How to make a Strat "dirty"?

Discussion in 'Squier Stratocasters' started by VM51SQ, Jul 24, 2020.

  1. VM51SQ

    VM51SQ Squier-Meister

    Apr 14, 2017
    I don't know if it's just me, but I really struggle to find dirty tones on my Squier VM '70s strat. It has the Duncan designed PUs that are very articulate and clear sounding. Perfect with clean tones and modulation effects, especially delay and reverb. But even though it might sound good with some dirt, it never sounds as good as my T style guitar, not even close! I've tried with different OD pedals, fuzz, "crunch" distortion, neck pu, middle pu, etc. I'm never truly satisfied with the dirty tones, or at least not as much as I am with the clean tones. My "tele" on the other hand is great with both. Am I missing something, or is the guitar just inherently better for clean tones? What's your opinion ? Please share advice if you have any.
  2. Ace38

    Ace38 Squier-holic

    Jul 19, 2016
    Tulsa, OK.
    What's your amp? The DD pickups have been referred to as "tele like" due to how they're constructed by a few people on this forum and Strat talk over the years. Maybe tweak your amp settings along with your pedals.
  3. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Squier-holic

    I'd see if I could borrow the use of a primitively simple tube amp and plug straight into that to see if that's the desired sound. If it is, then go from there.
  4. DrBeGood

    DrBeGood Squier-holic

    Dec 9, 2014
    Sutton QC, CANADA
  5. MrYeats

    MrYeats Squier-holic

    Dec 28, 2017
    South Texas Coast
    stick a knife in your speakers here and there...JK
  6. VM51SQ

    VM51SQ Squier-Meister

    Apr 14, 2017
    I stack a Fender champion 20 and an EHX 5mm through a small 8" cab. I do play around with the amp settings (fender only, EHX only has volume). I've gotten the best results adding a JHS Haunting Mids EQ pedal...but still not like my tele with dirt.
  7. VM51SQ

    VM51SQ Squier-Meister

    Apr 14, 2017
    Love me some EVH ! But, no, not that high gain. I like more of a growl, classic rock distortion. But that's only because I can't play like Eddie !
    Maguchi, dbrian66, MrYeats and 3 others like this.
  8. VM51SQ

    VM51SQ Squier-Meister

    Apr 14, 2017
    Yeah, like Link Wray !
  9. Gloveberg

    Gloveberg Squier-holic

    Aug 30, 2015
    West Texas
    I've never met a set of DD pickups that were worth more than just chunking into the nearest dumpster fire but that's just me o_O
  10. John L Rose

    John L Rose Squier-holic

    Oh. Now yer talking Link Wray.

    Wikipedia sez:
    "At a live gig in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in early 1958, attempting to work up a backing for The Diamonds' "The Stroll", Link Wray & His Ray Men came up with the instrumental "Rumble", which they originally called "Oddball". It was an instant hit with the live audience, which demanded four repeats that night.

    Eventually the instrumental came to the attention of record producer Archie Bleyer of Cadence Records, who hated it, particularly after Wray poked holes in his amplifier's speakers to make the recording sound more like the live version. But Bleyer's stepdaughter loved it, so he released it despite his misgivings. Phil Everly heard it and suggested the title "Rumble", as it had a rough sound and said it sounded like a street fight."​

    Thus, on the forty-eleventh day, Hard Rock was created.
  11. strat81

    strat81 Squier-Meister

    May 27, 2020
    You need to find an amp that's gone through puberty.
    JKjr, Las Palmas Norte, Ace38 and 4 others like this.
  12. gearobsessed

    gearobsessed Squier-holic

    Aug 21, 2013
    new zealand
    Well, it is a strat and not a tele, they're not the sort of instrument one tends to choose for high gain.
    You could swap the bridge pup out for a single coil sized humbucker (hot rail or similar), or you could try the david gilmour mod and add a switch to get the neck and bridge on at once. OCD pedals or decent clones of it like the EHX od glove are my favorite pedals for high gain with single coils. Or a cranked low wattage tube amp.
    You could also play around with the height of your pickups, might make a small difference. Dial the tone pot back a bit? Heaps of options to try but best bet is just use your tele, or stick a hot rail in and run a decent overdrive pedal :)
    VM51SQ and MrYeats like this.
  13. VM51SQ

    VM51SQ Squier-Meister

    Apr 14, 2017
    Agreed !:D I like small amps because they break up at lower volumes, but you're probably right, my Strat woud probably sound better through a bigger amp. But again, my tele sounds GREAT dirty through the same set up. Maybe I do need a PU swap...
  14. VM51SQ

    VM51SQ Squier-Meister

    Apr 14, 2017
    thanks for all the suggestions! I've been pondering about a preloaded pickguard with an HsH configuration. I think it has to be that those DD PUs are just voiced for cleaner tones
    gearobsessed likes this.
  15. VM51SQ

    VM51SQ Squier-Meister

    Apr 14, 2017
    Love that song !!!
  16. LAPlayer

    LAPlayer Squier-Meister

    Jul 9, 2020
    LA / Denver
    Simple answer is: gain ^, or proper pedal or both. Experimentation is your friend. Grab yourself a 5w amp and crank the volume. Then run it into your bigger amp. Hendrix did it with a Pignose.
    Maguchi and MrYeats like this.
  17. AngelDeVille

    AngelDeVille Squier-Nut

    Jan 29, 2017
    Boss bd-2

    you are welcome

    but I did get this yesterday....

    VM51SQ likes this.
  18. Caddy

    Caddy Dr. Squier

    Nov 29, 2010
    My question would be...why would you ever want to?
    radiotech and MrYeats like this.
  19. jamesgpobog

    jamesgpobog Squier-Nut

    Feb 18, 2020
    There's an old guy at Urban Workshop is from England. He was an opening band in the early-mid 60's, around for the whole 'British Invasion' thing. Didn't make it here, but was medium well known in England. He told me that in the early days, yeah, people would slash their speakers for the distortion.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020
    MrYeats likes this.
  20. MrYeats

    MrYeats Squier-holic

    Dec 28, 2017
    South Texas Coast
    I got the idea from the Jefferson Airplane..Long ago.
    VM51SQ likes this.