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Getting A Good Sound With A Fender Strat...


kmachman
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Hey everyone.

 

For my lifetime i have been playing Gibson, and Jackson, and other guitars with hum buckers.

 

Now just yesterday i went and picked up a Fender American Deluxe Strat.  Because i love the feel and the way it plays and have always liked the sound of them. But when i brought it home and plugged it into the HD500 and it sounds like total crap!  Thin weak sound with no sustain, and terrible effects...

 

However when i plug that same guitar into another multi effects processor (VG99) it sounds great with the amp sims and effects.

 

Am i missing something?  Is there a setting that i am missing in the main setup or something?  I have been really enjoying the HD500 with my other guitars, but cannot for the life of me get these Fender single coils to sound even usable.

 

Does anyone else have this issue?

Can anyone help?

 

I should also point out i am running the HD500 into an M20D and out to L3t PA

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I've got USA VG Strat and many other guitars some with SD SSL pickups, the Fenders always sound weak compared, what I usually do is download a customtone associated with people like SRV, or Richie Blackmore and just tweak from there. Funny though I'm still searching, but then again..I suppose we all are! Don't know how hot your pickups are mate, compressors,the boost pedals, or even EQ can all help,but give it a go. Good luck

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Use, comps, eq's,  comp boost, tube drive and crank the signal on the amp volume...and pull back the gain.  If you're not diggin the fender models.....go the marshall models...and pull back the gain almost all the way.  I've had an easier time with cleans and single coils than any high gains.  Don't tweak the presets you already had set for humbuckers.  Start with blank ones on another bank.  

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I have different patches for my single coil pickup guitars and for my humbucking guitars! They are two different beasts. Single coils aren't really made to handle a lot of distortion (unless you have noiseless, or stacked pups)

 

 

And even at that, some pickups are hotter than others (for example I have a guitar with JB seymours humbuckers and another guitar with Alnico II humbuckers) and that patch sounds completely different when I plug those 2 guitars in! I try to keep the pickup heights the same to keep the consistency in volume level/output.


For one of my strat sounds I use the Marshall JCM (kind of a John Frusciante tone), sounds good with my strat!
Treble: 9-10 oclock
Mid: around 12
Bass: 5 oclock
Gain: Low, but to your liking
Presence: around the middle
Master: All the way up

If your not using dual tone then do the single-input approach, sounds fuller to my ear (basically just put everything on the top half of the signal chain including the amp and then go to your mixer PATH A: 0db, Pan: Center; PATH B: mute, Pan: doesnt matter) 

 

 

Hope that helps!

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Yes!  I stumbled on the JCM model for strat cleans too...and I was blown away.  The fender models are good...but with the JCM...it gave that tube punch that lacks with lower output pickups.  Sounds amazing. 

I have different patches for my single coil pickup guitars and for my humbucking guitars! They are two different beasts. Single coils aren't really made to handle a lot of distortion (unless you have noiseless, or stacked pups)

 

 

And even at that, some pickups are hotter than others (for example I have a guitar with JB seymours humbuckers and another guitar with Alnico II humbuckers) and that patch sounds completely different when I plug those 2 guitars in! I try to keep the pickup heights the same to keep the consistency in volume level/output.


For one of my strat sounds I use the Marshall JCM (kind of a John Frusciante tone), sounds good with my strat!
Treble: 9-10 oclock
Mid: around 12
Bass: 5 oclock
Gain: Low, but to your liking
Presence: around the middle
Master: All the way up

If your not using dual tone then do the single-input approach, sounds fuller to my ear (basically just put everything on the top half of the signal chain including the amp and then go to your mixer PATH A: 0db, Pan: Center; PATH B: mute, Pan: doesnt matter) 

 

 

Hope that helps!

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Start with a new patch.      Ensure GUITAR IN switch on top of HD500 is set to NORMAL and NOT set to PAD.

 

Set input1 to guitar and input2 to same.   Choose an amp model and cab and mic and tweak to taste.   If you think you are not getting the signal level you want from the guitar then try boosting it with a compressor or an EQ or Vintage Pre amp or even a Tube Screamer with drive set low and output set high.  See if that gets you near what you want - there are plenty of choices but you should be able to find one that boosts the input signal level to where you want it.

 

You should also try the above using input 1 guitar and input 2 variax which will effectively decrease your input signal by 6db but you can then boost it using one of the suggest fx from above.   See which you prefer, sometimes lowering the input guitar signal generates better (more realistic) responses from the model blocks.  Listen and pick whichever your ears prefer.

 

Hope that helps.

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  • 10 months later...

Chrisnich says the following:  "I have different patches for my single coil pickup guitars and for my humbucking guitars! They are two different beasts. Single coils aren't really made to handle a lot of distortion (unless you have noiseless, or stacked pups)"

 

I am not sure what he means by saying "single coils aren't really made to handle a lot of distortion." 

 

Does he mean you cannot get a good sound from a single coil pickup when using a lot of overdrive/distortion, or is he referring to the noise only? If he means the former,  I respectfully beg to differ.

 

I think they sound great with overdrive.  Yngwie Malmsteen's Strats (he only uses the neck and bridge pickups) sound great with overdrive. So do Ritchie Blackmore's Strats (who also only uses the neck and bridge pickups).  Perhaps best of all, Eric Johnson's Strats sound fantastic with an overdriven sound, especially the bridge pickup and bridge/middle pickup combination.

 

Those aforementioned players and many more get fantastic overdriven tones from Strats with old-fashioned single-coil pickups.  It takes a bit more fiddling, but that is part of the beauty of it.  When you finally do get a great tone (like e.g., Jeff Beck, Scott Henderson and Eric Johnson), it sounds absolutely beautiful and unique.  Humbuckers are great too, but I think single-coil pickups, especially on a Strat, really bring out the guitarist's unique tone.

 

The idea that the Strat is primarily a blues guitarist's instrument while a guitar with humbuckers, like a Les Paul or ES-335 is better suited to rock or jazz is complete and total bosh.  All of them can get great rock tones, blues tones and jazz tones.  I think more jazz players should play Strats.  They do not know what they are missing.  The idea that they must play a huge guitar with humbuckers is silly.

 

Just to prove I am not prejudiced against humbuckers, I state for the record that  I have a 2004 American Standard Stratocaster (black with rosewood fingerboard) and a Gibson Les Paul Studio Model (date unknown), midnight blue, and a nice assortment of acoustic instruments, steel and nylon string.

 

When playing electric, I much prefer the Strat though in every respect. You have to fiddle more to get a great tone, but when you do, boy does it sound great!

 

The Strat has proven over the years, in my opinion, to be the most versatile standard guitar out there.

 

I have a theory that all great guitarists end up playing Strats.  Clapton does, Townshend does, &c.

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The advice to start a patch from new than use your humbucker patch is good advice.

 

It seems normal to sell off the standard pups from fenders and replace the pups with a more personal preference set or at least a hotter bridge pup. s

 

I use a comp, EQ  early in the HD chain for my standard strat.

 

Higher gain amp models with their gain rolled off and the volume on the guitar rolled off work well,

Like the JCM model recommended and less likely requiring a comp earli in the HD chain.

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