Got a beat up Strat and now dealing with lots of questions...

3rdworlder

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jul 16, 2021
Posts
119
Age
46
Location
Santiago de Chile
...lots of questions about its functions and characteristics.

I never liked Strat guitars, but somehow I come across this one about a month ago. I could tell you the story but trying to make a long story short I plugged the thing to my Dean Markley amp and I just loved how clear and simple it sounds. Actually I liked it so much that I decided to keep it. I got a new pickguard for it, and I am debating about getting fresh pickups or just buying covers for the ones the guitar already have.

Anyway, the thing is I am a SG/Tele player, and never cared about Stratocasters until now.

After doing the cleaning I reinstalled the old strings, and adjusted the bridge. I don't care about the Tremolo, I am not going to use it. So at first I screwed a bit more the claw to try and keep the bridge more stable. Oh, I loved the tone and become excited. But then I read somewhere about installing some 20mm wooden block to keep the bridge from moving. The guitar tone was seriously affected. The resonance was noticeable bigger, but the overall "feel" was totally off. I must confess I was a bit in shock as I expected the block would only benefit the tone and playability of the instrument. I was wrong. So I plan to remove the block. I am now wondering... should I install all five springs to keep the bridge "fixed"? And actually can all five springs in place keep the bridge from lifting?

Other thing I noticed that might be related to a problem in the wiring diagram is the fact that the tone control that goes right after the volume knob control the sound of the bridge pickup. That doesn't seem to be correct, or is it? Once I get the new pickguard I plan to rewire the whole thing the traditional way. In the meantime I can be confused, as the Strat is completely different from the guitars I have or played in the past.

If anybody can share some ideas, or maybe some link to help me understand better the characteristics of this guitar I know I'd appreciate that a lot.

Thanks in advance and y'all have a fantastic Sunday! :)

Here's a picture of the guitar, before I cleaned it all up.

9jLkI6n.jpg
 

ahiddentableau

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jul 8, 2018
Posts
1,128
Location
Middle of Nowhere
The only way you'll be able to answer those questions is with trial and error. It's too subjective a topic for somebody to be able to give you a straight answer. Some people will swear up and down that a strat doesn't sound right unless the trem is floating. Others will swear up and down that you have to block it off or your tone will be weak and lacking in sustain. It's a matter of personal taste.

I have 3 strats. One is set up to float, the other two are blocked using high spring tension but no wooden block/nothing in the cavity but the springs. I find that 5 springs can be sufficient to keep the bridge down so long as they are strong and you set the tension high. I like both methods depending on what I'm trying to achieve. FWIW, I think that if you aren't going to use the wang bar it's a good idea to block the trem. I find you get a bit of extra sustain and a small improvement in tuning stability.
 

kiwi blue

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Nov 14, 2005
Posts
2,036
Location
Wellington, New Zealand
You like the sound, so don't change the pickups unless you think it will give you more of what you already like. You could be just throwing money into the wind.

I agree with you. There is definitely a difference in sound between a floating bridge set up and a blocked bridge. One isn't necessarily better than the other, just better suited to one's personal style and musical style.

Since the difference is the springs, it's not that great a leap to suppose that different types of spring and different configurations of the springs can also sound a little different.

I like the Raw Vintage low tension springs. A set of five of them has similar tension to three of most modern springs. I like the sound and also the way they feel. I've somehow never got the hang of the whammy bar. Makes me feel clumsy. But I sometimes like to work the tremolo with the heel of my picking hand. With the Raw Vintage springs I feel the pitch is much more controllable.

Springs are cheap, and it's quick and easy to change the bridge set up. I say just try things and listen with an open mind like you're already doing.
 

24 track

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2014
Posts
20,573
Location
kamloops bc
nice score , I have one just like it mine is a 96' MUS Made in US , My only gripe with strats is the sound of the factory pick ups and the wiring did not suit my playing , so I got a second pick guard and loaded it up with new pickups and after a while I found a wiring scheme that worked for me ( see below)
one thing to retain the originality of the guitar is to load a separate pick guard modifications do not help resale value no matter how much you spend on it so if you go to sell it in the future you can put the original guard back on .

I ended up with both my strats done this way my 78' and 96'
the 78' has Lace sensor rainbow pack
Neck=blue
Mid =Silver
Bridge=Hot gold 13K

My 96'
has Lace alumatone singles
these are the quiest pickups I have found
I replaced the 5 way switch with a 3 way
1st position =Neck
2nd position =Neck and Bridge
3rd position = bridge
the middle tone control I made into a separate volume control for the mid pick up , this way I can have all 3 pickups on at once and I can dial in the middle as much as I want.

pics of the pick guards , the original pick guards are in storage

P1011911.JPG


here the wiring diagram I used

wiring 1.jpg
 
Last edited:

AAT65

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
May 29, 2016
Posts
6,550
Location
West Lothian, Scotland
nice score , I have one just like it mine is a 96' MUS Made in US , My only gripe with strats is the sound of the factory pick ups and the wiring did not suit my playing , so I got a second pick guard and loaded it up with new pickups and after a while I found a wiring scheme that worked for me ( see below)
one thing to retain the originality of the guitar is to load a separate pick guard mod if ications do not help resale value no matter how much you spend on it so if you go to sell it in the future you can put the original guard back on .

