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Discussion Starter #1
I’m still trying to get the best out of my Strat. I’m primarily a HB or P90 fan, but sometimes I like a bit of Strat in the rotation. Some days it’s really good, some days not good at all and back in the case it goes. I’ve added an EP booster and play through a decent tube amp or good sims and effects, but some tones that my fave players get just elude me. KWS and Tyler Bryant have killer tones that I can’t seem to get even close to. It’s like I’ve got too much Strat “Honk” that I can’t shake.

Mine is a stock 87 Am Std. I’m still considering a pickup swap but @mhammer suggested putting copper plates under mine which I totally forgot about, so I’m going to try first. (Thank you for that)

If that doesn’t get me there, I’m going to try some new fatter pups. Probably the 59’s Tyler is using in this vid.
I don’t want to lose the Strat sound, but more rather find SSS 2.0 that sizzles.
And noticing a Vibro King he’s using in another vid...when priced out at L&Mc, I nearly had a heart failure!! That’s nuts.

Any ideas to help me get there without spending stupid coin would be great.
 

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Maybe try a TS-9 variant with more tone control. I have a Super Signa Drive that has bass,mid and treble with a boost. I liked it but for a while I took it off my board because I found it too vast for my liking. Especially the boost side. I didn’t realize that the eq was universal. Once I started dialling the bass back and tweaking the mids and highs the pedal couldn’t be put on the board fast enough.

So maybe Signa, BB preamp, Timmy May be what could get you there.
 

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Further to that ^ Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive is another version that's very tweakable, yet not super spendy. Readily available at L&M, even if they have to bring one in for you.
 

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Strats are more a state of mind than an instrument. Strat guys sort of live in that state. It’s a lifestyle. You either live there or you don’t. It’s probably not the gear.
Listen to some strat players and learn their riffs. Just play the strat until you get there.
 

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Further to that ^ Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive is another version that's very tweakable, yet not super spendy. Readily available at L&M, even if they have to bring one in for you.
Great sounding pedal. Could try a VS-OX as well. See them used for a good price sometimes.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Strats are more a state of mind than an instrument. Strat guys sort of live in that state. It’s a lifestyle. You either live there or you don’t. It’s probably not the gear.
Listen to some strat players and learn their riffs. Just play the strat until you get there.
Thanks, but these guys play a lot like I’d do or how I’m trying to emulate. Ok, so I’m nowhere as good obviously but I can get my HB & P90’s to come across hard and nasty in similar methods...but not my Strat.
It miffs me.
 

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I'll assume you've checked out all the gear these players are using, including string gauge and pick type and thickness. The VS/XO that @fretzel mentioned would be worth a look. I use one and it's really super tweakable. It also has a different take on the Tone knobs. Increase Tone also increases the Gain amount. Really allows for gain structure tweaking if that's what's needed in your case. Unfortunately I'm no Strat guy so take it for what it's worth.
 

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Have a look at your technique as has been mentioned, as well as what thickness pick you use and where on the guitar you pick.

That and fake it til you make it. But if it's just "honk" that's in your way, sounds like the pickup swap is the fastest route to what you want.
 

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Besides his hands & attack, a big part of SRV’s tone was thanks to lots of volume, tuning down to Eb & using heavier strings with high action. His Tube Screamer was always on, but it was set with little-to-no gain & gave his tone a midrange focus or “push”. Sometimes he used a second TS for dirt. The Sparkle Drive is a great pedal but I ended up selling mine as the EP Booster kinda did the same thing with a much smaller footprint (I had the best results with the EP set to 9:00 or lower and placed after any other dirt pedals).

Re: volume, turn up your amp & roll back the volume on your guitar. You’ll get a much fatter tone vs. having the guitar full up & the amp low. If you watch videos of SRV he was always fiddling with his guitar’s volume knob.

Try using the round end of a heavy pick.
 

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‘87 Am Std. Strat likely has a swimming pool rout, which can favour a hollow or honky tone vs. a guitar that has an S-S-S rout.

Check out the Custom Vibrolux Reverb “reissue” amp. Thanks to the lack of a negative feedback loop, it’s actually more like a baby Vibro King vs. a Vibrolux RI. They can usually be found used for ~$1K.
 

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My two favourite Strats are the Godin Progression with the pickup enhancer circuit which sizzles like steak on the barbecue, and pretty much any decently equipped HSS model. I've always felt like the bridge pickup is the weak link. Someday I'd like to try a WRHB or a SD P-Rail in the bridge of a Strat, but until I get another steady electric gig I'm not up to spending the money.
 

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Mine is a stock 87 Am Std. I’m still considering a pickup swap but @mhammer suggested putting copper plates under mine which I totally forgot about, so I’m going to try first. (Thank you for that)
LOL, I had quite forgotten about that. It IS worth considering ways to coax different characteristics out of one's existing pickups, but Fender sure doesn't make it easy to do so. I'm ready to put the guitar back in its case just thinking about it. Both copper and steel plates are worth considering. A mild steel bottom plate would, as I understand it, increase the inductance of the pickup and lower its resonant frequency...in theory. Another thing I recommend trying is to use a smaller-value cap for the bridge tone control. It can also change the resonant peak of a pickup in interesting ways.

Tyler Bryant was the opener for Jeff Beck, when I went to see Beck a few years back. He was playing a flat-top acoustic, solo, and using a mic'd-up guitar case as his percussion/bass-drum. When he was in the lobby selling merch after the gig, I asked how he managed to make an acoustic sound like he was playing a Les Paul through a Hi-Watt. He grinned slyly, and said "I'll never tell".
 

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The VS/XO that @fretzel mentioned would be worth a look. I use one and it's really super tweakable. It also has a different take on the Tone knobs. Increase Tone also increases the Gain amount. Really allows for gain structure tweaking if that's what's needed in your case. Unfortunately I'm no Strat guy so take it for what it's worth.
I use one too, great pedal that flies under the radar.
 

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Check out the Custom Vibrolux Reverb “reissue” amp. Thanks to the lack of a negative feedback loop, it’s actually more like a baby Vibro King vs. a Vibrolux RI. They can usually be found used for ~$1K.
And sound great with a few simple mods. Check with @Fox Rox .
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks again guys. Admittedly I thought briefly about spending good cake on an amp but came to my senses. I have other very expensive hobbies to balance so I’m going to focus on pedals and pickups 1st and maybe better pc/sims. Once my current other hobby expenses settle down, I might invest in an amp
 
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