, it sucks and I'm only out the return shipping cost. Best case maybe this is my ultimate strat for a price I don't even have to think twice about. It's got a high bar to get over - my Cray needs NOTHING. But I've always lusted after a Clapton and if this works out, I'm golden. Hell, I'm golden either way...

-Ray
 

RaySachs

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 25, 2017
1,813
Philly area
I guess the implied question is if anyone else has ever played one without the electronics and how it sounds? Are those pickups somehow optimized for those controls and don't sound that good with a non-active setup? Or does it just sound, you know, like a great strat?
 

Ace38

Senior Stratmaster
Aug 8, 2016
1,244
Tulsa, OK.
Well, as long as the pickups are original and just lack the active part, it'll sound either like a Strat Plus (gold sensors) or an Elite Strat with vintage noiseless pups with a Clapton neck. Whether or not those guitars sound good to you is 100% up to your ears.
 

Thunderhopkins8

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 5, 2014
2,081
Earth
I had one in my strat, and although it wasn’t a Clapton model, I rarely ever used the midboost/tbx. I had the Vintage Noiseless pickups, and thought it sounded much better without engaging the boost.
 

Ace38

Senior Stratmaster
Aug 8, 2016
1,244
Tulsa, OK.
I've got an FSR Powerhouse Strat, one of "about" 35 according to Fender, that has the Clapton profile neck. I had the resistors taken off so that I was getting the full 25db midboost. For all intents and purposes, I got my Clapton Strat for $299 at a pawn shop.
 

Guy Incognito

Senior Stratmaster
May 14, 2019
3,865
Here and now
I guess the implied question is if anyone else has ever played one without the electronics and how it sounds? Are those pickups somehow optimized for those controls and don't sound that good with a non-active setup? Or does it just sound, you know, like a great strat?

Well....... I have a set of Gold Lace Sensors I've used in a handful of my Strats. I've used them with a Standard Strat wiring, currently passive with a TBX & about to order a Mid Boost Kit.

They've always sounded great in any guitar.

I would snag the Strat you're looking at. Probably exactly what you want.
 

RaySachs

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 25, 2017
1,813
Philly area
I had one in my strat, and although it wasn’t a Clapton model, I rarely ever used the midboost/tbx. I had the Vintage Noiseless pickups, and thought it sounded much better without engaging the boost.
So if you have both, but never use them, do you effectively have a guitar with no tone controls?
 

UmpaHimself

Senior Stratmaster
Jul 16, 2009
1,063
Los Angeles
I would buy it. Sounds like exactly what you're looking for at an unbeatable price. And no... those pickups don't require the boost to sound good. Many Strats are equipped with those same Vintage Noiseless pickups with out the boost. The boost, the neck shape and the locked trem are what make it specifically a Clapton model. The rest is all off the shelf.
 

RaySachs

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 25, 2017
1,813
Philly area
I would snag the Strat you're looking at. Probably exactly what you want.

I would buy it. Sounds like exactly what you're looking for at an unbeatable price. And no... those pickups don't require the boost to sound good. Many Strats are equipped with those same Vintage Noiseless pickups with out the boost. The boost, the neck shape and the locked trem are what make it specifically a Clapton model. The rest is all off the shelf.
I ordered it when I was on the phone with the guy this morning. But with Guitar Center I know I can return it if I need to. Hopefully I’ll get it by Wednesday or Thursday. I’m in North Carolina for the winter and it’s coming from Memphis, so shipping shouldn’t take long...

-Ray
 

UmpaHimself

Senior Stratmaster
Jul 16, 2009
1,063
Los Angeles
I ordered it when I was on the phone with the guy this morning. But with Guitar Center I know I can return it if I need to. Hopefully I’ll get it by Wednesday or Thursday. I’m in North Carolina for the winter and it’s coming from Memphis, so shipping shouldn’t take long...

-Ray
Congrats Ray! I doubt you'll be disappointed. What color?
 


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