I own a MIM Standard Strat and a Squier VM SSH and here's the thing, the Tele is now my #1 guitar for a few reasons; it sounds great, is the lightest guitar I own, and since I bought it used, it already had some dinks in the finish. The Gibson's still a great guitar, but I worry about it too much when it's out of the case. Here's the question: my Tele is a lot brighter both plugged and unplugged, compared to my Strat...my Strat sounds a bit dull even when compared to my slab bodied Les Paul. I'd read on the internet that a guitar's unplugged tone has little or no effect on it's amplified tone. I disagree completely! Both the Tele and the LP have some frequencies in their tones at the top end; call it a "shine", if you will, that the Strat jsut doesn't have. All three guitars have new strings. My theory is that the trem system is stealing some treble; the only other factor I can think of is that the chnk of alder under that thick poly is just "dead" relative to the indian red cedar Squier or the mahogany LP. Is this just inherent to the Strat design, or is there something that can be done to improve this characteristic?