"Tigering" out my strat!

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Postby milobender » Wed May 14, 2008 2:01 pm

just my .02...

1) I've never heard a person could "over power" an amp with a particular pickup. However, the type of pickup definately will be a large part of the basic tone. What type of sound do you want? Single coils will be sharper, more defined, and humbuckers will be fatter, and less defined. If you don't need to be screaming loud, 50 watts is plenty of power to leave it turned down, and get a fairly clean tone... but, I don't have any practical experience with that particular amp and others may have better input than I.

2) I really like Waldo's UGB, and, see response to #3 :D

3) If you like the early 70s sound, I have a strat clone that I put new pups in (which I make myself) and a Stratoblaster, and I'm really happy with the tone of that one. I am partial to the single coil sound and my latest, best, favorite guitar so far has single coils with Waldo's UGB and the effects loop.

4) You could put a hard tail in if you fill the hole properly. On the previously mentioned Strat Clone, I removed the trem springs, put a wood block in to hold the bridge ridgedly in place, and used the cavity for the battery.

5) I really prefer the narrower vintage frets, you get a better, cleaner, more accurate note with them. I think it's a bit harder on the finger tips but what the hell, it all hurts for a while anyway :smile: Check with a tech and see if you can't simply get a fret leveling/dressing to get a few more miles from your axe.

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Postby playingdead » Wed May 14, 2008 2:47 pm

Others may have different opinions ... I would only caution you that once you "Tiger" your Strat with the buffer and the DiMarzios, correct pots, etc., it's pretty much only useful as a Garcia-sounding guitar. A regular Strat, to my ears, is a lot more tonally versatile. The Tiger guitar has a certain brightness and tone to it that really doesn't translate well to playing other styles of music, particularly when you are starting out with a Stratocaster as a base. My "real" Tiger has a little more wood behind it, and can get some hints of other tones, but by and large, it's perfect for playing Garcia and not so great for other styles of music. YMMV
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Postby milobender » Wed May 14, 2008 3:13 pm

Well, I don't have any experience with the actual Tiger setup, but I don't understand what you are refering to with the stratoblaster... :-? With my Strat setup with the stratoblaster, I can get some good Jerry sounds, as well as a host of other varieties, it's alot more versatile than the setup with the UGB only. With the stratoblaster dimed, you get a definate amount of overdrive. And with the Jerry mod ala Waldo, it can be either an adjustable gain, or very slight gain UGB with the flick of a switch.
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Postby George » Wed May 14, 2008 7:46 pm

Thanks for the replies folks. I'm thinking I might call or email Dimarzio tomorrow and inquire about various pups. I want to explore all of my options carefully before deciding to go to the lengths of tigering out my strat right with the super twos and all. I do enjoy the tonal varieties of the strat. I think I'm looking for more crystal clean note clarity than I currently have with my stock pups. Perhaps some deeper bass resonance too. I like bright, but I also like a very moody, kind of dark, minor sound. I don't think I want any lean toward distortion from my pups - I can achieve that with my amp or pedals. Anyone have any experience or opinions about the myriad choices for strat pups?

Does the UGB really effect tone in the absence of pedal usage? Would it be worthwhile to consider installing it with some type of new strat pups?

Thanks in advance for your valued help.
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Postby milobender » Wed May 14, 2008 9:22 pm

That's similar to what I like... as far as clarity in pups goes, the lower the resistance, the cleaner the tone, down to a certain point of diminishing returns... I like mine between 6 and 6.5K ohms (a bit higher on the bridge pup, lower on the neck pup). I also keep them not-too-close to the strings (too close and you start to lose the clarity). Then I like, as you say, to add the distortion with pedals, preamps, or the amp itself. As far as the accentuated lows, I don't know. I like a pretty flat response, and the pickups in that range give that. If I want to boost the lows, I use the neck pup, and/or the amp or an eq. Although in my experience, alot of lows sounds good playing by myself, but when with a bass and another guitar, keys, etc, it just muddies things up. I do like the tonal quality Waldo's UGB gives, it really brings out the details in my pups, and with the pedals etc, I can get very nice distortion. I put a comparison clip together, straight passive single coils compared to Waldo's UGB in a thread called "Jerry-Caster Clips" in "The Think Tank". It's not a great recording, but it gives you the idea. It's the link in the 14th post. I do think it's worth putting the UGB in there, but like I said before, I also like the Stratoblaster... I ended up doing it both ways in seperate guitars. :smile:
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Postby jenkins » Thu May 15, 2008 12:16 am

