More Knock Off Strat Woes: UPDATED with sample

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rparker
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More Knock Off Strat Woes: UPDATED with sample

Post by rparker » June 11th, 2012, 4:59 am

I used to have a MIM Strat, but hated some of the overtones on it. I got a knock off that actually set up better than the MIM, but has those same overtones. The tones I speak of sound like tremelo tension springs coming through. I dampened them. It helped, but did not fix it entirely. You do not get any springy noise when I flick the strings. I assume that means I've done enough.

The overtones I speak of sound spring-like as I mentioned, but could also be described as some what chorus-like. Maybe a bit out of tune sounding? I have some D'Add 9s on it now, but have had 10s on there before. I've had the trem plate flat on the body and floating. It's set up fine, and plays decently. I keep the strings about 1/2 to 1 tuen above vibration point, and the measurement on the truss rod spec is about 8/1000th.

My next thought is to replace the trem system. Any thoughts? It's a steel block right now, fwiw.

Any other thoughts or ideas?

Should I write off strat knockoffs (even their MIM brand) and get a USA? I know we spoke 5 years ago on this forum about ears developing and being able to hear or not hear subtleties. Perhaps I am hearing them now?

Thanks in advance.
Last edited by rparker on June 12th, 2012, 10:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
Roy

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

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Re: More Knock Off Strat Woes

Post by s1120 » June 11th, 2012, 7:03 am

Ive always thought that was kinda part of the strat sound. Do you need/want a trem? If not get one with a hardtail, if so maybe finding something strat like with a Floyd or somehting.
Paul B

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Re: More Knock Off Strat Woes

Post by TRGuitar » June 11th, 2012, 9:55 am

I put this in mine.
http://www.guitarfetish.com/Made-in-Mex ... p_489.html

Image

But I think what you are describing Roy is a part of the Strat sound. It shouldn't sound bad though. My method of 5 springs tightened down adds to this I think. What do I know though, I mostly play my Les Pauls. :lol:
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Re: More Knock Off Strat Woes

Post by rparker » June 11th, 2012, 10:31 am

Paul, you might be right. I've never got to play a MIA one in a totally quiet room. My 'Twin tells way too much of the truth, too, meaning that it will kindly point out playing flaws as well as the least little bit of vibration that it gets sent.

TR, that's something I have not tried. I was just thinking of taking one out to see what it does. Right now you can almost see the bridge plate move, and I try to play it lightly. Perhaps I'll give it a go. I've got an extra spring or two laying around here.
Roy

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

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Re: More Knock Off Strat Woes

Post by cnev » June 11th, 2012, 12:18 pm

Roy for a guy who's had some hearing problems you must hear pretty good unless it's distorting what you hear, I can't imagine the overtones you are talking about other than the Strat sound itself especially if you've tried more than one and they all sound the same to you.
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Re: More Knock Off Strat Woes

Post by rparker » June 11th, 2012, 12:39 pm

It's not in my bad frequency. I'm, um, low on the lows. I'm actually too sensitive on the others. My son's whistling or a TV speaker can nail me sometimes. Other times I can go to a friend's gig and listen for an hour (with ear plugs) and only get a minor reaction. It's all very strange and often weather dependent.

My wife can hear this one, and her ear isn't trained. She normally can't hear any of the subtle things.

An update, though. I went the TR route and added a spring. I would have added two, but I only had one that wasn't in a guitar. It was a minimal difference, but there was some. I dropped the bridge plate back down to the body and tightened the screws a bit further. It was minimal, but it did help as well.

Next up was putting 10s back on. These are new, but I've had them tightened and loosened quite a bit over the past couple of days and didn't want experiments to be clouded by a weekened string. Besides, the A string was not staying in tune very well all of a sudden. The strings made a bit of improvement, and it's still got to lose that new string brightness. Hopefully tomorrow gives me better results.
Roy

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

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Re: More Knock Off Strat Woes: UPDATED with sample

Post by rparker » June 12th, 2012, 10:51 am

Updated with a sample. It sounds like I am under a ceiling fan.

http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=11702454
Roy

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

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Re: More Knock Off Strat Woes: UPDATED with sample

Post by Nuno » June 12th, 2012, 1:11 pm

Maybe my speakers are filtering those tones or I am not able to listen them. I listen a reverb or delay effect and the guitar sounds like a Strat.

:?

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Re: More Knock Off Strat Woes: UPDATED with sample

Post by rparker » June 12th, 2012, 3:12 pm

Someone else heard it and said it sounded like something was vibrating. I guess it's sytem dependant.

I did just check the s-click file and it's there, but it did get squished some. All of those effects you're hearing are not supposed to be there. I've only got a touch of reverb. No chorus, no vibrato, no trem, no delay, etc, etc.

