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#1
*edit* I have updated this first part to contain a final parts list of the hardware I used and where I ordered it from. I thought this might be useful for the folks I directed here for ideas. The list is below, and directly below that the thread begins as usual.

Parts list:
Tusq xl nut
Black HSS pickguard
Locking Tuners
Jackplate
Roller String Trees
Black Neck Plate
Saddles
Trem Block
Strat Wiring Kit
Fender Black Accessory Kit
Pickguard Screws
Tremolo Arm
Dunlop Straplocks
Neck Screws
Pickup Mounting Screws
Switch Mounting Screws
Bridge Screws

This will be a continuous project thread that I will update when I have made progress


Ok, so a little bit of background info about myself. I love building and tinkering with things, especially guitars and cars. When I was 16 I got a bank repo-ed Chevy pickup with a busted 5 speed transmission. During the summers after my 10th and 11th grade years in high school, I worked 60 hour weeks at a monument company to make money to fix up my truck, and by the time I sold the truck I had replaced the v6 with a rebuilt v8 that my dad and I rebuild in my backyard, replaced the transmission, replaced the wheels, replaced all the suspension components, all the bumpers, all the stereo components, and did all the work myself and bought the parts with my own money. So see, I love working on something and getting the satisfaction of doing it myself. This is probably the reason why I will never buy a $3000+ guitar, I'd rather build one myself, or have Carvin build one exactly like I want it for half the price of one of the big names. ...............so that led me to this project I've had in my head ever since I saw the EMG KH-21 Kirk Hammet pre-wired pickguard. I love metallica and hard rock music, so naturally I am a fan of EMG's. I've played on them, and I really like the live sound you get from them. When I first saw that pickguard, the first thing I though was, man, why would you put that on a strat? Then I got the idea to make a shredder/metal style Strat in the style of an Ibanez or ESP. Big jumbo frets, solid body, Floyd Rose, ebony fretboard, all that good stuff. The only problem is that I'm in college, and don't even begin to have the money or time to build that guitar like I want. So, I've been looking on Craiglist for a squier strat. I thought, ok, they are ok, the hardware and the electronics are expendable, but the body is alder, the necks always play decent, I can work with this. So 2 days ago I stumbled on a local ad for a squier strat, straight out of a beginner kit. The kid wanted $40 for it, so I thought, man, that thing is trashed. I called him anyway, and he told me he was selling it so cheap because "It had a broke string and I lost the whammy bar." The kid lived about 25 miles out of Atlanta, so I asked him if I rode out to him and looked it over and wanted it, would he take $30, and he agreed (Gotta love Craigslist). I knew I had found something when I looked it over, it was structurally sound, and you can tell it had been sitting in a closet for the better part of a year. I paid him is 30 dollars, took it home, inspected it and restrung it, and it's perfectly fine, only problem is that the switch makes some static when you switch between pickups, but I can probably re-wire it and get rid of that.

Cliffnotes:I am a broke college student who likes to tinker with and modify things and wanted a project guitar. Bought a squier strat from a 16 year old kid for 30 dollars (Old Christmas present I think) because he thought when he lost the whammy bar that you couldn't get another one and the G string was broken.....

I know someone will have to come in and say you can polish a turd, but it's still a turd. You have to understand my situation, I live off of 60 bucks a week give or take a few, and can't really afford to buy a MIM strat to start off with, I would be out of college before I could afford one. And yes, I'm going to put more in the guitar than it's worth, but I'm going to do it 20-30 dollars at a time, and it will be spread out over probably 3 years, so please no ridiculing, I've been wanting to do this for a long time, so let me have my project.

Pics and parts list will be in the next post.....
Last edited by ATLstang at Nov 4, 2009,
#2
Here are pics of the guitar as it sits now, sorry for the picture quality, my blackberry is the only camera I have here at school.




It's in pretty good shape, but the hardware is oxidized....I may just have to replace some stuff....damn
#3
Ok, so like I said, eventually I want to have a fat strat shredder, but for right now, I'm just going to make it into a nice playing guitar.

Here are the parts I'm going to order in the next few months, and I will update this thread as I get and install the stuff.
Graphtech Nut Already ordered
Guitar Fetish Fat Strat prewired pickguard
Output Jack
Trem cover
Roller String Trees
Gotoh style locking tuners
Replacement Trem with Solid Steel block
Neck plate (just to get rid of the squier logos)

I know allparts hardware is imported, and not as nice as some other stuff, but for now it's going to be a major improvement.

