How useful is a Strat? Do I need one?

Bertotti

Friend of Fred
Jul 20, 2017
9,383
South Dakota
I love Strats, more than Gretsch for comfort, and unlike most, I do not have a tele. I have two Strats one is the Aerodyne with a very thin fast neck and modded with the first-gen hot noiseless pups. Great sounding pups and plenty of growl when I need it and a 60th Anniversary MIM Strat, it has Hot Tex Mex pups and is oh so southern blues, SRV like, in tone. the TexMex pups are singles all the way a bit closer to HB are the Noiseless which are noiseless HB style stacked pups than a bit closer to the HB side is the HS Filters in the Penguin, after that the full-on HB pups in the Minarick. A whole range of tones but with the Gretsch and the Minarick I can not do much more than change pups or pots etc. I had a bowed neck on a Strat and it was easily replaceable, the Thin Aerodyne neck is next to go because it actually is hurting my wrist, just too thin. I couldn't fix that easily on a Gretsch or set neck guitar. But as for tone if I want single, quack, clean chimey Strats can do it. If I want clean chimey clear Strats can do it. If I adjust my amp eq the tone, add a pedal, I can get quite a full and focused break up not a paf tone but close enough for me, and the 25.5" scale is my favorite. I wish my Penguin and Minarick had a 25.5" scale.
 

TV the Wired Turtle

Gretschified
Jul 25, 2009
14,559
Sandy Eggo
I have an American Player tele, that I just put a McNeely Duckling neck pickup into, cuz I really dont like playing strats if I dont have to. I do have my original 91' Strat but it has flatwounds and is not the typical and overly nauseating SRV copy.. but I do like the sound of a Strat in the neck position. So I bought the McNeely, sold me w the vid.. i chose the open top, very nice!

from their site:
"This is for Tele players who have a thing for the wicked vibe of a Strat neck pickup. The rich deep lows to the clear and glassy chime is all there, but squeezed into a standard Tele size. No cutting, routing, or chisels required.
This will give even a good Strat a run for its money."
duckling_aged_large.jpg


 

Randy99CL

Country Gent
Feb 17, 2020
2,094
Albuquerque
The Tele and Strat are entirely different animals. You can get each to sound "somewhat" like the other but neither is a perfect replacement. Just look at the pickup design.

Everyone needs a Strat. There are tones that no other can give. We appreciate how versatile our Gretsches are but the absolute most versatile has to be the Strat. The Strat is used in every genre and style of music everyday by many famous artists worldwide.

Just start with a MIM on sale and try it, you have almost nothing to lose. Resale is high.
For less money look at the G&L Tribute models, my favorite clones.

The Strat is my most comfortable guitar, I love it. Just feels right in my arms, nice rounded body with no sharp edges.

There are a billion Strats out there to pick from, surely you can find one you can bond with.
And just because one Tele didn't ring your chimes doesn't mean they all won't.
Everyone needs at least one Strat and one Tele, you need them to expose you to sounds you don't own yet. They will influence you to play things you can't even imagine now.

Some ask why I own so many? There are so many variations:
4 Fender Stratocaster Plus Top Aged Cherry Burst.jpg
8 Fender Pawn Shop 51 Butterscotch Blonde.jpg 19 Fender HSS Player Strat.jpg 21 G&L Comanche.jpg
 
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G5422T

Country Gent
May 24, 2012
4,047
usa
So serious question.

Am trying to bring a bit more variety to my collection and don't have a strat, truth is I have never really been a strat guy but lately have been listening a lot of bluesy stuff and John Mayer so am thinking that it maybe something I could use.

But I have a Tele, so do I really need a Strat?

I know this is a bit of a rhetorical question but all you Strat lovers post why you love them.

I'll say yes you "need" one. But.

It's not just about the tone. It's the vibe too.

Every guitar has its own vibe, but a Strat ....I can't explain it, but it sure has a special one.

Variety is a good thing, especially if you're not dialed in to one signature sound.

When I had a Strat, I just played things differently, and played things that I normally wouldn't play. I enjoyed that.

Miss mine.
 

BCRatRod73

Synchromatic
Sep 1, 2020
711
Mississippi
It’s just the aesthetic of it. Feels as though there is no craftsmanship involved, and thus a cheap feel carries on throughout. Just my opinion of course. Squared off block of wood for the neck to rest on, attached by bolts. Leo had a great design if ease of repair and build times are a concern. If only they added a little wooden end cap that resembled a set neck heel to hide the squared off joint I’d probably feel better about the design. Anyway, plenty of great players used bolt on guitars, made great music with them, it’s just another tool, yada yada. I still don’t like them.
 

