#1
I have a Mexican Strat, around 1996; not used very much. I prefer my acoustic, but probably b/c I don't love the sound. It's lake placid blue. It has a buzzing on the E string, and sounds a little tinny. I really don't like the sound very much. What upgrades would help? I'm thinking of pickups and had some other questions.

1. Are there pickups that are a lot better but don't cost a fortune? For instance, Seymour Duncan's seem great (at least from their website) but are quite expensive. Are there others that are less expensive but decent?

2. Do I need to replace all 3 pickups, or is 1 sufficient? If I get just one, should it match in appearance?

3. Do I need to replace 'the electronics'? If so, exactly what and what should I spend?

4. Should I replace the nut? I hear people doing this - how will it help? Same for the bridge.

5. Do I really need locking tuners? It seems to stay in tune fairly well.

6. What's it going to cost if I do all this stuff? Is it worth it?

Thanks, guys / gals!

Oh, I'm using a Fender Blues Deluxe tube amp; mainly like blues / rock, not much metal but definitely want a full sound with some distortion. Favorite guitar sounds are SRV, Page, Betts / Allman, Santana, Collective Soul, etc. I'd also like to learn a little jazz.
Last edited by cmb13 at Jan 6, 2009,
#2
If you think it sounds thin try heavier gauge strings, just that would increase the sound response a lot, if you've got .09's or .10 try .11's at the same tuning you will probably notice a lot in output since the pickups will actually pick up a louder signal (size matters here).

If you're not yet at it try adjusting your pickups' height vs. the strings, up to a point they will track more signal, but beyond that point AKA too high they will affect the sustain by cutting the strings vibrations with their magnetic field.

At this point a new set of strings will have cost you 10 $ +- and some time for the pickups height (look at some website on how to do it, and test my magnetic theory by setting them differently to know their limits), not bad eh ?

If this still fails try a higher output bridge pickup, and if needed higher output middle and neck pickups to cope with the bridge one, you need to balance the output.

Many newcomer' brands are offering pretty decent pickups at half to a quarter of the price a single duncan pickup would reach, also look out for pre-assorted pickup sets, they're already made to be balanced and usually blend well together, not to mention they sell for a lot less than unitary pickups.

If your guitar has trouble staying in tune your hardware is the cause, if when tuning you don't have any constistency of the string's tension vs. the tuner's turns it's either a badly cut nut that squeezes the string or an innaccurate tuner, try sanding the nut with the appropriate tool (I don't know if sanding is the word, but you get the idea). Also rub a hb pen in each of the nut's carves, it's graphite you'll be putting there, and it will do basically a cheaper-than-the-real-thing graphite nut job. If that don't helps try new tuners, quality tuners will do the trick, if you like abusing bends & whammy work I'd suggest locking ones, but they aren't worth the extra $$$ otherwise.

If your whammy has stability issues AKA it doesn't get back in tune when you use it, try adding springs on the back, you will have to adjust the whole guitar accordingly, but the tension will be way more constant, if that still fails replace the whole tremolo system, schaller, gotoh, wilkinson are all quality brands. Unitary springs shouldn't be very expensive, at more than 3-4 $ each they should be stupidly high-priced, so another effective way for less $.

Another option: have the soldering job of your guitar inspected by a knowledgeable professionnal, it might just be one bad solder or too cheap components, and these fetch for not much, new pots, wire and a bit of steel parts won't cost much, if the guy needs to do the job everything including the time & parts wouldn't cost more than 50 $.

Last but not least have it inspected by a knowledgeable person wood-wise, if the neck joint is bad, the body is badly resonnating etc. it may be the case, and in that case even changing the pickups for the highest-outputted ones wouldn't change jack ****. I don't think this is the case, but if it can blow a whistle at the right time to save you trouble and money, here you go.

Longest post ever
I love music, if music would be a girl then I'd date her, until then let's get back on Earth
#3
Thanks for the "longest post ever"; I do appreciate it. I have tried heavier strings - doesn't help much. Maybe I'll look into a professional to check the electronics / soldering.
#4
click the green link in my sig. it'll sxplain about pup height and adjusting action.


as for new pups. they are pretty easy to put in if you are at all handy and have a soldering iron.

i like dimarzio stacked pickups.

also, if you dont feel like swapping out the pups, maybe buy a good od pedal.
Jenneh

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#5
Quote by cmb13
I have a Mexican Strat, around 1996; not used very much. I prefer my acoustic, but probably b/c I don't love the sound. It's lake placid blue. It has a buzzing on the E string, and sounds a little tinny. I really don't like the sound very much. What upgrades would help? I'm thinking of pickups and had some other questions.

1. Are there pickups that are a lot better but don't cost a fortune? For instance, Seymour Duncan's seem great (at least from their website) but are quite expensive. Are there others that are less expensive but decent?

2. Do I need to replace all 3 pickups, or is 1 sufficient? If I get just one, should it match in appearance?

3. Do I need to replace 'the electronics'? If so, exactly what and what should I spend?

4. Should I replace the nut? I hear people doing this - how will it help? Same for the bridge.

5. Do I really need locking tuners? It seems to stay in tune fairly well.

6. What's it going to cost if I do all this stuff? Is it worth it?

Thanks, guys / gals!

Oh, I'm using a Fender Blues Deluxe tube amp; mainly like blues / rock, not much metal but definitely want a full sound with some distortion. Favorite guitar sounds are SRV, Page, Betts / Allman, Santana, Collective Soul, etc. I'd also like to learn a little jazz.


I was in your exact position about 6 months ago. I wanted better tone. I was debating weather to just spend the money and buy a US standard, or customize my MIM Strat. I took my MIM to a local guitar pro to ask him his opinion. He said
the 90's Mexistrats are made the exact same as their US counterparts, but they have a 3piece body, and a better Nut.

I told him I wanted to get the best blues tone I could out of it, and without hesitation he said Texas Special pickups were the way to go. Also he recommended I let him set it up for .13's. I did.

Mine was in kinda rough shape, so he had to replace the frets, and most of the electronics.

End result: New Pups $125
Pro setup and new parts $150
Incredible tone, priceless!!!


Now I go to GC, and I can't find a strat I like better than my MIM.
"There is only one thing more beautiful than one guitar - Two guitars" Frederic Chopin
#6
That sounds like a pretty good endorsement. How about the Tex Mex pickups - are they the same as Texas Specials? Seem to be half the price.
#8
Anyone have any ideas about whether I can replace just one pickup, or should i really be doing all 3? If one, which one?
#9
I got a pickguard pre-wired with 2 tex mex SC and a diamondback HB from ebay saved me the pain of soldering it together myself. Now I can get closer to the texas/SRV sound I was aiming for
Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everybody I've ever known.

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