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Old 09-11-2019, 08:18 PM
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Default Fender - Make more hardtail Strats....

I know, Fender doesn't make more hardtail Strats because those who purchase a Stratocaster expect or want a whammy bar. Then I counter with, since Fender only makes one to my knowledge, the Robert Cray, and you never see these in stores, potential customers don't even know that a hardtail is an option. Watching the Austin City Limits 40th Anniversary Show, I was really struck by the number of musicians playing Strats sans whammy bars. They seem to have about as much usefulness as an appendix. Fender, if you're listening, make a couple more hardtail Strat models....
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Old 09-11-2019, 08:40 PM
Steel and wood Steel and wood is offline
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I'm guessing the reason why they don't make hard tail Stratocasters is because those who don't want a tremolo (vibrato) simply don't attach them.

Not convinced that a hard tail Stratocasters sound any different than one routed with springs.

Personal opinions of course.
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Old 09-11-2019, 10:05 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Yeah, I've had a hate-love thing with the Strat Trem over the years. I've come to use them on some Strats as my fingers have gotten older and weaker.

But if one wants a Strat and doesn't want any trem setup hassles, then one can to two simple reversible things: tighten the springs and/or add springs to deck the trem bridge until it won't move, or wedge a block of wood in behind the metal trem block (Clapton style). The later even gets you some subtle differences in how the strings interact with the body through the bridge like a hard tail does.

Some also think that you can hear the springs in a Strat with a clean amp add a certain distinctive resonance, even if they don't use the Trem.
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Old 09-12-2019, 08:40 AM
Marley Marley is offline
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In theory I'd always prefer a hardtail because I simply don't use the bar in my playing. But my last two main guitars, PRS Custom 22 and a Music Man Axis SS, came with trem bridges so I had to figure out what to do with them.

With both, I had reservations because I actually do like to pull up on the bridge (no bar) and give it a little jiggle from time to time. With my PRS I cut a block of wood to block the trem and it has been in and out constantly for the past 22 years. My main issue in wanting to block it is that when a string breaks while playing a show the whole guitar doesn't immediately go out of tune. That's what happens with the PRS because the bridge is not decked like my MM is. My PRS is set up to float a little. Bottom is that when I have my block in or out of my PRS I don't notice any sound change either while playing through an amp or sans amp. For the past 2 years my PRS has been unblocked.

But Now with the Music Man it is totally different. I do have that bridge decked so that if I did break a string there's nowhere for the bridge to go and all strings stay in tune. The difference though is that I hear an incredible sonic difference when I have the block in my MM and when I remove it. I can't stand it when it's removed. It has some sort of hollow weird tone to it and not a good hollow tone. But when I drop that block in, the tone is solid and great. It's possible that it's the difference Clapton hears between block and no block but he also claims there's a difference between a blocked trem and a hardtail. Obviously he prefers the blocked trem. I have not had the opportunity to try either styles of my guitars with trems blocked vs hardtails so I can't weigh in on that one but I can say to my ears, my Axis blocked sounds much better, plugged in and not plugged in, than it does with no block.

Bottom line for me too, is yeah more hardtails.
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steel and wood View Post
I'm guessing the reason why they don't make hard tail Stratocasters is because those who don't want a tremolo (vibrato) simply don't attach them.

Not convinced that a hard tail Stratocasters sound any different than one routed with springs.

Personal opinions of course.
It's a little more complicated than that. First, most people you see playing without a trem, it goes beyond just not attaching the trem bar. If the bridge is still floating, string changes, tuning stability, etc are still just as sketchy and without a trem bar to work with. So most folks who prefer no trem either deck or block the tremolo to make the guitar easier to work with. And lots of strat aficionados DO think a hardtail sounds different from a strat with a trem and some (See Clapton) thinks a strat with a blocked trem sounds different from either an unblocked trem or a hardtail.

I've been blocking my strats for 40 years, never EVER found a musically useful way for ME to use a tremolo (many are brilliant with them). I finally broke down a couple years ago and bought a Robert Cray. And everything about it other than the neck was my favorite strat ever. And the neck was very very good, just not as much to my taste as the rest of the guitar. But I tried a couple of necks and when I put a Road Worn 50s strat neck on it (maple board, soft V, 7.25 radius), it became my dream guitar. I will own this strat for as long as I'm playing any strat and, given my history as a strat guy, probably means as long as I'm alive and can still play any guitar at ALL.

I think the Cray sounds different than any strat I've owned before, to my ears better but to others probably not. I don't know how much, if any, of that is attributable to the hardtail and how much is attributable to the pickups (which are supposedly the same pickups Fender uses in the Cray Custom Shop models) and how much is how I have it wired, which is not the stock wiring.

