Query - Stratocaster - anyone tried to ....?

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VikingBlues
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Query - Stratocaster - anyone tried to ....?

Post by VikingBlues » Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:43 am

Couple of thoughts / queries on Stratocasters. Has anyone tried to ....

1) Go for the master tone control and volume control, thereby bringing in a control over the tone of the bridge pup? Fairly straightforward (though needing soldering - ugggh!) - removal of one connector wire and one jumper between pots and the re-routing of one wire. I've never had a 'strat' derivative guitar yet where I've used the bridge pup on its own due to the tone issue. And if anyone has done this have they modded the then spare tone control to do anything?

2) Go for the heavier gauge strings but tuned down - to get a fuller tone while not losing too much of the ability to bend the strings. Very popular with Robin Trower among others - not to mention SRV, but I would need to tune the gauge of strings he used down about an octave! I'm in the early stages of trying 10s tuned down a whole step but I'm in two minds about it - not sure it feels right, though it's maybe too early to tell. I can get around the notes being in different places by thinking whatever I'm playing is a whole step higher in key - easier to get in my head around somehow than a half step difference. I'm looking for a result in terms of the tone of 10s but with the bending flexibility and suppleness of 9s. Would 11s tuned down a whole step have something of the feel of 9s or 10s for bending does anyone know?
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vancouverois
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Re: Query - Stratocaster - anyone tried to ....?

Post by vancouverois » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:42 am

Tone controls on a Strat are a bit tricky sometimes. I am not sure that a master tone control
is the best choice especially when used with the position 2 and 4 of a Strat, unless you need the
remaining pot for some other purpose.

I have a Strat with the upper tone control wired to the neck pickup only and the lower tone
control wired to the bridge pickup only. I think I got the wiring schema from the Jimmy Vaughan
signature Strat.
I like this setup, very versatile and better overall control of tone settings. The middle PU without
tone control is quite pleasant too.

I used 11s tuned a half step down and the feel of the strings was closer to a set of 10s.
I guess 11s tuned a whole step down will get a closer feel to 9s although I didn't try it.
Jan 15th 2007

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Blindboy
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Re: Query - Stratocaster - anyone tried to ....?

Post by Blindboy » Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:28 pm

Hmm... I've always just left the tone controls on my Strat wide open. Never used them. As for strings... I use .11s tuned to pitch. Years ago I used to use .13s and tune down a half step, but the whole band tuned down, so there weren't any transcribing on the fly issues.
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VikingBlues
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Re: Query - Stratocaster - anyone tried to ....?

Post by VikingBlues » Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:49 pm

vancouverois wrote:Tone controls on a Strat are a bit tricky sometimes. I am not sure that a master tone control
is the best choice especially when used with the position 2 and 4 of a Strat, unless you need the
remaining pot for some other purpose.
vancouverois wrote:I have a Strat with the upper tone control wired to the neck pickup only and the lower tone
control wired to the bridge pickup only. I think I got the wiring schema from the Jimmy Vaughan
signature Strat.
I like this setup, very versatile and better overall control of tone settings. The middle PU without
tone control is quite pleasant too.
I'll admit to having that reservation in my mind with positions 2 and 4. I nearly always use positions 2 and 4 because I like that sort of sound more than any of the individually selected pups. I've seen the idea tone pots connected to the bridge and neck pups as an option a few times - it was also mentioned in the article I saw recently, but they then went on to say the master tone idea gives a better balance. Hmmmm. That article I read just had this vague comment about the spare pot in their scenario being used for 'other cool mods too' without them actually suggesting any - not sure I need any 'cool' mods TBH. :icon_whoknows:
vancouverois wrote:I used 11s tuned a half step down and the feel of the strings was closer to a set of 10s.
I guess 11s tuned a whole step down will get a closer feel to 9s although I didn't try it.
Interesting to hear that - I'm getting the feeling with the 10s tuned down a whole step that they're just slightly too loose and rubber bandy. :thumbsdown:
Blindboy wrote:Hmm... I've always just left the tone controls on my Strat wide open. Never used them. As for strings... I use .11s tuned to pitch. Years ago I used to use .13s and tune down a half step, but the whole band tuned down, so there weren't any transcribing on the fly issues.
I tend to keep my tone controls pretty well around 8-ish all the time. I believe (though whether it's true is another matter!) that any tone control when connected to a pup rolls a bit of the treble - so with the Strat standard wiring there's no roll off of treble on the bridge but there is on the other pups - hence the bridge pup sound can be a bit too much for some ears / tastes. Guess that maybe applies to me - my choice of around 8 on the tone controls suggests I'm more comfortable with a bit of treble roll off even if there already is some caused by the pot itself.

