#1
So I've finally gone and done it. After a month of deliberating I've decided to bite the bullet and get a Fender Stratocaster.

I've wanted a Fender Strat since I was kid and I'm freaking exciting to say the least. I currently play a Gibson SG Special 2016 T but have totally succumbed to chronic GAS, so you know, wth.

I play a pretty interesting mix of prog, blues, rock, groove metal and black metal with my band and I want to know sonically where my new guitar will fit into that. I've never owned a guitar with single coils before so I'm fully prepared for big sonic differences.

Anybody know of any key tips to a new Fender owner/player, especially vis a vis tone, amp, EQ's as well as set-up, maintenance etc.
Gibson SG 2016 1960's Tribute
Fender Standard Stratocaster
Marshall DSL100H
Marshall 1960B 4x12
ProCo Rat 2
#2
Do you know what model you're going for? Lots out there from Fender and others.

Learn where your tone knob is. If it isn't done already (traditional setup on a Strat has tone pots for neck and middle, modern ones sometimes do the same; lots of people prefer to have one for neck+mid and one for bridge), wire your bridge pickup to it, then use it. Also remember that the in-between positions (2 and 4) are fun and experiment with them.

Probably won't be your number one for groove metal, though it might fit into black metal. High gain with normal single coils means a lot of hum, and that's a fact of life, but you can reduce it by shielding cavities if you really want to play metal with it. Fender singlecoils through a Fender clean amp (in the blackface vein) will sound fantastic, put a Tubescreamer in between and you've got the SRV thing going (in general, mid boosts are very friendly with singlecoils). Fuzzes and/or Marshall-y amps will also work happily with singlecoils for more rock stuff.

You'll probably either have a vintage (6 screw) or modern (2 post) style of tremolo. Both will be setup to float just off the body from the factory, but if you want easy tuning stability either version can be decked against the body and individual saddles adjusted to set the action. Most models will have a 9.5" fretboard radius, which will be more curved than what you're used to; vintage style models have a significantly smaller radius of 7.25". In either case, with very low action your bends on the top strings will fret out. Personally I prefer to set the bridge saddles to a much flatter radius than the fretboard to get room to bend, but the tradeoff is, of course, higher action on the outer strings.

If you plan on using the tremolo and that's not something you're used to, standard tremolo considerations apply: Lubricate nut slots (and/or replace nut with Tusq XL), and get used to stringing with the minimal number of winds necessary to keep the string secure on the post. Personally, I really like vintage-style slotted tuners for that, as you can pre-judge the amount of string you'll have around it. On certain (cheaper or 70s-styled) models, you'll have two string trees. Removing the one for the D and G strings will help with tuning stability, and while the one for the B and E is necessary unless you have staggered tuners, but can be replaced with something like a Dynaguide or roller tree for very cheap for better stability with the tremolo. If you just leave the tremolo decked you probably won't need to do anything with that string tree.

If you feel like playing any thumb-over-neck type stuff (basically Hendrix and people strongly influenced by him), it'll probably make a lot more sense on a Fender neck than a Gibson one, so consider that.

Otherwise, well, have fun
#3
K33 has some good points now I'm a total Strat guy but have to ? whether it would be a good choice for the styles you mentioned. at the very least you'd have t get a HSS strat (humbucker in bridge) as the standard SSS strat just isn't the best tool for things like prog metal. yes you can get single coil size humbuckers but they may not be ideal for some of what you want either.

ok if you insist on single coils then I just can't see Black Metal as being a good fit. I play metal with mine but it's more in tune with say 70s or early 80s metal which did use strats back in the day. it will really depend on what amp you are using. my Peavey Ultra does work well with my strats for high gain stuff and the active EQ can really add some umph to the single col pickups. at band volumes you will definitely need a noise gate and proably will have to look into noiseless or low noise pickups as the standard ones get pretty noisey at real high gain settings. 2 of my strats have locking tuners and LSR roller nuts for greater whammy bar stability. in my profile you'll find a link to some of my stuff the song Valley Of Gwangi is metal and was recorded with one of my strats.
#4
my #1 tip is make sure you take the time to explore all 5 positions on the switch, get to know them all. and adjust the pickup heights until all 5 positions give you what you want. then you will know the power of the stratocaster.

really though. set aside a decent chunk of time to adjusting the pickup heights till they're perfect, you'll be glad you did
#5
Had me scared there for a second when you stated Bullet, I was like in the name of the sweet mother of all things great and small anything but a Bullet fer Christ's sakes, WTF are you thinking? Strat's? Eh love them or tolerate them, You'll figure it out,
#6
Congrats, welcome to #TeamStrat! I've been playing rock, blues, alternative, and progressive styles using Strats exclusively for the last few years. Prior to that, I was basically using all HH or HSH style guitars, but after experimenting and discovering all the options one has with a Strat, I've pretty much accepted it's the guitar for me.

