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Old 09-23-2012, 09:30 PM   #1
AirGuitarist87
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Help me customise my Strat

So I've got this neat ol' Japanese Fender Stratocaster. It's cream coloured, it's got stock pickups, and, my wife agrees with me on this, it's dull.



What I'm looking at currently is replacing the back pickup with a HotRails (or better if any recommendations), maybe a bit of tasteful tape (like a more subtle Van Halen), and maybe replacing the pickguard and switching the volume/tone knobs.

Any recommendations? Cool colour matchings? Has anyone got a customised Fender they want to show off?
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:42 PM   #2
jbarnes.US
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Orange pickguard would look amazing to me against that cream finish. But I might be one of the few that think so!
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Old 09-23-2012, 11:15 PM   #3
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i can't tell you exactly what would work for you. but maybe my strat will give you some inspiration



it's a 2008 HSS. i pulled the top volume knob and removed both tone positions. now the guitar has two volume knobs (one controlling the HB and the other controlling the SC's). the knob one controlling the HB volume has coil tap functionality with a pull on the knob. this pretty much rewired the whole guitar.

the pups are Suhr's (i wanna say the SC's are the 60's strat style and the HB was a DSV maybe).

i am eventually going to change the knobs to black tele style knobs.

if you get hotrails then you may want to change your volume pot. jap strats do have pretty dull pups imo, keep the originals just in case you ever sell it, but i'd change them to you'd enjoy more (lace sensors, stacked HB's, an emg set, w/e). i like old vintage sounding pups so i went after Suhr pups wired to 60's spec.

another great upgrade is new hardware. a calaham hardware setup would be a big improvement.
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Old 09-24-2012, 12:16 AM   #4
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You could try what I did to my old Ibby Blazer. What I did was replicate Robbie Robertson's bridge pickup arrangement but instead of just moving the middle pickup down to next to the bridge pickup I added another RW/RP version of the same type. I also added a switch so you can run them in series, parallel or just one of them.
It requires modifying the scratchplate and chiselling out a bit of timber but it works very well. Being RW/RP it effectively becomes a humbucker when both are running but the poles all line up properly whilst still being angled like a proper strat. So a HSS effectively but in reality a SSSS with switching options.
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Old 09-24-2012, 12:26 AM   #5
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vintage white looks sweet with the seafoam green pickguard.
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:00 AM   #6
AirGuitarist87
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Thanks for the suggestions, guys.

jbarnes.US, I think I'm not one of the guys who likes orange haha. Although I did search and found a company that specialises in custom pickguards.

gumbilicious, I really like your sunburst strat. Yeah, the stock Japanese pickups are a tad weak. To get any decent distortion I have to add a stomp on top of the already maxed out drive.

Cathbard, I think I draw the line at chiselling my guitar. I don't quite trust myself or anyone else with my stuff like that.

trashedlostfdup, can't say I can find seafoam green pickguards anywhere, only seafoam green bodies.
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:06 AM   #7
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I kinda like it as it is. It looks "complete" and tasteful.
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:28 AM   #8
tubetime86
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Little tip Gregs1020 told me that works well for me; switch your middle and bridge pickups on the pickguard. You end up with a tone control for your bridge and neck that way, which since I very rarely use the middle position, is much more useful. Also it gives you a neck/bridge position that is just awesome. Its my favorite now, by far. I use the neck for fat, bridge for twang and neck/bridge for literally everything else.

Cosmetically the sky is the limit. Strats are so damn common you can find just about anything to slap on there for cosmetics changes. Just keep the original stuff, as Gumbi said, in case you need to resell.
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:04 AM   #9
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Also, tortoise shell pickguard. Or black for the tuxedo look.
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:24 PM   #10
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Dimarzio Tone Zone or SD Hot Rails in the bridge will make it sound awesome with distortion.
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:05 PM   #11
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Black scratchplate and pickups.
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:38 PM   #12
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focus on the tone. new pups and stuff. looks classy as is
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:49 PM   #13
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I'm with the TS as far as looks go - it's dull and uninspiring. Like something a 70 yo grandmother would design. All it's missing is a lace doily.
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Old 09-27-2012, 02:00 PM   #14
tubetime86
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I like the looks of it as is. I love muted colors on strats. I wouldn't change a thing, cosmetically.

Here's my strat. I think a slightly yellowed pickguard, like mine, might look good on yours.

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Old 09-27-2012, 03:44 PM   #15
Random3
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I modded my Strat a month ago or so:



American Standard Strat, had it for ages and didn't really play it so I put a Hot Rail in it and got a new scratchplate and knobs, also fixed the input. Plays and sounds great.
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