#1
About two years ago, I suddenly became quite interested in modifying my very old Fender Squier Strat. I imagined it as a personal, fun job to undertake, where the the old guitar that seemed to constantly cut out as the volume knob was turned, and sounded like a bottle of sugary, shaken up coco-cola being opened would be replaced with a piece of glorious shit.

So I enquired about it, asked UG and talked to guitar sales-reps, etc. Most folks I spoke to all suggested that I just save up and buy a real MIA Strat, but to be honest, I don't want to do that. Not only can I get a far superior guitar for the same amount of money, but I don't even like Strats enough to warrant spending that kind of cash.

So I forgot about it, buying and edited gear I was confident with. But two years later (two months ago) I started playing my old Squier again and I found myself really enjoying it. It didn't cut out as regularly as it used to, and because my physical body mass had grown (I'm not fat ) the Strat shape felt more comfortable and honest on my lap and on a strap. The neck seemed more comfortable than the 2008 MIA Strats I had played, which I don't really like at all...

and I'm back at square one, except I do not want to buy a real Strat. I only want to spend €400 on this.

I would like new pick-ups (single coils x3), a new bridge as the standard saddle with the protruding screw edges have cut me on many occasions (that is not essential), new tuning heads, and possibly a new nut as the stability is poor. And finally, new wiring and new pots.

-I've read that Lace make lovely single-coil pick-ups and are worth researching.
-In terms of bridges, I'm totally in the dark here. I don't know what could replace it.
-Tuning heads are not specific; I just want sturdy tuning.
-Wiring and pots are easy enough for me to purchase, but if people have a few great ideas let me know.

Thanks all.
#2
Lace Sensors are great pickups. I'd check into the Red or Blue sets, they seem to be the most versatile. If you're trying to be budget-conscious, GFS make pretty good pickups for the price. You could also check into DiMarzio.

Again, depending on your budget, you could look into either a Trem King or a Callaham trem unit. Both should be direct swaps for what you have.

For tuners, anything locking is a sturdy choice. Grover and Schaller are the best name brands. Gotoh are also really good, but they're a bit harder to find.

EDIT: Forgot to add, it's ALWAYS worth it to upgrade if you're comfortable with the guitar. Any pictures?
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

A man chooses, a slave obeys.
#3


pictures... hmm... I don't think they are worth me uploading. What do you specifically needs pictures for?

I'm not majorly concerned for my budget, but I was hoping that €400 would be enough. I am willing to go further, though.

I've always been very pleased with Gotoh tuners, but as you say, they are hard to find. I know a couple of places that should trade with Schaller and Grover.

Are there any good retailers of those bridges you suggested?

I don't know why people are so dismissive of cheap guitars: if it feels right, perfect it. It's the neck that's most important to me, after all.
#4
Exactly my feeling. The TremKing is based in the UK, and I think Skeet_UK on here uses them, if you want an opinion. Callaham only sells on their website, afaik.

If you order through Allparts, Skeet gives a discount to any UK'ers (not sure where you are, I'd guess somewhere in Europe) They stock Schaller, Grover, and maybe Gotoh tuners.

As for pictures, no rebuild thread is complete without before and after pics

Are you refinishing too?
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

A man chooses, a slave obeys.
#5
I'm very tempted to refinish it. I have absolutely no experience with it, though. I don't want to mess it up.
I might just sand it down very roughly and burn off a few segments to make it the most ugly bastard on the planet.

Ahh, I'll take a few photos then, but I'm a little shy about it; it's not exactly the beez-neez of guitars.

I'm based in Ireland, but I am English, if that makes a difference?
#6
Still technically UK, so I think Skeet'll help you out.

There's a few good refinishing tutorials on Projectguitar.
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

A man chooses, a slave obeys.
#7
That makes a lot of difference. Join the Anglo club! Seriously, check out Wilkinson hardware, pickups too. www.jhs.co.uk
Shaller make really good stuff of course. I think http://www.diyguitarshop.co.uk/ is a must for you.
It could be an awesome result if you put on a set of Wilde twin rails pups or even EMG's.
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#8
I contacted him. Thanks, mate.

Allparts seems to be lagging or something at the moment; it's not working. I'll check back tomorrow.

Thanks for all the help. I hope you don't mind if I ask you directly in the future instead of making a new thread or bumping this one?