First off, two important things. Your pickups are going to be a key factor in the tones you're able to get, especially when we talk about dirty tones. Some single coils deal much better with gain than others. I'm generally a fan of hotter, "Texas" wound types of single coils because I find they deal well with dirty sounds as opposed to some of the more vintage wound pickups. Also, while noiseless pickups might seem great on paper, I find there is just something missing in the tone of them. In the Fender sets I've played (can't say much for Lace, though) I've found the pickups lack some life to them and can sound sterile.

Second, as K33 mentioned, you will want your bridge pickup wired to a tone knob. If you plan to stick with an SSS configuration (my main Strat is HSS with a JB Jr. in the bridge), using the tone knob to roll off some high end will be essential to dialing in certain tones, especially "heavier" tones.

Some various other things I've learned along the way:

- For my main OD pedal, I prefer using a "Blues Drive" type of pedal (mine is an MI Audio Blues Pro) as they are generally more flat in EQ that a TS-style circuit, which helps fatten up the sound of a Strat for dirty sounds. Also, they generally have a little more gain on tap. I personally run pretty high mids on my amp(s) (moving to a rig where I'm using two amps through a stereo 2x12) so sometimes kicking on a TS style pedal can cause things to get a bit too "boxy", which can work well for leads but sound awkward for rhythm, IMO.

- When it comes to dialing in tones, I've found I prefer to start with my neck pickup, then move to position 2 or my bridge. While my main Strat with my rig is dialed in to the point where I'm happy all the way across the pickup selector, it did take me months of experimenting and gigging to truly get to that point.

- Don't underestimate position 2 or 4. They sound great for cleans and lighter gain stuff, especially rhythm.

- Don't be alarmed if your tone is brighter than you expected. Embrace that brightness - it's part of why you cut through a mix so well. One of the biggest mistakes I made early on with my Strats was dialing in tones that were too dark. While my dirty tones with my bridge pickup sounded great, everything else seemed to lack and most noticeably my neck pickup leads weren't cutting through like I wanted. This is why I suggest dialing in amp EQ starting with the neck pickup first. This is also why having a tone knob connected to your bridge pickup is also important, because if you find your neck pickup sounds great but your bridge is sounding too harsh, just roll back the tone.


Edit: rich, what gear will you be using with the Strat and which model did you opt for?
Quote by Zeppelin71
Umm. . .uh. . .your mom touched sjones' dick. YOUR MOM TOUCHED OUR GUITARISTS GENITALS IN A CAMPER AT A BIKER FESTIVAL! truth.
Last edited by sjones at Oct 13, 2016,
#7
Hey all,

So to detail my current rig, it's pretty simple:

Marshall DSL100H Head
Marshall 1960B 412 Cab
Proco Rat 2
Jim Dunlop Wah Wah

Honestly, I've got my Gibson SG for the heavier stuff anyway and I really wanted the SSS configuration for the cleaner, bluesier moments. Having said that, I'm quite big on the idea of making my own tone and I've pissed around with strats before playing heavy riffs and the like and I thought it was quite a unique sound. The mini-humbuckers in my SG have a more jangly sound than the humbuckers I've plaid before and I was initially worried it wouldn't suit itself well to the sound we were going for.

The more we played, we experimented with EQ settings and it's made me fairly confident that our riffs would sound really interesting on single coils. I jammed on Les Paul Junior with P90's for a while and managed to get a great Goatsnake style heaviness. Stylistically we have extremely heavy moments but a lot of big, brighter sound moments that i really think a Strat will lend itself to.

I guess I heard players like Blackmore with Purple and thought wth, if he can do it I can too! I'm thinking that I boost the bass, roll back the mid and treble and whack on the proco rat 2.

Thanks for the tips though guys, keep em coming.

Edit: I could only afford a Fender Standard Strat so it's a Mexican one. I'm thinking about upgrading the Bridge pick-up to a Seymour Duncan Hot-Rails or something like that. Not straight away though. I wanna experiment with the stock pick-ups first.
Gibson SG 2016 1960's Tribute
Fender Standard Stratocaster
Marshall DSL100H
Marshall 1960B 4x12
ProCo Rat 2
Last edited by rich.bendall at Oct 13, 2016,
#8
Quote by rich.bendall
Hey all,

So to detail my current rig, it's pretty simple:

Marshall DSL100H Head
Marshall 1960B 412 Cab
Proco Rat 2
Jim Dunlop Wah Wah

Honestly, I've got my Gibson SG for the heavier stuff anyway and I really wanted the SSS configuration for the cleaner, bluesier moments. Having said that, I'm quite big on the idea of making my own tone and I've pissed around with strats before playing heavy riffs and the like and I thought it was quite a unique sound. The mini-humbuckers in my SG have a more jangly sound than the humbuckers I've plaid before and I was initially worried it wouldn't suit itself well to the sound we were going for.

