I have a Fender MIM Stratocaster. I was playing through a Peavey Bandit 112, but recently got a used Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. Whenever I play, the top strings, they sound too bassy and boomy, and the lower strings always sound too trebly and shrill. Its even worse with the overdrive. Ive tried several different pedals and the overdrive from the amp and its alyways sounds so muddy, its like Im playing underwater. Im thinking the strings may need to be changed because they are several months old. Could this be causing the problem? By the way, I have tried pretty much every different EQ setting on my amp, and the problem doesnt go away.
Check tone knob, pickup height, blown amp, broken cable or maybe the guitar isn't any better.

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I'm not familiar with the gear you have, but I would recommend changing your strings and then have a go at adjusting your pickups. Just raise or lower a pickup and see if that helps or makes it worse at all. You can't really mess up your guitar by doing this- the worst you can do is actually get a side of your pickup to fall off the screw holding it to your pickguard. For this reason, you probably don't want to lower a pickup so much that the top is actually under the surface of your pickguard.

For a reference, most people have their pickups set on an angle. The side under the thinner strings is usually closer to the strings and the side under the thicker ones is usually further away. Just give it a go, and see what sounds best for you. If you can't fix the problem, I'm at a loss as to what the solution may be.

I'm pretty sure that raising a pickup brings out some more piercing, trebly sounds, and that lowering it brings out the boomy bass.
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I didnt have the probelm with the Bandit but my strings were newer then.
My HRD was always muddy until I swapped the speaker. It's the nature of the amp. You've got to spend a little extra to put a Vintage 30 in it and it'll sound great. It's been my workhorse amp for 5 years now.

And yeah, if you have old tubes in it, the trebles can be a bit shrill.
Last edited by JustRooster at Jun 12, 2013,
I doubt it's just the strings. Could be something's happened to your guitar since. Likely it's a combination of the amp and the guitar. The Fender's voiced differently than the Peavey, probably more low-end. Try what everyone's suggested, adjust the pick-ups, try using the bridge pickup more and replace the strings too. Try a lighter gauge if you have anything more than .10 - .46.