Would that I could cope with 11s! :wall: But I jhave a wee bit of problems with finger joints playing up and I'm erring on the side of safety to prolong my guitar playing days as far as I possibly can. My fathers problems with finger joints saw him giving up piano - he was able to play up to the level of pieces like Beethoven piano sonatas - I think he probably still misses it a bit. I find 10s on the longer 25.5" scale a bit too much to bend for my liking, though they're OK on the 24.5" scale.

..........................

It's all very confusing. So many thanks for the advice guys. :thumbsup: Think I'll probably not do anything about the wiring - I'm not that keen on soldering apart from anything else. I think I might give 11s tuned down a go at the next string change - or see if I can cope with the mental adjustment of 10s a half step down.
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vancouverois
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Re: Query - Stratocaster - anyone tried to ....?

Post by vancouverois » Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:35 pm

...I believe (though whether it's true is another matter!) that any tone control when connected to a pup rolls a bit of the treble...

Yes it does tame the high a tad, otherwise there is the no load tone pot to avoid that.
I have some factory installed no load tone pots on my Yamaha SG and I can hear a little difference when the tone circuit is bypassed.

Fender no load tone pot:
http://www.guitarelectronics.com/produc ... Shaft.html
Jan 15th 2007

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oneeyedslide
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Re: Query - Stratocaster - anyone tried to ....?

Post by oneeyedslide » Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:30 am

Hey VB. I have been kinda distracted lately but I've been trying to keep up with what's going on in the 12 bar world when I can. Thought I'd say hi and throw in my 2 cents worth on the Strat thing.

I had a Squier that I made into a fat strat. I had the single coils wired thru the front tone pot and the bridge humbucker wired to the other pot. This made the bridge pickup controllable. Down side is that the combination #2 position has less control. Just one more possibility I know, and it all takes soldering.

Leo must have had a good reason to only use two tone pots with three pickups but I can't imagine what it was. Every possibility leaves you with a compromise somewhere. You can run them all full bright if you have a dark, smokey amp or if you can tame them with your playing style which I think is what happens when Blindboy plays. Those older Fender tube amps are supposed to be bright too! I have a Pro Jr that's very muddy on the other hand. It likes bright pickups.

As far as strings, I really dunno. I have arthritis and nerve damage in my left hand. I can't bend strings very well because I can't feel what my fingers are doing. When all this stuff happened I just fell back on slide to compensate. Tuning down with heavier strings seems like it would sound good (with a heavier bass). Slides like more tension I think (Might just be me).

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HalfBlindLefty
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Re: Query - Stratocaster - anyone tried to ....?

Post by HalfBlindLefty » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:04 pm

I have the standard situation on both my strats.
On the Tokai, I never touch the tone controls, so I just might change them in to seperate volume controls... mhh
To loose a little high on the tokai I turn the volume a wee bit down

Flame mode on
On the Fender AVRI '62, ( the :tease: wired righty logarithmic pots lefthanded :motz: ) I sometime use the first tone control to loose a little high (read turns it almost fully down to loose a little ! )
I still do not understand how Fender got this weird idea that someone who buys a MSRP $ 2100,- strat wouldn't think twice about the cheap ass solution to put righty pots in ! I'm so disappointed I'm not even thinking about returning it under warranty, I'd rather pay a luthier to put metric pots in or wire the pots in reverse fashion (righty that is)

Flame mode off

Stay away from .11 strings. your fingers are sensitive already. Playing .13 and .11 for a couple of years cost me almost a year of not playing at all because of the pain in my hands :naughty:
Take the time to learn and control your bends. It took it´s sweet time for me to. Listen to what you play -bend. It´s great to think ahead, but if that makes some ! of your bends a bit off, you,re not in automatic mode at bending.
I don´t think about my bends anymore, 99,9 % of the times they are good. I used the silent bend/pre-bend technique to practice my bends.

Bend up to pitch and then hit the string with your finger or pick. Took some time but it worked out for me.
A long time ago, in the old forum : Registered: Mon, 27 Nov 2006. Wonder were the other old members all went....

bluesfreek
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Re: Query - Stratocaster - anyone tried to ....?

