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the Tele to Strat jump

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by ndcaster, Apr 6, 2021.

  1. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm making headway these days on a partscaster Strat, my first Strat, though I've noodled on a few

    there are at least two new things to deal with: Strat wiring and tremolo bridge -- are there others?

    any pointers on how best to make this Tele to Strat jump? any big differences? any pitfalls to avoid?

    I'll be playing it through fairly low gain amps: Fender BMR, Quilter, Templo Devices
     
  2. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    is the trem a feature you really want? because if you deck the trem hard -- five springs screwed down all the way, or a block of wood -- a Strat will play almost exactly like a tele if the radius & fret size are the same. I can move back and forth without thinking, which is good -- I'm bad at thinking.

    pickup selection on a Strat is kind of opposite from a tele. most people start with bridge or bridge/middle on a tele, while most people seem to start on the neck with a Strat. If you want a usable Strat bridge pickup, you need to get a tone control on it somehow. my fave Strat is a Music Man Cutlass, which has tele-style wiring -- one vol one tone -- and it's easy to get a usable sound out of all 5 positions. yeah, five -- you're going to have to make up your own mind about the in-between or quack positions. I personally like the neck+middle sound but don't use it all that much -- a lot of times, especially onstage, the middle pickup alone will have the same dynamics and cut through the mix better.

    if you want to dive all the way into Strat-world, set the trem up to float and use the middle+bridge quack setting. it's light! it's airy! it's never quite in tune!
     
  3. horsespatoot

    horsespatoot Tele-Holic

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    Build a Hardtail. The Tremelo may be the worst guitar feature ever invented. Or as the above poster has already said block/deck the trem bridge.
     
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  4. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Holic

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    Some people find the middle pickup to be in the way. You can lower the middle pickup to allow for more pick clearance if you find this to be the case.

    Lots of different wiring options depending on what you are trying to accomplish. I prefer wiring the bridge pickup to the 2nd tone knob instead of middle or middle+bridge.

    Learn to properly set the trem. There is a Fender custom shop video on trem set-up which demonstrates a fool proof way to do it- block trem to desired height with stack of washers, tune guitar, remove spacer and retune by tightening the trem claw.
     
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  5. Zepfan

    Zepfan Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    You want a quality nut that doesn't let the strings get stuck in the grooves like Tusq XL, rollor nut or a brass/aluminum type.
    If you intend on using your tremolo, learn how to set it up right and get a good steel block and steel saddle type like Wilkinson or similar.
    Wiring mods are big on Strats. Tele guys like to get the neck and bridge pickup combo and you get that option easily. I always liked moving the second tone pot from the middle pickup to the bridge pickup, it's a good mod for the bridge pickup and the middle pickup IMO. Some people just put a jumper wire from middle pickup to bridge pickup to have all the pickups with a tone. Lots of ways to mod them.
     
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  6. TeleCarlos

    TeleCarlos TDPRI Member

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    I started on a Strat... and remained there.
     
  7. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Well, the one thing you'll have to get used to is the Strat actually sounds better than the Tele, but if you say that out loud, people will show up as a lynch mob, and hang you with a rope and have torches to burn your body while its hanging in mid air.
     
  8. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Tele-Afflicted

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    Don't hate tremolo. But if you decide you don't want it it is really easy to block the bridge or as posters said you can load 5 springs and it's basically the same. If you do want the trem. locking tuners are nice, a good graphite nut will also help with tuning response. Strats are cool.
     
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  9. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    I personally do a master volume/master tone setup, so the volume knob isn't so close to the bridge.
     
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  10. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    I say the best way is to go all-in. Three pickups, floating trem, the works. Make the Strattiest guitar you can, otherwise what's the point? You already have a Tele.

    A popular mod from typical Strat wiring is to connect one of the tone controls to the bridge pickup. Other do this while leaving the middle pickup without a tone control. I personally like one master no-load treble cut (so that any pickup/combination can be "without" a tone control or be tamed) and one master bass cut (especially useful when things get dirty, but also great for subtle tone shaping).
     
