Best Strat for someone with a very light touch?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by TheToneBoyar, Feb 19, 2021.

  1. TheToneBoyar

    TheToneBoyar Strat-Talk Member

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    Honestly I'm kinda planning to go that route already, but in a different way... I was thinking I'd get the classic vibe, order a neck from warmoth with a 12" radius and SS Medium Jumbos (cause at this point eff jumbos I'm so over them) and bob's my uncle, you know? lol

    I figure that would be cheaper than buying a custom body, electronics, and hardware separately, and what matters most to me is the playability and durability of the frets/neck. I'm fine with whatever pickups are in the CV Squier, my tone mostly comes from my amp anyway and pickups are easy to upgrade. The only wood that matters to me is the neck wood. On lead and dirty channels, the tone is very similar. On clean channels, my Squier Affinity is louder because the pickups are stronger but the character is not terribly different.

    I just literally do not understand how it is remotely possible for everybody to say that jumbos are easier to play when the exact opposite is true in my experience. Maybe EJ strats just don't like jumbos? I can't understand it honestly. And in case anybody is wondering, it's not that the strings are too easy to press out of tune, it's the exact opposite problem; it is barely even playable (can hardly fret or bend) and that's coming from somebody who... Well, if anybody's curious what I'm capable of with a well-playing guitar (Back from when my EJ had medium jumbos)... Bondi James Live At Joe's Garage - Groovalicious (Guitar Solo) - YouTube

    I'm not a ****ty guitarist, at least I hope not. But the fact is that I can't play all this stuff with ease since I went for 6100s on my strat and I think the whole 6100s thing is a total scam. They all say "oh, it lets you use a lighter touch"... But that seems to be completely false. Otherwise, how would it be possible that I take my guitar with my new neck to multiple techs (who get GREAT reviews!) and none of them can set it up to play as easily as the guitar played before with the smaller medium jumbos that came with the guitar originally? Never should've sold that neck in the first place, but I didn't want to keep it due to depreciation over time as it was played, consequence of wear on the nickel silver frets. I thought that a good setup would fix whatever playability issues I had with my new jumbo-fretted neck, but obviously I was wrong. And before you ask, it's not cause I am (or ever was) out of practice haha, even with this thing fighting me tooth and nail I can't stop playing guitar every day.

    If you've ever heard someone compare strings to cheese-cutters... Yeah, that's what it started to feel like after I got the new neck. And no matter what I try, it won't go away.

    So I guess it's just a thing with jumbo frets. I can't explain why other people say jumbos are easier to play on and let them use a lighter touch. Medium jumbos, maybe, but apparently true jumbos make things infinitely more difficult. This is consistent across two necks I tried on my EJ with true jumbos; one that was quartersawn and roasted, one that was simply riftsawn which I still have. Thought it might've been the wood, but obviously not because they are both equally difficult to play on.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
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  2. heltershelton

    heltershelton Vivamus libero Vivamus duris

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    on those two teles i put ss6115 frets.
    they are shaped kinda like a pyramid, and i love them.
    they are kind of tall, but i like them that way. has a slightly scalloped feel.
    Screenshot_20210220-194937.png
     
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  3. TheToneBoyar

    TheToneBoyar Strat-Talk Member

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    If I had to guess, I'd say those are easier to play because they're just low enough. .058, I think, is too high for any decent playability. I can't think of another reason that getting bigger frets would make shredding harder instead of easier, even after having had two years to adjust to it.
     
  4. stevierayfan91

    stevierayfan91 DEEPLY SHY.

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    Hi, @TheToneBoyar

    Could you get a neck with regular medium SS frets?/not jumbos?

    Your playing was good when I listened but if you want non-jumbo frets -Definitely look into that.
     
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  5. TheToneBoyar

    TheToneBoyar Strat-Talk Member

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    I was planning to have this thing leveled down to medium jumbo, however, that may take a while and be quite expensive (though still likely cheaper and less time-consuming than yet another new custom neck to my specs) and considering the trouble I've had with this guitar I really wanted to buy a third one as well to have on hand in case a situation like this occurred again due to me listening to things on the internet that aren't true haha
     
  6. Seamus OReally

    Seamus OReally Mr. Serious Gold Supporting Member

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    I’ll bet a donut that the EJ feels stiff because it has too much relief.

