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Old March 20th, 2013, 01:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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What would you do?

Hey guys how are you all doing?

I'm in the market for a strat right now (first one! Woo!) but I'm not sure what to buy. I'm really aiming for that John Mayer (I know, I know) Gravity tone, and a few other tones that are synonymous with him and Stevie Ray. Of course I'd rather save money (still 17 with a part time job!) if it came down to very, very minute differences in end result sound, but let me know what you think. I have a few options:

1.) Buy a Squire/Mexican standard and install the D.Allen Stratcat pickups ( I've never heard them in real life, although they sound amazingly dead on, on the interwebs). About $800?

2.) Buy an American Strat and accept the tone as is because my parents will likely not allow me to buy another guitar related item for a long, long while. About $1200?

3.) Hold my breath and save up for a signature strat, whether that be the JM or SRV. About $1400 at my local shop.

I currently play an Epiphone Les Paul through a Fender HRDx. I have a Boss BD-2 and a TC Electronics Flashback x4 delay if that matters.
I've asked around and looked around on the Internet but I wanted your guys opinions on this.

Thanks a tonne in advance!

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Old March 20th, 2013, 07:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Go play some. Play every one you can get your hands on. Buy the one that feels right. I've spent the last few months on a Strat hunt, and came up with my perfect match on the 6th of this month, on accident. I've played American models, Blacktops, all of them. And just before giving up and leaving the umpteenth store in 6 months, I spied a MiM hanging kind of hidden. Love at first feel, for $288. You can make them sound like whatever you want, go for the feel. It doesn't matter on the cost, if you don't like how they play/feel you'll never be happy with it. Good luck!

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Old March 20th, 2013, 07:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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- Get a used American Std....can find 700-900...worn in..a lot out there, so probably
more color choices...be careful of 'american made' some 'american' are produced in Mex
and assembled in US...so they can say made in US.....
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Old March 20th, 2013, 09:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Just so you know, the man that sold me the Fender American Standard pickups (AlNico V) from his Stratocaster...

He bought 'Klein Pickups' in an attempt to achieve the Mayer sound. As for which Klein model he chose, he never mentioned a particular pickup.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 09:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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If you're potentially looking for more SRV tone, I have a path for you.

Find a used MIM strat on Craigslist: $250 easy.
Buy some Dragonfire Texas pickups from Guitar Parts Online ($60 shipped new) or find some texas specials used....probably same price.
Get the frets leveled and crowned and the guitar set up ($125)

You will now have a guitar that sounds like you want, plays as well or better than most out there and saved a ton of money over your other options.

Oh...this guitar has all that and more....but I'm a DIY guy, so I can't help but work on stuff:

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Old March 20th, 2013, 09:59 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Try one of these

http://www.fender.com/series/america...-stratocaster/


Or buy a used mim, $250 plus New pickups $100

Although with the right amp settings and pickup heights you may not need to change the pickups in a MIM.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 04:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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He's in Australia. We don't see many used MIM's for $250.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 04:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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At 17, I'd say it is probably more about just getting your hands on a guitar that is set up right and then practice the heck out of it! Don't do what I did.... start.... stop..... start... stop... buy more stuff.... stop.... start... you get the idea!

Just go find you something that feels good in your hands, doesnt break the bank, and makes you want to play it! As you play, that "sound" will come to you. Good luck!
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Old March 20th, 2013, 07:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rat66 View Post
He's in Australia. We don't see many used MIM's for $250.
This. Haha in the land of "overpricing of a niche market so that less consumers enter this market, creating it even more specific and overpriced".

But thanks for the suggestions guys :)
My heart (but mostly wallet or lack thereof) is leaning towards like most of you said, playing around on a tonne of guitars and probably getting a Mexican strat, and chuck some custom shop pickups in there.

