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

Rufus

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Just for clarification, you have three options when it comes to the Tremolo (really a Vibrato, but Leo Fender labelled it incorrectly).

1) Floating - trem arm can be employed up or down to tighten or slacken the strings.

2) Decked - resting against the body, arm can be depressed and put slack in the strings but not pulled up

30 - Blocked - resting against the body and immobilized, basically a fixed tremolo that acts like a hardtail
 

fender4life

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If you liked it before u messed with the trem, and if it was floating, try what I do. It pretty much mimics the sound of floating but w/o the tuning issues. Tighten the springs till the bridge is held flat against the body then tune it. Once tuned back the strings off till the bridge just starts to lift them tighten a hair, just enough so it returns to the bdy with barely any any pressure. That way it doesn't change the sound from flaoting, or if it does it will be barely noticable. There are other details i won;t go into because it will just get confusing, but once you do it like that you will learn the little tricks to make it work best. But what i described is the gist of it.
 

hopdybob

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just let the bridge rest on the body if it can by thightening the springs ore using more.
i just used a small piece of wood to fixate the moving bridge and not a big block and did not hear drastic changes
 

3rdworlder

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First of all, I'd like to thank each and everyone of you guys to take the time to share ideas, some good advice, and even interesting wiring diagrams here. I felt a bit overwhelmed about the Strat guitar being so different than the other guitars I had experience with.

I suppose the reason for having never been that excited about Strat guitars must be the fact that I rarely seen Strat players to capture my attention. Yesterday a friend here asked me what Strat players were the best ones to my taste and with lots of thinking I could only point out three, the obvious David Gilmour, and then Randy Bachman and Robin Trower (I also remember many years ago I was very surprised to notice Tito Jackson appearing with a Fender Strat in some late 70's videos, but I recently found a clear picture of that Fender and could not help to notice it was actually a hardtail Strat :D ). By saying this I hope I am not offending anyone in here, this is just my opinion and it doesn't really matter much.

Back to the guitar itself. I decided to leave it in the case for a couple of weeks until the new pickguard arrives. I plan to remove the wooden block, and install all five springs in it, and from then on start experimenting as some of you have said I should. I'm getting the original bridge pickup back in place, and will think things through about changing pickups after I get the bridge properly setup to try to recover that tone I fell in love with back when I got the guitar.

I am very curious about some of the wiring directions some of you mention here. I might try something else, but first things first. I'll go step by step getting used to this guitar. And who knows, perhaps I'll develop a lil more love for Stratocasters :) I think I have to find out myself why these guitars are the most loved ones by musicians worldwide.

Thanks everyone!! I hope to return with some pictures of the guitar once I take it off of that old tweed case it is resting in as I write this.

I hope you all will have a fantastic week!! :)
 

24 track

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First of all, I'd like to thank each and everyone of you guys to take the time to share ideas, some good advice, and even interesting wiring diagrams here. I felt a bit overwhelmed about the Strat guitar being so different than the other guitars I had experience with.

I suppose the reason for having never been that excited about Strat guitars must be the fact that I rarely seen Strat players to capture my attention. Yesterday a friend here asked me what Strat players were the best ones to my taste and with lots of thinking I could only point out three, the obvious David Gilmour, and then Randy Bachman and Robin Trower (I also remember many years ago I was very surprised to notice Tito Jackson appearing with a Fender Strat in some late 70's videos, but I recently found a clear picture of that Fender and could not help to notice it was actually a hardtail Strat :D ). By saying this I hope I am not offending anyone in here, this is just my opinion and it doesn't really matter much.

Back to the guitar itself. I decided to leave it in the case for a couple of weeks until the new pickguard arrives. I plan to remove the wooden block, and install all five springs in it, and from then on start experimenting as some of you have said I should. I'm getting the original bridge pickup back in place, and will think things through about changing pickups after I get the bridge properly setup to try to recover that tone I fell in love with back when I got the guitar.

I am very curious about some of the wiring directions some of you mention here. I might try something else, but first things first. I'll go step by step getting used to this guitar. And who knows, perhaps I'll develop a lil more love for Stratocasters :) I think I have to find out myself why these guitars are the most loved ones by musicians worldwide.