BuddyHollywood

Gretschie
Sep 11, 2009
483
Venice, CA
Do you need a Stratocaster? I would say only if you want more options when recording. A Telecaster with a Twisted Tele neck pickup will get you really close to a Stratocaster neck pickup sound in a Telecaster. The bridge pickup in a Telecaster is already better sounding to me than a bridge Stratocaster pickup. For most Fender style tones in a mix you could potentially interchange a Telecaster, a Stratocaster and a Jazzmaster to a degree, especially in a live setting. While these guitars do sound different and all 3 have their specialties with their own style of pickups, they are more similar to each other than they are with Gibsons or other brands. For gigging you don't need a Strat if you already have a good Telecaster but they are the only guitar that can get that funky 2 and 4 position tones with the bridge and middle or middle and neck.

Personally I had a song that I realized needed the position 4 sound on a recording. I sold my Strat with a skinny neck that hurt my hands to play to help fund my Gretsch Duo Jet. I tried to use my Jazzmaster but it wasn't quite nailing the sound I heard in my head so I built a parts Strat specifically for the recording. I ended up using it for most of the guitar solos too because I installed a Power'Tron in the bridge. If I played that song live the Jazzmaster could pass but for recordings every detail gets analyzed.
 

Randy99CL

Country Gent
Feb 17, 2020
2,094
Albuquerque
Don't forget that you have to find a good one that comes alive for you. Yours may be a Fender or Yamaha or G&L or PRS or other, even one you build yourself out of parts.

I love my Gretsch big body boxes but as semi and hollow they seem fragile sometimes. I feel that way with my Gibsons too, always make sure that I don't bump them and break the headstock.

But the Strats and Teles have a 100% solid feel, even though the neck is separate they feel like one solid piece of heavy wood. Rugged, you can hit them as hard as you want with no effect. If my strap broke and they hit the floor I expect it would do nothing more than a mark in the finish. And then it is so easy to replace parts.
Just amazing guitars that I think most players owe it to themselves to try out.
 

radd

Friend of Fred
Dec 27, 2017
5,816
Santa Cruz
It’s just the aesthetic of it. Feels as though there is no craftsmanship involved, and thus a cheap feel carries on throughout. Just my opinion of course. Squared off block of wood for the neck to rest on, attached by bolts. Leo had a great design if ease of repair and build times are a concern. If only they added a little wooden end cap that resembled a set neck heel to hide the squared off joint I’d probably feel better about the design. Anyway, plenty of great players used bolt on guitars, made great music with them, it’s just another tool, yada yada. I still don’t like them.

I get it.

I will say this, I can put a custom neck made to my specs on a Tele or a Strat. My Tele has one and my current Strat is waiting for one I’ve ordered to arrive
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,814
Tucson
IMHO, both Strats and Teles have very distinct traits, which are hard to duplicate. Telecasters have the amazing treble bite, which makes them suited to being excellent for Country and Blues, not to mention Rock n’ Roll.

Strats have a different presence, and are fairly unique, among guitars. The snap that the Telecaster’s bridge offers is replaced by a different response. I’m not sure how to describe it, except to say that Strats seem to have a timbre That is all their own.

Do you need one? I guess it would depend upon whether you wanted/needed that unique timbre. I’ve have a couple of great Strats, but have been Strat-less for some time now. If I ever get another one, I would want a switch which allows the neck and bridge pickups, together.
 

Marv666

Synchromatic
Jul 26, 2020
684
Germany
Just my opinion, but you gotta check if it vibes with you and not vice versa.
There are plenty of guitars which do great in hands of certain players but that i just don´t get along with.
Like the Tele .... i like what some people do with them but i just don´t like Teles. I had one and tried a few here and there.
If you get along with it great but not every guitar is for everybody.

I like strats but don´t feel the need to get one .... for the surf stuff i like my de armond equipped Gretsch does a good surfy sound too but it feels more pleasing to me.
Or something lots of people love but what i absouletly hate is the P90 pickup haha.

So long story short just play some strats and see if it resonates with you .... and for recording you can get away with any guitar
 

Chmason85

Synchromatic
May 1, 2018
962
Philadelphia
IMHO, both Strats and Teles have very distinct traits, which are hard to duplicate. Telecasters have the amazing treble bite, which makes them suited to being excellent for Country and Blues, not to mention Rock n’ Roll.

Strats have a different presence, and are fairly unique, among guitars. The snap that the Telecaster’s bridge offers is replaced by a different response. I’m not sure how to describe it, except to say that Strats seem to have a timbre That is all their own.

Do you need one? I guess it would depend upon whether you wanted/needed that unique timbre. I’ve have a couple of great Strats, but have been Strat-less for some time now. If I ever get another one, I would want a switch which allows the neck and bridge pickups, together.
I wired mine up so position four allowed me to combine the neck and bridge, it makes a big difference.
 


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