I know it's off topic, but now I've come to think about it, the demographic of this forum seems to me as if everyone is mid 30s as many of you talk about your wives and I can't imagine making a commitment ever hahaha! (forgive me if you're younger haha) So what did you guys play in terms of gear, when you were 17-20? Amps, pedals, guitars :)
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 05:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I played a Squier Standard strat at that age. It was a great guitar to learn on, and served me well for several years.
If you will allow, some advice?
You talk about trying to get John Mayer or SRV tones. A couple of things.
First off, as far as tone goes, a strat is a strat is a strat. Yes, there are subtle differences between everyone of them, but they are basically very much alike, in a general way.
Also, the tone these guys get has a lot to do with more than just the guitar they're playing. Everything in the signal chain, from amps to pedals, etc., has an influence on the tone. And if the tone you're talking about is what's on their albums(even "live" albums), then you're also dealing with how these were recorded. Mics, position of said mics, the recording area itself, post production work done after the recording ended, etc. IMHO, chasing this or that artist's tone is a crap shoot at best, and an expensive one at that. Just buying a particular guitar won't get you there.
Also, I'd be willing to bet the guys you're talking about, despite what the interviews and reviews/opinions in the guitar mags tell you, found a guitar and amp they could bond with, and found their way to their own tone.
Also, as far as their recorded sound goes, the producers and engineers have a lot more to do with that sound than the artist themselves, usually.
IMHO, the best thing you can do is shop around, find a nice strat, regardless of where it was made or what brand is on the headstock. One that feels like it was made just for you, that fits you like a glove. It's out there.
Take that guitar and play it until it becomes a part of you. Find your own tone. It's going to have a whole lot more to do with how you approach playing your guitar than it will what kind of guitar or gear you actually have. MHO.
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 05:13 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Don't take this as being condescending, but if you're 17, you should be more concerned with working on your chops than copping a specific "tone". Work on playing like those guys, not sounding like those guys, and once you can do that, work on playing like other guys, or developing your own style.

That will be a lot more rewarding in the long run.

And as gtlvr says, a Strat is a Strat. The guitar and the pickups and your fingers will get you 90% of the way there, and IMO it's not worth spending a lot of money chasing the other 10% unless you're in a tribute band.

Just my two cents'. Good luck, and keep on rocking (or blues-rocking, as the case may be).
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 05:20 PM   #12 (permalink)
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yeah, you need a baseline before you start switching stuff around. Buy something that says "Fender" on the headstock, then take it to a good tech (ask around) and get the frets leveled and crowned and a general setup. You'll need to decide beforehand what gauge strings you want to use. Most Fenders come from the factory with .009s but most players seem to gravitate to .010s pretty quick -- better sound and tuning stability. But it's your call. Then play the thing till your fingers turn black and fall off. I wasted a lot of time and money chasing "tone" by buying equipment, only to discover that practicing & playing made all the difference. Both my #1 strat and my #1 tele are mexican made but they're both great guitars that have been set up by great techs.
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 05:34 PM   #13 (permalink)
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There is no need to spend the $$$ on a "Signature" model, except for the Jimmie Vaughan, maybe.
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 10:49 PM   #14 (permalink)
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When I was 19, I had a '68 GT Les Paul with P-90's and a Twin Reverb (no pedals). I bought them on a credit plan and worked in the kitchen of an old folks home to pay 'em off.

Last fall I found a great used MIM Strat. It's a 2004. I think some one bought it, couldn't learn to play it and put it on consignment. After I set it up, it's become my #1 guitar for the year. Play every Strat you can get your hands on and start banking any cash you can.
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 12:28 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
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When I was 19, I had a '68 GT Les Paul with P-90's and a Twin Reverb (no pedals). I bought them on a credit plan and worked in the kitchen of an old folks home to pay 'em off.

Last fall I found a great used MIM Strat. It's a 2004. I think some one bought it, couldn't learn to play it and put it on consignment. After I set it up, it's become my #1 guitar for the year. Play every Strat you can get your hands on and start banking any cash you can.
That's cool. I guess you bought those new? At that age I bought the most affordable Squier I could find, and a $40 amp. It was all I had for many years. Now you can get a pretty fine instrument for what you used to pay for bottom of the barrel stuff.
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