Thanks everyone!! I hope to return with some pictures of the guitar once I take it off of that old tweed case it is resting in as I write this.

I hope you all will have a fantastic week!! :)
Leo designed these guitars to be flexable from many aspects they are relitively easy to work on and with some of the choices available today allow you to experiment remember , your ears are your final test , not public opinion , have fun with it!

there is a device called a "HIPSHOT, Tremsetter " that returns your trem bar back to tune once you use it ,I have 2 of them ( yet to be installed ) these do work once set up properly .and pull the intonation back to tune .




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gibson11

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Got to float the bridge for sure, what good is a Strat without a whammy bar. There is a right way to tune a strat and the wrong way, its on YouTube--enjoy
 

FSRCustomTeleHHGT

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Got to float the bridge for sure, what good is a Strat without a whammy bar.
Ask Eric Clapton and countless other Strat players over the years who have tossed the bar and/or blocked the trem. The LEAST desirable Strat feature, especially if you have a guitar with a real trem like a Jag, Jazzmaster or something with a Bigsby, is the tuning-stability-ruining tremolo.

But sure, if you are going to make the mistake of using it, float it. There are dozens of videos on Youtube showing you how, and most, sadly, are full of inaccuracies. That's Youtube in a nutshell, where more than a million hours of blah is uploaded daily.
 

gibson11

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I used to tighten up the claw thinking it would stay in tune better but it made tuning worse. Now I use the whammy on all 4 of my strats and they stay in tune super well when set up the right way. Youtube is fantastic in learning anything guitar related---
 

FortyEight

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i used to use 5 springs. but 3 with the claw bottomed out is plenty to deck it. in mine at least.

if u like the sound, i wouldnt even rewire it. small changes can sometimes steal mojo. just my 2 cents. i love how yours looks.
 

scottser

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I set my strat up to float because the body just resonates more that way. It also allows the strings to return to pitch properly when it's set up to do so.
I never understood why the bridge pickup was never wired to a tone knob though.
 

3rdworlder

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there is a device called a "HIPSHOT, Tremsetter " that returns your trem bar back to tune once you use it

That looks very interesting! I plan to see how the guitar holds up with the tuning in the future before thinking I one of those. Mostly because I still don't feel like using the bar. Thanks for letting me know about it!

I used to tighten up the claw thinking it would stay in tune better but it made tuning worse.

It's been 24 hours and the tuning is holding up properly with all five springs fitted. I am experimenting right now, so nothing is definitive though.

if u like the sound, i wouldnt even rewire it. small changes can sometimes steal mojo. just my 2 cents. i love how yours looks.

That "stealing mojo" is something I DO FEAR !!! :D And I have to agree there is something about the beat-up look of this guitar. I'm waiting for a black one-ply pickguard to arrive, though. I have six or seven new white pickguards sitting in here but -see how life can be... all I wanted was a black one, lol.

I set my strat up to float because the body just resonates more that way. It also allows the strings to return to pitch properly when it's set up to do so.
I never understood why the bridge pickup was never wired to a tone knob though.

It is interesting what you say your experience was, because when I've blocked the tremolo the guitar resonated noticeable more than without it. I removed it yesterday and could not help to notice that again. BUT blocked the guitar is just not for me. I do have other guitars, and I liked this old guitar for the sound particularly.

I tested this old Select EMG pickup on the bridge and it's a no-no for me. I absolutely LOVE the sound the neck and middle ones deliver, but the sound of the bridge pickup I just can't understand. Perhaps it is the SG thing in me? Still I would not use a humbucker in a Strat. Ad back to the Select EMG pickup, these ones sell as "all-around pickups". I don't know much about Stratocaster guitars but makes me wonder... I don't think I've ever heard about "all-around" pickups anywhere. I did not like the sound of it anyway, so once I get the new pickguard I will reinstall the one I got the guitar with. But I still feel like finding something better.

I don't know if it's original, but right now the guitar has a strange configuration. The tone knob that goes right after the volume one controls the tone of the bridge pickup, and the second tone knob controls the middle one. It is the neck pickup the one that it's not attached to any tone control here. BUT still to my ears it sounds just right.