I ended up with both my strats done this way my 78' and 96'
the 78' has Lace sensor rainbow pack
Neck=blue
Mid =Silver
Bridge=Hot gold 13K

My 96'
has Lace alumatone singles
these are the quiest pickups I have found
I replaced the 5 wat switch with a 3 way
1st position =Neck
2nd position =Neck and Bridge
3rd position = bridge
the middle tone control I made into a separate volume control for the mid pick up , this way I can have all 3 pickups on at once and I can dial in the middle as much as I want.

pics if the pick guards , the original pick guards are in storage

View attachment 1014092

here the wiring diagram I used

View attachment 1014093
I use a variant of that wiring for 3-pickup guitars, which I pinched from someone else’s post 😀 … the 3-way is wired to do simple 1-pickup switching (B, M, N) and there is a push pull to bring in the 2-pickup CoMo is using the other side of the switch: B+N, M+B, N+M.
(On a Strat you’d have to lose the second tone control, but imho that’s no loss😀 - in fact you can improve your Strat by moving the volume to where the middle tone is and putting a smiley face sticker over the hole where the volume used to be…😀)
 

KeithDavies 100

Tele-Holic
Joined
May 19, 2021
Posts
756
Age
60
Location
Cambridge, UK
Sounds like a good purchase!

I'd be wary of changing the pickups, like someone else said.

In blocking the trem, you've already seen how an apparently positive adjustment can kill what you loved in a guitar. Don't spend money on pickups just because ads or online reviews tell you they're "better". If what you've just bought feel as inspirational as you've described, I wouldn't mess with it!!
 

Grandy

Tele-Holic
Joined
Sep 18, 2010
Posts
770
Location
Finland
My strat is decked with five springs, no complaints. Also I have master volume, master tone set up. The traditional placement of the volume can be a pain, especially coming from teles and such. If you like to palm mute a lot moving the volume would make that easier too.

I noticed from the picture that the high E is pretty close to the edge of the fretboard. It can be a problem when going for the higher frets.
 

1 21 gigawatts

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Aug 24, 2020
Posts
1,384
Age
48
Location
Florida
I set my strat trem to be barely floating. This allows for dive bombing only and retains the slinky feel of a strat when bending strings. It also allows for a quick tug on the trem to get it back in tune if necessary. If you deck it by using excessive spring tension (or block it), you are essentially turning it into a hardtail and will lose that slinky feel.

I also rewire my strats so the tone controls the bridge. This prevents positions 2 and 4 from going through both tone pots. There are plenty of different ways to wire a strat. Pick one that works for you.

Don't change the pups. You don't like strats, but were won over by the sound of this one. Why change it? My strat is a Squier SE that I bought with the intention of replacing all of the electronics. I ended up really liking the low wound ceramic pups that were in it, so I never "ungraded". Pickups are so subjective; if it sounds good to you, it's good.
 
Last edited:

SixStringSlinger

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
May 21, 2006
Posts
5,784
Location
Space
I'd recommend letting the bridge have a good float. Obviously you can of what you want and there are no rules, but floating is how a Strat is "supposed" to be, by which I mean that it's an essential part of what makes a Strat a Strat. If you take the time to set it up well it will help retain the feel you like and never trouble you again. New strings will take a little longer to get/stay in tune if you take all the old ones off at once, but that's all.

I personally like a master volume-master bass cut-master treble cut control set up on a Strat. If you want to add a switch for both parallel and series pickup combinations that will give you humbucker-like tones, and the bass-cut will be especially useful.

EDIT: Oh, and I recommend a no-load pot for the treble-cut, so you can bypass that in any position.
 
Last edited:

nojazzhere

Doctor of Teleocity
Ad Free Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2017
Posts
18,983
Age
70
Location
Foat Wuth, Texas
...lots of questions about its functions and characteristics.

I never liked Strat guitars, but somehow I come across this one about a month ago. I could tell you the story but trying to make a long story short I plugged the thing to my Dean Markley amp and I just loved how clear and simple it sounds. Actually I liked it so much that I decided to keep it. I got a new pickguard for it, and I am debating about getting fresh pickups or just buying covers for the ones the guitar already have.

Anyway, the thing is I am a SG/Tele player, and never cared about Stratocasters until now.