EDIT: Thanks Lurcher, as well.
#9
I'm jealous you got access to all of that. Try getting Schallers in Canada without ordering online. ****ing near impossible.

EDIT: You'd be much better off bumping this thread. There's more experienced modders than me by far.
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

A man chooses, a slave obeys.
Last edited by bv310 at Jun 29, 2009,
#11
no matter what you do to it, it will still be a squire strat.
your imagination is only as colorful as the drugs you are on


#12
Quote by rhoadrunner
no matter what you do to it, it will still be a squire strat.

And that's a problem, how?
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

A man chooses, a slave obeys.
#13
Quote by rhoadrunner
no matter what you do to it, it will still be a squire strat.

My Squier has a very nice playing neck indeed, and for the thickness and weight of the body it doesn't sound half bad either!
Double Neck Project - Winner of 2006 GB&C "Best guitar build from scratch", "(Best) Most expensive build" and "Best Idea" awards - FINISHED!

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#14
Quote by rhoadrunner
no matter what you do to it, it will still be a squire strat.


which wouldnt be so bad if the hardware, wiring, and pickups werent bad.

seriously worth doing.

lace sensors ftw, i say wilkenson (sp?) trem, gotoh tuners, NEW NUT!!!!
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They stopped asking
#15
The only problem I have with my Squier in terms of wood and playability is it's Basswood body. I'm not mega keen on Basswood. It's more than adequate though, and I feel confident that a nice bridge, better tuners and Lace Sensor pick-ups will make it sound really crackin'.

It's spelt Squier, by the way.

Quote by AngusJimiKeith
which wouldnt be so bad if the hardware, wiring, and pickups werent bad.

seriously worth doing.

lace sensors ftw, i say wilkenson (sp?) trem, gotoh tuners, NEW NUT!!!!
I'd have to get someone else to replace the nut.

What do you suggest? Bone? graphite? I'm quite inexperienced with nuts, apart from when I sanded one down before because it was sharp at the corners.
Last edited by AngryGoldfish at Jun 29, 2009,
#16
graphite, since theres a trem. dont get someone else to do it!!!!! lightly tap out the old one and glue in the new one. that will save you like $60. guitar repair places charge a fortune for the simplest things.
Gibson SG Faded
Epi VJ Stack


Quote by Øttər
Whenever I clean my guitars, my family wonders why it smells so good; I say that I exude a fresh citrus scent from hidden orifices.
They stopped asking
#18
Happy Gilmore ftw.
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

A man chooses, a slave obeys.
#19
It absolutely makes sense to mod/upgrade a guitar, no matter how inexpensive, as long as the foundation is pretty solid.

Since you already love the playability of the neck, that's more than 50% of most people's "must have."

With a Basswood body, I'd look to DiMarzio PUs although the Lace Sensor Gold set worked very well on a friend's Basswood MIJ Fender Strat. Some prefer the Lace Hot Gold; however, the Gold sounds way better when the amp is cranked. The Hot Gold was painful at high volumes although it sounded better at low volumes.

A cheap upgrade is to shield all the cavities + use shielded wiring ala Gibson - this will tame the humming beast, in case you decide to go with the more traditional SC PUs.

#20
Where most go wrong with modding cheap guitars is spending a bunch of cash on parts to do it. I have a squire and its in the middle of mods. But I havent sunk any more cash than the original purchase in it. The pickups came from my box of parts. The paint and clear coat I had gathering dust under my workbench. The conversion from trem to hardtail was done with a scrap piece of mahogany and modding the original bridge. Even used the original tuners as I never had problems with its tuning before. Pots knobs stuff like that I have laying around. Its not the first time its been modded probably wont be the last. It was converted to 24.75 scale but I want to use that neck for another guitar.
#21
I have a squier strat that I'm in the middle of modding. It's got a "swimming pool" route for pickups so I'm switching from SSS to HH. Not all squiers have that, but I think it makes it one of the best modding platforms for amateurs, despite the fact that it takes away from resonance. Lets you do pretty much anything. The neck really is pretty damn comfortable and is surprisingly good in quality. Maple neck/rosewood fretboard. I'm swapping out all the electronics, the bridge, and the tuners, much like yourself. Refinishing it. Also gonna do some minimal body/headstock reshaping.

