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My first Strat

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My first Strat

Postby Demious » Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:28 pm

After playing all kinds of guitars that are more metal orientated, humbucker loaded, or HSH/HSS, but still aimed at higher gain settings, I recently bought my first Fender Strat, a Mexican Player with SSS configuration.
Its pretty clear to me this is something totally different than what Im used tk, in every aspect and Im sure Ive got a lot to learn about how to work the strat sound, but theres one thing Im not sure how to handle.
This guitar has a beautiful clean sound, with a huge open high-end giving a very clear and bright almost bell-like sound, but when I put some distortion on it, even though the basic sound is good, theres a very nasty screach added to it, a very ugly, hair raising sound.
The only way to get rid of it is to cut high frequencies, I have to turn the tone knobs down to about 3 and the high on the amp is also almost closed, before the sound smooths out and sounds nice, but then the sound gets so dark its like Im missing half the guitar sound and next to the clean sound, its like Im playing a different guitar on a different amp. Its just not like clean and driven are sounding from the same guitar.

Ive heard this sound before, from guitars friends bring in for a tune-up, but for tuning I useally use a clean sound and I never bothered to do something to work with distortion in such cases, but now its my time to learn how work the sound of a Strat.

Ive already been playing with different amps and cabs, using overdive channels on the amps, or pedal distortions/overdrives on the clean channel. A clear open sound has the screach and turning down the screach leaves me with no high-end and clearity.

I hope there are some more experienced Strat users who can advise me on how to create smooth overdriven Strat sounds without loosing all highs and clearity. Some help is very much appreciated. An explination, or a video to watch, articles to read, anything... Ive already been searching of course, but theres so much out there about so many different details about sound, I havent found what Im after, so far... something with forests and trees and stuff, you know ;)
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Re: My first Strat

Postby John Egan » Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:58 pm

What does it sound like using the neck pickup?
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Re: My first Strat

Postby CS70 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:28 pm

Demious wrote:I hope there are some more experienced Strat users who can advise me on how to create smooth overdriven Strat sounds without loosing all highs and clearity.

Great you made the jump! A strat is a wonderful instrument which can do it all (admittedly, most guitars can :-) ).

It's hard to say without being with you in the room tweaking knobs and pedals, but the bottom line is that any decent tube amp can be made to sing - the trick is to know why you're turning any knob.

What kind of distorted sound are you after? Soloing, chords, a mix?
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Re: My first Strat

Postby Wonks » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:21 pm

Is this on one pickup, or all of them?

It all depends on what you mean by 'screech', but there's a possibility that you've got one or more microphonic pickups (though three microphonic pickups would be rare). Unlike normal feedback from the strings, this is the wires in the pickup coil vibrating, so the feedback is far more high pitched as the wire lengths that can vibrate are much shorter. Microphonic pickups will normally screech on their own at higher volumes or gains, even if you hold the strings tight so they can't vibrate.

Wax potting should prevent this, but not all pickups are wax potted. Non-potted pickups are often described as sounding more 'open' but are best suited for clean or light overdrive applications.

On the other hand it may just be that you don't like the sound of a single coil drive sound.

It's just very hard to tell without being there.
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