After doing the cleaning I reinstalled the old strings, and adjusted the bridge. I don't care about the Tremolo, I am not going to use it. So at first I screwed a bit more the claw to try and keep the bridge more stable. Oh, I loved the tone and become excited. But then I read somewhere about installing some 20mm wooden block to keep the bridge from moving. The guitar tone was seriously affected. The resonance was noticeable bigger, but the overall "feel" was totally off. I must confess I was a bit in shock as I expected the block would only benefit the tone and playability of the instrument. I was wrong. So I plan to remove the block. I am now wondering... should I install all five springs to keep the bridge "fixed"? And actually can all five springs in place keep the bridge from lifting?

Other thing I noticed that might be related to a problem in the wiring diagram is the fact that the tone control that goes right after the volume knob control the sound of the bridge pickup. That doesn't seem to be correct, or is it? Once I get the new pickguard I plan to rewire the whole thing the traditional way. In the meantime I can be confused, as the Strat is completely different from the guitars I have or played in the past.

If anybody can share some ideas, or maybe some link to help me understand better the characteristics of this guitar I know I'd appreciate that a lot.

Thanks in advance and y'all have a fantastic Sunday! :)

Here's a picture of the guitar, before I cleaned it all up.

9jLkI6n.jpg
While I MUCH prefer a Telecaster for most situations, there are certain sounds that a Strat is ideal for. Their bodies just "meld" into the player's, for greater comfort. But I always found the location of that upper volume knob to be a problem, and since I prefer a "one master volume, one master tone" set-up anyway, I always REMOVE the upper knob and pot entirely......and the other two knobs become a volume and tone, wired to all three pickups. I've tried either "decking" the bridge with five springs or "blocking" with a piece of wood, and never heard much (if any) difference.....but I don't use tremolo arm at all. Only other thing, (which most have today anyway) is the five-way pick-up switch, for those "in-between" tones. Other than that, experiment with pick-up heights. That can affect your sounds a lot. ENJOY!
 

John C

Poster Extraordinaire
Silver Supporter
Joined
Sep 20, 2005
Posts
5,060
Location
Kansas City
I am all for either decking the trem or letting it float free on 3 springs. I think blocking it changes the feel and the sound of the guitar. A well set up floating trem Is a joy to play.

I agree about blocking; I also think it seems to alter the feel and sound. Since I don't care for floating trems I deck them on Strats/strat-type instruments where it is possible. And I stay away from guitars where that's not possible, like G&Ls with their Dual-Fulcrum tremolos (they ride higher off the body of the guitar and have to be set up that way - plate parallel with the body but above it; you have to block them and can't deck them).
 

Willie Johnson

Friend of Leo's
Joined
May 24, 2016
Posts
3,040
Age
102
Location
Chicagoland
I had one of each--one floated, one decked, and one blocked--and liked decked the best for feel and tone, so I switched over the other two.

My favorite tone wiring is either first tone to bridge, second tone to bridge, and middle wide open--or just master volume/master tone with the third knob/pot left in as a dummy/producer switch.
 

Boreas

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Posts
10,080
Age
67
Location
Adirondack Coast, NY
All personal preference. Any guitar's feel and tone will change when blocking a floating trem. Start with deciding whether you want/use a whammy. Then, set the guitar up properly for that configuration. Tweak your tone from there. You will just be chasing your tail until you decide on floating or blocked trem. FWIW, all of mine float.
 

24 track

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2014
Posts
20,573
Location
kamloops bc
I use a variant of that wiring for 3-pickup guitars, which I pinched from someone else’s post 😀 … the 3-way is wired to do simple 1-pickup switching (B, M, N) and there is a push pull to bring in the 2-pickup CoMo is using the other side of the switch: B+N, M+B, N+M.
(On a Strat you’d have to lose the second tone control, but imho that’s no loss😀 - in fact you can improve your Strat by moving the volume to where the middle tone is and putting a smiley face sticker over the hole where the volume used to be…😀)
I always got lost with the 5 way and the 2 tones and couldnt react on the fly , this way its easy I also like the TBX for overall tone
too many knobs=too much confusion
 

AAT65

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
May 29, 2016
Posts
6,550
Location
West Lothian, Scotland
I always got lost with the 5 way and the 2 tones and couldnt react on the fly , this way its easy I also like the TBX for overall tone
too many knobs=too much confusion
I’m with you 100%… I’ve proved by experiment that multiple knobs and a live gig situation leave me staring dumbly at the guitat trying to work out why it isn’t doing what I want it to…
 

Hey_you

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Oct 9, 2019
Posts
2,126
Location
Colorado USA
I bought a Strat for my 2nd guitar. I had a tough time keeping it in tune. Rarely used the whammy bar. Then I learned to do my own setups. After investigating just how a floating bridge works, I have no problems now. And, I use the bar often. I want more guitars with em!
 




Top