#1
Alright, I just recently purchased a new MiM Standard Stratocaster Upgrade (see here). The guitar is 3 tone Sunburst with a Maple fretboard.

I'm relatively new to playing guitar and I play almost all types of music except for metal. However I mostly play rock, classic rock, and funk.

I'm considering making some modifications to the guitar to improve the overall sound/tone. Here are some of the modifications I'm thinking about:

-Replace stock Tremolo with Tremsetter (see here)

-Replace stock Tuning machines with Fender Deluxe Schaller Locking Machine Heads (see here)

-Replace stock bridge sections with American series bridge sections (see here)

So I would like to know if you think those modifications are worth the cost and if you guys have any other recommendations for modifications to improve the overall sound/tone of the guitar.

Let me know what you think. Thanks.
#2
The first thing you should do to improve sound is switch out the pickups. GFS has some good single-coil pickups for those on a budget. And honestly, while they are worth the money, Schallers, or any new tuning heads, dont help out tone or sound much. A new nut would be good, graphite preferrably. You can buy pre-slotted Graphite nuts.
#3
The Fender/Schaller locking tuners are definitely worth it IMO. I have those on my white parts strat and they're great. They're not going to improve your tone much or anything, they're just a nice thing to have when changing strings and what not. I can't vouch for the other two mods, but I doubt they would hurt. Someone else will probably know better than me.
#4
Swap in a Callaham Trem, new nut and pickups will greatly improve the sound of your Strat.
I used the Callaham trem, Graphtech Tusq nut, and SD Hotrails in the Bride and middle, and JB Jr in the neck. I was going for more output and was not worry about keeping the Strat sound in this one. I also have one with the same trem and nut but run the Fender SCN pickups. These has the strat sound, but 100% better than the MIM pickups.
The tuners will not help the sound but will halp with tuning.

Also, remember that the amp will have a lot to do with the sound of your guitar. If you are running a small SS amp, I would look to upgrade here first.
#5
Quote by nated
Alright, I just recently purchased a new MiM Standard Stratocaster Upgrade (see here). The guitar is 3 tone Sunburst with a Maple fretboard.

I'm relatively new to playing guitar and I play almost all types of music except for metal. However I mostly play rock, classic rock, and funk.

I'm considering making some modifications to the guitar to improve the overall sound/tone. Here are some of the modifications I'm thinking about:

-Replace stock Tremolo with Tremsetter (see here)

-Replace stock Tuning machines with Fender Deluxe Schaller Locking Machine Heads (see here)

-Replace stock bridge sections with American series bridge sections (see here)

So I would like to know if you think those modifications are worth the cost and if you guys have any other recommendations for modifications to improve the overall sound/tone of the guitar.

Let me know what you think. Thanks.

Um why not buy a steel block for the trem? new pickups and a nut seem like a good idea too. Also, locking tuners help you stay in tune while using the trem.
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400 with Gotoh GE1996T (EMG 85/60)
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#6
Alright thanks for all of the suggestions.

First off I'm going to upgrade the nut to a Graphtech nut and put in the Callaham trem. At some point I'll put in new pickups, but at the moment I just don't have the cash to.

What I'm wondering next is if you guys think it is worth it to get the whole bridge switched out for a Callaham bridge/tremolo ($120) , or just get the actual tremolo replaced ($75) and keep the stock bridge?
#7
I did the whole bridge, but you could just do the block.
The Callaham block is $60, the upgrade kit (block and saddles) is $120, and the whole trem is $160 plus shipping.
The call is yours, but the Callaham trem uses very good parts though out the trem and is far better in every way over the stock one.
#8
If you're pretty new to playing, the biggest difference you'll find in sound is probably going to come from your pickups. May I suggest the new Seymour Duncan total axe setup; with its jr. 59 duckbucker, and jr. jb you would have and extremely versatile guitar. Also with double wound pickups like these I believe you could replace your pots to push-pull. This will give you even more combinations with pickup/coil selection. A few other pickups I like for single coils are Seymour Duncan hot rails, vintage rails, and cool rails. They each complement each other. I am using a hot rail and 2 vintage rails in the strat I'm building now. I'll let you know how that turns out soundwise.
My Rig...

