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Thread: Playing with Strats

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  1. #1
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    Default Playing with Strats

    Well, since I have been learning Sultans of Swing, I decided to look into a Strat or a Nashville Tele. I got to try a Fender Player Strat (SSS with a Pau Ferro fingerboard) and a Player Tele with a maple board. The Player Strat played nice except it desperately needed a setup. The truss rod needed tightening, the bridge was pitched up at the back, and the G string was horribly binding at the nut, causing it to go flat whenever I would bend the string. The Tele surprised me. I expected to like it better. The weight balance on the guitar was exceptional. It too needed a setup. The truss rod needed to be loosened and the intonation wasn't even close. The thing that got me was that the fretboard is glossy while the neck back is satin. That REALLY made me notice the tighter radius (vs. my Jackson) and the smaller frets. I was getting bends to fret out or just getting stuck on the finish.

    I talked with one guy at a local store. As it happened, they were placing a huge order with Fender. He said I was under no obligation (and I said I didn't want to stick them with inventory) but he ordered the Fender Deluxe Strat and Nashville Tele I was looking at. I'm looking forward to trying them out. I dropped the news with my wife/CFO that I was looking at that. Kinda excited, actually.

    As an aside, they also had an ESP LTD version of the George Lynch kamikaze guitar. I didn't play it because I was afraid I would like it and it's $1200.
    Axen: Jackson DK2M, Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster, ESP LTD Surveyor-414
    Amphen: Jet City JCA22H and JCA12S cab, Acoustic B20
    Effecten: "Thesis 96" Overdrive/Boost (aka DVM OD2), Hardwire DL-8 Digital Delay/Looper, DigiTech Polara Reverb, DigiTech EX-7 Expression Factory and CF-7 Chorus Factory, Danelectro CF-1 Cool Cat Fuzz
    "I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!"--Carl Brutananadilewski

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    Not to cause difficulties, but I have found that you usually eventually end up getting the one that you REALLY wanted after going thru several that you tried to talk yourself into wanting... Sometime it's cheaper to go direct - tho of course sometimes you find that it was all just guitar lust in any case. The damnable thing about GAS...
    "GAS never sleeps" - Gil Janus

    "Now you got to pay your dues. Get that axe and play the blues." - Spudman

    Gear: Epiphone Sheraton II, Epiphone Wildkat, Epiphone Emperor Joe Pass, Fender MIM Strat, Tacoma DR-14, Recording King ROS-626, Johnson JR-200 resonator; Fender Super Champ XD amp

  3. #3
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    Yeah. I think that's been my history with my Squier '51. I've tried all kinds of mods to get me to love it. Mind you, I like it, but . . .

    I'm glad I got a chance to try one with a maple and one with a pau ferro fretboard. I expected to like the maple one better and that it wouldn't be close. The reality was that I wouldn't be happy with the maple board one. The pau ferro one seemed to be much smoother to play even though the other specs are supposed to be the same. Of course, it was somewhat hard to tell because the setup was much worse on the pau ferro one.
    Axen: Jackson DK2M, Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster, ESP LTD Surveyor-414
    Amphen: Jet City JCA22H and JCA12S cab, Acoustic B20
    Effecten: "Thesis 96" Overdrive/Boost (aka DVM OD2), Hardwire DL-8 Digital Delay/Looper, DigiTech Polara Reverb, DigiTech EX-7 Expression Factory and CF-7 Chorus Factory, Danelectro CF-1 Cool Cat Fuzz
    "I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!"--Carl Brutananadilewski

  4. #4
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    My '99 MIM strat has a maple board which almost seems to have no finish on it (not from wear) - just a very flat, thin satin finish. The one thing I didn't like about my former CV strat with a maple board was the 'stickiness' of the high gloss finish front and back.
    "GAS never sleeps" - Gil Janus

    "Now you got to pay your dues. Get that axe and play the blues." - Spudman

    Gear: Epiphone Sheraton II, Epiphone Wildkat, Epiphone Emperor Joe Pass, Fender MIM Strat, Tacoma DR-14, Recording King ROS-626, Johnson JR-200 resonator; Fender Super Champ XD amp

