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pashatom
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22nd April 2010
Old 22nd April 2010
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Your Favourite Strat tone

Nothing can sound as good as a fine-sounding, well-played and well-recorded Stratocaster. For me, although there were many fine players before Hendrix (Shadows, Clapton, Beck...) his simple sometimes clean sometimes excess dirt and everything in between marks the reference point of good-sounding Strat tones.

Being mainly a Strat player ('71 through Matchless recorded with U87) I would love to hear others views on the subject and hopefully learn something.

What are your favourite Strat tones and do you know how they were done?

Tom
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22nd April 2010
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The only guitar player I listen to off the top of my head that plays a Strat is Doug Martsch of Built to Spill. I read that some of their album "You in Reverse" was a tweed Deluxe and a Strat recorded with those Ampex preamps that are stripped out of reel to reels, I can't remember the model. I think they had 20-25 amplifier at the studio for that session, but a lot were vintage Fenders.

I, personally, don't record certain guitars a certain way or only with thisor that certain amplifier...I usually just get the amplifier to sound good and mic it up! No really secret to it!

Acoustic sources can be a different story. Some fiddles a dull, some are nasally, and some are really bright and harsh. I'll use different microphones to try and even out the tone. Same goes with dobros, mandolins, acoustic guitars, and basses. A lot of times using a flat microphones and just EQing the crap out works just as well as trying different microphones.
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22nd April 2010
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Listen to the first guitar solo on "A Thousand Years" from Toto's "The Seventh One." Awesome strat lead tone, and one of the most beautiful solos ever. You'll have to ask Massenburg how he got that tone.

And then there's Eric Johnson. He makes his strat sing. I've never really examined how he gets his tone, but I remember reading once that he's really into Boss pedals (!).

-Ben B
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22nd April 2010
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Clean tone... In the Gallery..Dire Straits..

Look how many tones a Strat can do.... Gilmour

Night Bird Flying... Hendrix...
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22nd April 2010
Old 22nd April 2010
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I bought my first 1965 strat in 1967. I used to love them, not so today.

I play Telecasters, a real man's guitar! More sounds, better range, more personality can be played into it.

My old white strat looks like a plastic covered bowling pin to me. I did remove the volume control that's always in the way and put it in where the tone pot was.

It was pretty cool to play one in 1967, today everyone plays them, it's like the LA freeways in 1970, millions of VW bugs EVERYWHERE.

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22nd April 2010
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The Stratocaster has a very prominent sonic personality and it takes a really great player NOT to be dominated by it. Off the top of my head, there are only a precious few players that managed to do that: Hank Marvin, Hendrix, SRV, Gilmour, Richard Thompson, early Knopfler and more recently Doyle Bramhall II.

Clapton gets a fantastic sound out of a Strat these days but I don't think that his playing DEPENDS on using a Strat, one might argue that his Les Paul/ES-355 tones are still unmatched.

I'm a Tele player all the way but I have a really good '57 reissue Strat that I sometimes use for recording. I'm planning to put the original 3-way PU switch back in because I absolutely hate the in-between positions, it's instant 'poor man's Knopfler' and just sounds like plastic with a lot of players. Then again, SRV managed to coax incredible sounds out of it.

On the other hand, somebody like John Meyer is a really good musican and player but his Strat sounds are very mundane IMO.

And the there's Jeff Beck who turns a Strat into a mean and dirty, ultra-though weapon.


Some of my fave Strat sounds:

'Apache' - Hank Marvin

'The wind cries Mary' and 'Wait until tomorrow' - Jimi Hendrix

'Shoot out the lights' - Richard Thompson

'Blue Jean Blues' - Billy Gibbons

'Couldn't stand the weather' - SRV

'Pink Floyd live at Pompeii' - David Gilmour
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22nd April 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
I'm planning to but the original 3-way PU switch back in because I absolutely hate the in-between positions, it's instant 'poor man's Knopfler' and just sounds like plastic with a lot of players.

so true
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22nd April 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben B View Post
Listen to the first guitar solo on "A Thousand Years" from Toto's "The Seventh One." Awesome strat lead tone, and one of the most beautiful solos ever. You'll have to ask Massenburg how he got that tone.

And then there's Eric Johnson. He makes his strat sing. I've never really examined how he gets his tone, but I remember reading once that he's really into Boss pedals (!).

-Ben B
As much as I love Steve Lukather's playing, between the EMG's and the amount of overdrive, and the fact that his guitars are not strats, I don't think his sound is indicative of strat tone. Even Eric Johnson's overdrive tone could come from almost any guitar. Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Robin Trower, Dave Gilmour, have more of a classic Strat tone
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22nd April 2010
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22nd April 2010
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As much as I love what Jimi, EC, SRV, etc., have done in the classic Strat vein, I also loved the nontraditional sounds Frank Zappa got from his Strats.
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SRV has killer strat tone!

the 2 guys that made me buy a strat initially were yngwie and neal schon.

the rising force album and the journey tune lights.
straight up strat and unapologetic as well.
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22nd April 2010
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All kinds of clean Strat, particularly early Mark Knopfler.

