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How Can I Make My Fender Strat Sound More Like The Jtv Spank Model?


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#1 johnnyayyy

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 11:52 AM

So I just got my JTV89 and have been playing a couple of Variax transplants for the past few years, I absolutely LOVE the Spank position 1 sound. This week I bought a Mexican Strat to do some palm muting things I couldn't quite pull off convincingly on the JTV/VAX, and of course the Mexi Strat sounds like a shrill ice pick covered in poo in position 1 when compared to the expensive vintage Strat modeled in the Variaxes on the same HD500 patches.

I realize there is no way I am going to get a cheapo Mexican Strat to sound exactly like a $50,000 vintage guitar, but I want to do whatever I can to the Mexican Strat to make it sound warm and sweet in position 1 and as close to the JTV as possible - any Strat geniuses here who can tell me the best pickup/pot/cap/rewiring combination that will get me at least into the ballpark? My goal is to be able to record parts on my JTV and use the Mexican Strat to punch in the palm muting bits that sound funny on the Variax without it sounding like I used 2 different guitars to record the part. I don't mind spending money on a new pickup and new pots but I don't want to spend $2000 buying 20 different boutique pickups if I can get a steer in the right direction from someone who has already solved this problem.

I have created some new tones that sound good with the Mexi Strat but the ones I have created for the JTV are EXACTLY the tones I want (already wasted a bunch of time trying to modify them to compensate for the shrillness of the Mex Strat, not feasible) and I would prefer to not compromise the tone of an entire recording just to nail a few palm muted sections.


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#2 TheRealZap

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 12:14 PM

have you done the switch mod that allows the bridge pup to use the tone control? the vax model works with the tone control, so i'd start there...

probably the first thing i do to my strats.


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#3 johnnyayyy

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 02:09 PM

have you done the switch mod that allows the bridge pup to use the tone control? the vax model works with the tone control, so i'd start there...

probably the first thing i do to my strats.

 

I was already planning to do that tone jumper mod and try lowering the bridge pickup to see if that helps but wanted to wait til I had a new pickup and pots ready to install so I don't have to take the guitar apart and dig out my soldering rig twice in case the tone control mod doesn't do the trick - does the tone control mod soften the tone of the bridge even when it is set at 10?

 

I want to modify the Strat in such a way that it behaves the same as the JTV Spank 1 model does, which is "JTV tone knob set at 10 = perfection" for what I am doing.

 

I also wonder if the Strat modeled for the Variax had the tone control jumper mod or if L6 added whatever effect the added tone control has into the Spank model...?  That guitar was more than 30 years old when they modeled it, maybe someone had done some work under the pickguard to make it sound "magical"? I have have never been able to get a Strat sound I liked til I bought my first Variax, if all Strats  sounded that sweet and warm I would have been playing one all along.


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#4 TheRealZap

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 02:20 PM

the mod should add a little resistance, and i believe that it does change the overall sound... but i rarely like it wide open, so my experience at that end of the dial is pretty limited.


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#5 DrFunk

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 03:12 PM

It sounds like the JTV spank position 1 is perfect for you except there is a documented palm muting problem with the JTVs. this has been improved but not completely fixed. I have a JTV 69k. I took out the mag PUs and put in Fender Customshop Fat 50s they sound great and have a vintage flavor. I think this would work well on your Mexican Strat. One other thing you can do is buy a Tonerite. You find these advertised in GuitarPlayer magazine among others. This is a device that sits on your strings near the bridge when you are not playing. You plug it in and dial an amount of vibration that the strings receive. This has worked wonders with my new Martin DC Aura acoustic. I am told it works just as we'll on solid bodies. This combination should be the quickest way to make your Mexican Strat sound Vintage.

Fat 50's custom shop PUs cost about $200, and the Tonerite cost$145. Not too expensive for making an inexpensive guitar sound vintage and rich! You can also use the ToneRite on other guitars. I found that you have to leave the ToneRite on for at least 4 days to start noticing improvement in the tone (and ease of play) You can play the guitar anytime you want but just put ToneRite back on when you are not playing. I leave it on my Martin at all times when I am not playing. My one year old Martin now sounds nearly as broken in as my 40 year old D28. amazing device.
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#6 toasterdude

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 09:47 PM

Supposedly the JTV tone pots are set up a bit strange. I have seen posts where people say the tone put full up has more bass than a typical full on tone pot, I play with tone on 10 all the time so have not noticed that all that much, and I pretty much never use strat bridge pickup alone either on real strats or JTVs. In fact I am pretty sure I overwrote the stock strat bridge model with something else I rarely use. . . lol.

 

What are you running the JTV through?


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#7 toasterdude

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 04:08 PM

Reason I am asking about what you are running through is if the 89 does coil splitting and you are using a POD using both models and mags at the same time sounds very cool and since only half the palm muting sound is coming from the models, it is often enough for me to be happy with palm muting. I have p rails on all my JTVs so I can get a singe coil rail sound and it is the rail further from the bridge so less ice pick.

 

Pretty much the only time I don't run mags and models at the same time is when I want purely acoustic or alt tunings.


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#8 johnnyayyy

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 02:38 PM

It sounds like the JTV spank position 1 is perfect for you except there is a documented palm muting problem with the JTVs. this has been improved but not completely fixed. I have a JTV 69k. I took out the mag PUs and put in Fender Customshop Fat 50s they sound great and have a vintage flavor. I think this would work well on your Mexican Strat. One other thing you can do is buy a Tonerite. You find these advertised in GuitarPlayer magazine among others. This is a device that sits on your strings near the bridge when you are not playing. You plug it in and dial an amount of vibration that the strings receive. This has worked wonders with my new Martin DC Aura acoustic. I am told it works just as we'll on solid bodies. This combination should be the quickest way to make your Mexican Strat sound Vintage.

Fat 50's custom shop PUs cost about $200, and the Tonerite cost$145. Not too expensive for making an inexpensive guitar sound vintage and rich! You can also use the ToneRite on other guitars. I found that you have to leave the ToneRite on for at least 4 days to start noticing improvement in the tone (and ease of play) You can play the guitar anytime you want but just put ToneRite back on when you are not playing. I leave it on my Martin at all times when I am not playing. My one year old Martin now sounds nearly as broken in as my 40 year old D28. amazing device.

 

Thanks for the info!

 

I bought a second hand set of Fat 50s on Ebay based on your recommendation and some reviews I read, they showed up today. I will be installing them tomorrow, hopefully that will get me close enough.


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#9 johnnyayyy

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 02:42 PM

Reason I am asking about what you are running through is if the 89 does coil splitting and you are using a POD using both models and mags at the same time sounds very cool and since only half the palm muting sound is coming from the models, it is often enough for me to be happy with palm muting. I have p rails on all my JTVs so I can get a singe coil rail sound and it is the rail further from the bridge so less ice pick.

 

Pretty much the only time I don't run mags and models at the same time is when I want purely acoustic or alt tunings.

 

Interesting... yes, position 2 on my JTV89 mags is bridge coilsplit. I have not tried combining the models and the mags, have been too busy to really dig into any of the added features but will definitely give this a try next week - sounds like it might be a good solution

 

Thanks!


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