What does a Strat sound like?

golfnut

Strat-Talker
Feb 14, 2018
285
Canada
For me it is individual pickup positions that should sound a certain way when I try out a Strat.
Neck should sound like Frusciante's "Bedroom Lick"
Neck/Mid should sound like SRV Lenny
Mid/Bridge should sound like Dire Straits Sultans of Swing
Bridge....well normally IMO sounds like dog 💩
Middle alone should sound like the bridge pickup but with less highs...less bitey.

That being said, with my current setup, I have Porter S90 pickups in all positions and I'm able to get the best Strat tones I've ever had...IMO...
Up until the recent acquisition of my latest strat I would have agreed with your evaluation of the bridge pickup alone. I've been, mainly a tele player for 40 years but have owned several strats through out that time. I could never get a sound from the bridge alone that I like and only used the strats for 2 and 4 position.
The strat I picked up a month ago is the first strat bridge that I absolutely love. This is the first strat where I'm almost like bridge alone or neck alone better than 2 and 4. In 50 years of playing my eyes are finally opened to the versatility of the strat and every position is useful to me. I don't know why it took this long to find "The One" strat.
 
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Fender Fool

Strat-Talker
Oct 25, 2013
448
Pittsburgh
A strat sounds like the crystalline waters rolling off a waterfall in a pristine rain forest, racing towards the basin, manifesting into a mist that makes one feel the awakening of a new day dawning!........well, either that, or it sounds like a guitar with three single coils.
 

Seamus OReally

Crawling back
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 11, 2019
6,129
Santa Rosa, CA
plus scale length
A Strat sounds like Buddy Holly.

No wait...

David Gilmour.

No wait...

Jimmy Hendrix...
Ritchie Backmore
Stevie Ray Vaughn
Eric Clapton
Buddy Guy
Robert Cray
Ynwie Malmsteen
Robin Trower
Jeff Beck
Dick Dale
Hank Marvin
Nile Rogers

Well, I'll be darned if I can figure out what a Strat sounds like. 😕
You forgot Buddy Merrill and Neil Lavang.
 

golfnut

Strat-Talker
Feb 14, 2018
285
Canada
I'll admit to being completely ignorant on what scale length actually bears on. I know what it is, I just don't know what the advantage of one over the other might be and it seems such a small difference between Gibson and Fender as to be negligible.
Such a small difference in measurement but the feel is huge. A set of 10's on a strat feel perfect for me but on an LP its too slinky. I just never feel comfortable on the shorter Gibson scale.
 

bigreen505

Strat-Talk Member
Jul 5, 2021
94
Colorado
I'll admit to being completely ignorant on what scale length actually bears on. I know what it is, I just don't know what the advantage of one over the other might be and it seems such a small difference between Gibson and Fender as to be negligible.
Longer scale length gives a bit more snap to the notes. Shorter scale gives a bit more roundness to the notes and perhaps less note definition.
 

Baelzebub

Dr. Stratster
Nov 1, 2019
14,790
State of Disbelief
Longer scale length gives a bit more snap to the notes. Shorter scale gives a bit more roundness to the notes and perhaps less note definition.
Thanks. That gives me something concrete to look for. I'll do an A/B with one of my strats and one of my LP's and listen for those qualities specifically.

Cheers!
 

joebtone

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Jan 26, 2022
1,904
Northwest US
I put SD pearly Gates in a Indonesian Strat and it still sounds stratty with painfully creamy pickups.

I don’t know what else to add...it just comes out in endless ramblings...now I want to bust it out and play it.
 

Baelzebub

Dr. Stratster
Nov 1, 2019
14,790
State of Disbelief
Check out this vid. Yeah, I know, "Not this guy again" LOL, but this is interesting, and really explains the effect that scale length has.


Hadn't seen him before, but watching that makes me wanna look up his sustain video. I have no idea if his wacky methods are accurate but they have an ordered, logical approach to looking at problems that's appealing.

My gal was sitting at her computer with her back to me till about 10:00 in and then she just turned around and asked, "Is this guy for real??"....lol...bless her heart. She doesn't play.. :D
 

Bud Borcky

Strat-Talk Member
Mar 29, 2022
28
19720
I was watching a YouTube review of a Silver Sky SE the other day and the reviewer commented that it was a nice enough guitar, but didn’t really sound like a Stratocaster. They definitely have a mid-scooped sound, but so do a lot of Strats. This morning I was watching another video on YouTube of a maple neck American Pro II and someone in the comments claims that the sounds coming out of it are not how a Stratocaster is supposed to sound. Last week I played a 2001(?) HSS American Standard Stratocaster at my local Guitar Center. It was all original and while the strings we pretty dead, my first though was it feels like a Strat, but doesn’t really sound like one. Everything was low mids. It was also HEAVY. My “S-shaped-object” is a McGibney (local builder) hardtail with a chunky maple neck, alder body and Porter 1960s pickups. I brought it to my neighborhood repair shop to talk about a refret. The guy strummed it (on the bench, unplugged), and proclaims “Matt (McGibney) does amazing work, but it doesn’t sound like a Strat.” Yesterday I had a bit of time between appointments and went to a different Guitar Center to see if I could get along with a Cutlass (nope, but the Fiore is INCREDIBLE) and played a Player Strat (all treble, nothing else), a used American Pro I (somehow everything I dislike about Stratocasters rolled into one guitar, but gorgeous color), and a HSS American Pro II (nearly custom shop level sound and feel) and they all sounded and played very different from each other.

So what exactly does a Strat sound like?
If you put on Pink Floyd - Shine on you crazy diamond part 1 and listen to the intro, you will hear the heart and soul of a strat.
 

StratUp

Most Honored Senior Member
Sep 5, 2020
8,088
Altered States
I don't think scale length has any effect at all on sound, per se.

Yeah, you can use different gauge strings, more or less tension. But I think the real difference is in construction/design. A Strat, with a tremolo and a bridge anchored by springs, has a certain metallic ring to it. An LP, with the bridge attached directly to the body, has a warmer sound. An LP will never give you that sound. Of course, there are sounds an LP does that a Strat doesn't.

As an example: I have a Gibson scale guitar with Strat pickups and a Gibson wraparound style bridge. It sounds about halfway between an LP and a Strat. As you'd expect. Lacks the metallic ring though. As you'd expect. But it's the pickups and construction, not the length of the scale.

Anyone taken a Strat and put a 24.625 length neck on it... no other changes? I'd wager it still sounded like a Strat. But if you've done it, chime in (some pun intended).
 


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