Strat Mods to Improve Primary Tone

Discussion in 'Fender' started by FLICKOFLASH, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Senior Member

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  2. to285

    to285 Member

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    :hmm: hmm... i find it hard to believe different springs make a difference. Although it does make sense...somewhat.
     
  3. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Senior Member

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    The feel of the RVS is entirely different from the OEM springs.
    Sound?
    Maybe more chime...maybe.

    I need to record a bit, first.
     
  4. to285

    to285 Member

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    if different materials make a difference, I wonder what brass springs would do....:hmm:
     
  5. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Senior Member

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    The point was to lessen the tension on each individual spring, thus the mandatory package of 5 replacing 3 OEM.
     
  6. paulatics

    paulatics Senior Member

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    i took out my pup's on my american standard and replaced them with cool rails in the neck and middle, and with a jb junior at the bridge. still get all the great strat sounds but with more power and no noise.
     
  7. capt_goodvibes

    capt_goodvibes Senior Member

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    I have experimented and studied with a lot of this stuff and below are some of my comments on some of his points:

    Taking the tremolo cavity cover off the back of the strat: Eric Johnson once said in an interview that this did not seem to make a difference but it was something he just did. A lot of guitarists do this because it makes tweaking and adjusting lots easier. I think it does make a difference, it has to, theoretically, however I have never heard it myself. Hendrix is a good example of a player who could milk tones from the strats springs. Sometimes a really good player will get overtones from the springs through the amp. In this cases having the cover off would make the tone of these overtones sound different. I do not think it’s a big deal. However, having said that I like to keep my cover off because I think it makes sense not to have the plastic there. I know the claw and springs and block and their spatial configuration relate to the overall tone of the strat. I do not think taking the cover off is as dramatic as changing the block. That’s easy to here. The plastic cover is hard to hear and I am not sure it really matters. having said that I like leaving mine off. Its nothing worth getting excited about.

    Yeah, letting the guitar breath...I don't know about this but I have probably used this term myself. I think it should be considered very loosely. No, the dead wood of your guitar does not breath by any sense of the word. I guess you need to have a clear understanding of what is actually going on so you can see through terms like this, it is not clear to me if this guy really knows what he is talking about. Wood is porous--wood is lined with microscopic cavities that are hollow. When the wood was alive these cavities held water and other nutrients the tree needed to survival. When wood is harvested these cavities gradually loose their stored nutrients and the walls of the cavities dry up and enlarge. This effects the tone of the wood because the microscopic chambering function as sound chambers. An old guitar really does sound better than a new guitar because of this process. Over a period of many years as the wood dries the cavities enlarge and become more numerous (empty out) and the tone of the guitar becomes more complex. Go read about how the little ice age effected the wood harvested for the sratavarious vio;ins. This is why I think guitar chambering is a big deal and is going to be very effective in shaping tone in the future. As far as paint and stuff goes I look at it simply. Since the wood resonates and changes the character of the tone made by the strings which is "recorded" by the pickups, anything between the wood and the string like paint is going to make a difference. Some differences are good some are bad some are just slightly different and do not really matter so much. I think It has been demonstrated that a lighter finish lets the true properties of the wood effect the tone more. Nirto is more pourus than poly so the wood can make more difference in the tone. If you have a good piece of wood, something that really sounds good, then you would get more out of this wood with a nitro finish than a poly fiinish. With a nitro finish this guitar could sound truly spectacular. With a poly finish it my sound good still but it would sound more like a poly guitar with dead wood. I am trying to say the differences in wood are less dramatic with a poly finish. Lighter finishes let the woods character shape the tone more.

    It has been show that removing the paint from the inertia block where it meets the tremolo is very effective at increasing the tonal transfer. Think of tone as waves of sound that travel through the guitar. That particular intersection is important because it where the actual sound waves pass thought the bridge and into the block. You want that point where the bridge and block meet to be as solid as possible, if you have paint there you lose a lot of tone. The bridge is very important. Make sure your bridge and nut are set up right because this is the most important part of creating a good tone. I never thought the inner cavity was a big big deal but I think it does make sense to remove that paint. I do not know if you are going to see a big difference. If your guitar is poly it might not. Play 5 poly guitar and notice how they are slightly different from another, many might sound the same. Play 5 nitro guitars and the differences among the guitars will be more dramatic.


    I think the eric j strat is the best strat made because they made it the right way. I was very pleased that they sanded the paint from the block where it screws into the trem. My calaham trem does this too. They have a weight requirement on the wood and use a light finish.

