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Clapton sound compared to American Elite (Both have SSS Noiseless)

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Numbercruncher, Feb 3, 2019.

  1. Numbercruncher

    Numbercruncher Strat-O-Master

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    The American Elite Strat runs the same 3 single coil noiseless pickups as the Clapton models and I was wondering how much different the two might sound?

    I know the EC model has some electronic wizardry but I don't know if that wizardry adds additional tonal range to how the Elite sounds or if it replaces some of the tonal range.

    My shop doesn't have either so I thought I would see if anyone here has had a chance to compare the two.

    NC
     
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  2. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Squier Freak Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Apples and Oranges....the Clapton boost system is 'always on' at a 12dB boost, and can increase to 25dB on 'full'. It sounds more compressed, less dynamics, the waveform is more squashed. I think the Fender Vintage Noiseless pickups on their own sound kind of dead and lifeless, but the boost and circuit board brings them back to life.....

    You can get anything from thin spanky Strat vintage sounds to full on humbucker type sounds with the Clapton boost.....it's HUGELY versatile....

    It does not play well with many pedals though.....it's more for a straight into the amp kind of guy or the guy only using a wah and tuner pedal type thing......
     
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  3. harrysmo

    harrysmo Senior Stratmaster

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    EC has up to 25db mid boost to give it more of a humbucker tone. With that feature off they should sound similar. Also the EC has 1 master tone control, not 2 like the Elite. More single coil tone shaping with the Elite’s 2 tone controls and other features.
     
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  4. EC Strat-boy

    EC Strat-boy Strat-O-Master Strat-Talk Supporter

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    The Clapton Strat has Vintage Noiseless PUPs and the Elite Strat has N4 Noiseless PUPs. They are voiced differently

    The N4 has a more modern tone and the vintage Noiseless have a more general vintage tone to them.

    I have a Clapton start and really dig the vintage Noiseless PUPs.
     
  5. Numbercruncher

    Numbercruncher Strat-O-Master

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    Thanks.

    NC
     
  6. sandgren

    sandgren Strat-Talker

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    Many years ago, I had the chance to test two different EC strats at home. First one had a really punchy tone, almost non-fenderish. I liked it, but not enough. Second one was a different animal, completely lifeless. So there you go. Then I bought an American Std., also many years ago. It was lifeless too. I tried Kinman pups, Fender Custom shop pups, whatever, still no life, so I ended up selling it. Finally, I bought an Elite strat, and this one has all the mojo you could wish for, and that with a real Fender tone, and by that I don't mean a 'modern' Fender tone, but a REAL one, just with less noise and more output. I can't tell if I was lucky, or if every Elite is the same as mine, but this is what I experienced. To tell the rest of the story, I also bought an Elite telecaster afterwards. Even if it has a different tone than the strat (of course), I feel the same about it: lots of juicy Fender tone, no noise and higher output.
    DSC02313_1.jpg

    DSC02355_1.jpg
     
  7. EC Strat-boy

    EC Strat-boy Strat-O-Master Strat-Talk Supporter

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    The Clapton Strat has its own tone for sure. It’s doesn’t have a typical Strat tone - not chimey or bell like. It’s warm, thick and full of attitude. The vintage PUPs are higher output and the mid boost completely drives the sound whether it’s on or off. Folks that want the signature Strat Single cool tone wont find it with the Clapton Strat.
     
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  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    I'd say to skip the electronic wizardry. Just get the Elite.

    .
     
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  9. EC Strat-boy

    EC Strat-boy Strat-O-Master Strat-Talk Supporter

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    The Elite has a TON of eletronics! The S1 switch, and tone stack bypass
     
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  10. sandgren

    sandgren Strat-Talker

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    That is not what I understand with 'electronics' - it's only wirings (no battery), and it's completely bypassed if you don't push the S1 switch. And WHEN you push it, you get non-strat tones, more like humbucker sound, something that jazzers would like perhaps. I look at it as an extra option, which doesn't change the Fender sound when not activated.
     
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  11. diogoguitar

    diogoguitar Senior Stratmaster

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    I have the pickup set that comes in the Elite. I really like it.
     
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  12. 3bolt79

    3bolt79 Senior Stratmaster

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    I’d go for the Clapton, as I don’t like compound radius necks. 9.5 is flat enough for me. I also like the boost. My next strat is going to be a custom shop strat.
     
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  13. Numbercruncher

    Numbercruncher Strat-O-Master

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    Well I probably jumped the gun on this since in March of last year I ordered a custom shop strat with the 4th generation single coil noiseless pickups and what the invoice shows as the Clapton sound package. At the time I could not decide between the 4th generation noiseless by themselves or to add the Clapton sound package. But since this is a one off guitar that will cost quite a bit of money I didn't want it to sound identical to an Elite model so I had them add the Clapton sound package.

    The warm, thick and full of attitude is very close to what I am after. I hope it isn't too muddy like the Standard series stratocasters that were discontinued in favor of the player series that have since been released. I spent a little bit of time with an HSS strat that had the 4th gen single coils noiseless pickups up front and it sounded great. I hope my custom model which should show up in about a month sounds "better" and not "worse" than an Elite model.

    I knew I jumped the gun a little bit when I ordered that Strat but given the massive lead times if I wait until I finally figure out exactly what I want I'll be 120 years old. Worst case I can always have the guitar changed when it arrives.

    NC
     
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  14. Numbercruncher

    Numbercruncher Strat-O-Master

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    I assume that is Sienna burst? That is a beautiful guitar.

    I hope I don't regret my custom machine when I could have bought an Elite and saved quite a bit of money.

    NC

     
  15. sandgren

    sandgren Strat-Talker

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    The strat is a tobacco sunburst.
     
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  16. Numbercruncher

    Numbercruncher Strat-O-Master

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    Then it truly is smoking hot.

    NC

     
  17. EC Strat-boy

    EC Strat-boy Strat-O-Master Strat-Talk Supporter

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    You’ll be just fine with the N4’s and the Clapton midboost. It will sing!
     
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  18. EC Strat-boy

    EC Strat-boy Strat-O-Master Strat-Talk Supporter

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    The N4’s are awesome.
     
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  19. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Strat-O-Master

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    There is no relevant comparison unless you add a mid-boost to the Elite. In which case, you should have purchased the EC in the first place.
     
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  20. CalicoSkies

    CalicoSkies Senior Stratmaster

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    Their Vintage Noiseless pickups have been around for a while now, and I thought that with each new generation of Fender's noiseless pickups, they were trying to get closer and closer to the sound of a classic single-coil pickup in a noiseless version. When they introduce the new versions of those pickups, I seem to recall them saying things like "improved sound" or "sounds much better than the previous version". And now that their Vintage Noiseless pickups have been around a while, I've noticed that they tend to be used in less expensive models such as the MIM Deluxe (though the Clapton Strat is an exception).
     
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