Miami Electric Guitar Teacher | Why I play a Strat

Miami electric guitar teacher Dyce Kimura here folks! Today I am going to talk about the Stratocaster, particularly this Strat. I am going to talk to you about why I play a Strat. I wanted to get into to some specific features about this Strat that I’ve had since 1999. Why do I play this Strat? One of the reasons I like it, is it cuts through the mix. It’s a very clean, crunchy tone. Okay?

That was a half-tone. I’m at half-tone with these pickups. You can get a really nice bold, bluesy tone with your front pickup.

Or if I go to this half-tone here, between 4 and 5, I can get a really nice funk tone.

I can go to the middle pickup and that’s nice for both rhythm and lead.

Miami Electric Guitar Teacher Tones

Here’s where it gets interesting. I actually changed out the bridge pickup on my and I put in a Joe Barden P90 and you see the two rails. This is hum canceling, even though it’s a single chord. I’ll let you hear that real quick.

It’s a really nice sounds. The Joe Barden. In case you are wondering, this is a Texas Special in the front and the mid, and it’s a Joe Barden. The Strat is a great guitar. It’s light. Actually, my Strat is really heavy. This used to be a Stevie Ray Vaughn signature. It feels like it’s about, I would say, at least 10 pounds. This is northern ash, it’s a very heavy body. For the neck, I changed out the neck, but it’s equally heavy as the last neck. This is a Warmouth neck. I’ll get into some of the parts that I changed out and why.

I also changed out, the thing I like about the Stevie Ray Vaughn Strat as a Miami electric guitar teacher is that it has a reverse whammy bar, which when I used to do a lot of dive bombs I really liked the reverse whammy bar. The reason why is you’ve got your whammy bar right there, so when you’re playing something you can just reach right there and grab your whammy bar. Hendrix used to do that and he would actually hold is whammy with his finger and just hold his guitar with his thumb and he would actually maneuver the whole thing. Then he would be working the volume knob with this hand. He would be controlling the pitch with the whammy bar here and then he’d be controlling the feedback level and the octave of the feedback over here with the volume.

You’re asking why don’t I use a whammy bar to show you right now? I had my bridge, my tailpiece locked down. My tech put a block in the back of it. That just helps me for tuning stability and sustained. I also put 5 springs in the back. That also helps for sustained instability. Then, I just play it like a Les Paul. I play it without the whammy bar. I played with the whammy bar for years, decades even, but I’ve calmed down and now I play without the whammy bar. I think I saw that, I was at an Eric Clapton show and I just saw that he had 5 springs on the back, at least according to his promotional pamphlet, and then know whammy bar.

He sounded great, so I said, “Okay, let me try it,” and I liked it. I want to talk about a few other advantages of playing the Strat and a Miami electric guitar teacher. It’s just super easy to click through tones. I can have a deep, bluesy tone. If I show you with some overdrive …

Miami electric guitar teacherThat just sounds huge. I got a great, bluesy pickup.

I also can get a really fat bridge sound. I changed out my bridge. A lot of players do that. A lot of players tend to find that single coil, Strat bridge is just too thin. Some people use that Strat bridge really well, like Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimmy Vaughn. They both use a lot of that. When I think about that Stratty sound, it makes me think of, like, 60 surf music, that stuff like …

Or whatever. It’s just a very tinny sound. For years, I used a Humbucker. I had a JB in there. I had a Pearly Gates. I had a Evolution,  Evolution, which the compatibility wasn’t so great, by the way. Now, I’ve got a Joe Barden. It’s a little harder, okay, in terms of compatibility but I like it. It’s super-unique sounding. Another thing I really like about the Strat as a Miami electric guitar teacher is the way it has the cutaway here lets me access the high register with ease.