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    Quote Originally Posted by tjcurtin1 View Post
    My '99 MIM strat has a maple board which almost seems to have no finish on it (not from wear) - just a very flat, thin satin finish. The one thing I didn't like about my former CV strat with a maple board was the 'stickiness' of the high gloss finish front and back.
    Agreed. I can't stand a glossy finish on a neck. Apparently someone must like them because they make tons of them.
    Axen: Jackson DK2M, Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster, ESP LTD Surveyor-414
    Amphen: Jet City JCA22H and JCA12S cab, Acoustic B20
    Effecten: "Thesis 96" Overdrive/Boost (aka DVM OD2), Hardwire DL-8 Digital Delay/Looper, DigiTech Polara Reverb, DigiTech EX-7 Expression Factory and CF-7 Chorus Factory, Danelectro CF-1 Cool Cat Fuzz
    "I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!"--Carl Brutananadilewski

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    I had an opportunity to visit the closest GC to me today. I could check out the Deluxe Nashville Tele and the Player Tele back to back. I was surprised that the fret size and radius were not as big of a deal as I anticipated (9.5 vs 12). What did make a huge difference was the finish on the fretboard. The glossy finish on the Player was a non-starter for me. I kept getting stuck in bends. The satin finish on the Deluxe was nice and smooth. The Deluxe Tele also seemed to have a more modern (read: thinner) neck profile whereas the Player is more traditional C. Either would be very comfortable. Another surprise was how heavy the Deluxe Tele was. Not Les Paul heavy, but a good bit heavier than the Player Tele and WAY heavier than the Player Strat. Lesson learned: a Player would work, but it would need to be the Pau Ferro fretboard.

    I have to say that I was very disappointed with Fender's QC. Every one I tried at three different stores (and mind you, these are all guitars between $600-$850) had some amount of fret sprout/rough edges. My Jackson's frets didn't need to be touched--odd since it's also FMIC (I cannot speak about the Jackson's original setup. I had Guitar Center "professionally" set it up with my preferred Boomer 10s. It was screwed up seven ways to Sunday.) The Fenders also seem to only barely have been set up into a guitar-shaped object. Now I understand that everyone has a different taste in how guitars should be set up, but all of them needed a truss rod adjustment. The saddles didn't even vaguely follow the fretboard radius. None of them were close to being intonated. The nuts on the Players would need addressing, some more than others. Now, none of those are a big deal. I could easily fix all of them. I would expect that from cheap Chinese-made instruments. I would not from a MIM.
    Axen: Jackson DK2M, Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster, ESP LTD Surveyor-414
    Amphen: Jet City JCA22H and JCA12S cab, Acoustic B20
    Effecten: "Thesis 96" Overdrive/Boost (aka DVM OD2), Hardwire DL-8 Digital Delay/Looper, DigiTech Polara Reverb, DigiTech EX-7 Expression Factory and CF-7 Chorus Factory, Danelectro CF-1 Cool Cat Fuzz
    "I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!"--Carl Brutananadilewski

  7. #7
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    Odd - I remember that my CV strat was set up beautifully out of the box. I figured the shop had set it up, but they said no, they hadn't. No fret sprout, no finish flaws. Actually, I've only had one Chinese made instrument that was problematic - an Epi Les Paul with a funky finish on the back and a neck in need of truss rod adjustment (three other Epi's have been fine). Then again, I recall a CV Tele in a GC that had all the problems you mention...
    I think the Nashville tele's seem like a great set-up; but the main reason that I sold my CV tele was because it was so heavy and the lack of a belly cut made it additionally uncomfortable (maybe I'm too skinny - hurt my ribs!).
    "GAS never sleeps" - Gil Janus

    "Now you got to pay your dues. Get that axe and play the blues." - Spudman

    Gear: Epiphone Sheraton II, Epiphone Wildkat, Epiphone Emperor Joe Pass, Fender MIM Strat, Tacoma DR-14, Recording King ROS-626, Johnson JR-200 resonator; Fender Super Champ XD amp