i dont see how "tigering" your guitar would make it only good for getting garcia tone.
Dimarzio's are great pickups and people use the super 2's for lots of other things besides garcia tones.
The effects loops is just kick ass.
being able to choose any pickup and be able to choose whether it it single coil or humbucker is huge. This should give you the ultimate in tonal options. Way more tone choices than on a strat. Strat's are good sounding guitars but they only sound like a strat.
Having a guitar that can give you both single coil and humbucker tone will be better for almost an style of guitar playing. It seems to me that is why Garcia chose to set up the guitar the way he did. He truly had the best of both worlds in tiger. He could get the dankest single coil tone or the best humbucker tone all in the same guitar. What more could you ask for?
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Postby playingdead » Thu May 15, 2008 8:01 am

As I said, YMMV ... but since I own a Strat which I put the Garcia electronics in, I speak from personal experience and I find it to be extremely bright and flat sounding. The in-between positions are not as pleasing as a real Strat is, particularly the neck/middle position (with an SDS-1 in the neck). The middle pickup as a humbucker is almost overpoweringly loud, and the bridge as a single coil is so thin and bright it's practically unusable.

Through a Twin or Vibrolux with JBLs, reverb, the tone controls set right and the middle pickup in single-coil mode, it sounds just like Jerry, but a little thinner due to the absence of the wood from the real Tiger.

Through various other amps, overdrives, etc., that I've played it through, it doesn't do much for me.
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Postby waldo041 » Fri May 16, 2008 8:08 am

playingdead wrote:Through a Twin or Vibrolux with JBLs, reverb, the tone controls set right and the middle pickup in single-coil mode, it sounds just like Jerry, but a little thinner due to the absence of the wood from the real Tiger.



proabably has more to do with the bolt on neck then the wood or electronics. the transfer of string vibration or lack of can do exactly what you describe to an axe. the floating tremolo of a strat can also do that. don't know if you have a hard tail or blocked trem, but i would start with that and tightening the neck pocket if possible to squeeze more tone out of a bolt on neck guitar.

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Postby George » Fri May 16, 2008 10:20 am

Any thoughts on EMG pickups? I know Gilmour uses them, and granted he has a far different sound than JG, but an appealling one nonetheless - real big and ballsy. Any thoughts on any other pickups? There's just such an abundance of choice that I don't even know where to begin...
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Postby waldo041 » Fri May 16, 2008 12:23 pm

George wrote:Any thoughts on EMG pickups? I know Gilmour uses them, and granted he has a far different sound than JG, but an appealling one nonetheless - real big and ballsy. Any thoughts on any other pickups? There's just such an abundance of choice that I don't even know where to begin...



we could name pickups all day, but it does nothing unless we know what you are looking for in tone.

i believe gilmours emg's have a circuit with them so they are not just a set of pickups.

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Postby George » Fri May 16, 2008 11:37 pm

Waldo, thank you much for taking interest and thanks for any advice or direction you may be able to lend me (big thanks to all others thus far and future too!). I spoke some to the type of tone I'm seeking several posts above, but a try to elaborate and explain my current thinking about reworking the electronics of my strat. As a leaping off point and in case it doesn't go without saying, ofcourse I'm a big fan of Jerry's tone (like everyone else here I'm sure). I'm currently grappling with two main issues - one, would it really be worth it and is it really tonally feasible to try to "tiger" a strat? In the absence of 14.5 pounds of neck-thru hardwood and ebony fingerboard, is it silly to attempt to approximate JG's tone with such a different style guitar (mine's a bolt on, maple neck - not sure of body wood type).

