Why I Don’t Like the Stratocaster

I’ve been hacking away at the guitar off and on since my teens. Last year I decided the kids were getting old enough that I could dedicate some time to a hobby and decided to get back into guitar, take some lessons and see where things went. Since there is way more information now than there was when I first started buying gear I did some reading and decided to get some new stuff. I still had my first electrics but decided I wanted something new and possibly better than my old gear.

 

The research I was doing made me realize that I am fascinated by guitar gear, and I started watching all kinds of YouTube channels and reading lots of guitar sites. The one thing I knew for certain was I would not buy a strat, it just seemed like the most boring and vanilla choice. To me it felt like being on a car lot with every possibility out there and going directly for the Honda Civic….nothing wrong with it, but why get the most obvious and practical choice?

 

So after researching for who knows how many hours, playing a ton of guitars I settled on…..a strat. To be specific a Squier Vintage Modified 70’s Strat in vintage white. I read about this guitar, I watched YouTube vids about this guitar, I loved how it looked. I started to want to be a part of the tradition of the Strat….good enough for Hendrix and Frusciante so who am I, just some idiot, to argue?

 

Then the worst case scenario happened. I decided to pull the trigger…I am not exaggerating, the very day I was going to buy it I looked it up one last time and it had gone up by nearly $100. Canadian dollars, but still….out of principle I was not paying $100 more than it was the day before. I just wouldn’t do it. So, deciding to start over I went back to the music store, where they never even carry this guitar to start looking. Guess what I found….a Squier Vintage Modified 70’s Strat in vintage white that had not been marked up yet. Oops, sorry music store. It’s an independent store I was at, sales guy brought it up to the counter for me, the owner was there and rang it up and asked the sales guy right in front of me why the price hadn’t been fixed yet. But they honoured it, and I was the happy owner of a new strat. Yes, a Squier but c’mon, I’m no headstock snob. I’m not in a band; I play at home, in my basement when I can grab an hour after the kids go to bed. I’m just an average amateur guitarist…but I like it, and I liked this guitar….for awhile.

 

So what happened to my love of this guitar? Well, I was overlooking some things that took me awhile to realize I didn’t like. This is a vintage spec guitar, so no tone on the bridge pickup. I didn’t often play the bridge in the past…now I have an amp with an aux in, a Vox AV15, so I started playing with backing tracks. With backing tracks you do more stuff, like use the bridge pickup. No tone, and I don’t like the way it sounds…so one strike against this guitar.

 

Second strike against this guitar, the stupid volume knob. I hate the placement of the volume knob, to me it makes no sense. I have kind of small hands, and while this may qualify me to be President of the United States, it makes it difficult to play a strat. I’ve read that many people don’t like this, but I don’t just not like it, I hate it. If I try to palm mute I just can’t do it on this guitar. I know what you’re saying and I agree, it’s my technique, blah blah blah. But I’m fighting with this guitar, other guitars don’t do this and so I am right. Kids, don’t care why other people don’t like stuff, just say I’m an idiot and move on.

 

The third strike, and many of you will think this is even dumber than the volume knob is this. My old guitar was an Epi Les Paul Standard. 24.75” scale. I know, I’m Canadian so I should state the scale length in centimeters, but that’s not how we roll up here. An inch is an inch, a foot is a foot and a mile is a kilometer. Accept it. Anyway, the scale length of the strat is 25.5”…I would never have thought this was an issue, and to be honest when I played my LP the neck actually felt longer and further away. But this was due to some other things I’ll mention in my Les Paul article. Again, I digress. I don’t like the 25.5” scale length. I sound picky, but when I try to chord on the first fret of my strat, especially an A# barre chord, or even a B flat barre chord I really notice it and don’t like it.

 

I know that the first 2 issues stated above can be fixed. I could wire the bridge to the tone control. I could order a new pickguard without the volume knob hole and have a master volume and master tone, the way I think it should be. I could even do this and just leave the hole on the pickguard but I don’t wanna. To be honest I have the itch. I’m not happy with the guitar and want a change. So this guitar is going. And I’m absolutely sure that one day I’ll cave and buy another strat, everyone has a strat. But I read Rich Menga’s site and he says not everyone is meant to play a strat and that people expect too much from a strat and he is absolutely right.

 

So the Strat is up for sale, and I’m debating several new guitars to replace it, which I’ll write about when it happens. Strats are iconic and great guitars. Strats in general, or maybe this model in particular, just don’t agree with me. There are other guitars I want to try and to own. I’ll get tired of them and move on as well. This seems to be the way of people who play electrics.

 

 

Please comment and let me know what you think of strats, where I’m wrong and why I’m an idiot who knows nothing, I can take it. Also if you prefer some model other than strats let me know about that as well. This post is way too long. I’d apologize, but It’s my post and if you read this far you have no reason to complain. I think it’s the single best thing ever written on the Internet, so there. Actually it’s too long, I probably wouldn’t be reading this far down if I were you. I’ll try to keep other posts shorter. Thanks for sticking with it, and really please do let me know what you think below.