I have 2 guitars which I love, a PRS custom 22 and a USA fender lonestar Strat (texas special pups neck and mid and Seymour Duncan pearly gates HB in the bridge.)

I am mostly using the PRS at the moment, but would love to be able to switch during a gig so I can use the single coils for the twang!

However, when I switch, the fender sounds too quiet and to trebley clean, (which I expected) but kick in an overdrive pedal and its twice as loud as the PRS!! This is of course a problem!

I use a fender blue deluxe reissue amp, and a black star HD dual for crunch and a fulltone full drive as an OD pedal. I also use a Carl martin combinator to avoid tap dancing.

Does anyone know why the single could sound so much louder than the hum buckers when boosted? Driving me crazy!!
It has to do with the EQ frequencies that are being boosted. You need to change your settings when you switch guitars. Have a different set of settings for your overdrive pedals - maybe just lower the volume or tweak the eq. I would probably recommend setting the eq flat on the amp as well - if you have some crazy settings there it's probably screwing with your volume when you switch. Different guitars have different outputs - that's normal. Different guitars also accentuate different eq frequncies - so you may have settings that are boosting a frequency that is lacking on the PRS to get clarity but when you use the Strat you're just overly boosting a frequency that is already plentiful in the Strat, which is causing the volume boost.
I think there's either one of two things going on:

1. Your PRS has hotter pickups than your strat, therefore it decreases the headroom your amp has. When you kick in an overdrive pedal on an amp that has little to no headroom, your volume won't change much or not at all. Your strat is not as hot, so your amp has more headroom. When you kick in the overdrive pedal with an amp that has lots of headroom, you gain volume (sometimes a lot of it). What I'd recommend in this case is a pedal that boosts the signal of the strat to the same input gain as the PRS. I personally use an MXR MC401 Line Driver which works perfectly for this (simple one-knob design).

2.Your strat is not louder, but tonally different. A strat, because of it's high-mid and treble frequencies might seem louder because it could stand out more in a mix. The PRS might be more emphasized in the lower frequencies which could cause it to fall back in the mix, making it sound like it's lower in volume. What you could try is an eq pedal you kick on when you switch guitars so either make the strat sound more like the PRS or the vice versa.

Hope this helps!
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I agree with idea that it is just a drastic tone change with different dominant frequencies on each guitar. Try buying a small EQ effects pedal (there are lots of them) and have it set up just for the Strat. Bypass it with when you play the PRS and kick it in with the Strat. I have a similar issue with different guitars but I have a modaling amp so I have some settings that are EQ'd for one guitar (humbuckers) and others that are EQ'd for my Tele or Strats. When I was using a pedal board I used the EQ pedal like I described. It worked fine. My EQ pedal also had a master out so I could compensate for volume issues.
I agree it's probably the tonal differences. I had the same problem last night at a gig but for a different reason. Played till halfway through the 2nd set with no problems, using just a Marshall Bluesbreaker Overdrive pedal, and a 2 amp rig...Fender Champ and Super Reverb, volume the same but the Super Reverb a bit brighter and cleaner. NO problems till I had to use the distortion pedal, first time I used it. I knew immediately I had too much treble, sure enough the bartender showed up and told us it was too loud.

Nope, it was no louder than the overdrive, just too much treble. That gave the impression it was louder. Dialed it back a little and had no more problems. Didn't change the volume though, just the tone for less treble.

Your strat is probably doing the same thing, brighter sound from the pickups, so it seems louder.

