#1
I sold all my guitars awhile back. I decided to start playing again, and I bought a Fender Stratocaster (MIJ) last week. It was my first experience playing a Strat, and the first guitar I've ever owned that had single coil pickups. All the others have had humbuckers.

Right now I only have a Roland Micro Cube amp. I've always liked the sound I got out of it (for what it is) with other guitars I have owned. However, it didn't sound nearly as good on the higher gain models with the Strat. Even on the clean channels, I could turn the volume up nearly all the way on the amp and it still wasn't very loud.

I got my Edwards Les Paul yesterday and as soon as I plugged it in to the amp, I noticed a BIG difference in volume output across all the channels vs the Strat. The higher gain channels were full bodied, and the clean channel pumped out plenty of sound without having to crank the volume all the way up.

So, my question is this...is what I am experiencing "normal" with the Strat? Being that I've never owned one, nor a guitar with SC pickups, I have nothing to go off of. It plays great and all, I just think it pales in comparison on anything with gain to the Les Paul.

Am I not doing it right?
Edwards Les Paul 92
Roland Micro Cube
Marshall JCM 900 4501
#2
Sounds about right to me. The Strat excels at tube overdriven sounds and clean tonal variety. But the Les Paul has so much more bass and crunch capability.
#3
Strats along with almost all single coiled guitars are better for clean, over driven or slightly distorted sounds

Les Pauls use humbuckers which some say have a worse clean sounds but are better for distortion and heavier gain stuff
#5
There is going to be a distinct output difference and "crunch" difference, but the volume differences should not be as exaggerated as you're talking about. Are you sure the pickups aren't too low on your strat?
Gear:
2003 Fender Standard Strat w/ Texas Specials
2010 EBMM BFR JP6
2012 Babicz Identity Dreadnaught
2015 Gibson Les Paul Traditional SR
Line 6 POD HD500
Peavey XXX 112
Fender Blues Jr
#6
I'll check...the action seems pretty low to me but I may have not paid much attention to how close the pickups are to the strings.
Edwards Les Paul 92
Roland Micro Cube
Marshall JCM 900 4501
#7
probably normal.
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#8
Quote by Capt_Clarkson
Strats along with almost all single coiled guitars are better for clean, over driven or slightly distorted sounds

Les Pauls use humbuckers which some say have a worse clean sounds but are better for distortion and heavier gain stuff
no, they are not.
#9
Quote by al112987
no, they are not.


"what" is "not"?
Edwards Les Paul 92
Roland Micro Cube
Marshall JCM 900 4501
#10
If your strat is MIJ that's quite normal for the pickups to give you nice shimmering cleans, and crisp overdrive, but sound really messy if you push the gain up a bit more. and so is the low output. for some reason japanese fenders tend to have really weak twanky sounding stock pickups, at least to me it seems that way.

^i think he was responding to the narrow minded idea that single coils = clean and humbuckers = distortion. Single coils can have just as much distortion potential as any humbucker, likewise, any jazz player will probably tell you humbuckers give you excellent clean tones. It's not that a particular type of pickup is better than another for each of those things.. it's just that they do each of them differently, and i would guess a lot of people do prefer single coils for clean and/or humbuckers for distortion.. but that's all a matter of personal taste.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
Last edited by Blompcube at Dec 16, 2009,
#11
Gotcha...maybe I should look into upgrading the pickups on it then...because it left me wanting more as it sits now, as far as sound output is concerned.
Edwards Les Paul 92
Roland Micro Cube
Marshall JCM 900 4501
#12
Strats are just different. The pickups are lower output, and brighter and thinner sounding. Strats don't tend to cope well with digital distortion models. I would expect one to sound iffy through a Roldand cube.

There are some big upsides to a strat with a more powerful tube rig though - they cut very well, and are very articulate. Great for cleans with a fender super or twin, or mild breakup with various fenders at higher volumes. Add a boost pedal, and you end up in the SRV ballpark (although he also used Marshalls and others).

They can also do the all-out distortion thing very well - Richie Blackmore, Yngwie Malmsteen and David Gilmour played strats for example. The trick is to have some sort of boost out in front of a loud, mid-rangey amp like a Marshall or Hiwatt. The downside of such a rig is that the volume tends to be thunderous.
GMW hot-rod telecaster
GMW soloist
PRS Custom 24
The Illegal Les Paul
CAE 3+SE
Soldano SM-100R
Splawn 4x12

“Life is on the wire…the rest is just waiting” - Papa Wallenda
Substitute the stage for the wire, and he's got it.
#13
Yeah...when I think Stratocaster I think David Gilmour on the "Pulse" DVD I have. I'd like a sound like that out of it. I realize my amp is a hindrance right now, but it does sound pretty darn good for a 2 watt solid state with my Les Pauls.
Edwards Les Paul 92
Roland Micro Cube
Marshall JCM 900 4501
#14
Yeah, you're not going to get it to sound like that with that amp. I think he was using Hiwatts there, but I'm not sure. His gain sounds come from a variety of stomp boxes, and of course he uses a lot of reverb and delay.

To my mind, strats come alive with volume, and by that I mean at least a 50 watt tube amp at least half way up (unscientific, but you get the point). I never liked them when I was playing little SS practice amps either.
GMW hot-rod telecaster
GMW soloist
PRS Custom 24
The Illegal Les Paul
CAE 3+SE
Soldano SM-100R
Splawn 4x12

“Life is on the wire…the rest is just waiting” - Papa Wallenda
Substitute the stage for the wire, and he's got it.
Last edited by Even Bigger D at Dec 16, 2009,
#15
>Differences between Strat and Les Paul

You might as well be comparing an apple to an orange. They're both fruit, but other than that, they have nothing in common.

Same with a Les Paul and a Strat. Both guitars, but nothing in common.