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  11. AAT65

    AAT65 Poster Extraordinaire

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    • Watch out for the volume knob. Much too near the strings.
    • Forget about the traditional (dumb) “two tones for three pickups” setup. Ditch this and go for a master tone control: while you’re at it, move the volume control away from the strings!
    • 5-way switches are too fiddly. My preferred solution is a 3-way to select individual bridge, middle or neck pickups, and a push-pull on one of the pots to convert to the 2-pickup parallel combos: B+N (which the normal Strat 5-way doesn’t give you), B+M, M+N.
    • Blocking the trem or fitting a hardtail bridge is personal preference. A Strat trem will never be as good as a Jazzmaster trem but it’s not a bad thing in itself.
    • Be prepared for the ‘in between’ sounds to vanish in the mix. You might need to buy a big clean SS amp. When you can hear them, though, they are tremendous.
    • Don’t overlook the middle pickup. I think it sounds great - some good funky sounds, and with a bit of drive it rocks. Ritchie Blackmore was missing out on a good thing when he only used the bridge or neck and nothing in between.
    And of course — YMMV!! And most importantly, enjoy...
     
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  12. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    .

    Set up the Strat with classic SSS layout. The HSS models never seem to balance well between the humbucker and singles plus you miss some of the classic tones while being redundant to other HH models you may already have.

    +1 volume knob. Watch Hendrix videos and see how he plays his Strat like a Tele from saddles to neck because there is no volume pot in his way. The knob causes more players to pick between the middle and neck pickup and why a Strat can sound different.

    Lower the pickups flush with the pickguard and raise the bridge until volume parity with the neck pickup. Then you have the best tones and no middle pickup in the way of your picking. You'll get more Quack this way too.

    Jumper the 5-way switch to have a tone control for the bridge pickup

    The Trem is a distraction device. You'll either try to see how far you can dive bomb the arm before going out of tune or you'll try to figure out why you are out of tune and how to fix it.

    The trem, when bending notes, allows other strings to travel with you and thus go out of tune. Eric Clapton blocks his Strat trems for this reason.

    Look up youtube channel 'Frudua' for Strat setup.

    Strats are slippery when sitting down playing.

    You may want a Joyo American Sound pedal and a Fuzz pedal (turn back the guitar volume to 2-3 to clean up) to grab some famous tones.

    I always install an Armstrong Blender mod (SSS blends into HSH) for a stealth Les Paul/Super Strat. Wiring only mod, no new parts. I'll convert a used HSS I get into SSS and then put this mod on it.


    .
     
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  13. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    It took me a while to get used to a Strat. The middle pickup, float picking more instead of my palm anchored, etc. But once I did, I really dont want to play anything else live. It's the most universal guitar out there.

    I would deck the tremelo until you get used to the Strat, You can still use it that way. Then if you want to float it, you can do that later. (you can google deck the tremelo there are plenty of instructions out there.)
     
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  14. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm inclined to go all-in at first, because I'm a sucker for learning and tinkering.

    The variety of wiring options is mind-blowing. I like the "Armstrong mod" idea, but you have all given out plenty of great ideas to get me thinking at least that the master tone is obligatory.

    What about nut material? The neck I have (which I like) has some sort of resin nut. For the strat trem, is it pretty much obligatory to go with something like GraphTech?
     
  15. Willie Johnson

    Willie Johnson Tele-Holic

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    Count me among the decker's--I had one floated, one blocked with wood, and one decked with 5 springs--and decided I liked the latter the best.

    I've got one set up with two knobs (master vol/master tone, extra hole filled with a furniture tack), but am not sure it really adds much other than a little simplicity, and an extra place for a blend knob, an additional switch for something else, etc.
     
  16. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Cool.

    I like the idea of taking out the volume pot. Maybe replace it with a little low-profile switch? What could that switch usefully do? I know a guy who could build me a really hi-fi active preamp...
     
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  17. Bill

    Bill Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    If it's a feel issue, you could make a hardtail.

    Also, consider using Tele style knobs to make it feel more like home.
     
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  18. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Holic

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    I don't use the trem, but still set mine up barely floating. Gives the strings a looser feel vs decked.
     
  19. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    I’ll entertain “better” from a les Paul or SG guy but I’d argue a strat is one glorious position, a fuzz mule, and 3 in betweens a ton of people never want to hear again. Does that make me part of the mob?
     
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  20. Gris

    Gris Tele-Meister

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    Strat works for me with low output PUs. It’s a percussive, clean machine. Tele is mo of a badass!
     
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