The more we played, we experimented with EQ settings and it's made me fairly confident that our riffs would sound really interesting on single coils. I jammed on Les Paul Junior with P90's for a while and managed to get a great Goatsnake style heaviness. Stylistically we have extremely heavy moments but a lot of big, brighter sound moments that i really think a Strat will lend itself to.

I guess I heard players like Blackmore with Purple and thought wth, if he can do it I can too! I'm thinking that I boost the bass, roll back the mid and treble and whack on the proco rat 2.

Thanks for the tips though guys, keep em coming.

Edit: I could only afford a Fender Standard Strat so it's a Mexican one. I'm thinking about upgrading the Bridge pick-up to a Seymour Duncan Hot-Rails or something like that. Not straight away though. I wanna experiment with the stock pick-ups first.


nothing wrong with a good MIM Strat. my main Strat is one (and yes I have US as well). umm...... Deep Purple is a far cry from Black Metal which is why I gave the answer I did. I'm all for working on original tones just don't want to give advise that leads to disappointment. mini humbuckers aren't the first choice for the really heavy stuff either. just so you know most true single coil pups don't have a really good bass response even if boosted. you are better off boosting the mids to get a thicker sound. this has been a tried and true formula for me.
#9
^Cheers for the tip! I'll remember that when I'm messing with EQ settings. I actually think a single coil will work well for Black Metal. If you listen to most Black Metal guitar tone its very shrill and I think a single coil in the bridge position will give this trebly sound off well. Also, Misirlou by Dick Dale is essentially proto-black metal in terms of technique execution and it sounds huge!

We don't use masses of distortion in our sound and usually try and achieve 'band heavy' as opposed to 'guitar heavy'. I am aware that an SSS Strat is a totally different beast from my Gibson but I'm looking forward to the challenge!
Gibson SG 2016 1960's Tribute
Fender Standard Stratocaster
Marshall DSL100H
Marshall 1960B 4x12
ProCo Rat 2
#10
Quote by rich.bendall
^
We don't use masses of distortion in our sound and usually try and achieve 'band heavy' as opposed to 'guitar heavy'. I am aware that an SSS Strat is a totally different beast from my Gibson but I'm looking forward to the challenge!


If this is your perspective, I think you'll love having a Strat at your disposal.

I play in a Southern/Blues Rock band currently, but my former act was more modern. https://www.reverbnation.com/blackbourbondevils

My tones on the first three songs on that playlist (I recommend the 1st and 3rd, personally) are all Strats going thru the Blues Pro>Jet City 20h>1x12 V30 and also into a Kemper which was a EL34 or 84 combo model with a Rat modeled pedal driving it, then blended together. I believe all my rhythm parts on the song "Last Words" were my MIM Strat with a GFS 9k Alnico bridge p'up. I'm pretty sure all the leads on those tracks were my American Special when it was SSS all Texas Specials, but Last Words could have been all MIM. "Eyes Wide Open" is all my US Strat but it shows off more of a variety of tones.

That band was more alternative with some I guess "crossover prog" elements here and there. As far as "heavy" Strat sounds, I was proud of those tracks. Also, I think you will really like how the Rat performs with a Strat, especially for a pedal that can thicken it up for heavy or lead tones.
Quote by Zeppelin71
Umm. . .uh. . .your mom touched sjones' dick. YOUR MOM TOUCHED OUR GUITARISTS GENITALS IN A CAMPER AT A BIKER FESTIVAL! truth.
Last edited by sjones at Oct 14, 2016,
#11
Listened to the tracks mate, love the big fat sound you managed to get! Leads sound spot on and the rhythm tracks sound thick and heavy. You've made me a lot more confident I made the right decision buddy!
Gibson SG 2016 1960's Tribute
Fender Standard Stratocaster
Marshall DSL100H
Marshall 1960B 4x12
ProCo Rat 2
#12
rich.bendall Thanks man! Glad I could help. After listening back to those tracks, I can confirm that the MIM was used for all of Last Words, solo included. I really like the super fat and bluesy lead tone in the 2nd half of that solo break, and that's just a stock neck pickup.

With the gear you're already using, throwing a Strat into the mix should work really, really well I think.
Quote by Zeppelin71
Umm. . .uh. . .your mom touched sjones' dick. YOUR MOM TOUCHED OUR GUITARISTS GENITALS IN A CAMPER AT A BIKER FESTIVAL! truth.
#13
So a few days in to owning my strat I've definitely noted a few key differences:

-So much more tonal variety. The five way pick-up selector amazing and can make the guitar sound totally different when used in tandem with the tone nobs.