    Most of this guys points are correct. They do matter, cables, metals, electronics. They are all important. Originally guitars were not really designed to sound good, they were just thrown together with what materials were available. Lea or Gibson did not do any research. They used standard materials available in manufacturing plants. However at this time America was the largest producer of steel and other materials in the world. Since we were making the steel and the aluminum and all that stuff it was cheap and American workmanship was high. Since we produced the materials they were cheap sp we used high quality well made stuff and it was no big deal. Solid steel was the standard, the quality of all the materials used in production of items was higher, Nowdays America sent all its business overseas and quality materials are more expensive and cheap materials are, well, cheap. We can't afford to ship quality steel from wherever just to make a guitar or buy quality steel items when cheaper items are available. Ask an old carpenter about the quality of old screws verses what you can buy now. There is a big difference and the quality materials that used to be in our backyard are not even available nowdays. America ruined a lot more than its guitars and amps when it started outsourcing overseas. Funny how this ties in because the results are only apparent in the last few years. Especially since our economy has collapsed.

    Thanks to Jason Smith at PeerlessTone.com | A portal into that ever so elusive quest for the perfect tone.
     
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  8. dave

    dave Senior Member

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    Amazing how these guys made some of the best "tone" guitars ever - and didn't know what they were doing...:rolleyes:
     
  9. nypd8718

    nypd8718 Junior Member

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    I changed the saddles to Graphtech,s, adjusted my whammy so it doesn't lift till about a 1 1/2 bend on the 12 fret G, added a little height and bow on the neck, made sure the nut and bridge is well lubed (pencil lead the nut grooves, chapstick the whammy mount, gun oil the bridge and string pass through). Big improvement in stability and overall unplugged tone. Most people spend shitloads of cash on pick-ups etc, but don't set the guitar up proper! Plugged in pick ups do make big changes...depends on what you dig on. I have 1 strat with lollars and one with EMG Gilmours. Both are very cool. Two different tools. Adjust the pick up height further from the strings gives it a more SRV, Doyle Bramhall tone. It takes many hours of trial and error. YOU MUST GET YOUR AXE SET UP AND STABLE FIRST AND FORE MOST.
     
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  10. SteveB

    SteveB Junior Member

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    I joined this Forum just so I could quote this post, Jason. Well done.
    I've often wondered how much time Buddy Holly spent modding his Strat?
    Just think of all those catchy toons we must have missed out on because B.H. was adjusting his strap screw to get more sustain.
     
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  11. Ferrarimk13

    Ferrarimk13 Senior Member

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  12. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Senior Member

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    "Listing has ended"...et cetera.
     
  13. Ferrarimk13

    Ferrarimk13 Senior Member

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    oh, i thought you could still see the pictures like i can. I can't save them either, no worries though ill post up a thread when i finish it, its still a project at this point. :thumb:
     
  14. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    Let me change the subject for a moment. Have any of you tried the solid brass trem block that GFS sells? I like solid brass stop TPs on my LPs, so I recon I'd like the tone of a brass trem block in my Strat. Am I wrong?
     
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  15. FLICKOFLASH

    FLICKOFLASH V.I.P. Member

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    TiTanium saddles
     
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  16. b-squared

    b-squared Banned

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    I have titanium saddles and trem block in my Strat. Not only does is lower the guitar weight by a quarter pound, but it improves the tone, and allows you (for some reason) to go up an increment in string gauge and not feel any stiffer.

    I went to 11s on my Strat, and they still feel like 10s. :D

    BB
     
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  17. splinteh

    splinteh Senior Member

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    Thanks very much!
     
  18. paul144

    paul144 Junior Member

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    Surprised nobody said "practice". If you have a good command of the guitar, you can get anything to sound great. People say these tweaks make a difference because they expect to hear a difference, and their brains trick themselves into actually hearing it, IMHO.

    Aside from practicing, best way to improve any guitar's primary tone is to get it set up by a luthier who knows what he's doing. Then go spend money on your Unobtainium plated pickguard screws.
     
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  19. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    Here's a question nobody's asked (and if I missed it I am sorry). Has anybody ever glued their Strat's neck on to improve neck/body vibration transfer? Of course, I know that it would have to be done with the right kind of glue, as the wrong kind could dull the tone. And the screws would probably have to remain in place as the Strat's neck pocket isn't really designed to handle all the stresses alone. But has anybody tried this?
     
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  20. FLICKOFLASH

    FLICKOFLASH V.I.P. Member

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    Blackmore does that. I also heard of lining the neck pocket & neck heel with wax paper & using epoxy to make a perfect tight shim when it dries
     

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