  8. #8
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    Several comments:

    • I think glossy finish necks are fine if you have naturally dry hands, which I happen to have. If your hands tend to be moist, those glossy finishes will feel sticky, I'm quite certain. I have a bunch of Strats and Teles, with a mixture of maple and rosewood fingerboards. Only three have semi-gloss necks, but I really don't find them easier to play than the glossy ones. Some players (Jeff Beck comes to mind) use talc or baby powder to keep their hands dry when playing glossy necks. And some folks just sand down the back of the neck with fine sandpaper or steel wool.
    • It should be against the law to use the terms "professional set-up" and "Guitar Center" in the same sentence. Maybe even the same paragraph. Despite the fact that I just did.
    • Of the guitars I've owned, past and present, probably at least half were used instruments. Without a doubt, these tend to arrive with better set-ups, since (obviously!) they've already been played. It's amazing how many new instruments arrive with crummy setups, though some degree of adjustment is almost always needed to get an instrument just the way you like it. A small neck radius, like the "vintage" Fender 7.25" size can be a complicating factor since it makes the action height and the differential heights of the string saddles critical for avoiding "fretting out" on string bends". Learning how to do your own setups is a very valuable skill. Dan Erlewine's book "How to Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great" is a great resource for this purpose, though there are certainly others available--books, articles, YouTube vids, etc.
    • I would be remiss if I didn't put in a plug for the Squier Classic Vibe Strats and Teles here. I have five of them (2 Teles & 3 Strats), though two of the Strats are actually "partscasters" built with CV bodies, necks and hardware along with pickups and electronics of my own preference. They all play and sound just great....but all have glossy-backed necks. I have more expensive Strats and Teles, too, both MIM and MIA, but I wouldn't say than any of them play noticeably better than my CV guitars. Just sayin'!!
    DVM's Ever-Expanding Gear List:

    Guitars - '05 Gibson Historic '59 RI (R9); '11 PRS Studio; '08 Heritage H-555; '12 Fender Am. Std. Strat; '89 Fender Strat Plus; '02 Fender Telecaster '72 Thinline RI; '15 Gretsch G5420T Electromatic; '97 Godin LGX; '12 G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy SH; " Kwik-Keef Konvertible" '09 Squier CV '50s Tele; '10 Squier CV Tele Custom; '13 Cabronita Thinline Tele; '14 Squier CV Strat HSS; '15 Squier CV "Humcaster" homemade Strat; '15 Squier CV "Lipstick Fiesta" homemade Strat; '10 Agile AL-3000; '12 Xaviere XV-890HSS; '09 Hagstrom Ultra Swede; '15 Slick SL60; '16 Slick SL-57; '16 SX Ursa2 MN5 Bass; '05 Martin HD-28; '12 Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE; '71 Yamaha FG-300

    Amps & Cabs - Mesa Boogie Mark Five:25 head; Mojave Coyote head; Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Lacquered Tweed Ltd. Ed.; Allen Sweet Spot kit amp; BYOC Tweed Royal kit amp; Homebuilt 1.5W Firefly Head; Epiphone Valve Jr. combo + mods; Drive 2x12 cab / Celestion G12M Greenback + G12H30; AB Custom Audio 1x12 cab / Celestion Alnico Blue

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  9. #9
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    Hey DVM!

    Yeah, I'm not Captain Sweatyhands, but I just don't like glossy necks. My bass' neck has a finish that isn't really glossy but it isn't satin either. I like that a lot. For whatever reason, I'm way less picky about bass specs than I am about guitar. Probably because I started playing guitar in the Internet era Bass was WAY before that.

    I do know how to do basic setups (apart from fret work or nut slot adjustments) so that's not a huge issue for me. I guess the intonation was the big head scratcher for me. Setup tastes will be different. Intonation is either right or not. The nut slot thing was crazy too. Anyone should have been able to see that if you give it even a cursory look-over.

