The Allure of Simplicity

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by The Little Guy, May 8, 2017.

  1. The Little Guy

    The Little Guy Tele-Meister

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    I'm not a fancy electric guitar player. I'm probably not even that good. But last night I had a strange experience.

    My first guitar 20 years ago was a strat. I love the feel of a strat (I still own my first). I bought an Elite in January for a steal, thanks to Adorama. But I also have several teles and a Mustang amp.

    My main electric has been a MIM Cabronita Thinline. I have dialed in a couple settings on my Mustang that i think sound great with my Cab. Im drawn to the simplicity of the Cab-no tone to fiddle with, and only three choices for pickups, so it's very basic.

    Last night at practice i grabbed my strat to give it a whirl. Ive played it through a practice amp, but not consistently through my main mustang, so i dont have a good setting for it, not to mention it has basically 10 pickup combinations. That combined with the limitless possibilities of the Mustang, and...

    I put the Strat down and picked up the Cab. I like the sound of the cab. I like the feel of the neck. And i like the simplicity.

    I haven't played around with the strat nearly enough to havw a good sense of it, so its not that the Cab is better (I love and appreciate the necks on each), but for that moment, i knew the sound i wanted and it was from the Cab.

    So, how do you fight the allure of options? Im tempted to tell myself to either pick a position and stick with it. I could fiddle with it all day, but that not what i want to do. I want to play. theres a balance between trying to find the sound and playing, but where is it?
     
  2. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    Hay Neighbor! I'm over here in Louisiana.

    I have many guitars, many amps and have been playing for 55 years but only in the last year or so have determined I'm a strat man. My basic simple amp tone is clean, with very light reverb and a slap back delay. I have pedals to add extras on top of that as needed.

    But the strat---why? I can get a little of everything I need on it. I like a Les Paul or 335 but when I need classic twang, it's really not in a LP or 335. Same with quack tone. You can come more near making a strat sound like a LP/335 by using your strat neck pickup/tone controls than you can make a LP/335 sound like a strat. I also like a tele and the classic sound/twang. Even though a strat usually can't get as twangy as a tele, it can come very close. So IMHO a stat is just a great all around guitar to cover a lot of ground.

    Don't get me wrong. I still play around with all my other axes and give them a turn but when it comes to standing tall and giving my best shot, it will be with a strat. Platefire
     
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  3. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    I haven't yet found a complete cure for mucking about, but getting rid of digital multiFX (I've never had a modelling amp) was a significant step in the right direction. My pedalchain is also pretty simple, compressor into the H&K, compressor, OD and reverb into the Epi VJ.
     
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  4. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    As I get older, or maybe a more experienced player, I am narrowing down the tones that I want. I have always prided myself in accumulating a wide span of gear for a huge array of tones, but now it seems that I have zeroed in on what I like and have stopped expanding for the most part. I can now understand people's guitars with one pick up or wired for one tone and maybe just a couple pedals. Am I really going to join up with a cover band at my age? I could be selling off gear at any moment, but will I regret it?
     
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  5. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    I kind of know what you mean. My Ibanez AS100 and my AR100 will give me great tones and I know them like the back of my hand. Aside from stomping on an overdrive from time to time, I simply work the 3 position switch and the volume controls. I leave my tone controls on the guitars maxed. They just work.

    That said, recently I've been drawn to the single coil for some reason and that's presented a whole new world of learning how to make pleasant sounds from a Telecaster and a Stratocaster.

    I think now I may have the Telecaster mostly figured out. It's got some really great tones from heavy rock to sweet bluesy tones. Sometimes it sounds so nice while I'm playing, it catches me by surprise. The Strat I'm still working at though...

    Now I'm not sure why I don't just forget about all this fussing about and carry on with my Ibanez guitars but there are some tones that I think might only be achievable from a Strat or a Tele. I'm acquainting myself with the tremolo bar on the Strat and there's a lot of reward in getting that right. There's also that violin tone from the Strat and a dirt pedal or two. I accidentally happened upon that today while practicing so I'll be spending the next eternity trying to recreate that cool tone.

    One thing I have to remember with the Strat is to bump up the midrange tone control on my amp compared to settings with other guitars. I think the tremolo block, springs and floating bridge really scoop the tone and maybe adds tonal artefacts in the top end. Another thing I did was drop my pickups right down to the pickguard and raise them until they became too touch sensitive, then I backed the down half a turn. Also, as @Tony Done mentions above, a compressor can be a really good tool to help tame the dynamics of a touchy Strat.
     