Post by bluesfreek » Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:11 pm

When I had a strat I had the tone control wired for the bridge pickup and I liked it. As for the heavier string gauge and tuning down thing I never did that. I like to use plain old Ernie Ball Regular Slinky's (.010-.046) on electric guitars.

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VikingBlues
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Re: Query - Stratocaster - anyone tried to ....?

Post by VikingBlues » Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:30 pm

Thanks everyone for the comments / suggestions / advice. It helps to lessen the confusion in what passes for my mind these days. :big_smile:
oneeyedslide wrote:I had the single coils wired thru the front tone pot and the bridge humbucker wired to the other pot. This made the bridge pickup controllable. Down side is that the combination #2 position has less control. Just one more possibility I know, and it all takes soldering.
The soldering really does put me off unless I'm very sure it's an outcome i'm looking for. :sad:
oneeyedslide wrote:Leo must have had a good reason to only use two tone pots with three pickups but I can't imagine what it was. Every possibility leaves you with a compromise somewhere.
I do find the system a bit frustrating when, as you say, every permutation has some sort of compromise. :wall: As I like the sound of positions 2 & 4 so much I'm inclined to leave it for the moment.
oneeyedslide wrote:I have arthritis and nerve damage in my left hand. I can't bend strings very well because I can't feel what my fingers are doing. When all this stuff happened I just fell back on slide to compensate. Tuning down with heavier strings seems like it would sound good (with a heavier bass). Slides like more tension I think (Might just be me).
I'm glad you were able to find some way of working around the damage so you could keep playing. BTW after just a few weeks of trying to learn slide I've got to the stage of flaking skin on the fingertips again when I go back to playing normally for just a couple of nights - they do soften up quickly! I'll be posting up something on the gear page on a new thread tonight which involves tuning the 'Strat' down - just a half step with 10s - and I quite like the sound.
bluesfreek wrote:I like to use plain old Ernie Ball Regular Slinky's (.010-.046) on electric guitars.
I like the 10s (D'addario Bright in my case) on the 24.5" scale electrics - but I find the 10s a bit heavy on the 25.5" Fender scale. I also find the different tension for bending that results on the two scale-types confuses my muscle memory (well - that's my excuse!)..
HalfBlindLefty wrote:Stay away from .11 strings. your fingers are sensitive already. Playing .13 and .11 for a couple of years cost me almost a year of not playing at all because of the pain in my hands :naughty:
Thank you for that advice and the warning. As mentioned earlier in this post i'm trying 10s tuned down a half step on the 'Strat' now and I'm feeling the benefit from that little bit less tension - I don't think the sound is suffering (no more than it usually does when I play :lol: ). Thanks too for the advice on the bends - I'm a bit lazy with my practice - I enjoy playing too much I think.

Sorry to hear of your problem with the pots - I can understand your annoyance and frustration when you've gone for a product that should be damn near perfect in all respects.
vancouveris wrote:otherwise there is the no load tone pot to avoid that
Interesting - I hadn't seen about them before. Though TBH my issue is wanting to tame excess top end rather than encourage it! Probably why I stay in position 2 & 4 most of the time. Then I see too that the no load tone pot helps to give clarity - which is a feature I look for in pickups. Oh dear - confusing. :icon_whoknows:
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weelie
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Re: Query - Stratocaster - anyone tried to ....?

Post by weelie » Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:14 am

my strats will always have master tone. The other tone pot blends in neck pup or in-series... (Actually one of my strats had a blender pot that you could lift to get extra sounds).

A lazy no-solder way is to just swap the place of bridge and middle pickups... So middle switch position is then bridge pickup with tone! :)

I actually play neck or neck+bridge most of the time. Or then the middle pickup on it's own. The 2 and 4 I rarely play, but depends on the strat of course. (Haven't one at the moment)

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roswellj
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Re: Query - Stratocaster - anyone tried to ....?

Post by roswellj » Sat Aug 13, 2011 7:48 am

the two guitars that i've made have both had a 'master' tone control. One had a master tone as well as a master TBX (actually more handy than you would think, enables you to do some much finer tweaking short of having a mini EQ setup) and the other had the tone plus a midboost though I don't like that one as much. As a general rule though unless I'm recording I'll leave the tone controls alone anyway.

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