Then again when playing myself I usually need to add a touch of overdrive to make my solos sound better. Either my playing or recording doesn't work with a clean Strat, I guess.

Well, a distorted Strat does sound good too as long as you can still recognize that typical Strat sound.
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22nd April 2010
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Here my preference Strat tones (in no particular order).........

Clean:
1. Le freak - Nile rogers
2. Sultan Swing - Mark Knopfler
3. Wicked Game - James Calvin Wilsey
4. Apache - Hank Marvin
5. Big Log - Robbie Blunt

Dirty:
1.Comfortably Numb - David Gilmour
2.Smoke on the water - Ritchie Blackmore
3.The Great Curve - Adrian Belew
4. Reelin in the Years - Elliott Randall
5. Bridge of sighs - Robin Trower

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22nd April 2010
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my favorite Stratocaster tone is with the volume pot rolled all the way down. Then I will usually layer that track with a Les Paul.
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22nd April 2010
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SRV - strat => tubescreamer => fender bassman turned up really loud, though i think the amp varied over the years

eric johnson - strat => butler tube driver or fuzz face => marshall plexi
for clean - strat => EH memory man => fender twin reverb

think gilmour uses a tube driver as well, seems to complement the strat nicley

jeff beck - strat => use whatever amp and rock the whammy as only he can
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22nd April 2010
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1. Le freak - Nile rogers = Tokai Strat not Fender
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22nd April 2010
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Love my AD strat. Very inspiring for writing. Sounds great in recordings. It's a little to easy to fall into lazy habits however if I play it all the time.

At the end of the day, when I want to play down to the bone, I reach for the telecaster. I have a 72 custom with the humbucker and if you can build your chops on a tele, it keeps your fingers and mind in shape for playing better overall. Teles don't lie. At least that has been my experience.
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22nd April 2010
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I'm a Strat sort of guy. A Strat into a tube amp, on the edge of breakup. That's as sweet as it gets to me.
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22nd April 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireMoon View Post
1. Le freak - Nile rogers = Tokai Strat not Fender
Really? thanks for correcting me....but, still, it sound like a strat to my ears.
Besides, this thread title asking about strat tone (not specifically about fender strat.), right? ......
No, i know it's about Fender Stratocaster.
Cheers !!
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22nd April 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musiclab View Post
As much as I love Steve Lukather's playing, between the EMG's and the amount of overdrive, and the fact that his guitars are not strats, I don't think his sound is indicative of strat tone. Even Eric Johnson's overdrive tone could come from almost any guitar. Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Robin Trower, Dave Gilmour, have more of a classic Strat tone
Yeah, I think he was playing Valley Arts super-strats back then. The did look like Strats in terms of body shape (more so than Jacksons etc) but were arguably far better made than Fender's output of the day! I think he had Floyds on these guitars which could well account for the lack of 'Strattiness' plus, I have a feeling at least one his VA axes was solid maple. And as you say, the gain...I think with lots of gain, it's hard to tell any guitar from another unless you happen to be playing it.

Regading the much maligned EMGs (why do I feel I have to defend them, LOL!) I don't think you can argue with David Gilmours tone from his EMG equipped red strat. The tone on Shine on, from Pulse, oooooooooh

As for the original post, gotta go with Knopfler and Beck (and Gilmour of course). Of course MK was known for playing Schecter Strats for quite a while...built by John Suhr I believe.
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22nd April 2010
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Love Ritchie Blackmore's sound of the early/mid seventies (Deep Purple). He used stock Strats, any that could be found, with modded Marshall amps, with typically no effects.

His tone was so generic, but with a bit of bite and TONS of personality. Listen to Machine Head or Made in Japan (Highway Star/Lazy/Space Truckin). Quintessential Strat tone, without the gimmicks. Wins hands down for me.

Sorry... SRV was a "next generation" Strat player. Others had "been there, done that". Great player, tho, but didn't do it for me.
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I would love to love Hendrix but the quality of the recordings get in the way.
I know the playing is brilliant but I find that 60's production aesthetic difficult to sit through.

Mike Landau's strat tone is where it is at for me.
Scott Henderson also.
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22nd April 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by souldeep View Post
Really? thanks for correcting me....but, still, it sound like a strat to my ears.
Besides, this thread title asking about strat tone (not specifically about fender strat.), right? ......
No, i know it's about Fender Stratocaster.
Cheers !!
Now it think you know why Fender and Gibson were all over Tokai issuing lawsuits.. How dare they actually make the Strats people wanted, not were foisted off with by Fender.
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22nd April 2010
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Actually, SRV kicked a strats ass like no-one ever will. Not a "next-gen" strat player by any stretch. Maybe to you after some of those older guys, but from a guitar players perspective, I'd easily argue thats SRV's technique, contribution, and sound far surpasses that of Blackmore's.