  6. syrynx

    syrynx Tele-Afflicted

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    The selector switch on Tony Joe White's '68 Strat has been in the neck position for nearly half a century.

     
  7. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    Tony Joe White's thick swampy sound was one of those that grabbed me when I started taking a serious interest in electrics about 20 years ago, and I have since homed in on the neck pickup as the one I prefer.
     
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  8. Dobronaut

    Dobronaut Tele-Meister

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    First the big pedalboard went. Then I got fed up with the little pedalboard. Now it's just an amp, a tele, and a bit of slap back delay. I've even quit reverb. Life is simpler, and I now get more tones out of what I've got. And I don't need a check list of stuff not to forget for gigs.

    I've bought 4 new amps this year though!............. It's not a problem. I can cope. I can give them up anytime.
     
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  9. TeleAndSG

    TeleAndSG Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm not the most qualified person to answer. I own a Custom 72 Tele and I don't know if I can live without two volume and two tone knobs. Probably I can. I suppose that if the music you play doesn't change too much, simple guitars are the way to go. Many extreme metal guitarists have a single volume knob in their guitars, a pickup selector, and that's it. I get it, since, in metal, pretty much everything is wide open, and extreme metal is fast and loud. Besides, some complain that the tone circuit takes away power from the pups.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2017
  10. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Simple makes it easier to focus on your playing. Some situations call for the ability to produce a wide variety of sounds including lots of special effects. There are keyboard players with racks of keyboards, too. Other situations allow you to basically stick with one basic sound all night: just like many keyboard players will just play a piano all night. Whatever the scenario I personally lean towards keeping it as simple as I can possibly get away with. Less stuff to break, less switches/knobs/pedals/cords to deal with. It also helps you realize how much variation in tone you can get by changing your right hand attack and by adjusting the controls on your guitar. There's a big difference in tone between the neck pickup with the tone rolled back vs. the bridge pickup cranked.

    I find most special effects such as phase, flanger, wah, chorus, and envelope filter quickly go from novelty to annoying. Best to use them for maybe one or two tunes in a whole gig, at which point bringing the effect gets to be more trouble than it's worth. As multi-effects get better in sound quality and easier to dial in I could almost see using a single multi-effects pedal to make those effects available for the one time I would use them in a night. Effects that are almost always on in order to get the foundation of your tone--- reverb, delay, dirt-- those are worth toting if needed to get your sound, in my opinion. Of course, it's sure nice when you can get that straight from your amp.

    Most horn and bass players stick with a fundamental tone all night. I think guitar players should learn from their example. Less is more.....
     
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  11. Peregrino69

    Peregrino69 Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm a "simple is style" - kind of guy... and my 2c: fiddle around till you find The Setting. Once you're set with it, fiddle around some more - there might be two settings you like, maybe even three :)
     
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  12. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    Acoustic players tend to change guitars for different sounds, rather than change FX. I used two, one for fingerpicking, the other for slide.
     
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  13. dkmw

    dkmw Friend of Leo's

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    Complete the journey to simplicity - get an LP Jr!

    (but even a Jr has a multitude of tones available by twisting the volume and tone knobs)
     
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  14. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Or, since this is the TDPRI, you could get an Esquire!
     
  15. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    The LP Jr would be my favourite guitar if it had a neck rather than a bridge pickup. :rolleyes:
     
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  16. dkmw

    dkmw Friend of Leo's

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    ^Heresy!!!
     
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  17. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    I converted a Burny LP Jr to Special because I wanted a neck pickup. :)
     
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  18. TeleAndSG

    TeleAndSG Tele-Afflicted

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    Or an SG Jr if you like better upper fret access.
     
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  19. dkmw

    dkmw Friend of Leo's

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    True, but some of us don't play well enough to need to get up there. I heard someone on here refer to the area above the 17th fret as ''the dusty bits'' and thought hey, that sounds like my guitars...

    Now - we should quit hijacking the strat discussion lol
     
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  20. TeleAndSG

    TeleAndSG Tele-Afflicted

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    Agreed. The only time I really needed better upper fret access was when I was practising some stretching exercises assigned by a guitar teacher who was a technique freak. But let's talk about Strats :)
     
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