People who say "it'll still be a squier" are the reason why there's less modders and builders. I'm not really sure what the discouragement is supposed to promote. Unless the wood alone is what makes a squier bad, a modded squier will not be a squier.
Last edited by Seref at Jun 29, 2009,
#22
Only the cheapest Squiers are not worth upgrading, imo. Even plywood guitars can sound awesome, just look at Danelectro. Their guitars are all plywood and their tone is sweet.
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

A man chooses, a slave obeys.
#23
Quote by bv310
Exactly my feeling. The TremKing is based in the UK, and I think Skeet_UK on here uses them, if you want an opinion.


Actually, The TremKing is a USA product, but I was so impressed with it, I asked the manufacturers to send me one because I couldn't see how any other Trem could be better, as they all work on the same principle, so all have the same problems.
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#24
I would say dont paint it cause it doesn't affect playability or sound and you may find out how expensive it can be to get the nice burst or whatever. for pickups, you could buy used MIM pickups or loaded pickgaurd on ebay for dirt cheap. some MIM pickguards already have some shielding. if you want something nice then look around. its really endless. lace was mentioned but also look at lindy fralin, seymour duncan, dimarzio, emg, MIA fender (specifically SCM by fender). then you have all those custom shops like dan torres (torres engineering) etc.

don't be so quick to settle until you have looked around or played a modded strat that you liked.
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#25
Cheers.

I personally quite like EMG and Lace Sensor single coil pick-ups - I have tried them before fortunately. I don't remember what particular models they were, though. I can find out.

I'm not interested in MIA or MIM pick-ups, to be honest. MIJ are worth me looking into, though. I've loved the tones of G&L and Tokai teles, you see.
#26
?????????? so you like MIJ but nothing else fender makes? surely you jest. have you tried sumerian cobalt noiseless (SCM) from the 2009 MIA? really is the best all around strat pickup IMO. studio quality, sounds great.

BTW those MIJ that are super collectible are usually in the 80's or older. not sure what MIJ you like.
EAT YOUR GUITAR GEAR BLOG
Quote by BigDC
how difficult is it to build your own guitar?
Quote by Gibshall
It's hard, annoying, and makes you want to punch a baby.
#27
I've only ever played one from the newer range of MIJ Tele's. I haven't played the 2009 MIA ones yet, I didn't realise they had them.

The only real reason why I wanted a different set of pick-ups is because i didn't want it to sound like a Strat or a Tele that is made by Fender.

I do like a lot of Fender gear, but prefer others, that's all really. I probably should of mentioned that as well.

#28
Hey Dan!

If the only issue you have with your bridge is the screws (yeah, I hate them too), consider replacing your saddles with something like this:

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$12 for a set of six, from GFS.
You can use shorter setscrews so the screws will be slightly recessed, because the threaded area is tlonger in the part where the height screws pass through.


Regarding the tuners... why? I have the standard fender cast/sealed units on mine. Afaik, they're made by Schaller and I've had no problems with them.

You might want to use some locking tuners if you do a lot of dive-bombing, but otherwise, a correct string winding on the stock tuners gives good results.


Nothing much to say about Lace. I hear their pickups are great, but haven't used them myself.
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#29
I'm totally at a loss here.

I don't know whether to splurge or not. I've been suggested IronGear pickups, and they're cheaper, which is great, but the Gotoh 510 locking tuners I've been suggested are £120, and I can't settle on a bridge. SYK (hi!) is wondering why I'm even bothering and I'm kind of doubting whether it really is worth it, that maybe a stronger set of strings and a new bridge would be better. The bridge I have cuts the strings and wears them away.
#30
Quote by AngryGoldfish
The bridge I have cuts the strings and wears them away.

You ought to be able to remedy that with a file. Or you could get new saddles as SYK suggested.

No need to change your tuners unless you are actually having tuning problems.
I am not going to comment on pickups because that is very often a preference that varies according to personal taste.
#31


Holy brain fart, Buttman. I just noticed the title.


My apologies. I thought you had a Fender MIM. Clearly, you have a Squier.

Yeah, tuners might be a good upgrade, after all.
Dunno anything about the quality of Squier tuners.
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Quote by Jackal58
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Quote by SK8RDUDE411
I wont be like those jerks who dedicate their beliefs to logic and reaosn.