Teles vs Strats:

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by supersoldier71, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Tele-Holic

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    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?
     
  2. WrayGun

    WrayGun Tele-Afflicted

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    Not an expert, but I would try blocking the trem, and see if that helps the Strat. I think it's definitely the weak point of that guitar.

    EDIT: I should hasten to add that if blocking the trem helps, you might consider upgrading the entire floating trem assembly with a Callaham unit (I'll let you Google it). I have found their craftsmanship and materials to be far superior to what you'll get in a stock trem.

    Of course, if you don't use the tremolo, then blocking it would be much cheaper :D
     
  3. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    +1

    Strat bridges drive me bonkers w/ the whole "tighten this but don't tighten that".

    I'd like to own a string-thru Strat one day...
     
  4. WrayGun

    WrayGun Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm with you, Mr. Eskimo. I actually love having a tremolo/vibrato/whatever the right word is, but I've lost all patience for constantly re-tuning.

    So many guitars, so little money ... :cry:
     
  5. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Read this thread..

    http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-technical/136456-luthier-neck-tighten-sustain-trick.html

    Not gonna pontificate pro or against it, you can read it yourself. I've done it on 1 or 2 guitars and I can't say it made a change for the worse. Maybe it will work on your dead strat (i.e. the neck/body mate isn't that good currently, or the screws have de-torqued over time)

    Personally I would try above and failing that, would look at the setup of the bridge. My 1996 MIM strat has a replacement tremolo block... but I also need to put new saddles on it too, or replace the whole thing. The unit is just worn out.
     
  6. WrayGun

    WrayGun Tele-Afflicted

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    Oh no, not that topic again! I won't offer my opinion, except to say that blocking your trem will have a much more significant effect than (doing what is in that thread).
     
  7. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Strings on or off, I think the way the neck is seated in the pocket, and investigating that if it's never had the neck taken off, should have an effect on feeling the string vibrations through the body of the guitar and the overall character of the guitar.

    I don't know the relative size of that effect vs. the tremolo floating/blocked.
     
  8. ERik77

    ERik77 NEW MEMBER!

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    I would suggest replacing the tremolo block. The MIM blocks have very little mass and are made of some gross cheap looking metal. You can get a brass or stainless stell one from Guitar Fetish. I got the brass for my strat and it really came alive.
     
  9. fenson

    fenson ---------------------------------

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    No sounds to me like you have a dead strat happens ,IMO sell it and find a better example
     
  10. Dan R

    Dan R Friend of Leo's

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    It happened to me. Had a really nice Am. Std. from the mid 90's. It was a beautiful sunburst and played great. Just dead and lifeless.

    Strats seem to be bit finicky. If dialed in, they are sweet. Sometimes it takes some work to get them right.

    Dan R
     
  11. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Tele-Holic

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    I should've mentioned that it's a 2007 Strat that I bought new from a local shop. Lightly played, never gigged, and nothing is showing ay obvious signs of wear.

    I think I'll try the new trem block and a maybe some new saddles.

    I'm trying to decide between making this a "project" guitar, or just getting my money out of it. Leaning towards project, since, frankly, I'm quite happy with my LP, my Squier Tele and my Agile.
     
  12. Brian J.

    Brian J. Tele-Afflicted

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    +1 did the same, and added a brass nut rings like a bell now.
     
  13. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Tele-Holic

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    Did you have to change the trem arm along with the block?
     
  14. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Why don't you visit a Guitar Center location and try out a few Strats there through amps. Get yourself a base line as to what a Strat is and is not capable of producing when it is in your hands.

    Btw, I'm not sure you got the gist of these "sounds this way unplugged" truisms. The idea is, you can't say what a guitar will sound like plugged in from what it sounds like unplugged. Just because one bleah unplugged guitar remains bleah when plugged in, why that establishes nothing (other than something is not right).

