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FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / What am I doing wrong?Stratocaster related.


Willoughby, OH , USA

I'm arrogant and a moron
Jul 24th, 2017 11:39 AM   Edit   Profile  

First of all, I'm more of a Humbucking guy than single coil. I think that Strats are abut the coolest looking guitars ever made. I love the tones others get from them, but not myself. Neck and middle pickups are decent but that Bridge pickup is like an ice pick in my ear, and I suffer from a 50% hearing loss in the upper registers. I've seen guys running a tube screamer or similar in front of the amp. Is that the answer or do I need to turn treble down at the amp?



Plausible Deniability Is all I need
Jul 24th, 2017 11:46 AM   Edit   Profile  

You could use the tone know on the guitar, the amp or a pedal. Regardless you will always have a single coil tone


Get One of These!

(This message was last edited by firebird6024 at 01:47 PM, Jul 24th, 2017)


LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Jul 24th, 2017 12:30 PM   Edit   Profile  

There are SO many makers of Strat pickups. You might just replace it with something that's not so harsh. I definitely did not like the stock ones in my '06 AmSe, and replaced them with Lace Hot Golds, which were way less ice-picky, plus hotter output.

Or yeah, go with a humbucker in the bridge. Depending on what model and when it was made, your guitar might already have the route in the body to accommodate a humbucker. You'd need a new pickguard as well, of course.

Mike DeTorrice
Contributing Member


Jul 24th, 2017 02:37 PM   Edit   Profile  

You could try significantly physically lowering the treble side of the lead pickup, or perhaps you might want to drop in a "Hot Rails" type single-coil size humbucker.

I have a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails in my Strat and I didn't have to change the routing or pickguard in my '75 Fender Stratocaster.

There are also "stacked" single-coil size humbuckers and I also have one of those in the neck position.


Contributing Member

The rain sounds like

a round of applause
Jul 24th, 2017 02:46 PM   Edit   Profile  

Yep. The tone knob is there for a reason.

Also, roll back on the volume control to about 6. The capacitive loading of the pot squelches the ice-picky spikes to the eardrums.

Here's what many pros do: set the Strat's vol knob to about 6. Adjust your amp's controls for your preferred tone as you yank and crank on the guitar. Get the level on the amp up to gig volume (or recording volume, etc.). Operate the Strat most of the time with the vol on about 6. When you need a solo to really pop, wind up the Strat's volume control. And remember to roll back on it when the weedly-wee-fest is over and you're back to playing rhythm.

Here's your homework assignment :o)

Go on Youtube and watch any Stratmaster play though several tunes. A good one to start with is Rory Gallagher or Stevie Vaughan.

Pay very close attention to their right hand as they play (especially the little finger). You will notice something you may never have seen before: they twiddle the switch and knobs quite a bit as they play, and they are so adept at it that you'll miss it unless you pay very close attention. This almost instinctive facility on the controls is what separates the men from the boys.

Rory: Walkin' on Hot Coals

Contributing Member

The rain sounds like

a round of applause
Jul 24th, 2017 02:51 PM   Edit   Profile  

Then go here: "I Take What I Want." Rory is a true master. Watch that right hand.

Pay no mind to the drummer using Auto Tune :o)

Mick Reid
Contributing Member


American-made in Oz!!
Jul 24th, 2017 04:17 PM   Edit   Profile  

+1 on all that has been said above...

Another option is a very simple, noninvasive mod.

The standard strat wiring does not include a tone control on the bridge pickup. This can be fixed by either simply moving one wire or adding a jumper from one contact to another on the 5-way switch.

There are heaps of instructions/diagrams for this online. (and probably here) I do this to *all* my strats.

If I'm using the bridge pickup on its own, I dial the tone down to about 7-7.5 and it just takes that edge off the highs.


Willoughby, OH , USA

I'm arrogant and a moron
Jul 25th, 2017 06:58 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks Guys,
Seems as if the tone control DOES affect the bridge pickup, at least on my standard and my Squier standard, and that is the cure, as far as I am concerned. Such an obvious thing but it never occurred to me as I seldom mess with tone controls on my Gibby's and Epis.

Contributing Member


Jul 25th, 2017 08:48 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have humbuckers in the bridge position of most of my Strats and still use the tone knob to get rid of some of the highs.


LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Jul 26th, 2017 12:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

Wow, that Rory clip of "I Take What I Want" is exciting! I want to learn that song now.

Contributing Member

The rain sounds like

a round of applause
Jul 26th, 2017 03:39 PM   Edit   Profile  

It is a great tune. Rory's the consummate front man and showman. Put it in yer bag, dad!

GET it?


That's the open tuning I use when I play Middle Eastern songs :oP



Thank God for guitars!
Jul 27th, 2017 04:38 PM   Edit   Profile  

What Mike Reid said.


What It Was!

Fairly Unbalanced
Aug 3rd, 2017 07:25 AM   Edit   Profile  

I put a tele-style base plate under the bridge pickup on my strats. Adds some mid-whack and tames
the thinness. Google-ize it!


Nicoma Park, OK.

"Let the music do the talking"
Aug 11th, 2017 06:10 AM   Edit   Profile  

I recently read an article from a pro musician who would switch between humbuckers and single coil guitars during a gig.

He said he has a EQ pedal on his pedal board and kicks it in when switching guitars.

6 Cylinder Slim

north woods

It just needs more voltage
Sep 5th, 2017 06:25 AM   Edit   Profile  

A tone control and a base plate for the bridge pickup are what I use. Works for me, but the biggest issue I find with overall Strat tone comes from stage mix. It can sound great out front, but thin and plinky on stage. Bass frequencies especially tend to thin out the Strat sound. I've found that the worst place to be is 10 feet out in front of the bass cab. I like to be far away from the bass cab and FOH subs with the amp tipped up behind me if I can.

Contributing Member

San Francisco, CA

Sep 5th, 2017 11:41 PM   Edit   Profile  

Like others above, my first order of business with any Stratocaster I own is to rewire the bottom Tone knob to the Bridge pup. I roll it off to about "7".

I learned about this in the early 60's when I read Hank Marvin did this very thing with his red '59 Strat. He does the same thing today.

Check Hank and The Shadows out on utube and you'll see he always gets fantastic tone from the Bridge pup while rolling it off to "7.5".

Hank Marvin at Work on "7.5"

(This message was last edited by 6L6 at 10:14 AM, Sep 6th, 2017)

Mick Reid
Contributing Member


American-made in Oz!!
Sep 6th, 2017 12:20 AM   Edit   Profile  

"...Tone knob to the Bridge pup. I roll it off to about "7"."


7 seems to be my lucky number there too!

FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / What am I doing wrong?Stratocaster related.

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