Thanks for listening. :D
Roy

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

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Re: More Knock Off Strat Woes: UPDATED with sample

Post by EzraplaysEzra » June 13th, 2012, 5:36 am

A couple of things to try. First, if you have a vintage style trem with six anchor screws on the leading edge, you might want to pull those bad boys out and run them through a bar of Ivory soap then re-seat them. An old Ceasar Diaz trick that he used to do on SRV's strats was cutting 1/8" surgical tubing into small dougnuts and running them over the six anchor screws. It acts as a insulator and a shock absorber for the trem plate.
Also, carefully remove the cover for the term cavity and gently place it in the nearest trash bin.
Tighten the string claw. Try some candle wax on the springs and the spring end grabbers ( I just thought of this and have never tried it but I think I'll devote a website to it now, anybody want to buy my prototype candle and bic lighter package starting at only $99.00 USD?)
Tighten every thing else. Use the ivory soap on the neck bolts too.
Check the break angle on the saddles and make sure the string grooves are not too vague.
I'm fairly sure this is a maintainence issue and not a failure.
PS> USA made strats have more select wood and "better" electronics and possibly craftsmanship, the hardware, in my experience has no significant merit over the imports.

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Re: More Knock Off Strat Woes: UPDATED with sample

Post by TRGuitar » June 13th, 2012, 5:42 am

Sounds like a Strat to me??

PS The big reason I replaced the trem on my SX was due to the poor screws that adjust the saddles. Very weak metal and almost no thread on them. Lots of pot metal in that thing, it was gonna strip after a couple intonation adjustments. It wasn't for tone improvement despite the claims from GF. It is made of better metal and has nicer chrome. The SX cost $99 and has a 3 piece alder body without a bathtub route ...... of course it had cheap hardware. Oh, some of the screws to adjust the action were thread bare as well. :lol:
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Re: More Knock Off Strat Woes: UPDATED with sample

Post by rparker » June 13th, 2012, 9:38 am

@EzraplaysEzra: I've heard or read that those screws have to have a certain amount of tension on them or it might otherwise damage the plate. I've avoided ever touching them for that reason.

@TR: You might very well be right. I do think the the wobble in the tone that is most evident on slow chord strums should not be there. This thing seems to have an enormous amount of sensitivity to wanting to be in perfect tune.

There was a suggestion from the kind folks in customer service, and I am waiting on a response back. they suggested that I check the intonation at the first fret. I checked at the 12th the night before and set it all. While at it, I checked at the 5th. what follows is four results when checking frets' tuning per string. The nut, the 1st fret, the 5th fret and the 12th fret. "0" is top center and 50 would be the needle all the way to the right. The first fret numbers are in bold.
e - 0 - 25 - 8 - 3
A - 0 - 12 - 0 - 0
D - 0 - 8 - 10 - 1
G - 0 - 5 - 3 - 6
B - 0 - 3 - 1 - 0
E - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0

The first fret looks horrid, which would indicate that I need to measure the nut clearance and file accordingly? What do you guys think? I'm thinking that I should. I did check this when I had 9s on there, but I never check this on any guitars afterwards unless I am having a problem.
Roy

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

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Re: More Knock Off Strat Woes: UPDATED with sample

Post by TRGuitar » June 13th, 2012, 10:44 am

Sounds like a few of those nut slots aren't deep enough. I had to do a major nut job on my black Epiphone les Paul when I first got it. It's on here somewhere.
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Re: More Knock Off Strat Woes: UPDATED with sample

Post by rparker » June 13th, 2012, 11:10 am

TRGuitar wrote:Sounds like a few of those nut slots aren't deep enough. I had to do a major nut job on my black Epiphone les Paul when I first got it. It's on here somewhere.
Good timing. I just went through the E-A-D-G strings and did a slight filing job. They are all right at .005 now, but the interesting thing to note is that the E and A strings both seemed to settle down when tuning them.

I re-set intonation. Still out of whack at the first, but less.

The real test is what I am hearing, and it seems to be a little bit less of those buzzing, rattling, spring or otherwise annoying overtones. I swear, every little thing I do to this makes it a little bit more tolerable.

Sunday I would have played baseball with it. Monday maybe only leads or solos as long as it had some overdrive going on. Last night I was thinking I coud even do clean lead. Now I'm thinking a few chords as long as it's in absolute perfect tuning and I don't squeeze too hard and the AC isn't on and I don't have bad gas, etc, etc, so on and so forth.

To put it another way, an E-chord did not make me wince just now.

Here's somewhat close to where I started from, but not as bad. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZNWbhmCUog The best spot to hear it is at 1:00 to 1:20 ot so. It sounds like some really bad string buzz when I have my headphones on, but it doesn't come through a whole lot through my speakers.

@Ezra... I did do a little snug-tight check on those screws during all of this and had one or two that might have been a touch off, but I bet within a foot pound torque if I had a way to measure.

Guys, where do you measure your string height and how high ar you going? I know you (TR) like it low. I'm at about 7/64ths or so, and the last truss rod check this afternoon was at .008 (at 8th while fretting 1st and 14th).

edit: added link
Roy

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

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Re: More Knock Off Strat Woes: UPDATED with sample

Post by TRGuitar » June 13th, 2012, 11:25 am

I checked my SX out and would add that it's importand to use a very light touch when checking the 1st fret intonation. I can squeeze mine way sharp but with a light touch, the lightest, they are spot on. I adjust my action at the 18th fret. 1/16" on the high E and 3/32" on the low E.
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