You can go with the suggestion for a EQ set just for that guitar, or tweak the pickups a little by moving the treble end further from the strings to cut back the highs a little. I did that with my Strat a long time ago. The Cort CL 1500 is still louder than the strat, but the difference is not much after I tweaked the pickups in both, and lowered the treble end of the bridge pickup in the strat. The other 2 pickups are lowered a little at the treble end but not as much as the bridge pickup. With the Cort, dual humbuckers, I did the opposite, lowered the bass end of each pickup a little. That gives it a bit brighter sound and the pickups are set so it's about the same volume level as well, so I don't have any problems now, but it took a little trial and error to get all of my guitars set about the same. The Peavey Patriot was similar tot he Cort, for single coils they are really hot, and had to be lowered so far the neck pickup is actually below the level of the body, and the bass end of both had to be lowered a little.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Last edited by Paleo Pete at Jan 17, 2015,
The CU22 has Dragon II's right? when you coil tap them, you get a very convincing strat tone. Why not do that instead.
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The MXR Micro Amp pedal is supposed to be good for helping to keep pickup output relatively level if you're switching guitars. Maybe check that out.
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers
My tasty licks aren't going anywhere.
Just turn up the amp gain when switching to the Strat and always always roll off the treble for the Strat Bridge PU to normalize gain and tone between two guitars. I like being able to get really bright tone with a Strat for songs that need that Beatles "Ticket to Ride" tone but I only use it maybe one or two songs/night. Otherwise I roll off the bridge tone to taste.

The Strat was designed to use the volume and tone pots a lot to dial in your sound.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Jan 18, 2015,
When you start combining things you really do need to start to learn about how to adjust the different elements in order for them to work together to get your desired sound.

This is the same if it's two quite differently designed guitars, or a guitar, a new pedal, and your amp. When you start using two different type amps, two different type guitars, and a few different pedals, including even one element that is new to you or that you are unfamiliar with, you have to be especially aware that you need to adjust the different elements in order to get a sound that you like.

The longer I have been playing the more I make use of and adjust my guitar and amp controls. I especially used to just leave my guitar controls alone: wide open. I never touched them. I now use my guitar volume and tone knobs all the time and I even modified "all" of my strats with the "bridge tone mod".

If you haven't heard of the "bridge tone mod", google it. It is an easy mod that you can do in ten minutes to your guitar, or have a tech do for maybe ten dollars. It involves as little as moving one wire on your strat's five way switch. There are two main ways of doing it. I like to do the mod so my strats five way switch operates like an sss American Standard Strat. Check it out.

It is the single most amazing mod I have ever done. It lets you put your five way switch down onto just the strat's bridge pickup only (which is usually extra bright and loud), and turn down the treble tone on just that bridge pickup selected separately. This is the strats most powerful pickup and suddenly it gets the ability to adjust its tone from super bright and biting (ice picky), to a very smooth and mellow sound that is very cool.

You have the full sized Pearly Gates Plus bridge pickup, which is a factory modified SD modified Pearly Gates. I believe it has more output (power) plus it's "reverse wound/reverse polarity" in order for it to work noiselessly when combined with the middle single coil (super hot) Texas Special pickup. But if you have an sss strat you may want to try the "bridge tone mod". Or even someone reading this might appreciate hearing about it.

In your case, you have to realize (which I'm sure that you do) that the Texas Special single coil pickups are very "hot" single coils with lots of output power. They are not like traditional laid back strat pickups of yesteryear. I dig Texas Special pickups but they can be very treble heavy and even "ice picky". This treble heaviness is sometimes really cool and desirable. Other times you may find yourself, as you do now, in a situation where you have to adjust the volume and tone of those "special" pickups. Don't be afraid to adjust the knobs on your guitar and amp.

With a fairly complicated rig like you have you probably know more about all of this than I do, but I thought I'd mention it just in case it could be of some value to you.

After messing around with what you have, and maybe adding or subtracting something, you should be able to address the problem that you are having and have a reasonably balanced, workable rig that you can switch between guitars with, with little trouble; possibly seamlessly. The more you work on it the better it will get.

I have one of those Lonestars like yours. Mine is black with a tortoise shell pickguard and the same pickup set as yours. It is one of my favorite all time strats that I have ever played. I also have the Fender Roadhouse strat, which is essentially the three single coil version of the Lonestar; with three Texas Special single coils. The bridge tone mod comes in super handy with the bridge pickup on the Roadhouse. When I play it with just the bridge pickup switched on it sounds so cool when I adjust the tone knob. It brings that super bright bridge tone right down into some smooth mellowness, which is very cool and great to be able to do.

Good luck with your rig. By the way, the simple solutions are usually the right/best ones.
Last edited by DuffB at Jan 18, 2015,