Stratocaster questions

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by DLReed, Apr 9, 2020.

  1. DLReed

    DLReed Tele-Meister

    Age:
    36
    Posts:
    245
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2019
    Location:
    NNY
    I never thought I would be a Fender player let alone own a Stratocaster. I always had an SG and never considered changing it up. Well, I started with one Telecaster that quickly became three. Then, recently this Strat was advertised locally.
    They look good together!
    As a newish Strat owner I have a few questions:
    Back cover: Off or on?
    11 screw pickguard: Is there a 1 ply option?
    I can't figure out the Tremolo arm - does "feel" just come with practice or is there a technique I should seek out?
    When I am on the bridge pickup the tone knob(s) don't do anything. Is this typical - they work in the rest of the 4 positions, accordingly.
    This is a MIM from approx. the year 2000. I picked it up used, although, I am not sure that it was ever even played. It still had plastic around the control knobs and there are no discernible nicks or marks anywhere on the guitar. Very minimal fret wear. The frets are narrow, which I prefer but I'm not sure about the neck radius.
    All in all, I am happy to have this addition and am looking forward to many years of fun!
     
  2. dlew919

    dlew919 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,871
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2012
    Location:
    Sydney
    Back cover. - Eric clapton always takers his off. Hendrix kept his on. Try both. I don’t have a strat but the instruments I have had I didn’t notice a difference. Ymmv.

    Tremolo. Practice man practice. Listen to Jeff beck. No one does the trem better. Brian May also does good trem work.

    I believe the tone knobs only work for the middle and neck pickup.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    DLReed, tah1962, dented and 1 other person like this.
  3. tah1962

    tah1962 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,546
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2020
    Location:
    Heart of Illinois
    Welcome to the Strat club. I’ll try to answer some of your questions.

    1. Back cover on/off: That’s up to you, I prefer mine on.
    2. 1 ply pickguards.
    https://reverb.com/marketplace?query=Fender+1-ply+Stratocaster+Pickguard
    3. Tremolo arm takes practice. There are also many options on how to set it up. Do some internet searches for options and help.
    4. The tone knob closest to your input jack should control your bridge tone. If you don’t work on your own guitars I’d suggest taking it to a tech to have it checked out.

    Hope this helps.
     
    DLReed, dlew919 and dented like this.
  4. Gardo

    Gardo Tele-Holic

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    819
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2019
    Location:
    Lancaster Pa
    My MIM Strat had no tone control for bridge when new, just neck and middle.
    I rewired and went to a master tone
     
    dlew919 likes this.
  5. scooteraz

    scooteraz Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,869
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2007
    Location:
    Peoria, AZ
    In answer to your questions

    Back cover is whatever feels good to you. On guitars that come to me with a back plate, I leave it on. My Strat with a Floyd Rose has it off, because it would touch the bottom of the block slightly. I have another parts caster that I build without a back plate. While playing, I never notice the difference.

    One ply 11 screw pickguard
    You can start looking here, there are others. :
    https://www.pickguards.com/pickguards-fender-stratocaster.html

    The trem is like any other guitar thing. It takes a while to develop proper techinique. I don’t know if there is any particular thing that would make it feel more normal to you. I never had a problem with using the trem, but then I use it sparingly. I don’t do big dives or pull-ups.

    It sounds like the two tone controls are wired one to the neck and one to the middle. You find that on some strats. Others here will know which models do that. My EJ Strat (and one other) have tone controls on the neck and bridge only. If you don’t like your controls, you can revise which tone control works with which pickup(s). Lots of possibilities.

    Gotta love a good Strat.
     
  6. scottser

    scottser Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,116
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Location:
    dublin
    Bridge isn't wired to a tone knob generally which is pretty fukn stoopid I reckon. I believe it can be rewired easily enough.
    I never use the wiggle stick because it makes the guitar go out of tune too easy.
    I do like strats BTW.
     
    richiek65 likes this.
  7. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,770
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Location:
    On Location
    -Your choice, but the back cover makes it harder to do string changes on the fly.

    -Why do you want 1-ply? Leo changed to 3-ply because 1-ply guards kept warping. I had a Jimmie Vaughan Strat with a 1-ply guard that did that, no bueno. You can find repro 8-hole 1-ply guards, but I haven't seen 11- hole 1-ply.

    -Make sure the trem is set up correctly, a lot of guys "deck" or "block" the trem in pursuit of tuning stability. This is heresy. Read up on "floating" the trem- the trem plate should float slightly off the face of the guitar. You also might want to bend the trem bar slightly in a vise to put it in a more natural position to reach, I wind up bending most of the Fender trem arms I own.

    -Standard Strat wiring has no tone pot control on the bridge pickup, but this is a super easy solder job to mod. You have a couple of choices- have the middle pot control both middle and bridge, have individual controls on middle and bridge but nothing on the neck, or my favorite, neck and bridge tone controls and none on the middle. The middle pickup sounds nice and raw by itself and doesn't really need tone control, but rolling all the top out of the neck pickup and sending through a Fuzz Face is instant Jimi.

    https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/strat-bridge-pickup-tone-control-1
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
  8. richiek65

    richiek65 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    3,261
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    Location:
    Sydney NSW Australia
    I've owned 3 strats, and played quite a few others. None of them had tone control for the bridge pickup as standard, but it's very easily fixed (google is your friend).