- Strats have three single coil pickups, a tremolo bridge, are made of alder (usually), 21 frets (usually), rosewood fretboards (sometimes maple, as well), maple necks, double-cutaway bodies, bolt-on necks, 6-in-line tuner configurations, and much more wood has been removed from the guitar than would be from a Les Paul, to rout for the pickups, controls, and tremolo, due to a different routing pattern.
- Les Pauls have two humbucking pickups, a Tune-O-Matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece, are made of mahogany with a maple cap, have rosewood (sometimes ebony, as well), mahogany necks, singe-cutaway dreadnought bodies, set necks, 3-on-a-side tuner configurations, and much more wood than a Stratocaster.

All of these things should lend to the tone of your guitar, such as the contours on the Strat's body that required routing of wood, where the Les Paul retains all of its wood. So the Strat should have a brighter tone, with less punch, while the Led Paul should have a warmer tone, with a lot of punch, and greater sustain.
Perhaps you should take your guitars to a guitar store, and ask if you can try them out through a large all-tube amp, such as a Marshall, a Bogner, a Mesa, or a Soldano, to get an idea of how different the tone of a Strat is from the tone of a Les Paul. Adding new pickups to guitars being run through a Microcube isn't really going to help you at all.
7-String Legion
Quote by TheJem
Justice4AllOne pretty much mentioned all of my ideas so yeah...pointless pun post.

Quote by MightySumo
Thanks fer settin me straight on that Justice

Quote by oneblackened
I was thinking that too, Justice usually seems like a pretty knowledgeable guy.
#16
If you plan to get better pickups, look at higher outputted single coils, atleast for the bridge. You'll want to keep them around the same output. Also, look for the sound you want out of your strat. Find a pickup maker and tell em what you want, CorduroyEW on the forums makes pickups and he can steer you in the right direction.

Find a few strat player influences, go to Cord and he can tell you what you should look for in pickups for neck, middle, and bridge.

Likewise, you can just look at what your favorite players used. Also don't rule out single coil sized humbuckers. Eric Johnson used Dimarzio HS-2s in all positions with the coil split function on his '54 strat. Gilmour used an EMG on one of his strats, etc.

Of course as always stated, an upgraded amp will sound better than a digital one.

EDIT: To add, you should also check out your pots. They could be bad quality which can affect how your guitar will sound.
Last edited by FallsDownStairs at Dec 16, 2009,
#17
Quote by FallsDownStairs
Likewise, you can just look at what your favorite players used. Also don't rule out single coil sized humbuckers. Eric Johnson used Dimarzio HS-2s in all positions with the coil split function on his '54 strat. Gilmour used an EMG on one of his strats, etc.

David Gilmour didn't use an EMG humbucker. He used three EMG-SA single coils with alnico magnets, an EXG mid-cut/expander, and an SPC mid-booster in his legendary 1983 Red Strat, and were installed in 1985, and first recorded at Live Aid.
7-String Legion
Quote by TheJem
Justice4AllOne pretty much mentioned all of my ideas so yeah...pointless pun post.

Quote by MightySumo
Thanks fer settin me straight on that Justice

Quote by oneblackened
I was thinking that too, Justice usually seems like a pretty knowledgeable guy.
#18
Quote by FallsDownStairs
Gilmour used an EMG on one of his strats, etc.

Good call. I don't remember if he was doing that on Pulse, but the EMG DG-20 pickguard is one of the coolest drop-in pickup sets ever thanks to the unique scoop/mid-boost tone controls. Re-wire for 18v, and it's even better. Only problem is the lack of battery access.

OP could go down that route if he feels the stock passives lack gumption.
GMW hot-rod telecaster
GMW soloist
PRS Custom 24
The Illegal Les Paul
CAE 3+SE
Soldano SM-100R
Splawn 4x12

“Life is on the wire…the rest is just waiting” - Papa Wallenda
Substitute the stage for the wire, and he's got it.
Last edited by Even Bigger D at Dec 16, 2009,
#19
Quote by Even Bigger D
Good call. I don't remember if he was doing that on Pulse, but the EMG DG-20 pickguard is one of the coolest drop-in pickup sets ever. Re-wire for 18v, and it's even better.

I believe David was still using the SA single coils on P•U•L•S•E, which was recorded at various shows in 1994 (many solos are lifted from other shows, because David played some bad notes), and replaced the SA pickups in 1995.
7-String Legion
Quote by TheJem
Justice4AllOne pretty much mentioned all of my ideas so yeah...pointless pun post.

Quote by MightySumo
Thanks fer settin me straight on that Justice

Quote by oneblackened
I was thinking that too, Justice usually seems like a pretty knowledgeable guy.
#20
Quote by evo462
"what" is "not"?
This:

Strats along with almost all single coiled guitars are better for clean, over driven or slightly distorted sounds

Les Pauls use humbuckers which some say have a worse clean sounds but are better for distortion and heavier gain stuff"
Thing is that it's a blanket statement.

Single coils don't sound better than humbuckers for clean, overdrive and slightly distorted sounds. They might be brighter, but in no way are they better. I happen to like the full bodied PAF sound clean, and I would bet my own guitars that others do as well, and many would prefer it to a strat clean, which some might find thin or lacking in body. And strats better than les pauls for overdriven or slightly overdriven sounds? Only if you prefer a strat tone to les paul tone, and that is a completely subjective and long debated topic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfCLYlzYO68

Sounds great to me... unless that counts as "distortion or heavy gain"

Now it's nothing against strats, I love strats, but only for certain applications, I prefer their sound when strumming or playing those Hendrix style, multi-string riffs, but for all other applications I will pick up a les paul 10 times out of 10. It's just my preference.
Last edited by al112987 at Dec 16, 2009,