Also, the contours of the body. If I flip it over, you can see the way this hugs my body, and also these contours. It just sits right on my thigh. That’s really convenient. I’ve never even needed the strap lock. All my other guitars have strap plugs. I have 13 guitars back there. Just the Strat, I don’t need a strap-lock. Well, I haven’t had one. Maybe I should get one. I haven’t had the need to use one, just because it’s so stable it hugs your body. I usually wear it right around belt buckle.

I’m going to talk about some modifications that I had done and also my preferences as a Miami electric guitar teacher. I want to start with. Well, this particular guitar, I get asked by a lot of students what is this guitar, so people online are asking me and emailing me about this guitar. Very close to my heart. This is the first guitar I got when I moved to the United States from Japan to be a Miami electric guitar teacher. It’s a 1999 Stevie Ray Vaughn signature, at least it was.

Miami Guitar Teacher Mods

I’ll talk about some things that I did to it. The only things that are stock on this guitar is these 2 pickups and the body, obviously, and the bridge. Even the bridge, I modified heavily. I’ll talk about the bridge first. I’ll put in the saddles, I changed them to the raw, vintage saddles. That just gives me a lot more tone and depth. For years, I made the mistake of putting the string saver, carbon graphite saddles, and that really didn’t my tone and it cut out the highs. I didn’t have as a deep Lowe’s. My tech convinced me to get pure stainless steel saddles. It really changed my tone.

Absolutely. That’s one mod. I changed all the plastic, just a vintage plastic. That doesn’t change the sound, it’s just cosmetic. I obviously changed the pick guard. It used to be the black with the SRV. This is the turtle shell. I changed this pickup. Obviously, this is a Joe Barden hum canceling P90. I did more. I actually added stuff similar to the David Gilmore set of the DG 20 that you find in the EMG catalog. I added the mid-boost, that’s the EMG SPC, it’s called. I have that controlled by this knob. This knob controls the EMG XPD, which is the expander.

This is my tech, Mitch Wiseman  is his name. He told me to get that. It’s been working out really good. The sound, without any of the boosted electronics, this is just the rear pickup.

Now going to put up the mids.

Now the expander.

I’m hoping that you can hear this out across the Internet waves, but the mic I’m using, I’m using a condenser mic to record this video but it may not be catching all of the changes. It could be compressing and compensating for the fluctuations. That’s actually happening in the room. You’re going to have to take my word for it, if that’s the case, that it does, indeed, get fatter. This is with the mids dimed out.

Yeah, I love to use it live as a Miami electric guitar teacher. That’s what’s going on with the hardware. That’s a massive difference. That, alone, makes the guitar sound huge. I don’t use the DG 20 verbatim like I told you. The DG 20 set from EMG is the whole pickup set all sold in one, I think, with the pickups included. What I use is I just bought those separate components just for the mid-boost and the expander. Notice that, consequently, I don’t have a tone up. If I want to increase tone, I mean, if I want to bring out the mids more, I bring up the mids more and I bring down the volume. Bringing up the mids actually gives me a 3 Db boost. If I don’t want to boost, but I just want more mids, I’ll play it.

That’s compared to, let’s say I bring the mids down and the volume back up.

What I just did now, the later one just has the most transparent sound. I like to rest my pick right here, by the way, just to loosen up one of these screws and I’m going to slide it right in. It scratches up your finish. If that bothers you, don’t do it. It obviously doesn’t bother me. You see, I’m all scratched up. But, anyway, that’s one of the modifications that I did that really increased my tone along with changing the saddles. When I used to be more aggressive with the whammy bar, I would snap the whammy bars a lot. My tech widened the whole, and that’s a quarter inch hole. I would use a Floyd Rose bar for that. I don’t know if I have any. Actually, they’re in my case.

That’s some more modifications. In order to install the battery power, we had to actually carve the wood, so I have a battery right here under the pick guard. We just had to route a hole in there. It’s kind of a big commitment to do that to your guitar, because it’s forever changed. We routed that wood and also routed the wood to hold a P90. That was a big decision. If you’re on the fence about doing that, just realize that’s going to change your guitar so it’s no longer stock. Another minor thing is we added a bolt here, like a washer with teeth. It’s called a locking washer so that this washer doesn’t come loose anymore, which is a real pain. It seems to happen everybody.

