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Sound Quality

I play guitar everyday for hours (I'm single and retired) and it's partly because, after playing guitar and chasing tone for 35 years, I am so amazingly happy with my tone. I get the most excellent shimmery clean tones. Not dead in the least. Yes, a single coil would get get another 3 to 6% more shimmer but would be humming too. These pick ups are extremely quiet. I'm a Hendrix fan and when I play The Wind Cries Mary. I cry too. Such pretty, dynamic, soft, sweet sounds and I play this Heavenly tune with only the slightest hint of break up. Little wing is deeply respected with these pick ups. Now I activate the Tube Screamer model and play SRV's Cold Shot. It's all there. Super Fat Stratocaster bell tones. Creamy screaming solos with tones of sustain. Tonnes of tight and clear tones. Definition is awesome. Sounds just like the record and I look at my guitar and amp and wonder if it's me or them that sounds so good. Even my mistakes sound good! Now I hit the Rat distortion model and play Voodoo Chile Slight Return and again I'm startled by the awesome tones I get. I stay amazed too. That's a tune that can easily get muddy on you and I'm again amazed by the articulation that reamains even while I'm torturing my strat with the E chord at the nut.I feel every string rattling different places in my body. Now I switch over to "Loud" distortion model and I start to play Little Dreamer by van Halen and I'm shocked again at how close to the album I sound. I played JUST my Strat and my 1973 Super Lead half stack together with a drummer at his house and we couldn't stop admiring the sounds I was getting from my set up with out a distortion box. It was magic. From Hendrix to van Halen to TOOL I could sound like all of them and with out a distortion box. I have owned five Les Pauls in my life and I have no problem using my Strat to get Les paul sounds. It actually sound better than a Les Paul. Not meaner, but fatter and sweeter with all the life and gain I ever need. Oh and "butter" I never knew what a buttery lead was until I got this strat with HS-3 and DR Strings. It really does feel like there is a light coat of butter all over my neck. (rubbing out the neck with car show car polish doesn't hurt either) but what I really mean is that the pick ups are so very smooooth sounding. They are not grainy at all. Listen to Joe Perry's solo on Living It Up In An Elevator. That's the tone or sound that I'm getting.


General Comments

Someone here posted that they moved their pick ups real close to the strings.

Not me. I like them far away. That's were the butter is. Let your amp do the distorting.

On my neck pick up the closest part of the low E string is .250" (1/4") from the white cover of the HS-3. The high string is .200" in distance. That should give you a good idea of what distance I like for my string to pole distance. In the end you've got to use your ears but I find a good distance makes for a smoother sound.


Also, I have to stress the importance of great intonation. I've spent years playing with average intonation (set by the guy at the music store) only to wonder why I never sound as good as the records. I started to try using tuners for my tuning and setting my intonation but even the most expensive tuners suck compared to just using my ears. I check and adjust my intonation every time I change strings. I hold the guitar in the position I play it in and spend an hour or two making sure everything is pitch perfect using my ears. I only concern myself with the 1st(roots), 4th and 5th intervals. I spend a lot of time by the 12th fret making those 1s, 4s and 5s sound spot on. Tuning is an art all in itself and what a difference tuning and intonation make in your over all tone. I doubt anything is more important than tuning when it comes to sounding good. One 1/4 turn on a intonation screw on a strat is HUGE! If your off a 1/4 turn on any screw it's going to be quite noticeable. And strats are notorious for their intonation going out of whack. But some loctite thread locker (self wicking)and apply just he tiniest amount to the screw where it goes into the saddle.


Also, lube your nut. Whammy bar or not. Cleaning with a brush and lubing the nut and saddles weekly makes a big difference in tone and tuning.


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