But, yeah, Fender should offer more hardtails. I suspect they just don't sell well and I also suspect the Cray doesn't sell very well anymore either (he hasn't been nearly as high profile a player as he used to be, sadly - he's still great). But my guess is the reason Fender still makes and sells the Cray is because they feel obligated to offer ONE hardtail at least. Which if the bean counters had their way, they might not. I'm just glad I got one while I'm still young enough to enjoy it and wish I'd gotten a hardtail years ago. They suit me...
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:58 AM
M Sarad M Sarad is offline
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http://lblutherie.blogspot.com/2012/...neycaster.html

Laurent Brondel made a hardtail that is the best of two worlds: Strat and Tele. I use it in the blues band and the country band.

I have a Fender Strat and Jazzmaster with Tremelo bars when Iím in that mood.
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Old 09-12-2019, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M Sarad View Post
http://lblutherie.blogspot.com/2012/...neycaster.html

Laurent Brondel made a hardtail that is the best of two worlds: Strat and Tele. I use it in the blues band and the country band.

I have a Fender Strat and Jazzmaster with Tremelo bars when Iím in that mood.
I don't generally like hybrids of that sort, but this one makes a lot of sense. I'm sure you lose a bit of strattyness in the #2 position, but you still have a pure strat in the 4 and 5, which is where I spend most of my time. And you have that great tele bridge pickup. If I had that guitar, I suspect instead of living in the 2, 4, and 5, I'd live in the 1, 4, and 5, with the 5 mostly overdriven. Looks great!

-Ray
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Old 09-12-2019, 11:06 AM
Marley Marley is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M Sarad View Post
http://lblutherie.blogspot.com/2012/...neycaster.html

Laurent Brondel made a hardtail that is the best of two worlds: Strat and Tele. I use it in the blues band and the country band.

I have a Fender Strat and Jazzmaster with Tremelo bars when I’m in that mood.
That's a beautiful guitar and I like that set up. After playing my Music Man, What I now question with so many electric guitar out there are the neck heels or the heel pocket on the body like the attached guitar. Those big blocks like that, just like mine on my Tele are simply outdated, cumbersome and not an ergonomic design. Music Man and some other have it right. The feel up there on the neck between my Tele and my MM is so different that it's more than just a night and day difference. I think neck through electrics might eliminate some of this and maybe certain glued in necks might be better but the bolt ons, those are the ones that have em. Even my PRS glued in neck had a fairly ridiculous heel on it.
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:08 PM
maxtheaxe maxtheaxe is offline
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Simply deck the trem by adjusting the claw screws tighter and/or use shorter springs. Not a true hardtail that way, but almost the same in practical application. It allows string bending, alternate tunings, etc without affecting the setup

There are also several 'trem blocker' products on the market, although to be honest I wasn't impressed with the one I tried, and the old wood block trick is probably just as good.

I tend to agree with those that say part of the unique tone from a strat comes from the resonance of those springs, at least on some subliminal level.
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Old 09-12-2019, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raysachs View Post
...But, yeah, Fender should offer more hardtails...
Alright! That's at least two of us.....
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Old 09-12-2019, 04:58 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Since I was a kid my Holy Grail solidbody has been a transition-era hardtail Strat, candy-apple red with matching headstock...

There's at least one out there - saw a guy playing it at a block party in 1974 (through a 100W plexi Marshall with the rare 8x10" cab - no shortage of treble here )...

Probably set me back about $35-40K today, cheaper to have it done by the Custom Shop - unless of course there's sufficient demand for an FSR run based on the Robert Cray platform...
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:54 AM
perttime perttime is offline
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I have a hardtail. A 1983.
Some aftermarket suppliers sell hardtail bodies.
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Old 09-13-2019, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
Since I was a kid my Holy Grail solidbody has been a transition-era hardtail Strat, candy-apple red with matching headstock...

There's at least one out there - saw a guy playing it at a block party in 1974 (through a 100W plexi Marshall with the rare 8x10" cab - no shortage of treble here )...

Probably set me back about $35-40K today, cheaper to have it done by the Custom Shop - unless of course there's sufficient demand for an FSR run based on the Robert Cray platform...
I found two more for you although you might have to paint the headstock...
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:08 PM
wrathfuldeity wrathfuldeity is offline
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Perfer Hardtails...though have never played a RC fender. Had a Carvin DC135 neckthrough hss hardtail...very nice git but ended up letting it go because was always picking up a heavily modded Peavey Predator that initially did the claw/spring thing, changed the block to gfs steel, tried blocking with nickles and eventually ended up blocking with a diy rock maple. There were subtle differences. Probably should have kept the Carvin and just changed out the pu's.
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrathfuldeity View Post
....tried blocking with nickles ....
I used a stack of 4-5 quarters held together with some sort of tape to block my strats, just enough so the bridge was level just a mm or so above the body.. And sometimes wedge a couple of pennies or dimes on the other side of the trem block so it was pretty much permanently not gonna move regardless of springs or string tension. I usually had about a buck fifty in coins in there and it was REALLY easy to retrofit if I decided to sell the guitar... It was cheap, easy, and it worked.

But now with the Cray, no need...
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