#1
Hey guys. I've got myself a Squier Strat that I've had for about 3 years now, never really played it until lately (couldn't play it back then, but things are getting better). However the Strat doesn't sound too good to try to play metal/hard rock. But then again I don't think my "skills" are good enough to require me buying a brand new guitar. So instead I was wondering if I would be able to make this Strat a little "heavier". Aesthetic wise I was going to repaint the body with a flat black (might just use black Automobile Primer), cut the headstock to have a more "aggressive" look. And I was wanting to get new hardware for it, including Pickups, a new bridge (whammy bar broke off inside lol) and new tuners. But as far as the pickups go, I was wanting to go with some Humbuckers (preferably EMG 81/85's), but I've heard they don't really go too well with the Strat. And I would also like to know what I should do as far as the knobs/switches/wiring and all that stuff goes. Money won't really be an issue, and as far as anything being difficult, I should be able to manage, as I am not rushed to do this. Any advice/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
#2
You realize an 81/85 combo costs more than the guitar itself, right?

If money isn't an issue, just get a better guitar.
#3
if you want an 81/85 set, you need a new pickguard (except if your strat has an HH configuration) and they aren't that bad on strats
#4
Suggestion:
don't upgrade it.
Buy a whole new guitar.
Pickups are about the cost of ur squier.

plus you'll have a back up if u get another guitar
.
#5
don't bother upgrading a guitar like that, better idea to just get a new guitar, its also funner to play on a nice guitar, no matter what your skill level
#6
Quote by deluxity
if you want an 81/85 set, you need a new pickguard (except if your strat has an HH configuration) and they aren't that bad on strats


new pickguard shouldn't matter, i was wanting to get a new one anyways (stock was is white, i want this thing to be flat black allover)
#7
Quote by ILoveGuitar07
Suggestion:
don't upgrade it.
Buy a whole new guitar.
Pickups are about the cost of ur squier.

plus you'll have a back up if u get another guitar


I realize that it costs more than the guitar itself, and I will be buying a new guitar in the near future, but for now, I'd kinda like to make this thing a little heavier. So if not the 81/85's...any other Pickup you'd suggest?
#8
I've got a fender mexican strat with 3 single coils. If yours has an SSS configuration, I'd replace the bridge witha Duncan hot rails and the middle with a JB jr. I did it to mine. I get some pretty good metal/hard rock tones with it.

Then again, I'm a bit biased in favor of Duncan.
--Gear List--
Fender Standard Stratocaster
Duncan Hot Rails
Duncan JB Jr.
Peavey Bandit
Sigma DR28
#9
See, this is what I'm thinking...

ANY guitar can be made to play and sound good. But nobody wants to/everyone says not to spend the money for good hardware on a lower-end guitar. But you get what you pay for... Anybody see what's wrong with this situation?

It's TS's guitar, not anyone else's, so who care what TS does with it? If he want to upgrade it instead of going out and buying a new one with no personal attachment whatsoever, let him!
#10
Quote by xDeadReckoningx
I've got a fender mexican strat with 3 single coils. If yours has an SSS configuration, I'd replace the bridge witha Duncan hot rails and the middle with a JB jr. I did it to mine. I get some pretty good metal/hard rock tones with it.

Then again, I'm a bit biased in favor of Duncan.


it is SSS configured, but a little woodwork and a new pickguard could change that right?
#11
Quote by Invader Jim
See, this is what I'm thinking...

ANY guitar can be made to play and sound good. But nobody wants to/everyone says not to spend the money for good hardware on a lower-end guitar. But you get what you pay for... Anybody see what's wrong with this situation?

It's TS's guitar, not anyone else's, so who care what TS does with it? If he want to upgrade it instead of going out and buying a new one with no personal attachment whatsoever, let him!

Yeah, but he's come for advice, and we are giving our opinions.
#13
Quote by Invader Jim
Yeah, but I'm just tired of people not even trying. It's always "Just get a new guitar".