Now, Eventually, here's what I want this to shape up like.
EMG fat strat pickguard
New Neck with Ebony Fretboard and jumbo Frets
Also, I'm going to get warmoth or possibly myself if I have the tools down the road, to make a mahogany strat body that is routed for an original Floyd Rose.

I think that my idea will be awesome when I'm done, I'm doing this more for the project than anything. Like I said earlier, this will be a few year project. Please don't flame me for modding a squier....
#4
Keep the oxidized hardware, make it a relic'd KH Strat?

That would look cool to me.
build 1, finished 1/15/11

Every time I try to pick it up like falling sand,
As fast as I pick it up,
it runs away through my clutching hands.
There's nothing else I can really do...
#5
Quote by Copaman
Keep the oxidized hardware, make it a relic'd KH Strat?

That would look cool to me.


I would, but it affects the playability. The tuners work fine, but the trem is a little rough, and the springs are in really bad shape, so I'm just going to replace it.

I forgot to mention that I'm going to repaint it this weekend and will update with better pics when I can get my hands on my dad's nice kodak camera.
#6
Ah. I see what you're saying now.

What color would you repaint?

EDIT: Arm The Homeless! Please!
build 1, finished 1/15/11

Every time I try to pick it up like falling sand,
As fast as I pick it up,
it runs away through my clutching hands.
There's nothing else I can really do...
#7
Quote by Copaman
Ah. I see what you're saying now.

What color would you repaint?

EDIT: Arm The Homeless! Please!


I would, but I don't really like busy paint jobs, I like simple, classy schemes.

I think I'm going to do something I did on a model car, mostly because I still have the paint. I'm going to lay down a nice few coats of bright silver, then tape off a design, probably just a few stripes, and paint a darker shade of metallic gray. Not a lot darker, but a few shades darker. Then I'm going to paint it candy red (think Joe Satriani). It will be candy red, but when you look at it right the stripes will show through. I think that will be pretty kickass.
#8
Those Guitar Fetish pre-wired pickups up rather cheap quality pickups. They are not the Guitar Fetish brand of pickups and the quality on the pickups isn't the best. The actual Guitar Fetish pickups are miles apart. You would be better off rewiring the guitar with some actual Guitar Fetish pickups if you want to still use cheaper pickups, but get some decent quality sound from it.

I have a set of these in my strat copy, http://store.guitarfetish.com/casetof3lilk.html and for 60 bucks, they have a great crunch to them. Add a few cheap switches and you switch between series/parallel and single coil mode on them, and add a bunch of new sound options. If you're stuck on full size humbuckers, buy a cheap pickguard and some of their pickups. Don't get the prewired pickguard. You will be disapointed with the sound and you won't learn anything about wiring a guitar.
Lefty Strat Copy w/ GFS Lil' killer rails + Crazy wiring
Lefty Kona Thinline Acoustic/Electric
Righty-to-Lefty Silvertone Bass
Righty-to-Lefty Memphis Short Scale Bass
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Tascam US-428 USB Interface Mixer
Guitar Rig 3
#9
Hey man, I know you're trying to go cheap, but spending money on guitarfetish hardware is about as worthwhile as wiping your ass with it. My experience with the tuners and bridge I have purchased from them is not good, so save yourself some trouble and wait till you can afford good hardware! Other than that, good looking build and I look forward to seeing it done.
Enjoi <--- Friend me
Quote by Scowmoo
Otter, you're my new god.
#10
Quote by Albino_Rhino
Hey man, I know you're trying to go cheap, but spending money on guitarfetish hardware is about as worthwhile as wiping your ass with it. My experience with the tuners and bridge I have purchased from them is not good, so save yourself some trouble and wait till you can afford good hardware! Other than that, good looking build and I look forward to seeing it done.


Yeah, I'm still ironing out the details of exactly what I'm going to wind up getting. I don't think I'm gonna get the guitar fetish tuners in the end, but I think I'm going to stick with that bridge. The only reason being is, that eventually I want an OFR bridge, so I'd rather not spend $150 on a bridge right now when I have every intent of replacing it. I guess I could probably get some resale out of it if I bought a genuine fender bridge or something, but the only reason I want the GF bridge in the first place is because the trem block and springs I have now are oxidized and pretty rickety. I don't have anything set in stone though as far as hardware. And the Mahogany body and OFR are probably 3 years down the road still, that's going to run be a pretty penny I can imagine.

