#1
Hey guys,

I've been looking at buying an American Standard Stratocaster and I'm not too sure which one I should get.

I'm looking to get a 'classic' stratocaster tone, if that helps. Mostly looking for that glassy neck pickup sound.

So apparently the choices are Alder/RW, Alder/Maple, Ash/RW and Ash/Maple.

My dilemma is that I'm really really digging the Sienna Sunburst strat with the maple neck. I've heard that this is more 'twangy' and much brighter than, say, an alder/maple or alder/RW combo.


I guess my question is, can I still achieve a classic 'strat tone' with an Ash guitar + Maple fretboard?


I tried the American Special today (didn't like it, wasn't as easy to play and IMO the tone wasn't as good) and an American Standard (Alder/RW). I liked the tone and the feel of the American Standard and I guess I'm worried that the Ash/Maple will sound totally different. (Store won't bring it in for me to try it out, I'll need to buy it outright.)

Thanks in advance for any help.

P.S. (Yes, I did search. I didn't find anything that would answer my question definitively)
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#2
Different woods definitely have their own character, but the differences aren't as big as some people make them out to be. If I was choosing I'd go with the Alder/Maple combo personally. But honestly, the biggest impact on your tone will be your pickups. I think you'd be fine to go with whichever one looks/plays the best to you, and then upgrade your pickups accordingly to fine-tune your tone.
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#3
Thanks for the input! I hear people out there going "this combo is totally useless" and "this combo is the classic combo" and I've always wondered if it made a HUGE difference or if it was negligible.

I do record, so the nuances in tone do come out, which is why I'm concerned about the choices presented to me.

Honestly, from what I've read, I would probably choose the Alder/Maple combo too, but the sienna sunburst doesn't come in that tonewood.

Note: A standard colour strat I can pick up for $1400ish while the Sienna Sunburst at about $1620 (I live in Australia, so the prices are exorbitant), so new pickups won't be an option on my budget. At least, not for awhile.
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Line 6 Variax 600
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Ibanez RG350EX
81' Ibanez Blazer Bass

Line 6 Spider III 75
Line 6 POD X3 Live
Fender ToneMaster Mini
Boss DD-2 Delay
Boss CE-2 Chorus


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#4
My favorite combination is swamp ash with a maple fretboard -- swamp ash sounds a bit sweeter to me than alder and fuller than hard ash. There is no one set "classic Strat sound;" just get true single coils (the SCN pickups aren't that bad, either). By the way, fretboard wood has a negligible real impact on your tone. It's much more about asthetics and feel, really.

By the way, do you have access to G&L guitars in Australia? They're also worth checking out if you want a Strat.
Hi, I'm Peter
Last edited by Dirk Gently at Apr 15, 2011,
#5
I actually just picked up a Sienna Sunburst American Standard with a maple fretboard. It's a beautiful guitar. To be honest, I don't find it that twangy. Certainly a little brighter than some of the alder strats, but just EQ accordingly. The difference between the alder and ash is more of a difference in character than overall tone. Either one will sound like a strat, that type of wood just determines the icing on the cake. Alder has more of a full, mids sound. Ash has more of a bright, puchier sound. You can certainly get a glassy tone from the neck pick-up on either guitar though, so I don't think you'll have too much of a problem.
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#6
Check out an original US Fender Strat Plus with Gold Lace Sensor pickups. They were made between the late 80's and late 90's and are available in loads of colours from around £600 in decent condition. Strat Plus guitars are increasingly collectible now too with some nice improvements like the roller nut and TBX tone control.
#7
Thanks for the info guys, I feel a little more at ease buying the Sienna blind now. (Stupid stores don't stock em for some reason)

I might try a deluxe too and see if its worth the extra bucks (iffy on the noiseless pickups).
My Gear
Line 6 Variax 600
Epiphone G-310
Ibanez RG350EX
81' Ibanez Blazer Bass

Line 6 Spider III 75
Line 6 POD X3 Live
Fender ToneMaster Mini
Boss DD-2 Delay
Boss CE-2 Chorus


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