    But only one donut. I’m not that confident.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
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  7. TheToneBoyar

    TheToneBoyar Strat-Talk Member

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    Haha, good thing too, because I've got it set pretty much flat. I tried messing around with literally everything, including relief, (and setting it to have more also didn't help) so at this point I can only conclude that it's because of the larger frets. Contrary to EVERYTHING I've ever read on the subject of fret size and playability, but hey, back when Democritus said atoms existed everyone laughed at him so...
     
  8. nadzab

    nadzab Play Don't Worry Silver Member

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    Nice playing! And I dig the Pete Townshend look.
     
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  9. TheToneBoyar

    TheToneBoyar Strat-Talk Member

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    Thanks! :D
     
  10. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Fuzz Meister General

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    EJ’s come with 5 springs and trem decked hard, like snap the bar off decked. They also tend to come setup EJ style with very little relief. This makes them stiff to bend on. Remove 2 springs, loosen the claw a bit or better yet float the bridge and they get slinky as any other Strat out there. The lacquer on the neck is very tacky to when new and folks complain about that too but after a week or two of playing mine were all perfect.
     
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  11. Antstrat

    Antstrat Dr. Stratster

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    Got me curious so I took 2 springs off my EJ, played it, took another off and it verrrrrry slightly floated, played it and couldn’t feel any difference as far as doing bends. I use 9’s btw and the claw isn’t anywhere near tightened all the way.

    Tried 10’s in the past and didn’t like them, too stiff but set up properly with 9’s to me if feels just fine.

    Soooo, my question is what feels stiff to one person feels fine to another and vice versa?
     
  12. Blackmore Fan

    Blackmore Fan Senior Stratmaster

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    Thank you! I've been saying the same for so long. I have "vintage" sounding MIA Fender pickups that are never more than 2 pedals away from cranking serious heat.
     
  13. Danny D

    Danny D Strat-O-Master

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    An American Standard Deluxe from 2006/2007 is your ticket.
     
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  14. Frank Roberts

    Frank Roberts Strat-Talk Member

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    Exactly. Right to the heart of it. Subjective.
     
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  15. mschafft

    mschafft Strat-Talker

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    Most strats with 9.5 radius, 9-42 gauge string and a pro set up including fret levelling and crowning.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
  16. nutball73

    nutball73 Senior Stratmaster

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    Wow! I'm late to this thread and there is so much nonsense here it's hard to know where to start...

    This is a setup issue, primarily, and then a fertboard/fret preference. All strats can be made to play well and adjusted to suit the player.

    A proper setup will get the action and string tension correct. The angle over the saddles affects the "slinkiness" or feel when bending, so changing the neck angle and saddle heights can maintain the action while changing the feel. A correctly cut nut will correct any tuning and trem issues whilst making it easy to play barre chords down low. A good fret crown and polish will also make any guitar play better.

    Once that is done, then you can decide if you prefer smaller or larger frets, and what fretboard material you prefer. The neck being quartersawn or whatever make no difference.

    In general large frets help those with a light touch - heavier hands can pull strings out of tune. Maple fretboards are usually varnished and can be stickier (unless roasted).

    Don't mistake a light touch with the inability to fret notes correctly. It is not necessary to press the strings all the way to the fretboard to make a note.
     
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  17. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

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    I'm even later.

    Any guitar with a good set up will work for me, but I prefer very light strings and vintage frets given the choice.

    The set up is the key and somebody else's idea of a good set up isn't usually mine.
     
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  18. nutball73

    nutball73 Senior Stratmaster

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    I should add - I play guitars with all sorts of necks, radii, fret sizes,fretboard materials and so on, and the choice is down to the music I'm playing, the sound I want or how I feel at the time.

    I highly recommend the OP focuses on playing technique rather than technology. A good player can play any guitar, a bad player won't be any better on a good guitar. Not judging, just saying.
     
  19. TheToneBoyar

    TheToneBoyar Strat-Talk Member

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    I agree. Floating the trem did nothing for me, and having a decked trem never made my EJ's feel stiff in the past, back when they were at peak playability. Or any of my strats for that matter.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
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  20. TheToneBoyar

    TheToneBoyar Strat-Talk Member

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    It's not a matter of technique. If the amount of ft/lbs of force required to fret or bend a string is twice or three times that of a regular strat, anybody regardless of skill level will have trouble playing it. Even you. And that is about the size of it. At least twice the effort is required on this particular guitar. I had a girl bring me her Squier (which also had smaller frets) for a setup once and I was green with envy at how easy it was to play. If you're a guy that plays fast and learned on a normal, playable instrument, 10s that feel like 13s are not going to be compatible with you no matter what.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
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