Next, I’ll talk about the neck. I tend to like the Jim Dunlop frets, the 6105’s. That’s what I like.

That just gives me a lot of sustained and clarity as a Miami electric guitar teacher.

I’m using, this is a Canadian Birdseye Maple. I don’t know if you can see that. It’s a gorgeous neck. I got this from Warmouth and it took them, like, six months to make it and send it to me. I don’t know if this camera is going to focus here. Anyway, you get the idea. It’s huge. This neck is massive. It’s the biggest neck I have. It’s even bigger than my Les Paul’s. It’s a big, fat, 50 style. It’s called the Fat C. It took some getting used to. Some people hate it at first, but they tend to love it, which I really like, obviously. Then, I like the cool feel in the front. No rosewood for this one. My old one had the rosewood stock would SRV, but I just decided to change it. I’ve got the 6105’s and then I got the cool feel.

The Tusq nut is what I go with these days. It tends to give me the most sustained. This is the Tusq nut right here. They’re about $35. I don’t use LSR Roller nuts or brass nuts or definitely not plastic nuts. I like the Tusq.

The tuning had, I’ve changed these 2. I’ve been through different tuning heads. I don’t really prefer the locking Fender tuning heads. They’re just a pain in the butt. I like the actual vintage style. I bought these tuning heads used because I wore out my old one. This is from a 2014 Stevie Ray Vaughn neck that I got on eBay. These are just gold tuning heads. You see the vintage style. We actually have to insert them and then bend it. I prefer that. I like that.

Then, we put a string tree on there. When I first put the neck on, because it was fresh and the wood was new, it kept having to get readjusted, so I kept having to get my tech to adjust that to get my action right. I’m using 10s, 10 to 46. Let me just play it for you little bit.

It sounds great. Having the EMG mid-boost and expander really lets me do a lot of really cool, bigger stuff that you wouldn’t think to do on a Strat, like some classic rock.

There’s a lot of sounds that I get from this that I can get away with. I can sound big, like a Les Paul.

Very cool. I like it. It’s been really, this guitar has been really a part of me. I’ve been playing this. Well, it’s 2016 now. I’ve been playing this since 99, so 16, 17 years. I’ve been offered obscene amounts of money for this guitar from wealthy students, but I always say no. I’m not going to sell it. It just plays amazing. It’s very near to my heart. I’m doing a lot better now. I obviously have tons of equipment and everything, but when I first got my start as a pro, this was the only nice guitar that I had. I bought this with tax for 1000 bucks out the door at Guitar Center. That was pretty much all the money I had back in 99. I didn’t have a good acoustic, this is my only good electric.

I did all my shows with this, my rehearsing with this guitar, my writing, my guitar lessons, my practicing. Everything on this guitar. 10 hours a day, whatever, 7 days a week, so it’s very close to my heart, if you know what I mean. Hopefully, you guys all have a guitar that’s that close to you, that you have that much history with. It was a very painful separation for me to change the neck, but I had to. For 7 years I played on gauge 12 strings, 12 to 52 in standard and it really messed up my neck. Then, the nut got really messed up and a lot of things are messed up. I changed the frets out, like, 2 times. Finally, it was time to get a new neck and I’m glad I did.

That’s my SRV. That’s my Strat. I have other Strats or Strat style guitars, but I just wanted to show you this one today. I get a lot of questions on it. Feel free to comment, like or subscribe. If you ask me any questions, I usually try to answer everything on my channel. Go ahead and post any questions or whatever you have and I will address them as they come in. Thanks so much. I’ll see you next time.

Dyce Kimura is a Miami Electric Guitar Teacher and Skype guitar teacher.  Visit his website here or call 7864573687.  Also check out my previous blog about beginner guitar FAQs.