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Our personal recommendation for obtaining a rich and sustaining tone is to use as thick strings as possible, but not thicker than that. turning the screw < 90 degrees, can take days before you see the neck stabilizes into its new curve. The tones were reminiscent of a muted trumpet or trombone, but with the snap and sting of downed power lines.”, For some unknown reason, guitarists took to referring to the Stratocaster’s in-between pickup switch settings as “out of phase", even though the phrase is technically incorrect, since combining two pickups in a manner that is truly out of phase electrically would produce a sound noticeably weaker and tinnier than either pickup on its own. After adjusting the action from a low and high neck position, you must verify the action and fret buzz halfway on the neck. Alder has been the wood of choice by Fender for many years, and for good reason. Play some chords and licks on the 5’th and 8’th fret. Adjusting the truss rod is an iterative process that can take days and weeks, depending on temperature and humidity and how much the guitar travels. Use a low E-string for the A nut slot, an A-string for the D nut slot and so on. Good setup won’t compensate for that, but it will bring out the potential that each individual guitar has. Cap’s are measured and specified by the term capacitance, with unit farad. Either the nut has to be replaced or the whole nut must be raised by inserting a piece of paper or wood below the nut. Some necks and bodies are just better than others, even if they’re cut out from the same tree and left the factory the same day with the same person making them. Newer necks and fretboards with glossy lacquer will create lots of friction, particularly when your hands are warm and sweaty. But most important is how much fret buzz can you live with. The pickup closest to the neck pickup is called the rhythm pickup and boasts a warmer, rounder tone. Dc-current and low-frequency signals see a cap as a high electrical “resistance”. But first – what recognizes a good strat? One example is a Fender Mustang with thin strings played through a clean Deluxe Reverb reissue loaded with a … 0.01uF) and/or a bigger tone pot R2 (i.e. Some things you can change, some things you can’t. Vibrato is an adjustment of frequency. If you play chords and licks high up on the neck, you need to adjust the intonation or else the guitar will sound of tune. Paul Gagon was the mastermind who designed Fender’s TBX potentiometer, as he worked there from 1978 through 1984. This was the lead tone for Western Swing, and back in the good old days of the fifties there was simply no need for a tone control for the bridge pickup. MODEL PART NO. Unfortunately, original hard copy manuals from this archive are no longer available. Many times we find that used instruments are better to play than brand new ones, not necessarily because they are old and worn, but because they have had caring owners that have tweaked the details that make a difference. If the strings are too big you won’t have the necessary power, timing, control and ability to play fast, bend and apply vibrato. There are also two wheels on the horn that alter the volume (nearest the slide switch) and tone, which is sometimes called a "treble roll-off". If you want more treble go for a lower tone cap value C1 (i.e. We’ve said earlier that the amp and the speakers are the most important for what you hear, and we stick with this. See if you must increase the bridge saddles or if you can possibly lower them. Let’s list a couple of advantages with thicker strings. The lead circuit offered standard controls for a Fender guitar: single master volume and tone control knobs on the lower bout, and a three-position pickup selector toggle switch on the same side of the guitar. Ever since Fender introduced the five-way selector switch on the Stratocaster in 1977, guitarists have enjoyed a wealth of tones through its traditional three single-coil pickups.. It is both simple and robust. This is the wiring diagram for Stratocaster, from In guitar circuits, there’s treble roll-off and a resonance peak at the roll-off frequency. Of course the strings must be properly stretched and the tuners must work perfect for this to work. The schema is simplified here and does not show the internal pickup details – wiring dc-resistance, capcitance and, most important, the pickup inductance. But sustain is not all, we’re also looking for a resonance character where the neck and body responds with desirable frequencies based on the input frequencies from the vibrating strings. In most common applications the Stratocaster has a 5 way switch that allows you to isolate and blend pickups. Some people claims that the sustain is improved this way, and we can agree to that to some extent, but we still prefer a vibrato movement in both directions. Higher tone pot value -> brighter tone. And not so thick that you loose the feel, power and ownership of your strings – practice, practice, practice. If you plan to change string gauges, you may need to adjust the specs somewhat to compensate for the