    I have looked at the Squiers. The gloss and 21 frets are problems for me. 21 frets aren't the end of the world, but I always feel like I have a finger chopped off. The neck tint tends to be too amber for me as well. I'd also like to try some G&L guitars but the only local shop that had them went out of business.
    Axen: Jackson DK2M, Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster, ESP LTD Surveyor-414
    Amphen: Jet City JCA22H and JCA12S cab, Acoustic B20
    Effecten: "Thesis 96" Overdrive/Boost (aka DVM OD2), Hardwire DL-8 Digital Delay/Looper, DigiTech Polara Reverb, DigiTech EX-7 Expression Factory and CF-7 Chorus Factory, Danelectro CF-1 Cool Cat Fuzz
    "I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!"--Carl Brutananadilewski

  10. #10
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    G&L makes some excellent guitars, and the Tribute series offers great bang for the buck. I have two of the Tribute ASAT (Tele) models--a Classic Bluesboy semi-hollow with a neck humbucker and a Special with the "jumbo" MFD single coils. The latter has a semi-gloss neck with rosewood fingerboard and the pickups have a lot of punch and presence, kind of like a brighter version of a P90. See photos below.

    BTW, that "Sultans" lesson is very well done. I wish I was any kind of a finger-picker to be able to do those finger rolls in the outro solo. It's just not possible to make them sound authentic with a flat pick. And, of course, a Strat set to the bridge-middle pickup combo is essential for the right tone!

    Attached Images Attached Images
    DVM's Ever-Expanding Gear List:

    Guitars - '05 Gibson Historic '59 RI (R9); '11 PRS Studio; '08 Heritage H-555; '12 Fender Am. Std. Strat; '89 Fender Strat Plus; '02 Fender Telecaster '72 Thinline RI; '15 Gretsch G5420T Electromatic; '97 Godin LGX; '12 G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy SH; " Kwik-Keef Konvertible" '09 Squier CV '50s Tele; '10 Squier CV Tele Custom; '13 Cabronita Thinline Tele; '14 Squier CV Strat HSS; '15 Squier CV "Humcaster" homemade Strat; '15 Squier CV "Lipstick Fiesta" homemade Strat; '10 Agile AL-3000; '12 Xaviere XV-890HSS; '09 Hagstrom Ultra Swede; '15 Slick SL60; '16 Slick SL-57; '16 SX Ursa2 MN5 Bass; '05 Martin HD-28; '12 Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE; '71 Yamaha FG-300

    Amps & Cabs - Mesa Boogie Mark Five:25 head; Mojave Coyote head; Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Lacquered Tweed Ltd. Ed.; Allen Sweet Spot kit amp; BYOC Tweed Royal kit amp; Homebuilt 1.5W Firefly Head; Epiphone Valve Jr. combo + mods; Drive 2x12 cab / Celestion G12M Greenback + G12H30; AB Custom Audio 1x12 cab / Celestion Alnico Blue

    Pedals/Effects - ZILLIONS, including DVM's Home-built Pedals - See some HERE and HERE, TOO!

    DVM's Gear Photos
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  11. #11
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    The shop that used to have G&L had a red carved top ASAT with double humbuckers which was one of the most beautiful guitars I've ever seen in person. I also have looked for used Strats but this is pretty much a wasteland for that. The prices I've seen on Reverb or eBay aren't any great deal, to say nothing of being able to see them personally.
    Axen: Jackson DK2M, Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster, ESP LTD Surveyor-414
    Amphen: Jet City JCA22H and JCA12S cab, Acoustic B20
    Effecten: "Thesis 96" Overdrive/Boost (aka DVM OD2), Hardwire DL-8 Digital Delay/Looper, DigiTech Polara Reverb, DigiTech EX-7 Expression Factory and CF-7 Chorus Factory, Danelectro CF-1 Cool Cat Fuzz
    "I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!"--Carl Brutananadilewski

  12. #12
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    I avoided Craig's List for a long time - seemed the prices were always silly high. But I looked one day and found my Sheraton for $200 with a hard case, so started to peruse when I was really looking for something, which is when I found my MIM strat for $200 - so it's worth taking a peek now and again....
    "GAS never sleeps" - Gil Janus