-Clean tone is just sex.

-Distorted tone is definitely more of a struggle. With the Gibson I can just plug in, set everything to 12 o' clock and it will sound great. Due to lack of bass response in the single coils I've been playing around with greatly upping the mids, and turning down the tone nobs to get my sound. Occasionally I'll hit a great tone but then five minutes later I've changed my mind about it. I've currently reached a nice sounding distortion with my mids at about 3pm, bass at about 11/12 pm, treble at about 1pm, resonance at 3pm and presence at 12pm. Gain is set to about 12pm on ultra-gain.

It's a battle i'm enjoying immensely though!

P.S. sounds amazing with the ProCo Rat 2.
Gibson SG 2016 1960's Tribute
Fender Standard Stratocaster
Marshall DSL100H
Marshall 1960B 4x12
ProCo Rat 2
#14
yep that's pretty much the height of it with a strat, at least for me. in terms of pure tone for lower gain tones, i may well consider the strat to have the best tone of all. and i really do love the tone of one a bit overdriven, too. but for higher gain stuff, as you say, it's a struggle. for me at least.
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

#15
many get bummed with a strat distorted because it doesn't sound like a humbucker. strats have their own thing with distortion so you just have to embrace it and you may find you love it. I know I do. you have to really try hard to get strats to mush out with high gain which is nice if you ask me. notes tend to retain a lot of clarity and the sustain is very different (you don't get that violin sustain associated with humbuckers) but good in its own way.
#16
Its as you guy's say, its not a bad distorted tone, just a different tone than we are told is 'good' in mainstream rock/metal thought. I've started to become a much bigger fan of fuzzy distortion which breaks up easily. I did find that the sound breaks up so quickly that it can start to lack clarity when playing individual notes/full chords. I wonder if I should turn down the gain slightly and turn up the treble some.

Also, does anybody have any experience in raising actions on Strats? We play in D Standard (occasionally drop C) and the guitar is set up for E Standard with size 010. strings. It looks fairly easy to raise the action however I've never done it before and don't want to put undue stress on the neck!
Gibson SG 2016 1960's Tribute
Fender Standard Stratocaster
Marshall DSL100H
Marshall 1960B 4x12
ProCo Rat 2
#18
Quote by EyeballPaul
Good advice in here and it's stoking up my gas for an MIM Strat.


I've not regretted my purchase at all although it has only heightened my gas!
Gibson SG 2016 1960's Tribute
Fender Standard Stratocaster
Marshall DSL100H
Marshall 1960B 4x12
ProCo Rat 2
#19
Quote by rich.bendall
Its as you guy's say, its not a bad distorted tone, just a different tone than we are told is 'good' in mainstream rock/metal thought. I've started to become a much bigger fan of fuzzy distortion which breaks up easily. I did find that the sound breaks up so quickly that it can start to lack clarity when playing individual notes/full chords. I wonder if I should turn down the gain slightly and turn up the treble some.
For what it's worth, my go-to distortions with singlecoils are pretty much always fuzzes. Obviously not going to do metal for you but I find it's a better match for singlecoils.

Quote by rich.bendall
Also, does anybody have any experience in raising actions on Strats? We play in D Standard (occasionally drop C) and the guitar is set up for E Standard with size 010. strings. It looks fairly easy to raise the action however I've never done it before and don't want to put undue stress on the neck!
Shouldn't put any stress on the neck. Grub screws are either side of each saddle and should take a 0.05"/1.2mm allen wrench. I'd loosen the strings slightly before doing it just to avoid stripping any threads, and the main thing you need to watch out for is raising both sides of the saddle the same amount. Some like to set their saddle heights to a spec, some like to radius them; I just go by feel, myself.
#20
Welcome to the bolt on master race.

Now start play testing every g&l, reverend, fender, and decent etc you can find. Then buy the ones that click.

Plural for accuracy
Why don't they make mouse flavored cat food?
Last edited by gregs1020 at Oct 21, 2016,
#21
Quote by K33nbl4d3
For what it's worth, my go-to distortions with singlecoils are pretty much always fuzzes. Obviously not going to do metal for you but I find it's a better match for singlecoils.

Shouldn't put any stress on the neck. Grub screws are either side of each saddle and should take a 0.05"/1.2mm allen wrench. I'd loosen the strings slightly before doing it just to avoid stripping any threads, and the main thing you need to watch out for is raising both sides of the saddle the same amount. Some like to set their saddle heights to a spec, some like to radius them; I just go by feel, myself.


Awesome, I'll give it a try tonight. It's not a major problem, just minor fret buzz and a few intonation issues on the 2nd frets when I play in D Standard.
Gibson SG 2016 1960's Tribute
Fender Standard Stratocaster
Marshall DSL100H
Marshall 1960B 4x12
ProCo Rat 2