#1
Hey guys,

I just bought a Squier Standard Stratocaster, and I'm not so satisfied with it's tone, I feel it a bit dead and sustainless. I think that's because of the agathis body, but I heard good (and bad) reviews of this guitar, so I'm uploading here a audio record of me playing Smoke on the Water solo, so you guys can say if I have hearing problems or this guitar's tone really sucks.

The amp I used was a Fender Frontman 25W replica called Condor GX35R, made by a brazilian brand, and the changes I did to the guitar were:

- replacement of the nut to a bone nut
- changing strings gauge from 9's to 11's with proper setup
- added 2 extra springs to make the bridge touch the body

All of this I did to improve the sustain.

Here is also some pics of the guitar:
http://img39.imageshack.us/img39/4316/dsc05250w.jpg
http://img709.imageshack.us/img709/7421/dsc05251.jpg
http://img692.imageshack.us/img692/6053/dsc05252s.jpg
http://img37.imageshack.us/img37/4870/dsc05253i.jpg
http://img192.imageshack.us/img192/1457/dsc05254i.jpg

And here is the audio file:
http://www.4shared.com/file/187720617/31eb2ae0/smoke2.html


Thank you very much for your time.
Last edited by Wolfdale at Jan 3, 2010,
#3
Firstly, don't post so many massive pictures. There's an image resizing tool on ImageShack.us that you can use.

To answer your question, all guitars of any given model are not exactly the same. Wood is an organic material, for one thing, so not all bodies and necks will resonate as well as is ideal, and the likelihood of getting a dead-sounding guitar increases as you go down in price, where the manufacturers can't be as choosey.

Did you get to play the guitar before you bought it? If so, did it feel and sound good while you were there, or is this a recent problem? What amp did you play it through in the store, if you did?
#4
It's not the guitar, it's the amp. Pickups won't make a huge difference.
Quote by breakdown123
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#5
Quote by CLIFF_BURTON
It's not the guitar, it's the amp. Pickups won't make a huge difference.



It will when it comes to sustain and harmonics, as well as distortion. But the amp plays a huge role as well, TS needs to replace both to get the most out of his rig, but the amp should be first.
#6
i listened to it and it sounds like your muting the string rather than the sustain going out on its own and if you want more sustain try adding more gain
and also if you dont like how the guitars sounds why did you buy it
Last edited by supersac at Jan 3, 2010,
#7
Thanks for the fast answers.

I don't believe my amp is that bad. Things here in Brazil are a bit different. While I tested the guitar on the store, I had no great experience with tones and etc, and this was the best option for a strat available. The other guitar I could get was a Condor CLP2-S, which is almost as good as an Epiphone Les Paul Standard.

Condor is a brazilian brand that sells entry level and intermediate equipments for reasonable prices offering decent quality. It is very recommended by CifraClub forum, the brazilian Ultimate Guitar.

That's why I bought the Frontman replica, which was said that sounded really close to a real Frontman. I have no money to get a better amp, because this one cost me 250 dollars, a handmade valvulated (don't know if that's the right word) amp costs 800 dollars and a Fender Blues Jr. costs like 1300 dollars.

This guitar I bought for something like 500 dollars, things in Brazil are pretty expensive. In the store I tested it with a Meteoro amp, which is a horrible amp, much worse than the Condor.

The overdrive and reverb I used on the record were the ones that the amp has.

So, what did you guys think about the guitar's tone, regardless of amp and etc? And what about adding a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails on bridge position, for a hard rock humbucker sound and a sustain improvement?
#8
Sorry to burst your bubble, but the Frontman amps are horrible pieces of shit that should never be used for tonal purposes, more of beginner guitarists just starting out I want to make lots of noise kinda amps. I promise you its the amp, if its almost as good as a Fender Frontman then its prolly worse than a Line 6 spider III. If you want good tone, then you need either a tube amp or a high quality SS amp, being a musician is very expensive, generally the more money you spend, the better the equipment and tone you'll have.

But if you must then yes, the Seymore Duncans will sound great.
#9
Quote by ethan_hanus
Sorry to burst your bubble, but the Frontman amps are horrible pieces of shit that should never be used for tonal purposes, more of beginner guitarists just starting out I want to make lots of noise kinda amps. I promise you its the amp, if its almost as good as a Fender Frontman then its prolly worse than a Line 6 spider III. If you want good tone, then you need either a tube amp or a high quality SS amp, being a musician is very expensive, generally the more money you spend, the better the equipment and tone you'll have.