    "Now you got to pay your dues. Get that axe and play the blues." - Spudman

    Gear: Epiphone Sheraton II, Epiphone Wildkat, Epiphone Emperor Joe Pass, Fender MIM Strat, Tacoma DR-14, Recording King ROS-626, Johnson JR-200 resonator; Fender Super Champ XD amp

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjcurtin1 View Post
    I avoided Craig's List for a long time - seemed the prices were always silly high. But I looked one day and found my Sheraton for $200 with a hard case, so started to peruse when I was really looking for something, which is when I found my MIM strat for $200 - so it's worth taking a peek now and again....
    Yeah, I've looked at Craigslist too, but there just hasn't been much of anything to be found. I still keep an eye out.
    Axen: Jackson DK2M, Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster, ESP LTD Surveyor-414
    Amphen: Jet City JCA22H and JCA12S cab, Acoustic B20
    Effecten: "Thesis 96" Overdrive/Boost (aka DVM OD2), Hardwire DL-8 Digital Delay/Looper, DigiTech Polara Reverb, DigiTech EX-7 Expression Factory and CF-7 Chorus Factory, Danelectro CF-1 Cool Cat Fuzz
    "I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!"--Carl Brutananadilewski

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    Umm. Jackson just announced this, an SL4X in snow white:


    I've seen them before, but they were in garish 80s colors (not that I'm inherently against that). These are throwbacks to a guitar from back then. Even Jef Beck played a pink one. I think the white with black pickguard looks hawt. I'd have to try to play one or at least another Soloist to see if I could handle the painted neck. The pickups are all Duncan Designed humbuckers, but they sound pretty good in the videos I've seen. Even if I didn't like them, I could still replace them and pay less than the Fender Deluxe. It's at least another datapoint.

    Also the white ones have other differences from the original three colors. The body is poplar instead of basswood and the fingerboard is laurel instead of rosewood. I'm surprised they used rosewood at all, what with all the issues with CITES compliance.

    Another reason I thought of this is that I seem to be struggling to find a Fender neck I can bond with whereas the Jackson neck just feels right to me. I don't know. I'm not in a hurry. Lots of guitars to try!
    Axen: Jackson DK2M, Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster, ESP LTD Surveyor-414
    Amphen: Jet City JCA22H and JCA12S cab, Acoustic B20
    Effecten: "Thesis 96" Overdrive/Boost (aka DVM OD2), Hardwire DL-8 Digital Delay/Looper, DigiTech Polara Reverb, DigiTech EX-7 Expression Factory and CF-7 Chorus Factory, Danelectro CF-1 Cool Cat Fuzz
    "I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!"--Carl Brutananadilewski

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnold View Post
    I'm not in a hurry. Lots of guitars to try!
    Yeah, that's putting it mildly...!
    "GAS never sleeps" - Gil Janus

    "Now you got to pay your dues. Get that axe and play the blues." - Spudman

    Gear: Epiphone Sheraton II, Epiphone Wildkat, Epiphone Emperor Joe Pass, Fender MIM Strat, Tacoma DR-14, Recording King ROS-626, Johnson JR-200 resonator; Fender Super Champ XD amp

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    Well, I was able to go to the local GC again today. They had a Jackson SLATHXMG3-6 which is a Soloist with a painted neck. I discovered that the paint didn't bother me--at least not now in the dry winter months. That Jackson also suffered from some interesting GC abuse. It was marked down because somehow the switch had been sheared off at the body so you would have to replace it in order to switch pickups. I also tried a couple of Fenders. It seemed like when I played the Fenders I was fighting against them. The Jackson just felt right. The neck seemed a bit chunkier than my beloved DK2M, but still very Jacksony. That gave me all the more interest in a SL4X.
    Axen: Jackson DK2M, Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster, ESP LTD Surveyor-414
    Amphen: Jet City JCA22H and JCA12S cab, Acoustic B20
    Effecten: "Thesis 96" Overdrive/Boost (aka DVM OD2), Hardwire DL-8 Digital Delay/Looper, DigiTech Polara Reverb, DigiTech EX-7 Expression Factory and CF-7 Chorus Factory, Danelectro CF-1 Cool Cat Fuzz
    "I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!"--Carl Brutananadilewski

