Are Fender Strats good for metal? Can you play a Fender Strat for metal songs? Can you play metal with a Strat? Are Squier Strats good for metal? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a Fender Strat to play metal? Of course, most of us know that when it comes to the metal genre, using a Fender Stratocaster is really not a popular choice, as some perceptions come with using this guitar.
So, at this time, we are going to check if you can use a Fender Strat when playing metal. We will also check out if there are famous metal guitarists who use Fender Stratocaster as their primary guitar in their performances, and lastly, what are the best Strats that you can use when playing metal if there are any.
When did the metal genre start? This genre of rock music was developed in the late 60s and early 70s and was largely popular in the US and the UK when it started. This genre is rooted in acid rock, psychedelic rock, and blues rock, and most of their music has a signature sound characterized by distorted guitars, lead guitar solos, energetic beats, and loudness.
Why People Think Fender Strats Is Not A Good Fit For Metal
Fender Strats have developed a bad reputation in the metal world throughout the years, and we are going to discuss some of the reasons that metal guitarists always answer in this dilemma.
The first reason is that Fender Strats have a bright tone. As Fender Strats typically come with a three single-coil pickup configuration, these pickups are also known to sound very bright, which is perfect if you would love to play with a clean tone. However, when it comes to playing metal, it is a different story.
Playing metal meant that your guitar should sound distorted and not clean. Guitars used in playing metal songs usually sound tight and fat, especially for the rhythm guitar. This is not a strong point for the Fender Strat, as they tend to sound thin and with more emphasis on the high frequencies.
The second reason is that Fender Strats are prone to humming and feedback. Usually, your guitar will produce a humming tone when it is idle, but this becomes more apparent when you add distortion to the tone and increase the guitar and amp’s volume. Single coil pickups usually cannot cancel the humming, especially if you add some distortion to its tone, and this can be a little bit of a problem for you when you perform.
Feedback is also a huge problem for Fender Stratocasters, as single coil pickups are prone to feedback when it is loaded with a heavy amount of distortion tones.
Lastly, the single coil pickups in Fender Stratocasters have a low output, which is pretty far from the usual high output produced from humbucker pickups that are usually used in playing metal. This is why many metal guitarists prefer to have a guitar with humbucker pickups in it.
How To Make Your Fender Strat Sound Perfect For Metal
Although there are some disadvantages to using a Fender Strat for playing metal, there are some ways to fix those issues. However, I will not recommend changing your single coil pickups into humbuckers, as I feel that you will lose the essence of having a Fender Strat, which is its clean tone from the single coil pickups. I understand that there are already some newer Fender Strats that come with an HSS or HSH pickup configuration, but for the sake of the discussion, let’s stick to the classic setup.
The first thing you do is when you play, always use the middle or the neck pickup. Neck pickups tend to have a darker tone than the bridge pickup, and this will be the base of your metal tone. The next thing you do is to increase the bass and mids of the guitar amp while you decrease its treble. This is an important thing to do, as it will greatly help you achieve the tone that you are looking for.
The third thing on the list is you use a distortion pedal. This is the most important part, as metal requires your guitar to sound distorted. Of course, some of the guitar amps nowadays have a distortion effect built into their circuit; however, using distortion pedals would still be the best thing to do. Remember that your guitar tone will not be near the perfect metal guitar tone with no distortion pedal or effects.
The last thing to do is to use a noise gate pedal. Although using a pedal gate can reduce a little bit of the tone qualities that you will need for playing metal, it would still be a better option compared to your guitar producing a very annoying humming sound.
So, for the question, are Squier Strats good for metal, whether it is a Fender or a Squier Strat, if you just follow the steps mentioned above, they will sound great for playing metal. There are famous metal guitarists that are known for using Strats, so a Fender or Squier Strat can be used in playing metal.
Famous Metal Guitarists That Use Fender Stratocasters
Eddie Van Halen
Known to be one of the best guitarists of all time, Eddie Van Halen was famous for his tapping guitar solo techniques, which allowed rapid arpeggios to be played with both hands on the fretboard. Eddie is also known to use Fender Strats when performing in the old days.
One of his first Fender Strats is a 1961 Fender Stratocaster. This guitar was used in 1976 and 1977. It has a sunburst finish, and its neck is made of Rosewood. It also has a smaller headstock, and its neck has a fatter slab fretboard.
The second Stratocaster that he is widely known for is Frankenstein. Fender was able to replicate Eddie’s old Frankenstein, and it is now under the EVH brand, which Fender owns. The guitar has an HSS pickup configuration. Today, it is still one of the most sought-after guitars in the market.
Another famous heavy metal guitarist on the list is no other than Slipknot’s rhythm guitarist, Jim Root. Although Jim Root was widely known for using Fender Telecaster, in 2010, Fender released a Jim Root Stratocaster signature guitar, which has become one of his favorite guitars to play with when performing.
However, his Strat has two EMG active humbucker pickups, an EMG 81 for the bridge pickup and an EMG 60 for the neck pickup.
Considered to be one of the best guitar players of all time, Yngwie Malmsteen is considered by many the best metal guitarist of all time. He is widely known for his neo-classical playing style, which is really unique for a metal guitarist. Aside from the scalloped fingerboard, his Strat also has the three single-coil pickup configuration.
So, can you play a Fender Strat for metal? Absolutely, yes. However, some things need to be done before you can play metal without any problems. First is to tweak your amp’s EQ by increasing the mid and bass while you decrease the treble, and lastly, use a distortion and noise gate pedal.