Wow...umm no one had "been there/done that" before SRV like he did it. Blackmore didnt play with near the same aggression nor did he have as unique of a sound as SRV. Not even close. Granted, these are my own opinions, but as far as memorable strat players, SRV far exceeds Blackmore.

And Hysteria's right about EJ's tone. It took most of us years before we found out that Cliffs of Dover was recorded with an SG for god's sake. EJ is still one of the best strat players IMO, but yeah...

However, do draw the line when thinking you cant tell a guitar apart when overdrive/high gain is used as thats just wrong.

Nope - just watched another vid on Blackmore. Nope. He might win the "Solo on the bridge pickup for an hour" award, but naa. It takes an "Advanced Pentatonic Soloist" to know one, lol....and SRV's style, licks, technique and just about everything far surpasses Blackmore. Again, my own rather firm opinion as a professional player myself. Sorry if I offend.
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22nd April 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RasCricket View Post
And Hysteria's right about EJ's tone. It took most of us years before we found out that Cliffs of Dover was recorded with an SG for god's sake. EJ is still one of the best strat players IMO, but yeah...
Same with some ZZ Top stuff. Is there a tune that's more 'signature' Billy Gibbons than 'La Grange'? Well, the lead was done with a Strat!

It can make for very interesting sonic varations when a 'typical' Strat player suddenly grabs an SG or vice versa. Thus 'Cliffs of Dover' and 'La Grange' could become 'signature' tunes for Johnson and Gibbons even though it was done on the 'wrong' guitars.

I still think that Eric Johnson is a quintessential Strat player even though he did great work on other guitars like say the Les Paul he used on the early Electromagnets stuff. Same with Jeff Beck in the early 70ies.
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22nd April 2010
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Here's one i'd forgotten about... Koss using a Strat.... pure magick..

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22nd April 2010
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Stratocaster for rhythm guitar

Aside from the obvious SRV/Hendrix/Clapton mentions, I would add just two:

1. Steve Miller's tone on "Jet Airliner" and "Rock'n Me"

To me, those two songs demonstrate the ideal clean strat rhythm tone. Most people in this thread are going to talk about lead guitar tone, but rhythm guitar is just as important and these are a pretty good example.

2. The Edge's tone on "One Tree Hill" or "Running to stand still"

Which U2 song is the "best" example of strat tone is debatable, but I would argue that Joshua Tree absolutely demonstrates the beauty of a strat with a lush delay.

Unless you're a guitar god, for most mere mortals, I find that the strat is better suited to rhythm guitar.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RasCricket View Post
Actually, SRV kicked a strats ass like no-one ever will. Not a "next-gen" strat player by any stretch. Maybe to you after some of those older guys, but from a guitar players perspective, I'd easily argue thats SRV's technique, contribution, and sound far surpasses that of Blackmore's.

Wow...umm no one had "been there/done that" before SRV like he did it. Blackmore didnt play with near the same aggression nor did he have as unique of a sound as SRV. Not even close. Granted, these are my own opinions, but as far as memorable strat players, SRV far exceeds Blackmore.

And Hysteria's right about EJ's tone. It took most of us years before we found out that Cliffs of Dover was recorded with an SG for god's sake. EJ is still one of the best strat players IMO, but yeah...

However, do draw the line when thinking you cant tell a guitar apart when overdrive/high gain is used as thats just wrong.

Nope - just watched another vid on Blackmore. Nope. He might win the "Solo on the bridge pickup for an hour" award, but naa.
Well you said it yourself Ras

I was only speaking for myself. When I'm playing I can tell but when I listen back to my own stuff I can't remember what guitar I used unless say, I'm using that Strat clean tone we've been talking about here.

And let's sight some other examples...Another Brick in the Wall p2 solo...Les paul jr DI'd into the desk (from what I recall). What about Stairway solo...a tele...

I listen to a lot of 80s rock...I see the videos, think they're using Superstrats cause the guy's playing a Kramer, only to find he used a Les Paul that he's had for years. But I'm probably just deaf
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22nd April 2010
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Anything David Gilmour does. His live tone off Pulse is just fantastic.

All the other players listed have a great tone too, but no one pulls at my heart like Mr. Gilmour.
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22nd April 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireMoon View Post
Here's one i'd forgotten about... Koss using a Strat.... pure magick..

Wow, interesting! I never heard this one before. Sounds almost like Gilmour with a faster vibrato.
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