changes in string sizes. It’s more important to have fresh strings and change them regularly. The bigger the tone cap, the more treble is lost and darker the tone. You can always experiment with different cap values for a different sound, but this wiring is what comes standard on most Fender Strats after 2000. Raising or lowering the bridge saddles is much easier. A minor truss rod adjustment, i.e. Use a fine grained sand paper. The following setup procedures and specifications are for your Stratocaster as equipped with the strings that come on the instrument as standard equipment from the factory. Dick Dale, Buddy Guy and Otis Rush were early proponents of it, too. People prefer different setups for the vibrato (It is called vibrato and not tremolo, but everyone calls the strat bridge for a “tremolo bridge”. From an engineering perspective, the Fender Stratocaster is a guitar of all dreams. All fret-buzz reduces sustain and volume. For very bright guitars (either pickups, neck or body) we sometimes use a 0,1uF tone cap. Who has not upgraded their guitar with expensive aftermarket parts in the search for a better tone? Simply – as long as the truss rod is inside the ball park area, and not outside, all is well. Our favorites are Pyramid round core nickel strings, but we are open to lots of different brands. We personally think it is a great affordable choice for tone wood and is relatively easy for finishing projects. We prefer a bone nut for both performance and the vintage correct looks, but we’ve also had graphite nuts that are smooth and well functioning. In our Which control pot to choose article, we explain how a control pot lets some of your guitar's high frequencies escape to ground instead of getting to the amp. Adjusting the truss rod involves loosen the strings, tighten (or loosen) the truss rod, tune back the strings and measure the neck curve by looking upwards from the bridge. If they are too close you’ll experience that the magnet field from the pickup interferes with the string vibration and kills the sustain. To convert your Strat’s normal tone control to Greasebucket specs, you don’t need much: 0.1 μF and 0.022 μF capacitors (Fender uses ceramic-disc versions), and a 1/4-watt 4.7 kΩ resistor (Fender … We’d say the choice depends how you prefer the response and dynamic range of the volume knob. Use sand paper and verify that the strings are allowed to slide smoothly back and forth in the nut slot. You should play the guitar as much as possible after adjusting truss rod to stimulate the neck curve change. The drawback with higher action is that you must apply more strength to press the strings down against the frets, and it gets harder to play fast. To our ears the tone is practically the same when you roll back the volume with these two approaches. High-frequency signals see the same cap as a much smaller “resistance”. A very important step. On the other hand, there are a few scenarios where you might enjoy having full treble at lower volumes: – When you play solo and licks with reduced volume and want the same tone as on full volume setting. This makes the strings slide smoothly and even allows us to do deep Hendrix dives without the guitar getting way out of tune. Bottom Line: Fender Player Stratocaster is probably the best entry-level Strat on the market. The Delta Tone wiring features a no-load tone control for the middle and bridge pickups, great for producing just a bit more midrange and hotter output from the Stratocaster. Middle pickup can have less bite, more warmth and a chimey tone. A electric path that has little “resistance” will lead more current than a path with higher resistance. We dial in the ideal Fender amp settings using the famed "magic six" EQ, taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of the Fender models. Start with the nut, and inspect the gap between the bottom side of the strings and the highest point of the first fret (open string of course ). Typical standard Fender Stratocaster guitar wiring with master volume plus 1 neck tone control and one middle pickup tone control. Let’s list a few components and parts in the Fender Stratocaster that affect tone: In this section we’ll breefly explain how components inside the Stratocaster affects the tone. You must allow the neck wood to stabilize and help it a little bit using your hands and carefully bend or stretch it out, depending on if you loosen or tighten the truss rod. Needless to say. Thicker strings will have a higher tension and bend the neck more. The treble is leaked to ground. Are there any objective and common standards that makes this discussion relevant between players with different musical tastes? These guitars will eventually need a fret job, meaning either re-fretting or leveling the frets. Also note that there’s some quite interesting history behind the Strat’s pickup switch. Bass side: 2.6mm. This step requires you to have adjusted the truss rod first. Fender has produced various 'deluxe' modern American Stratocasters with special features. But what if you could unlock even more options? A higher cap value means more of the treble is lead to ground and