7 Fender Stratocaster Tips, Tricks, & Mods

gear tone tricks and hacks Aug 16, 2023



Congratulations on getting your hands on that beautiful Stratocaster! Whether you're a die-hard Strat fan or just a guitar aficionado, there's no denying the charm of this iconic instrument. In this blog post, we'll explore seven essential tips, tricks, and mods that will help you make the most of your Stratocaster's capabilities. From tremolo system tweaks to string and pickup choices, we'll cover everything you need to enhance your playing experience.

1. Mastering the Tremolo System

The Stratocaster's tremolo system is an iconic feature, but it can present challenges when it comes to maintaining stability. To keep the tremolo bar in place and avoid it hanging loosely, you can add a tremolo spring. These springs can be easily purchased online and will ensure that your tremolo bar stays in position, providing you with smoother control and preventing unwanted warbling.

Alternatively, you can use Teflon tape (plumber's tape) to achieve a similar effect. Wrap the tape around the tremolo arm's threads before reinserting it into the guitar. This will create a snug fit and a more stable tremolo experience.

2. Utilizing Big Ben's Nut Sauce

The tuning stability of your Stratocaster can be significantly improved with the help of Big Ben's Nut Sauce. This unique silicone graphite lubricant can be applied to the nut and string tree, reducing friction and binding issues. It ensures that the strings glide freely through the nut slots, resulting in smoother tuning and better string action.

3. Removing the Back Plate

Although many players prefer to remove the back plate of their Stratocaster, some vintage guitar owners opt to keep it intact to preserve originality. However, removing the back plate can make string changes and adjustments easier, especially when dealing with the tremolo system or springs. It's a personal choice, but many players find it practical and convenient.

4. Setting Your Tremolo System: Flush or Floating

Deciding between a flush or floating tremolo system depends on your playing style and preferences. A floating tremolo system allows you to pull the bar up and down, creating a fluttering effect. On the other hand, a flush tremolo system provides more contact with the guitar body, potentially enhancing sustain and limiting tuning issues in the case of a broken string. Determine which style suits your needs and adjust the spring tension accordingly.

5. Experimenting with Tuning and String Gauges

Some players find that tuning their Stratocaster a half a step lower enhances its sound, citing iconic players like Stevie Ray Vaughan as an example. Additionally, experimenting with different string gauges can impact your guitar's tone and playability. Thicker strings may produce a fuller sound, but it's crucial to choose what feels comfortable for you.  Thinner strings are typically clearer so that individual notes stand out.

6. Choosing the Right Overdrive Pedal

When it comes to overdrive pedals for your Stratocaster, it's essential to find one that complements its single-coil pickups. Heavy distortion may cause unwanted noise, so opt for pedals like the Tube Screamer by Ibanez or Maxon, or the TC Electronic Spark pedal. These pedals will help you achieve a smooth and balanced overdrive tone.

7. Mastering the Fourth or Fifth Position

Experimenting with different pickup positions is essential to discovering your preferred sound. Many Stratocaster players find that the fourth or fifth pickup switch position provides a well-rounded tone that works across various genres. Try different positions and find the sweet spot that suits your style best.


Your Stratocaster is a versatile instrument with endless possibilities for customization and modification. By following these seven tips, tricks, and mods, you'll unlock the true potential of your guitar and create a personalized playing experience that you'll cherish for years to come. Whether you're a seasoned player or just starting your guitar journey, these enhancements will undoubtedly elevate your Stratocaster playing to new heights. Happy playing!

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