  17. #17
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    Listened on youtube - sounds nice, plus a neat neck join along with the 24 frets...
    "GAS never sleeps" - Gil Janus

    "Now you got to pay your dues. Get that axe and play the blues." - Spudman

    Gear: Epiphone Sheraton II, Epiphone Wildkat, Epiphone Emperor Joe Pass, Fender MIM Strat, Tacoma DR-14, Recording King ROS-626, Johnson JR-200 resonator; Fender Super Champ XD amp

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    Quote Originally Posted by marnold View Post
    I talked with one guy at a local store. As it happened, they were placing a huge order with Fender. He said I was under no obligation (and I said I didn't want to stick them with inventory) but he ordered the Fender Deluxe Strat and Nashville Tele I was looking at. I'm looking forward to trying them out. I dropped the news with my wife/CFO that I was looking at that. Kinda excited, actually.
    I went to that local shop. They had those guitars in stock. I liked the Deluxe Strat. The only thing that gave me pause was the bridge pickup. Super bright. I'd have to rewire it to be on a tone control. I don't know why, but I liked the Nashville Tele much better--even better than the one at GC. I don't know why that is. I just wanted to keep playing it. I much prefer the Tele bridge. They have them slightly cheaper than MF. They're also having a sale until Sunday, offering 5-40% off, depending on a coin you pick out of a hat. I'm sure it'd be 5%, but that would at least eliminate tax. They also offered me a good price on my '51. Hmmm.
    Axen: Jackson DK2M, Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster, ESP LTD Surveyor-414
    Amphen: Jet City JCA22H and JCA12S cab, Acoustic B20
    Effecten: "Thesis 96" Overdrive/Boost (aka DVM OD2), Hardwire DL-8 Digital Delay/Looper, DigiTech Polara Reverb, DigiTech EX-7 Expression Factory and CF-7 Chorus Factory, Danelectro CF-1 Cool Cat Fuzz
    "I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!"--Carl Brutananadilewski

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnold View Post
    ...I liked the Deluxe Strat. The only thing that gave me pause was the bridge pickup. Super bright. I'd have to rewire it to be on a tone control.
    It's an extremely easy modification, just one little jumper on the 5-way switch. 95% of the effort is taking the pickguard off the guitar to get at the underside of the switch!

    DVM's Ever-Expanding Gear List:

    Guitars - '05 Gibson Historic '59 RI (R9); '11 PRS Studio; '08 Heritage H-555; '12 Fender Am. Std. Strat; '89 Fender Strat Plus; '02 Fender Telecaster '72 Thinline RI; '15 Gretsch G5420T Electromatic; '97 Godin LGX; '12 G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy SH; " Kwik-Keef Konvertible" '09 Squier CV '50s Tele; '10 Squier CV Tele Custom; '13 Cabronita Thinline Tele; '14 Squier CV Strat HSS; '15 Squier CV "Humcaster" homemade Strat; '15 Squier CV "Lipstick Fiesta" homemade Strat; '10 Agile AL-3000; '12 Xaviere XV-890HSS; '09 Hagstrom Ultra Swede; '15 Slick SL60; '16 Slick SL-57; '16 SX Ursa2 MN5 Bass; '05 Martin HD-28; '12 Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE; '71 Yamaha FG-300

    Amps & Cabs - Mesa Boogie Mark Five:25 head; Mojave Coyote head; Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Lacquered Tweed Ltd. Ed.; Allen Sweet Spot kit amp; BYOC Tweed Royal kit amp; Homebuilt 1.5W Firefly Head; Epiphone Valve Jr. combo + mods; Drive 2x12 cab / Celestion G12M Greenback + G12H30; AB Custom Audio 1x12 cab / Celestion Alnico Blue

    Pedals/Effects - ZILLIONS, including DVM's Home-built Pedals - See some HERE and HERE, TOO!

    DVM's Gear Photos
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