lost in stead of being passed to the amp. You could turn on the bridge pickup, the middle pickup or the neck pickup, but no combinations thereof. The only difference with these controls compared to some older Strats is that one tone knob controls the bridge pickup, while the other reduces the treble of both the neck and middle pickups. The schema also shows the curcuit assuming the pickup switch is in position 1, 3 or 5, using only one pickup and one tone pot. If you can live with the sudden reduction of volume with the 50’s wiring, you should try it out. Lots of guitar players with strats, teles and other brands wire their guitars after the 50’s design because of a fuller tone with more treble when the volume is backed down. The control pots you choose affects your tone. If you recognize any of the scenarios above, you should consider the treble bleeder kit which allows the treble frequencies to bypass the volume pot and go directly to the amp. is a privately owned web site and not part of Fender Musical Instruments corporation. Copyright ©2020. 500Kohm). Fender Stratocaster-style controls and variations. The bass/lower frequencies however will see the capacitor as a much higher “resistance”. 2): Note that there is no means of having all three pickups on at once. You could activate only one pickup at a time, and that was that. The guitar must be considered together with the amp and pedals. We also recommend sanding the back side of the neck to allow smooth and friction-less change of grips. We cannot hear any difference. Our personal string gauge favorite is: 011, 014/015, 017/018, 024/026, 034/036 and 050/052 tuned down to Eb. This should be done after raising/lowering the bridge saddles when adjusting the action. We share with you’s Fender Stratocaster setup guide. You must ensure and learn yourself how to string and set up the guitar the way you like it, for your playing style and your tone preferences. The volume knob behaviour changes and gets more aggressive. A smaller volume pot will result in more treble loss in your guitar, and it is desirable to brighten the tone with humbuckers. Also a 250K tone pot makes your guitar less sensitive to “bad” or long guitar cables with high capacitance that kill some treble and clarity. You can experiment with different tone cap values with loose cables hanging out from your pickguard and swap different caps while you play. Pickup height adjustment is an iterative process that can take weeks depending on neck tension and potential truss rod adjustment. Almost everything can be tuned and optimized to alter the tone and playability in several directions. For example, switching from 250K to 500K pots will mean a brighter sound. We feel it is better to have the pickups far away than close. This affects your tone. [self-published source] [self-published source] The Strat Plus Deluxe was introduced in 1989 with pickup and tremolo variations. If you sand too much and get fret buzz, the nut is spoiled. When the temperature varies or if you change to a different string gauge, you might have to adjust the truss rod again. Below is the wiring diagram for the American standard stratocaster model. To big cap will result in a muddy tone, like a carpet in front of your speaker. Please note that separate manuals are not available for every instrument model. Treble side: 2.6mm. “Contrary to a widespread assumption about the in-between positions,” Wheeler wrote in* The Stratocaster Chronicles*, “the pickups remain electrically in phase.”, The in-between positions sound different, as Wheeler pointed out, because pickups in different positions respond differently to string vibrations, cancelling out certain frequencies when operating simultaneously. But there is a side-effect with the 50’s wiring. If you are never playing any notes above the i.e. Thicker strings have more tension and can therefore handle more beating and a harder pick attack before they are “over-hit”, resulting in either a too sharp note or the buzz and blizztering attack when they slam into the frets. You will benefit from a low action when playing chords since lower action requires less finger strength. We’ve already discussed how you should sand the nut slots to optimize for a lowest possible open string action without any fret buzz. This will also make the tone control “slower” and you have to turn it more to get an effect. The worn wood and lacqer is smoother to play. The tone cap is shared between all pickups (in vintage wiring, the bridge is not wired to the tone pot). work together in creating a mix of frequencies. We like this mod since one needs no extra components to re-wire a strat or tele circuitry into the 50’s wiring design. Many other great guitarists subsequently used the in-between sounds extensively, including Ike Turner, Rory Gallagher, Eric Clapton (“Bell Bottom Blues” and “Lay Down Sally” are good examples), Robert Cray, Mark Knopfler (a middle/bridge sound fan, as heard on “Sultans of Swing”), Nils Lofgren and others. Any potential fret buzz higher up will not be a problem for you. Volume-Pot: from the circuit you see how the output jack (hot tip) is wired into the