Thanks Jim. I have no problem with getting a new guitar (in fact I'm eyeballing a Gibson Explorer, wanted one since I was a kid)...but I thought, what the heck, instead of getting rid of the old Strat, make it into something "different"
#14
I'm going to try to articulate a few of the above suggestions a bit more... thoroughly.

How much do you know about guitar re-finishing? It's hardly voodoo rocket science, but check out the refinishing thread if you need pointers. Re-paint can be fun, as can modifying the headstock. Post pics!

New tuners would be good if you're having tuning stability issues, but there could be other problems to consider as well. The tuners that come on the affinitys nowadays are actually pretty decent IMHO.

I know the broken bar can be extracted from the trem, but I don't know how. Our tech always does it, and he works at the warehouse so I've never had a chance to ask him, but I know it can be done. Even taking it to someone would be less than a new bridge, though a new bridge might be a good upgrade.

Now to the pickups, where it might get a little more hairy. If you've never done any wiring before, I'd practice on something less important than your guitar to get the hang of it. On the other hand, Squier strats usually don't have an HSH rout, so an 85 probably won't fit in the neck position without some wood work. Check under your pickguard to make sure, though.

They're great pickups for metal, but as AA00P mentioned, they're pretty expensive, and you won't be able to get all of the money back if you were to re-sell the guitar. A more financially-sound investment might be to get something with EMGs already in it, like a Schecter.

Just something to think about. If you're keen on it, though, there's no reason it can't be done. A diagram for wiring EMG pickups can be found on their website, but here's a link to the exact .pdf.

Edit: Oh, and about that wood work- the convenient part about a top-rout is having a pickguard to cover mistakes! If you want to keep it simple, a small chisel and a steady hand is all you really need to make more room for the new pickups, so I wouldn't sweat that part. I agree with Jim, you could definitely make some good improvements to the guitar, just as long as you've considered all of your options. I find it quite satisfying to have done the mods myself. It feels more personal that way. Any installation questions you have I'd be happy to do my best to answer!
I Japanese Fenders
MIJ '86 Strat, MIJ '95 Foto Flame Tele, Jackson JSX-94
Schecter C-1 Classic 3TSB, Takamine EG544SC-4C
Warwick Corvette Fretless MIJ '89 P-Bass Lyte
Fender Geddy Lee Sig Bass, Ibanez DTT700 Destroyer
Last edited by GravyFish at Dec 3, 2008,
#15
Quote by USN_Gonzalez890
I realize that it costs more than the guitar itself, and I will be buying a new guitar in the near future, but for now, I'd kinda like to make this thing a little heavier. So if not the 81/85's...any other Pickup you'd suggest?


another option:
a seymour duncan 59 in the bridge postion.

get the one that is the size the a single coil but acts as a humbucker,
so you won't have to change the pickguard.

a humbucker is more of a rock type sound, rather than a twangy tone.


thats an option.
Should be around $80 for the one pickup.

the 59 is a good pickup. Very gigable.


it up to you.
If you have any question or need advice feel free to pm or post.
.
#16
Quote by GravyFish
I'm going to try to articulate the above suggestions a bit more... thoroughly.

How much do you know about guitar re-finishing? It's hardly voodoo rocket science, but check out the refinishing thread if you need pointers. Re-paint can be fun, as can modifying the headstock. Post pics!

New tuners would be good if you're having tuning stability issues, but there could be other problems to consider as well. The tuners that come on the affinitys nowadays are actually pretty decent IMHO.

I know the broken bar can be extracted from the trem, but I don't know how. Our tech always does it, and he works at the warehouse so I've never had a chance to ask him, but I know it can be done. Even taking it to someone would be less than a new bridge, though a new bridge might be a good upgrade.

Now to the pickups, where it might get a little more hairy. If you've never done any wiring before, I'd practice on something less important than your guitar to get the hang of it. On the other hand, Squier strats usually don't have an HSH rout, so an 85 probably won't fit in the neck position without some wood work. Check under your pickguard to make sure, though.