Two, if I go the more simple route of upgrading the strat style pickups, where would you suggest I start looking - which brings us back to the question of what tone type am I seeking...I would like tonal variety. I would like the ability for the guitar to sing with some sustain if possible - I know, I shouldn't have sold my Les Paul then, right. I also like some sharp, country twang. I would like good, solid bass resonance with clarity to it. I would like a much more clean, clear, each-note-defined-sound when you strum a chord. I'm not concerned with distortion or grit - I'll get that from my amp or pedals. I want a happy medium or convergence of fat warmth/depth and clarity. I like a little darkness or moodiness too - like a minor sound. My playing interests lesn toward GD style jamming mostly, as well as blues and jazz. It seems to me now after having just written this, that I've probably just come close to describing the sound/tonal variety of the Tiger setup, yes? I guess the question remains, is it possible to achieve something akin to this with 3 strat-style pickups (again, given my lighter weight guitar and maple neck). Maybe alembics are worth looking into?

Again, thank you to anyone and everyone who will lend me some suggestions or advice, as I clearly know very little about this topic and endeavor...but I'm learning! Thank you!
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Postby Jon S. » Sat May 17, 2008 8:22 am

George wrote:I would like tonal variety. I would like the ability for the guitar to sing with some sustain if possible ... I also like some sharp, country twang. I would like good, solid bass resonance with clarity to it. I would like a much more clean, clear, each-note-defined-sound when you strum a chord. ... I want a happy medium or convergence of fat warmth/depth and clarity. I like a little darkness or moodiness too - like a minor sound.

Again, thank you to anyone and everyone who will lend me some suggestions or advice ...

My take? Alder body w/rosewood board, block the trem, 10s, reasonably high action (i.e., not shredmeister-level). For the PUPs, you have many choices. If it were me, I'd do some experimenting. As they say, buy the PUPs used - play for free (you can sell 'em afterwards for what you paid for them).

Here's a pic of the "strat style" axe I use for Garcia tones (and lots more) when I'm taking a break from my Jerrycaster. It's an older, discontinued, USA/Eastpoint neck Reverend Avenger. The PUPs are a bit higher resistance than what you'd associate with the quackier type Strat PUPs and the trem is set up as a hardtail (blocked). The neck and middle PUPs measure around 6.5-6.8K ohms and the stock bridge PUP has been replaced with a Harmonic Design STP ("Strat-Tele PUP").

Works for me but then again, as I often say, 90% of Jerry's sound is in your brain (phrasing) and hands (touch) anyway.

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Last edited by Jon S. on Sat May 17, 2008 10:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby George » Sat May 17, 2008 8:59 am

Thanks for your take Jon. Very sweet looking axe! Are your top two pickups stock or what are they?

I think I'll definitely ditch the tremolo bridge in exchange for a hard tail as I never use the tremolo anyway. I also plan to raise my action a bit and move to thicker strings.

Here's another question - I should probably replace all of my electronics (pots, selector switch and plug) while I'm at it, correct (again, I have any early 80's strat squire)?

Any more pickup advice/suggstions would be most welcome! Alembic? Fralin? DiMarzio? Fender? Thank you!
George
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Postby Jon S. » Sat May 17, 2008 11:05 am

Frankly, I don't even know what the stock neck and middle PUPs are on my Avenger. I'm guessing they're both Kent Armstrongs because that's what Joe Naylor was using on his earlier Reverends (mine is SN 290-something). If it were me, I'd run whatever I had through a well-buffered compressor set lightly to season and put my time and effort rather into learning how to play more like Jerry. But I realize this is never popular advice, we (I include myself!) would always rather believe in a quick PUP solution than more practicing! P.S. Even you if don't end up buying from Lindy Fralin, it might be worth it to give him a call for his advice, that guy's forgotten more about PUPs than most of us can remember. P.P.S. FWIW, I have a pair of Fralin Unbuckers (7.5K neck, 9.0K bridge) and a Fralin Steel Pole 42 (9.0K, tapped at 6.5K) in my own Jerrycaster. In fact, my Jerrycaster is pictured in the gallery on his website.
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Postby jenkins » Tue May 20, 2008 11:58 am

hey playing dead, what schematic did you base your "tigered" strat on?
What schematic is your ressurection tiger based on?
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