Originally Posted by stevehyphen
There's so many small differences that it's not worth trying to figure something like this out. I figure if you spent the 10 minutes just playing the guitar rather than debating the number of saddles, the type of finish, or in this case the neck pocket shape, then your tone will improve enough to compensate for whatever differences you think are there.
Even from my new and limited experience with these kind of things, I'd have to go with the bridge. I didn't think my opinion was valid enough to count, but if Jakedog says the same, then I must be on the right path. Also, I believe the archetypal "strat sound" benefits from the hole in the center of the body mass. I'd imagine that if you compare a trem strat to a hardtail one by playing pretty loud and clean, especially with some heavy strings, the difference would almost be night and day. But, I may very well be wrong.
Actually you'd be pretty right with the hardtail comparison. It's why I'm a huge strat fan, but do not dig hardtail strats. They don't sound the same at all to me. They still sound "stratty", just different. I detest trems of any kind, so I deck my trems with five springs, and the claw all the way in. Even with the trem totally disables like that, that guitar sounds different from a hardtail. And that's not just my opinion, Clapton agrees as well. Love him or hate him, I think you'd have to say the guy knows his way around a strat. I know for a fact that if you put a Tele bridge on a hardtail strat, and mount the pickup to the bridge like it is on a tele, you'll get much closer to a tele sound than with with even a hardtail strat bridge. Conversely, a strat trem on a tele, with a pickguard mounted pickup, would not sound very tele-like at all.