    With all due respect to my bretheren here, if you find most Strats in the store sound great and yours doesn't, you might be better off just ditching that one and buying a lively one. Don't spend money on parts for a loser guitar. These are NOT supposed to sound subdued next to a Les Paul. Again, with all due respect, given you got 7 different answers tells us nobody is really sure what is going on - every dime spent adding this or changing that could be for nothing. IMO all these ideas are most useful to make a great guitar sound outstanding or to tweak its sound. These ideas, even all combined, cannot make up the deficit if the example you bought is a sluggard. Sorry. If you've changed the strings a couple times, monkeyed with the polepiece levels and tried different amps and cords all to little effect, that's more than all these fixes can offset in my opinion.
     
  15. fenson

    fenson ---------------------------------

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    :lol: Guess I must be on your ignore list eh! ;)
    Now why didn't I think of that.

    Cheers BB
     
  16. fenson

    fenson ---------------------------------

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    yep does happen . A friend has a wonerfull 69 I played for a long while. The neck pos. sounded fantastic the other two where dead. We swapped out the mid and bridge pups with a few different SD products and no go.

    I have other stories but.... lets leave it at, some guitars as I like to say, are
    "still born".
     
  17. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Tele-Holic

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    I played every strat in my local Guitar Center (the ones I could reach without a ladder at least), and and the one's the felt and sounded "livelier" I also played through a Blues Deluxe. I did the same for the telecasters I could reach. My determination: the tele's were more resonant and delivered more trebles.

    Regarding the plugged/unplugged thing, perhaps I did miss something, but what I'm certain of is that all four of my electric guitars maintain their unplugged characterstics when amplified. I cannot speak for any other electric guitars in the world, but I am reasonably certain that almost anyone who knows what they're listen to could, after hearing mine, acoustically, determine which was which when played through my Mustang III. I'm not certain, but I believe that is the gist of the argument? My LP is a LP Special, so it's a relatively thin mahogany slab, no maple cap and a VERY thin nitro-finish. Playing it is a tactile experience as well as auditory one.

    Maybe my Strat is a dog, but what I was trying to find out is whether its shortcomings are inherent in its design or inherent in my example or if there's simply something wrong that needs to be fixed.
     
  18. fenson

    fenson ---------------------------------

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    well again NO it is not inherent in the design.
    Every guitar manufacturer has its percentage of still borns.

    IMO the only thing that may or may not improve your guitar is a new set of pickups or a new neck and mid pup. Compare to a tele or paul most standard bridge strat pupos sound weak and shrill to a novice that does not what to take the time to run them right.

    IMO get a uesd set of 69 stlye whatevers and call it a day. Block will do very little IMO so if you go for one get a GFS block steel or brass
     
  19. StormJH1

    StormJH1 Tele-Holic

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    I largely agree with this post. I've spent the last month or so on various Strat forums obsessing over mods to improve the tone the tone of my Squier Strat. Some of those mods involved upgrading the tremolo block, blocking the trem or both. Ultimately, even though I've changed all the electronics and virtually every other piece of hardware on the guitar, I've decided to leave the tremolo block and bridge alone. The only changes I made were putting in new steel saddles ($13) and adding 2 more springs to go to 5 ($5).

    I think that the "acoustics" of a solidbody electric guitar are grossly overrated in their importance to how the guitar sounds amplified. Obviously it has some impact, but nowhere near the effect of the pickups and even one's playing technique.

    HOWEVER, if you're willing to accept that the body and wood materials of a guitar affect tone, then I think you also need to accept that the bridge components and parts that actually touch the string (saddles, nut, etc.) are arguably even MORE important. And it's funny to me that people pay anywhere from $20 to $300 for steel, brass, and titanium tremolo blocks with this vision of a ringing "bell" effect inside their guitar, and then proceed to block off that tremolo with any piece of cork or wood they can find. Do you want the "bell" to ring or not?! Haha.

    I don't think trem blocks really matter. I just don't. That being said, if any of the trem blocks actually fit my 1 5/8" wide Squier Bullet, I would pay $20 for a GFS steel block and throw it in there, just to appease my suspicions. But since that's more trouble than it's worth, I'm not worrying over it anymore.

    Telecasters likely sound "brighter" than Strats for a number of reasons, but I suspect that the pickups are the biggest reason. If you threw Gibson Burstbucker in the bridge position where the Tele has a single coil, it would sound DRAMATICALLY different.
     
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