But if you must then yes, the Seymore Duncans will sound great.

Oh yeah, by valvulated I meant tube amp. This Frontman copy is one of the best amps I can afford here in Brazil, I just wanted to know if there's something wrong with my guitar, if it was a total piece of crap, and what should I do to get a real stratocaster sound from it.

By the way, what do you think about the sustain issue?
#10
Pickups might be too high, try lowering them.
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#11
I listened to the clip, and I do think you have a bit of a lack of sustain. Probably several issues are causing this:

1) The strat just isn't the best guitar design (regardless of who makes it) for sustain
2) The Squire strats are not the best examples of strats in terms of sustain. Mexican and US fenders tend to be a lot better.
3) You're playing kind of timid and that makes everything sustain a bit less
4) Your amp probably just isn't getting the job done.

Now, I understand that guitar and amp choices are limited in South America, but neither Squires nor Frontman amps are very well though of in the US. I don't mean to bash your stuff - I'm just saying there's a disconnect between what you see as quality gear, and what most people on this board are used to.

When playing something like Smoke On The Water, you have to realize that Blackmore's stage rig for deep purple was multiple 100+ watt tube Marshalls turned up all the way with a treble booster in front. A rig like that is so loud you FEEL the air pressure from the notes when you play. Any guitar will sustain indefinitely when put in front of a rig like that just due to feedback. You can't expect to emulate that sound with a small amp. It just isn't going to happen.

I don't really have a solution to your problem other than to tell you to work on your technique and try to get as much out of your current rig as possible and save up for something better. Those prices you quoted were insane by US standards, which is really too bad.
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#12
Quote by JoePerry4life
Pickups might be too high, try lowering them.

That's a good though too.
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Substitute the stage for the wire, and he's got it.
#13
Quote by Even Bigger D
I listened to the clip, and I do think you have a bit of a lack of sustain. Probably several issues are causing this:

1) The strat just isn't the best guitar design (regardless of who makes it) for sustain
2) The Squire strats are not the best examples of strats in terms of sustain. Mexican and US fenders tend to be a lot better.
3) You're playing kind of timid and that makes everything sustain a bit less
4) Your amp probably just isn't getting the job done.

Now, I understand that guitar and amp choices are limited in South America, but neither Squires nor Frontman amps are very well though of in the US. I don't mean to bash your stuff - I'm just saying there's a disconnect between what you see as quality gear, and what most people on this board are used to.

When playing something like Smoke On The Water, you have to realize that Blackmore's stage rig for deep purple was multiple 100+ watt tube Marshalls turned up all the way with a treble booster in front. A rig like that is so loud you FEEL the air pressure from the notes when you play. Any guitar will sustain indefinitely when put in front of a rig like that just due to feedback. You can't expect to emulate that sound with a small amp. It just isn't going to happen.

I don't really have a solution to your problem other than to tell you to work on your technique and try to get as much out of your current rig as possible and save up for something better. Those prices you quoted were insane by US standards, which is really too bad.

Oh man, that was a great help, thank you very much.

You seem experienced with guitars, can you tell me what is lacking on my guitar so it can get a tone close to a true Stratocaster? And about the sustain, I'll try lowering the pups and improving my technique.

I was wondering of buying a Hot Rails for the bridge position, do you think it will give me a noticeable improvement on the tone and sustain?

And the agathis wood, is that an ok wood for a Strat of this price level?

Thank you very much for the help, and sorry for the bunch of questions.
#14
The biggest issues that affect sustain are body wood, the bridge, and the neck joint. Some wood just isn't very resonant. It's not always even a matter of wood species - if you get 5 slabs of mahogany, and tap them you might get three that kind of go "thump" and a couple that ring out. The guitars made out of those two will be more resonant and sustain better than the other three.

The differences between your guitar and a "real" fender strat are all minor, but they add up. Things like wood type and grade, fret size, tuners, bridge type and manufacturing, pickups, pots and probably more I"m not thinking of right now.

I don't think trying to modify your guitar (other than checking the pickup height) is going to get you very far in terms of sustain. A hot rails won't give you more sustain, but it is a higher output pickup which may sound good for rock styles that typically used humbucker guitars. So you might want to do it anyways. A hotter imput signal might help your amp's distortion channel sound a little better too.

