Hello all,

I'm brand new to this forum so please forgive me if this question had already been asked 50 times. I couldn't find it on a sticky.

I'm at the point of shopping for my second electric guitar as I've found the limitations of my first, a bargain bucket Squiet Bullet Strat HSS.

I've had a lot of fiddling around with my amp (Fender Mustang 1) and the setup of the guitar (twiddling with tone knobs, adjusting pickup height, new strings,) but my guitar still seems to sound like toilet. The problem is very apparent if I play with any kind of distortion. The bassier notes just sound like sludge and power chords are so muddy it's difficult to discern what chord it actually is.

Now, I am certain it is time for an upgrade so I won't feel too sad about moving on from my first guitar but what bothers me is that on reading reviews for both the Bullet Strat and the Mustang 1 I've not discovered any complaints such as mine. Have I been doing something wrong all this time? I've been playing for about a year and I'd say I've got enough skill to get through the songs I play with competence but the sound from my amp is awful. Has anyone any advice?
It sounds like you are developing an ear for decent tone.

How are the bass and treble knobs set (there is no mid knob right?)?
How loud are you playing?
what amp fx settings are you using?
where is the gain set on those settings?

But in reality you might be ready for a new guitar and amp
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
Hi Robb,

I tend to play on the 'Super Sonic' preset. I keep the volume knobs for bass, and treble (there is no mid-knob) at their preset levels but have tried turning the bass right down or right up and it doesn't help with the clarity.

I don't play too loud. Just tried cranking it up a bit and it did improve the clarity a fair bit(A5-A7 hammer-ons sounded more defined). I can't really practice all day at that volume though as I live in a shared house and it's pretty antisocial. Do higher end amps play with more definition at a lower volume? Still pretty muddy at the low end-though.

The pre-set is already distorted. I lower the gain to about 4 which is sounds alright to me for the kind of distorted sounds i want (think Steppenwolfs Born To Be Wild).

Do you think it could be the combined effect of cheap amp and cheap guitar that causes the issue?
Try adding some treble to the EQ and maybe take a bit of the bass out.

It is deff a combo of cheap gear.

Go to a music store or a few and try some guitars and amps out that are in a price range you are comfortable with. Try some that are a little above also so you can get a comparison. You can also look used and you can get better quality at a cheaper price
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
"Ugly Strat tone"

I don't think I have that one yet.

Based on a lot of the reviews I've watched on the Mustangs, I confident to say the presets are similar to my GDEC3-30. I haven't really found any of the distortion settings I like, and the cleans and light OD needed a lot of help. I wouldn't blame the Squire for the ugly tone. Maybe play the Squire without the amp and then try to bring that tone to the amp and mess with the settings heavily until you get a sound you can live with.
It's likely not the guitar and more likely the amp that's the issue.

It's also the volume at which you're forced to play. It might be worth plugging a set of good (hundred buck) over-the-ear headphones into your amp to see what's there. See if you can find a friend (or "borrow"-- buy and return -- at GC) with Sony 7506, AKG 240, Sennheiser 280 or BeyerDynamic 770 headphones, pop those into the headphone jack and see what you get then. While you're at it, cut back on the gain and start working at the barely dirty level.
Thanks for all your suggestions. Ill have a listen through my Shure Se215 earphones and see if I can see any improvement. Will get back to you soon.
Ok, I had a play around and I've found that I get a much better sound through my decent earphones on my Mustang 1. However.. the sound still isn't one that I'm happy with. The lower end is still too muddy.

Was thinking about upgrading to a Marshall (my hero Mick Ronson was a diehard fan). I'm looking for vintage tones a la T.Rex/70s Bowie. How much do you reckon my budget needs to stretch to to get me an amp that I won't grow out of in a year's time (I think I might be becoming a bit of a tonehound).
First off, what major cities are you close to? Gotta know where you are in the world to know where to tell you to look.

Apart from that, the Jet City stuff is both affordable and has some great rock tones.
5150 combo
GSP1101 + Tech 21 PE60

ESP LTD M-255 w/ SD Full Shred
Kramer Vanguard w/ JE-1000 active preamp
Douglas WF-150sn w/ GFS "Hot Lead" set

Bos SD-1 (boost)

My Youtube Vids http://youtube.com/user/mogar


Pick one.
Quote by TheSennaj
And well yes, I'll enjoy the carpal tunnel and tendonitis, because trying to get one is clearly smarter than any word you have spoken thus far.
T-Rex used Vampower amps which are really rare if you can find one.

But I agree a new amp would serve you good
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate

I live near London in the UK so I'm heading to the biggest guitar shop we have in Surrey.

Robb, thanks for suggestions. Seem the Vampower is mega rare. Bolan also used Vox, Orange and Marshall. That's a double thumbs up for Marshall so will def try a some of their tube amps out on my guitar shopping trip.
Quote by xDaFormer
Well, it's a strat...

Yea, one of the most influential and important instruments known to music.

If you don't respect the Strat you don't know shit.