Guitars:
2003 Ovation Collectors Series
Custom U.S.A. Parts Strat
Gibson SG Faded Special

Amps:
Crate V50 112
Fender Sidekick Reverb 65

Fx:
Boss CH-1
Boss CS-3
Boss DS-1
Boss NS-2
Original Crybaby
#9
I can't believe nobody's asked this yet: What's your amp?
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400 with Gotoh GE1996T (EMG 85/60)
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#10
I agree with those that said pickups...the primary difference you will hear in tone will be from new pickups and most certainly new pots and wire. Don't do one without the other.

Your amp is the #2 thing to address if ness.

Lastly the sustain block( trem), tuners and nut....

If you have crappy pickups...and amp...changing the block, tuners and nut will accomplish nothing notable. Save your $$ for the complete rewire and pickup set. (and amp if ness)

Oh and lastly...practicing daily is more important to tone than any of them imo. :-)

Good luck.
Last edited by PitViper at Dec 26, 2008,
#11
SD's are alright, I have a set of the SSL1's in a strat and it sounds like a strat. They are definitely better then cheep chines pickups, which GFS are. I don't really think the SD's where anything to marvelous, but they aren't bad. I prefer Linday Fralins or Lollars. I have heard really good things about sheptone, have played with some, but haven't owned a set yet.
#12
Quote by PainIsPower
SD's are alright, I have a set of the SSL1's in a strat and it sounds like a strat. They are definitely better then cheep chines pickups, which GFS are. I don't really think the SD's where anything to marvelous, but they aren't bad. I prefer Linday Fralins or Lollars. I have heard really good things about sheptone, have played with some, but haven't owned a set yet.

Yeah, but you gotta remember SD's are one hell of a lot cheaper than Fralins or Lollars.

Like Lollar vs Duncan
about $50 for a Duncan SC, $80 for a Lollar SC
up to 117 for Duncan HB (and that's antiquities), $150 for a base Lollar HB ($33 dollar difference AT LEAST)

Fralin, a little more reasonable but still expensive.
75-117 for a Duncan floor model HB, 120 for a Fralin.
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400 with Gotoh GE1996T (EMG 85/60)
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
Last edited by oneblackened at Dec 26, 2008,
#13
Quote by oneblackened
Yeah, but you gotta remember SD's are one hell of a lot cheaper than Fralins or Lollars.


True, but I always looked at it this way, when you sell a guitar, you can take the pickups out of it and put the stocks back in, that what you still have the pups and can resell them, or put them in another guitar. I think good pups are a worthwhile investment.
#14
Yeah, but for a kid on a budget (me) Duncans are just that much better than Epi Alnico Classics (or should I say absolute junk).
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400 with Gotoh GE1996T (EMG 85/60)
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#15
Quote by oneblackened
Yeah, but for a kid on a budget (me) Duncans are just that much better than Epi Alnico Classics (or should I say absolute junk).


True, and yeah they are more expensive, and nice edit with the prices.

I still recommend the more expensive ones because why go half way? Because then if you want to go all the way you just wasted money getting halfway there.

I did just notice too that he said he is a relatively new player, which now i think trumps all this. An all tube amp would be the first thing I would recommend for mods before I even touched the guitar. Look at Line 6, it makes PRS's sound like the cheep epi SGs. So unless he has a decent amp, any guitar mods he does are pretty much wasted, unless he goes with locking tuners, but thats more convenience.
#16
Quote by PainIsPower
True, and yeah they are more expensive, and nice edit with the prices.

I still recommend the more expensive ones because why go half way? Because then if you want to go all the way you just wasted money getting halfway there.

I did just notice too that he said he is a relatively new player, which now i think trumps all this. An all tube amp would be the first thing I would recommend for mods before I even touched the guitar. Look at Line 6, it makes PRS's sound like the cheep epi SGs. So unless he has a decent amp, any guitar mods he does are pretty much wasted, unless he goes with locking tuners, but thats more convenience.

Or at least a reasonable amp (you know, one with analog signal path and decent parts).
That's what I love about the Vypyr series. Not only does it sound awrsome, they're analog!

EDIT: talk about a thread derail. w00t.
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400 with Gotoh GE1996T (EMG 85/60)
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
Last edited by oneblackened at Dec 26, 2008,
#17
I haven't tried any of those, I've been using a slightly modded Fender Champ 600, one of those new ones? its not bad for bedroom levels, and it breaks up pretty nicely with the mods, though the speaker doesn't like it when you dime it.