Want Strat sound, what to buy?

I've been playing for 2years now and have been playing an Ibanez SA120. I don't know much about guitars in the way of pickups etc, but I do recognize sound. My guitar has nice sound with humbucker pickups but I really like the raw sound of a strat.

So I don't know if I'm just looking for a certain style of pickups (regardless of guitar) to get the strat sound, or am I looking at specifically buying a Strat.

Can I get that sound out of any guitar with the right pickups? I'm most likely going to be looking for something used so I would like to know what my options are and what I can automatically count out as far as choices go.

Thanks for any help.

I'll chime in on this

You can get a "strat" sound out of any guitar with the three single-coil pickups,,,its an inherent nature of single coil pickups in those positions

having said that tho, you can notice a big difference between cheap guitar pickups and well made ones, not to mention hum-cancelling single coils

the best thing to do IMO is to go to a guitar store and try out more than a few...find a guitar that you like (sound/feel/price/looks...in that order) that suits you best

and practice, practice, practice!!!

Thanks for the advice. Just what I was looking for.

Do you have any preference for tremolo bridge or not?

^sorry, I don't know what that means. :(

I think he means do you like to use a tremolo like a Floyd Rose style floating bridge or standard hard tail with no tremolo bar.

I have to say that I prefer to have my bridge be at least non-floating. I like the hard tail strat type of bridge. I don't use the whammy bar style much because of the tuning problems that come with that style of bridge. It's all just preference though, try out all of the different bridge designs out there. As long as you like it, that's all that matters.

Yeah, that's what I meant. I love the Strat sound, but it's a hardtail or nothing for me.

 Keep in mind that a string thru the body, no vibrato bridge Stratocaster is kinda rare.  The Robert Cray model is a true hardtail, but it's roughly $900.

ANY strat can be set up as a hardtail by tightening the spings in the back. On the Eric Clapton Signature model, Fender puts a small, removeable wedge of wood behind the block inside the body to help disable the vibrato function at Eric's request. Why not just make it a hardtail like the Robert Cray? Because the hardtail prototypes Fender sent to Eric didn't sound right. He wanted the mass of the vibrato bridge for the tone it provided.

But truely, the biggest factor in the Stratsound is the proper position of the three single coil pickups.

Robert Cray Strat with hardtail bridge.

Eric Clapton Signature with vibrato bridge

Thanks guys for the info and pictures. I'm still looking for a guitar in the used section of local kijiji hope I don't get stuck with a bad one lmao.. I'm a total noob when looking for a guitar.

I'd be happy with a standard Tele.

 How to look for a guitar, for Mako:

Find a guitar you like that is built like a Stratocaster(bolt on neck,three single coil type pickups, 5 way selector switch). These are the most crucial elements to Strat-ish tones. A single master volume control and two independant(kinda) tone controls complete the electronics.

Come back here, post info.

We'll tell you what to do. ;)

If you want to know how to access the condition/viability of a particular instrument, that is a thread unto itself.

thanks to Rex for expanding on this...sometimes I dont explain myself fully, because Ive been around guitars for 20+ years

 I've got a strat with a blocked bridge and heavy duty springs.  I play 10's or occasionally 11's to get a very bluesey sound from the single coils and I've got 2 fender custom shop pickups for a great sound.

not too shabby for a drummer ;-)

Even though I've been playing for 2 years I still know nothing. I have to get out more and play/jam with other people. I guess I can only learn so much playing alone watching youtube lessons.

Thanks for all the info, I'm still looking and will post when I find something.