circuit at the middle leg of the pot. The lead circuit also has two pots, a master volume and a tone control. A little current will always leak through the tone pot and cap even if the tone pot is set at 10 (max resistance) . The tone remains the same, as if it wasn’t there. Search the Internet for more sources of in-depth information on how pickup works and the physical and magnetic interaction between strings and pickups. What can we possibly draw from this? Your hands and fingers should not get tired after 15 minutes of playing a mix of chords and licks/solos. This is the wiring diagram for Telecaster, from This is the most standard wiring – three single coil pickups, 5-way switch, 250k volume and tone pot, the lower tone pot coupled for both mid and bridge pickup and no treble bleed components/wiring. The closer the pickups are, the higher output and more treble you’ll get. Since the humbuckers produce a much hotter and darker signal it is desirable to use 500K pots rather than 250K to get clarity in your tone. It is crucial that you inspect and adjust the pickup height after adjusting the truss rod and string action (nut and bridge saddles). This is just as wrong as when we say a Fender amp’s “vibrato channel”. The Strat Plus was produced from 1987 to 1999 and was equipped with Lace Sensor pickups, a roller nut, locking tuners, a TBX tone control and a Hipshot tremsetter. Recommended component values from are 680pF capacitor and a 220K ohm resistor. We set the action by playing and tweaking by ear and feel. It does not hurt that the species is in the great abundance, which helps in mass production. Fender themselves changed this to 0.022uF later since many players thought the tone knob was too drastic in these strats. A very subjective area. Fender PlayCYBER WEEK SALE: Save 50% on a Monthly Plan.UNLOCK THIS OFFER. A good instrument is key to good music and good tone. At full volume there is no effect of the treble bleed cap + resistor (same with 50s wiring). The string gauge also plays an important role. All things being equal, a Strat will sound brighter with a 0.047uF tone cap than it will with … A worn and well played nut with correct string action is extremely valuable to us. Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. Next in line is the capacitor C1 which will allow higher frequencies to pass through it, meaning that the treble-part of the signal will be grounded and is lost. It's confusing..... watch this video to dispel the confusion ! The pickup current is divided in two paths – 1) through the tone pot R2 and tone cap C1 and 2) through the volume pot R1. Good instruments can motivate us to play better and make us feel good and comfortable on stage, which is important for both professionals and hobby guitarists. A smaller value like 0.047µF will have more treble. If you want more treble go for a lower tone cap value C1 (i.e. You may even use wounded strings to file the nut with. If we number the switch positions 1 through 5, with position 1 being closest to the middle tone knob and positions 2, 3, 4 and 5 proceeding in order toward the middle pickup, we can easily label the switch’s pickup-selection functions (see Fig. Guitarist Buddy Merril, an early champion of the Stratocaster who played with the Lawrence Welk orchestra, used the “in-between sound” as early as 1955. A tight and sticky nut is one of the things that really annoys us with new guitars. Use sand paper or sanding files and file the nut slots carefully so that the strings are lowered. We don’t like the tremolo bridge rest firmly down against the body. The rhythm circuit on the upper horn consists of a single two-way slide switch that solely engages the bass-heavy neck pickup. Tuning down to Eb will allow you to use thicker strings and you will get a woodier and darker tone. If the nut slot is too tight and narrow, i.e. 0.01uF) and/or a bigger tone pot R2 (i.e. The standard volume volume tone setup common to many Jazz basses allows for a fair variety in tone for a passive instrument. Its placement there is, like that of all Stratocaster parts, entirely deliberate—close enough to the strumming/picking hand to be within easy reach while playing, but far enough out of the way that it’s unlikely to be accidentally knocked out of position. For the first 23 years of the Stratocaster’s existence, from its 1954 debut until 1977, the pickup selector was a three-position switch. The pickup closest to the bridge (sometimes called the lead pickup) generally has a tighter, more biting tone. The string should vibrate freely when being plucked when you’re holding it down against the first and last fret. You don't need any pedals or modifications to fatten up the sound of a Fender Telecaster and make it pleasing to the ear. Press down the low E against the last fret and measure the gap between the pickup magnet pole and the bottom side of the string. Please Note: This guitar wiring diagram is property of Inc. Repeat for treble side, the high E string. A good setup will ensure both tone and playability, allowing you to play fast and easy with superior tone. But first, let us try to define a little bit more