The One Tweak You Did Resulting In A Great Strat Tone?

Mustrat

Strat-Talker
Jun 16, 2017
227
CT River Valley
Yeah who wants the notes to choke out when bending, I definitely don’t. That’s why I take every guitar I own and level the frets. Then do my normal set up and low action. I don’t have to worry about loosing sustain or choking out. So you can achieve this with low action you just need level frets. Yes 7.25 radius, super low action and full bends at the 17th fret may not work out but I’ll raise the action enough to do this and I’m still well below fenders recommended setting.
If you hear any string on fret noise acoustically, that's lost tone. You folks seem to think I am recommending super high action but I am not. I am recommending staying away from the desire to be extra low to gain perceived playability at the expense of the full sound of the guitar.
 

Stratstrangler

Strat-Talker
Mar 27, 2017
274
Upstate NY
Sometimes high action on a Strat is preferable when considering the resonance of the neck and body wood and its type of routing of the body cavity. Mine (avatar) is a light body with a wide route and very ”acoustic“ sounding resonance. After lowering the action, the tone was not what I wanted, so back to its prior action, it went. The guitar and its higher action seems to take advantage of it build qualities - to my ears.

Stratstrangler
 

Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,916
Edmonton, Alberta
If you hear any string on fret noise acoustically, that's lost tone. You folks seem to think I am recommending super high action but I am not. I am recommending staying away from the desire to be extra low to gain perceived playability at the expense of the full sound of the guitar.

No I get what your saying, I don’t have the strings laying on my frets because I think low action is a cool hip thing to do. I just think a lot of people have high action because that’s what it takes to get their guitar playable without rattling. What people don’t realize that it’s probably because of a fret issue they may not be aware of so the action gets raised up and therefore sounds much better. That’s great.

I have low action with level frets and still have sustain and no choking out. That’s what I was trying to point out. I don’t like high action and I’m sure others don’t either. They live with it because that’s what it takes to get it playable. A fret level does wonders to the feel and playability of any guitar because you can get away with lower action.
 

Mustrat

Strat-Talker
Jun 16, 2017
227
CT River Valley
No I get what your saying, I don’t have the strings laying on my frets because I think low action is a cool hip thing to do. I just think a lot of people have high action because that’s what it takes to get their guitar playable without rattling. What people don’t realize that it’s probably because of a fret issue they may not be aware of so the action gets raised up and therefore sounds much better. That’s great.

I have low action with level frets and still have sustain and no choking out. That’s what I was trying to point out. I don’t like high action and I’m sure others don’t either. They live with it because that’s what it takes to get it playable. A fret level does wonders to the feel and playability of any guitar because you can get away with lower action.
I get what you are saying as well but in my world a fret level is already a given so I wouldn't consider it a tweak or a trick to improve a guitar.
 

Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,916
Edmonton, Alberta
I get what you are saying as well but in my world a fret level is already a given so I wouldn't consider it a tweak or a trick to improve a guitar.

Ok that’s great, a fret level is a given and the first thing I check or do on any guitar new or used. I’m glad we can agree on that.
 

Butcher of Strats

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 28, 2022
1,568
Maine
Minimize neck relief to around .002-.005.
(Unless you only play cowboy chords)
Angle all the pickups, far from the low E and close to the high E, resulting in clearer bass and fatter high E tone.
Then with less bass from the pickups, turn UP the bass at the amp.

Knowing that lowering the pickups under the plain strings decreases volume but makes the tone thinner.
Higher increases volume but makes fatter less thin less shrill tone.
Of course if your pickups are hot overwound, you may want to thin out the tone.
 
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Stratstrangler

Strat-Talker
Mar 27, 2017
274
Upstate NY
I did the same to my 2021 Player Strat. I raised the bass side up "just a hair", and that was it. Somehow, someway, I might have discovered the "sweet spot" to Fender's Alnico V pickups.
Yup. Just what I did, and noticed (after lowering the 6th string in the start; as a comparison). The 6th string did affect the pickups, indeed. Angling the pickups to bring out the higher strings is necessary on my Strat, but angles really are guitar-specific; from extreme to minimal.

Stratstrangler.
 
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92 Fiesta Red 62

Strat-Talker
Apr 27, 2022
241
TEXAS
I've asked this question many times, but once more:

What is great Strat tone?

Gilmour?
Beck?
Clapton?
Hank Marvin?
Cliff Gallup?
Buddy Holly?
Jimi Hendrix?
Ritchie Blackmore?
SRV?
Buddy Guy?
Van Halen?
The Edge?
John Mayer?

Can someone get back to me on this?
You left out:

Jimmie Vaughan
Buddy Whittington
Derek O’Brien
Doyle Bramhall II
Charlie Sexton
Eric Johnson
George Harrison
Mike McCready
Kenny Wayne Shepherd (wait—you covered him under SRV…never mind)
Mato Nanji
Kid Bangham
 

PCollen

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Feb 13, 2014
3,985
Florida
Dug out my 2001 Amer. Series (stock) and put some new strings on and immediately wondered why I don't play it as often. I've been favoring Les Pauls for the past 2-3 years for the shorter scale length and easier fingering on the fretting hand. My Strat sounded the same; a characteristic Strat tone, but lacking a bit of sustain above the 12th fret; a bit 6th string dominant, too.

First step I performed, was a tweak of the truss rod to lessen the relief just a touch. I lowered (ever so slightly) the 6th string solid saddle and raised the 1st string saddle just enough to increase the sustain on that string alone. First impression through my amp was that a pretty good sounding Strat before, is now improved markedly. I was reluctant to change anything, but in retrospect, I'm happy I decided to think it through and “experiment”.

Have any of you Strat owners turned your Strats into a much better sounding guitar without resorting to additional purchases, or consulting with a luthier?


Stratstrangler
replaced the 0.1uF tone cap on my CP50 Strat with a 0.047uF.
 

Nunostrat

Strat-Talk Member
Aug 2, 2016
23
Kent, England
For me on my Strat (7.25" radius) ignore my usual go to set up rules. So more relief I normally head for about 0.012" at 7th fret and set action on outer Es at about 2mm then use a radius gauge to get all others in place. That's my now go to strat set up.

Oh and do that whilst bridge us cranked tight with two credit cards under the back. Once all set and tuned etc then undo claw screws until the cards drop out and that'll sit right with me.
 

Groundwire

Strat-O-Master
Apr 16, 2021
689
Oregon
Here's another one. On a standard 10-46 set of strings, swap out the 17 G string for a 15. This gives you the Hendrix gauges on the top 4 strings for easier bending, a slinkier feel, and some say better balance.
That’s a good one that I fogot. I switched to using the 10-38 Pure Nick Round Core strings a couple years ago. Some call this the Hendrix gauge, but really it’s the Fender rock and roll 150 strings that many guitarists used in the late 70’s and 70’s. The lighter G string made double stop bends way easier, and the lower tension reduces dropping out of tune with a floating Strat bridge.

The other benefit is that the lighter wound strings have less output so the balance is much better. No more boomy low end, and I don’t have to angle the pickups away on the bass side. Also allows you to turn up the bass on the amp without getting muddy, which helps thicken the top strings a bit.

The 10-38 strings definitely made a big difference for me, and now when I play a guitar with regular 10-46, it feels odd.
 


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