    Nice collection!
     
  9. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    79,405
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    Howdy!
    I say spring cover on, but make sure string block is easily accessible.
    I don’t like hitting the tremelo springs with my belt.
    Annoying, IMO.
    You can get a one ply guard from many companies.
    It should cost $40-60, new.
    You can wire the bridge pickup to the tone pot with 1 jumper wire.
    Easy peasy.
     
  10. scottser

    scottser Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,116
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Location:
    dublin
    IMG_20200106_205637.jpg
    A strat flanked by teles eh?...
     
    rangercaster, Macrogats and DLReed like this.
  11. DLReed

    DLReed Tele-Meister

    Age:
    36
    Posts:
    245
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2019
    Location:
    NNY
    Thanks everybody! I will leave the back cover on for now. The 1-ply pickguards just look cool to me so I will keep an eye out for one but definitely not urgent. I kind of like the fact that the bridge is just wide open with no tone control.
     
    dlew919 likes this.
  12. DLReed

    DLReed Tele-Meister

    Age:
    36
    Posts:
    245
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2019
    Location:
    NNY
    Oh, man - now we're talkin'!
     
  13. scottser

    scottser Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,116
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Location:
    dublin
    :p
    Tell you what tho, as much as people moan about strat bridge pickups and tubescreamers, they sound utterly fantastic together. In fact it's the only time I use the bridge is with the TS cos it adds some much needed warmth.
    Ever notice those early pics of Mark Knopfler's strat with the bridge position taped off? It's just useless for playing clean without a tone control.
     
  14. misterdontmove

    misterdontmove Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    345
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I've got mine wired so the bridge and neck are on the same tone control since they're never on at the same time.
     
    richiek65 likes this.
  15. Milspec

    Milspec Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    5,059
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Cover on or off....no difference.

    As noted, you don't have a tone control for each pickup.

    As for the trem arm, I don't install them on my strat...neither does Clapton. Since yours is a MIM, it doesn't have the spring that gets dropped in before installing the arm. It makes positioning the arm much easier...worth buying one for a American Strat....they fit the same.
     
  16. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,770
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Location:
    On Location
    I couldn't do that since I roll the neck one all the way down, the bridge just a smidge, then switch between them. Fortunately, it's super easy to modify the control layout however it suits you!
     
  17. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,577
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Location:
    Indiana
    Do you all shield your strats?
     
  18. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    3,424
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Space
    This will just repeat some that has already been said, but:

    1) Your choice. Easy and quick enough to experiment with. I left mine off because it got rid of a slight reverb-y effect my Strat had with the back cover on. I prefer the more "immediate", non echo-y sound it has without it. I don't recall it making much difference through the amp, though. More to do with how it feels up against me.

    2) No idea on pickguards. Good luck finding whatever you want.

    3) It'll come with time, but it's important to set it up, first, because how it's set up affects how it works. I agree wholeheartedly that a Strat trem should be set to float; others will tell you this is finnicky, it'll never stay in tune, it sounds weak etc. etc. They're wrong, but it does take work to get there.You have to adjust X, then adjust Y which affects X, adjust X again... all the while slowly zeroing in on perfection.

    4) I don't know what your particular year/model is "supposed" to have, but traditional Strat wiring includes separate tone knobs for the neck and middle, and none for the bridge. These days it's not uncommon to have the middle pickup's tone knob also work on the bridge pickup. It's easy enough to wire your guitar this way, or any other other way you want. I modded my Strat two have one master treble cut (a treble cut being what your typical tone control is) and one master bass cut.

    Have fun!
     
    DLReed likes this.
  19. MrGibbly

    MrGibbly Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,519
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    Location:
    SATX
    Great advice here. I would say that you can get Warmoth, and others, to custom cut you any pick guard you want. I had them do a thick, single ply, matte black with countersunk screw, 11 hole for my partscaster.
     
  20. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,024
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Location:
    Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
    .

    This reverse-angle bridge slotted tort guard I got off Amazon/ebay for $10, they have other colors. Look for them and have fun.

    [​IMG]

    I generally block the trems or at least deck them -- too much distraction as I'm either trying to figure out why it went out of tune after a dive bomb or dive bombing deeper and deeper amazed that it isn't going out of tune until it does. So I block/deck to get out of that loop. Graphite powder all the string contact points on the guitar if you are insistent in using the whammy bar.

    The Strat above also has full cavity shielding, shielded cable to the jack instead of two wires to cut noise, and an Armstrong Blender mod (second tone knob blends between SSS and series HSH).
    The Tele has a 4-way switch to control the bobbins in the humbucker.

    Leave the back panel on your Strat to avoid getting your beer belly hairs caught in the springs. :eek:

    .
     
    dlew919, AAT65 and DLReed like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.