In my opinion Agathis is OK for an entry level guitar (which is what most of the Squire line is, by US standards), but wouldn't be my choice on anything higher end.
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“Life is on the wire…the rest is just waiting” - Papa Wallenda
Substitute the stage for the wire, and he's got it.
#15
Quote by Even Bigger D
The biggest issues that affect sustain are body wood, the bridge, and the neck joint. Some wood just isn't very resonant. It's not always even a matter of wood species - if you get 5 slabs of mahogany, and tap them you might get three that kind of go "thump" and a couple that ring out. The guitars made out of those two will be more resonant and sustain better than the other three.

The differences between your guitar and a "real" fender strat are all minor, but they add up. Things like wood type and grade, fret size, tuners, bridge type and manufacturing, pickups, pots and probably more I"m not thinking of right now.

I don't think trying to modify your guitar (other than checking the pickup height) is going to get you very far in terms of sustain. A hot rails won't give you more sustain, but it is a higher output pickup which may sound good for rock styles that typically used humbucker guitars. So you might want to do it anyways. A hotter imput signal might help your amp's distortion channel sound a little better too.

In my opinion Agathis is OK for an entry level guitar (which is what most of the Squire line is, by US standards), but wouldn't be my choice on anything higher end.

I'm going to buy a multi-effects like Boss ME50 as soon as I can, that would be in a month. Then I'll stop using my amp's distortion and use only its clean channel and reverb. Do you think I'll have a good tone with this setup and the Hot Rails?

Also, a question about what you said about Blackmore. If it is so loud, guitarrists like him don't have hearing problems? I was always curious about those amps I see on stage. Are they enough to cover all the audience?
#16
I'm not familiar with that particular Boss unit, but I think in general amp modelers sound better than the built in preamps on most low end solid state amps. To beat them out, you have to go with big channel switching tube amps that may be unavailable or ridiculously expensive in Brazil. So yes, I would look at going that way.

And a lot of the old time guys have some hearing loss. A few have a lot. Pete Townshend (who the 100 watt marshall was developed for) has permanent ringing in his ears. Back in the day they would definitely cover entire venues with amps like that - even several thousand seats. There were no multi-thousand watt PA systems, so a whole bunch of big tube heads and speaker stacks were the only way to go. They used those same types of amps for PAs actually - the singers would have a stack just like the guitarist.
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“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 Jan 4, 2010,
#17
Quote by Even Bigger D
I'm not familiar with that particular Boss unit, but I think in general amp modelers sound better than the built in preamps on most low end solid state amps. To beat them out, you have to go with big channel switching tube amps that may be unavailable or ridiculously expensive in Brazil. So yes, I would look at going that way.

And a lot of the old time guys have some hearing loss. A few have a lot. Pete Townshend (who the 100 watt marshall was developed for) has permanent ringing in his ears. Back in the day they would definitely cover entire venues with amps like that - even several thousand seats. There were no multi-thousand watt PA systems, so a whole bunch of big tube heads and speaker stacks were the only way to go. They used those same types of amps for PAs actually - the singers would have a stack just like the guitarist.

I see. Dude, I don't want to bother you more than I did but could you give me your MSN or something like that if possible, of course, because I have some minor questions that would take too long to be answered in the message board.

Thank you very much!
#18
I don't have MSN, but you can email me at evenbiggerd [at] gmail.com or use the site's PM feature.
GMW hot-rod telecaster
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Soldano SM-100R
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“Life is on the wire…the rest is just waiting” - Papa Wallenda
Substitute the stage for the wire, and he's got it.
#19
Quote by Wolfdale
Oh yeah, by valvulated I meant tube amp. This Frontman copy is one of the best amps I can afford here in Brazil, I just wanted to know if there's something wrong with my guitar, if it was a total piece of crap, and what should I do to get a real stratocaster sound from it.

By the way, what do you think about the sustain issue?


The sustain issue is not really because of the wood, I have a Squier Affinity Strat that is amazingly made out of Alder, and after I upgraded the saddles and nut to Graphtech, and the new tuners and EMG 81's I had plenty of sustain, but I also play through a 50 watt tube amp, which helps.

A good word of advice is to not try to achieve someone elses tone, but make your own, something unique to you, its not hard to do, I use EMG's and I have a pretty unique tone, despite everyone bashing the blandness of EMG's.

I know that the Frontman is all you can afford, the Valveking is all I can afford, but you have to make the best of what you have, which is what I've been doing for years.
#20
I have a Squier and my biggest gripe is the pickups. I’m planning on replacing them. I also coulda done without the tremolo… but being my first guitar, I didn’t know any better.

Not a terrible guitar.