I have no idea how or what to play on a Strat

James Freeman

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My main style is 80s thrash metal, I've always used humbuckers with plenty of tight high gain distortion.
When I bought my first Fender Stratocaster (SSS) four years ago I quickly learned I have no idea how or what to play on it.

I have a huge collection of music but almost no one uses a Strat aside from Pink Floyd, RHCP, Chic, Dire Straits, Jimi Hendrix, that I listen to.
I need some suggestions where I should to start to build a solid Start playing style.
 
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When you bought the Strat, were you planning to broaden your horizons, or was there something that you found particularly inspiring or useful about playing a Strat? Sort of curious about how you got into this predicament.

Some people have 1 sound they like and a single guitar or single style of guitar works for them. If that's you, go with it. There is nothing wrong with that sort of simplicity. On the other hand, there also isn't a rule that you have to constantly play every guitar you own. Guitars are tools. Carpenters don't use all their tools all the time either. Wanting to hang out on the sofa crushing some Hendrix riffs is a perfectly acceptable reason to own a Strat.

EDIT: One callout, and an admittedly opinionated one. If you are coming from a predominantly humbucker world, take a little musical adventure - grab your strat and plug it into a fuzz face (first in chain!) into an edge-of-breakup marshall. Leave the fuzz cranked up most of the way, switch to your neck pickup, roll the guitar volume down a couple notches and bask in the glassy Hendrix bliss. Single coil Fender style guitars do make certain pedal interactions possible that cannot really be achieved with humbuckers. I'd recommend taking a trip through the Helix fuzz pedals into a variety of edge-of-breakup and clean amps to see what you think.
 
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I’ve put a good amount of thought into this after getting my Strats last year and as time went on with me not really knowing what to do with them. I LOVE noodling on the couch with classic Strat tones but am rarely compelled to write anything utilizing those tones. I’ve written one song with a Strat so far and it came as a result of exploring the tones and just happening on a riff that came as a result of those tones, so I’d just say explore the tonal spectrum and see what happens.
 
When you bought the Strat, were you planning to broaden your horizons, or was there something that you found particularly inspiring or useful about playing a Strat? Sort of curious about how you got into this predicament.
Yeah, I specifically wanted a SSS strat so have more pickup options and to broaden my horizons, I already have guitars with active and passive humbuckers.

I think the inspiration was Gilmour and early Blackmore.
 
I think of Summers as more of a Tele guy, but I guess he's moved around a bit and there is some overlap between Teles and Strats. Nonetheless some Police tunes are a lot of fun to play. Message in a Bottle and Roxanne are both a blast to play.

I’ll let Spotify rip for 20 or 30 tunes on the Police and just play them ad hoc on a Strat (usually on one preset).
 
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