They're great pickups for metal, but as AA00P mentioned, they're pretty expensive, and you won't be able to get all of the money back if you were to re-sell the guitar. A more financially-sound investment might be to get something with EMGs already in it, like a Schecter.

Just something to think about. If you're keen on it, though, there's no reason it can't be done. A diagram for wiring EMG pickups can be found on their website, but here's a link to the exact .pdf.


Routing/wiring shouldn't be too hard, high school carpentry/electricity classes (still remember most of the wiring stuff lol)...but yeah, the price/re-sell value isn't bothering me too much. I just want something "custom" that's different than everything else
#17
I don't know why everyone always jumps on the "buy a new guitar" bandwagon everytime a thread like this comes up. I think customizing your guitar is more fun and rewarding than just going out and buying one already put together. Not saying I wouldn't take a new guitar, but in TS's situation I say why the hell not? Even if he does decide to drop some EMG's in a strat he can always take them out and put them in another guitar down the road if he so chooses.
#19
what kind of amp do you have? EMGs through a crap ss is a bad idea.
Quote by konigstiger
PCSpeaker is right,


Damn right I am.

Bugera 333xl > Crybaby Wah > Marshall Guv'Nor > Boss SD1 > J&D Les Paul / Vintage Lemon Drop / Modded HSH Squier / Vintage Warp / Standard Squier Strat /Tanglewood Acoustic!
#20
I've a Seymour Duncan little 59er single size Humbucker in the bridge position on one of my Guitars.Well worth the money IMHO and a cheaper copy of said PUP on my other cheap Strat.
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Seymour-Duncan-Little-59er-Pickup-300008-i1127351.gc

I've modded the Guitar so the Tone next to the Volume control acts over all PUPs and used the redundant Tone control near the socket as a bleed control on the 59ers so I can use it as a Humbucker or single coil(Easy mods).

Most of my songs in my profile are done at some point with them
#21
To get the broken bar out, you need to either drill it out (be CAREFUL for the love of christ) or you could try getting a piece of metal and a bead of glue on it. stick it to the broken bit and twist carefully to get it out. but that depends on how deep the broken bit is
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

A man chooses, a slave obeys.
#22
Quote by Sheppola
I've a Seymour Duncan little 59er single size Humbucker in the bridge position on one of my Guitars.Well worth the money IMHO and a cheaper copy of said PUP on my other cheap Strat.
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Seymour-Duncan-Little-59er-Pickup-300008-i1127351.gc

I've modded the Guitar so the Tone next to the Volume control acts over all PUPs and used the redundant Tone control near the socket as a bleed control on the 59ers so I can use it as a Humbucker or single coil(Easy mods).

Most of my songs in my profile are done at some point with them


+1
.
#23
Quote by chip46
I don't know why everyone always jumps on the "buy a new guitar" bandwagon everytime a thread like this comes up. I think customizing your guitar is more fun and rewarding than just going out and buying one already put together. Not saying I wouldn't take a new guitar, but in TS's situation I say why the hell not? Even if he does decide to drop some EMG's in a strat he can always take them out and put them in another guitar down the road if he so chooses.

That's exactly what I was thinking. The EMG's can be removed it's not like they become permanent. The original pickups and pickguard can be re-installed at any time.
#24
Quote by USN_Gonzalez890
it is SSS configured, but a little woodwork and a new pickguard could change that right?


More like a lot of woodwork, a completely new wiring schematic, and a new pickguard.

I would suggest buying a new guitar. From personal experience, I haven't found Squiers to be worth upgrading.
--Gear List--
Fender Standard Stratocaster
Duncan Hot Rails
Duncan JB Jr.
Peavey Bandit
Sigma DR28
#26
You won't need to be sleeping. He'll kill you with his thoughts.
Gear
Fender Thinline Telecaster Deluxe

1983 Aria Pro II XX Deluxe Flying V

2007 S101 EGU34

1963 Kay Vanguard

1964 Kay Vanguard

AXL Badwater SRO

Hondo Strat

1974 Acoustic(brand) 134 4x10 combo

Epiphone Valve Jr.
#27
Quote by xDeadReckoningx
More like a lot of woodwork, a completely new wiring schematic, and a new pickguard.