Here's some pictures of the guitar as of today. Still dirty but that will be worked on as I go experimenting with it. To me this Stratocaster thing is like something from another planet :)

MbUNEbr.jpg


Thank you all for sharing your experience and ideas with me.

Y'all have a GREAT Friday !!! :)
 

2HBStrat

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...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
One learns that if you find a guitar that sounds great don't start changing things, especially a lot of things at the same time. Everything you change will affect the sound.
 

FortyEight

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Most will think I'm silly but I can hear a difference in different pickguards on mine..... It might not equate to much but sometimes when you're sitting in a room, a change feels like a lot. Could just be the humidity changes. :)

A neck pup without any tone knob on it is probably a good thing. Likely it will have more high and then lows from the position it's in. Right now as mine sits I only have 1 pup in the guitar, in the neck, and no tone knob. It's got a very full spectrum sound. It's a mexican split bar ceramic pup.

So many dudes have played a strat at one time or another. I mean all the beatles, Well, for sure George and John, Paul Simon, Lenny Kravitz (who usually plays gibsons but I think basically plays everything) The Jonas brothers :), Dua Lipa's guy does, Mitch Rowland (harry style's guy, although the one I've seen of his seems like some kind of custom thing), I mean I'm just throwing out ones off the top of my head that some will be odd to people here. But I listen to them.

There are too many to mention, even though for some reason I'm having a hard time with coming up with names. I can't remember the name of the guy that played with Bowie. "The Hitmaker". If you go to fender's site you can see the signature ones. OH YEAH, can't forget the guy from The Strokes... I'm getting old, everyones name is escaping me.

This is how it's been for me: each day I get older, I become more of a strat guy. When I was young I didn't like them. LOL.
 
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3rdworlder

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Most will think I'm silly but I can hear a difference in different pickguards on mine..... It might not equate to much but sometimes when you're sitting in a room, a change feels like a lot. Could just be the humidity changes. :)

A neck pup without any tone knob on it is probably a good thing. Likely it will have more high and then lows from the position it's in. Right now as mine sits I only have 1 pup in the guitar, in the neck, and no tone knob. It's got a very full spectrum sound. It's a mexican split bar ceramic pup.

Ummmm, if wood truly has effect on the tone of the guitar -as I believe it does- then a difference in the pickguard's thickness or rigidness might eventually have some effect on it too. I wasn't going to pay attention to that, but now I think I am going to listen closely if there really is something to that when I get to change it.
 

Blackmore Fan

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Five springs work like a charm.

I have a Strat with 5 springs and the set-up that was performed by the Seller before I bought it is so perfect that I notice NOTHING adverse about playability--I can bend with it (even with 11s for strings) just as easily as I can with Strats that have only 3 springs. I suspect that Strat has more sustain because of the additional springs.
 
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Skydog1010

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A lot of players like having a tone knob for the bridge pickup. Vintage Strats traditionally had no tone control at all for their bridge pickups, which were super bright.
3 way switching too

Heard a wives tale that players would use toothpicks to hold switch to get positions 2 & 4, must have had larger contact on the switch then. I dunno?
 

Fiesta Red

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I finally figured out that I don’t need a vibrato/tremolo/whatever on my Strat…so I decked and blocked that sucker and never looked back…it’s been working like that for over 25 years.
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Skydog1010

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Ummmm, if wood truly has effect on the tone of the guitar -as I believe it does- then a difference in the pickguard's thickness or rigidness might eventually have some effect on it too. I wasn't going to pay attention to that, but now I think I am going to listen closely if there really is something to that when I get to change it.
There is. I put a second aluminum guard under my plastic guard with some pups that were emf sensitive (microphonic) hum-dingers and it makes a huge difference.
 

eclecticsynergy

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3 way switching too

Heard a wives tale that players would use toothpicks to hold switch to get positions 2 & 4, must have had larger contact on the switch then. I dunno?
You can get them to stay in between. It takes a little doing to get the right position, but once you find it, it'll usually stay unless you're really shaking the guitar around.
Lots of us used to do it that way.
 




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