what is considered a good guitar tone. If you need to tame the treble in a bright Tele or Strat, try to increase the tone cap value to i.e. This means the tone cap does affect the tone a little bit even when the tone knob is on 10. The action is adjusted in several ways. The string should be very close to the frets but it must not touch any of them. Not thicker than your fingers are able to control and handle, without getting tired and worn out. Setting the volume at zero means zero resistance between ground and the output jack hot tip – the volume pot at minimum grounds the signal. It’s okay to be inspired from someone else, but you should primarily trust your own mind and ears. Some like it, some don’t. Thicker strings support a hard playing style better and you won’t lose pitch. This might be too thick for beginners, but after playing for some years this gauge allows you to bend and shake heavily. The vintage 50’s strats had 500 K, while newer have 250 K. Deeper and fatter tone and more sustain. Selecting an optimal string action depends on your playing style, string gauge, hard vs. soft pick attack and if you optimize for chords or solos/licks. Personally we adjust the tension of the five vibrato springs on the back side so that there is a little gap between the tremolo bridge and the guitar body. second, you should also aim for a low action and thinner strings. We’ve had guitars with very smooth volume pots with little friction, and when we accidentally touched the volume knob with our right hand while playing, the guitar suddenly went silent because the volume knob was rolled down to 4-5. They will determine how much of the original pickup signal is leaked either to ground inside the guitar or passed to the amp. Fender Stratocaster explained and setup guide, Going further, focusing on Stratocasters, a good guitar is initially given from the design and build of the guitar – wood materials, pickups & electronics, hardware, neck and fretboard. Learn more about Fender electric basses. Those who like it tend to appreciate a mellow rythm playing tone when backing down the volume. Therefore higher volume pot resistance values with humbuckers. The telecaster has a single volume and a single tone control. You should inspect the neck curve on a monthly basis and adjust the truss rod accordingly. Truss rod, nut adjustment (filing, sanding) and raising or lowering the bridge saddles. If you have old, worn and uneven frets you will have to adjust the action to suit the highest frets, those who are less worn. We also sand away the lacquer below the tremolo bridge where the screws enter the body, especially for Acryl based lacquer. For softer pickups like Fender Custom ’69, you can raise the pickups closer to the strings. The 1968 Fender catalog noted that guitarists could “Select any of three positions or even between the natural positions for sound aplenty.” Finally, in 1977—23 years after the instrument was introduced—Fender replaced the Stratocaster’s three-way pickup selector switch with a five-way switch; a modification that remains to this day as a standard feature. As a result of the guitar strings movement near the pickup’s magnetic field, a small amount of current is induced (created) in the pickup coil wire. They found that by somewhat precariously lodging the switch in one of the two “in-between” spots—between the bridge and middle pickup positions or between the middle and neck pickup positions—they could get two different dual-pickup combinations. They discovered that balancing the pickup selector in between the notched positions provided additional sounds, typically described as thin, delicate, honky, quacky, hollow, and especially funky.”, Or, as Smith put it his book, using the switch to mix the sound of two Strat pickups produced “snarling nasal tones that literally redefined electric guitar sound. As has been noted, the tone knob simply cuts higher frequencies as it is turned down. This is an effect of the original circuitry from Leo Fender. Therefore you must select a string gauge that matches the power in your hands and fingers. In general: Higher volume pot resistance -> brighter tone. It will feel like your strings are thicker and harder to bend. Depending on how hot the pickups are (magnet strength, number of windings) you need to adjust the distance accordingly. All Rights Reserved. In addition to sanding we lubricate the nut slots with Stewmac’s guitar grease whenever we change strings. It’s a five-position blade-type switch mounted diagonally on the lower half of the pickguard on the treble-strings side, just forward of the control knobs. The treble bleeder kit consists of a cap and resistor wired in parallel over the volume pot – from the top leg of the volume pot to the middle leg and hot tip output. The TBX is not an active system, as some believe, using a battery as found on the 25db boost on the Clapton Strats. We’re sadly not sharing any millimeter measures, simply because we don’t know or measure the heights on our own guitars. It offers several possibilities to easily tweak and adjust the behavior.

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