I would suggest buying a new guitar. From personal experience, I haven't found Squiers to be worth upgrading.

No, not that much woodwork tbh, and wiring a guitar is quite easy. So is getting a new pickguard.

Squier quality control is crap and the majority of Squiers are not that great. However, there are quite a few very nice ones that make it out of the factory. Like mine for example, an '03 Affinity.

The fretboard isn't pale and dead-looking like most Affinities (my dad thought it was cocobolo, it's so dark). The body is made of actual wood (alder/agathis on the older ones, 1-piece alder on later ones) instead of alder lam like on the new ones (and on Fenders Americans I might add). The neck feels great and the fretwork was great as well (needs a fret dress now, though. I've had the thing for 4 years and play it everyday)...

Quote by deftonesordie
Don't tell that to Jim. He'll kill you in your sleep.

Quote by chuckflan333
You won't need to be sleeping. He'll kill you with his thoughts.

Sigged. I can't believe I didn't see that before...
Last edited by Invader Jim at Dec 4, 2008,
#29
they sell EMG prewired pickguards already with a few different kinds on set ups. that would probably be a lot easier than changing everything seperately.
#30
I see alot of people bashing it becuase it's a squire... but truth be told with just a little bit of time and work... that $200 Squire can and will out play many top modle Strats, and LP's!!!

I'm in the same boat as you, I've had my guitar for years and have been slowly adding peices over the year. My Squire started life as a decent $250 Standard Fat Strat. But over the couse of a few year's it's worth roughly $800-$1000 but it plays like a $2500+ guitar! Although some day I play to swap all the hardware into a Fender Deluxe Strat. To get the most I can out of the set up, but for now it's more than enough for any guitarist... there is no reason this guitar cant be played on tour!

I wont go into the full details of what I've done to it. But the basics are this... I added Fender Hot Noiseless single coils in the neck and mid... these are Jeff Beck signiture pickups. they are the basically Fenders Vintage Noiseless only they are hot! Meaning they are over wound, so they are very edgy but still keep the standard strat sound. In the Bridge I have installed a SD "Hotrail" which is a small side by side humbucker which fit's into the original space of a single coil. I have also installed a Coil Tap, for more sound possibilites. Finally and most importantly I have installed a Clapton 25db Mid Boost Kit. The mid boost kit along with the hotrail give you damn near limitless substain, and tone's you can only dream of. It's a combination of Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and Tom Morello's set ups. It give you tons of tone options. You can go from playing let's say Chuck Berry, to Micky Thompson, or Kurt Hammet all at the flick of a switch. This is the type of set up where you can play almost anything from deathmetal to funk, jazz, and or blues.

This guitar is deffinetly one of a kind, with sound to match. I would be willing to pit this Squire Strat aginst any stock Strat or LP on the market today. Even fenders $3000+ signiture modles!!!
#31
I might as well, I post these pictures every time someone wants to do a EMG type mod to a squier, cause this is what I have to work with, and I love it.





I have a blog about what I used for this guitar, so if you want to steal some ideas go right ahead.
#32
Quote by Invader Jim
Yeah, but I'm just tired of people not even trying. It's always "Just get a new guitar".


Especially when it comes to Squire's


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#33
wtf? is this a necrobump or smth?
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#34
hmmm
im thinkin a zack wylyd (dont know how to spell his name) for this kid
Survivor of:
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#35
Quote by metal-matt
wtf? is this a necrobump or smth?

Holy hell, a full year. This was back in the days of non-mod Jim. O_O

Can we get a closure over here?
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

A man chooses, a slave obeys.