If you can show me an affordable alternative for a replacement fender style trem that fits an import body I'd like to see it though, I'm open to all options as far as hardware goes.

edit-Forgot, thanks for the encouragement guys, I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks my idea would be cool.
#11
Quote by GeToChKn
Those Guitar Fetish pre-wired pickups up rather cheap quality pickups. They are not the Guitar Fetish brand of pickups and the quality on the pickups isn't the best. The actual Guitar Fetish pickups are miles apart. You would be better off rewiring the guitar with some actual Guitar Fetish pickups if you want to still use cheaper pickups, but get some decent quality sound from it.

I have a set of these in my strat copy, http://store.guitarfetish.com/casetof3lilk.html and for 60 bucks, they have a great crunch to them. Add a few cheap switches and you switch between series/parallel and single coil mode on them, and add a bunch of new sound options. If you're stuck on full size humbuckers, buy a cheap pickguard and some of their pickups. Don't get the prewired pickguard. You will be disapointed with the sound and you won't learn anything about wiring a guitar.


I really am set on 2 buckers', but I see what you're saying about pre wired guards being cheap quality. I think I'm just going to buy seperate pickups, pots, switch, and pickguard and wire it up. I'm thinking the GFS EVH pickup in the bridge, and the Vintage 59 or classic II alnico in the neck. This will postpone the pickup replacement though, as this will be about 2.5x what the pre wired guard costs. I think for right now, I'm just going to order a new switch, and the metal shield that GFS sells, and shield the cavities, and rewire everything. That should kill the static and noise I'm getting for right now.

The whole point of starting with the squier is that I want to keep it playable throughout the project, it's no fun having something like this that's going to take me a while to get the money to do right, that I can't play while I'm working on it.
#12
Get a can of spray glue and some tinfoil. Does the same thing as the shielding and way cheaper if you are on a budget.

Homemade shielding





GFS lilkiller rails, with 3 dpdt-on-on-on switches to switch between series/parallel/single coil mode, middle pickup wired out of phase and 5 way rewired so i get bridge, bridge and neck, neck, middle and neck out of phase, and middle.



About 80$ all together and its dead quiet, I can go from a nice clean tone to a crunch tone just with the bridge pickup at 15k, and 24 different pickup configurations in between.
Lefty Strat Copy w/ GFS Lil' killer rails + Crazy wiring
Lefty Kona Thinline Acoustic/Electric
Righty-to-Lefty Silvertone Bass
Righty-to-Lefty Memphis Short Scale Bass
Vox AD30VT-XL

Tascam US-428 USB Interface Mixer
Guitar Rig 3
#13
Really cool setup. Thanks for the tip on the tin foil, that makes complete sense. Quick question though, what does that silver toggle switch by the first tone knob do? You may have said it above, so sorry if you've already answered that. Is it a gain booster switch or something?
#14
Quote by ATLstang
Really cool setup. Thanks for the tip on the tin foil, that makes complete sense. Quick question though, what does that silver toggle switch by the first tone knob do? You may have said it above, so sorry if you've already answered that. Is it a gain booster switch or something?


Oh, thats a kill switch. I wired a master tone instead of the seperate tone controls.

EDIT:

For shielding, take a look here and read up about star grounding and such. My cheapo strat had crappy hum in the single coil mode, so I did the tinfoil shielding, rewired all the grounds to a common ground point. In the pic above, you can see the yellow wire, which is the trem-clam ground connecting to a common ground wire that is screwed into the tinfoil.

http://www.guitarnuts.com/wiring/shielding/shield3.php
Lefty Strat Copy w/ GFS Lil' killer rails + Crazy wiring
Lefty Kona Thinline Acoustic/Electric
Righty-to-Lefty Silvertone Bass
Righty-to-Lefty Memphis Short Scale Bass
Vox AD30VT-XL

Tascam US-428 USB Interface Mixer
Guitar Rig 3
Last edited by GeToChKn at Sep 3, 2009,
#15
hey ATLstang, how do you refinish the body of the squier? i have the same guitar and i wanna re finish it? do you actually sand the whole thing down? thats gonna take forever.
#16
Quote by Luxifer
hey ATLstang, how do you refinish the body of the squier? i have the same guitar and i wanna re finish it? do you actually sand the whole thing down? thats gonna take forever.


To refinish a guitar you could sand it right down to the wood, but that would require the re-application of sanding sealer, primer, colour, and clearcoat!

If you just want to change the colour, scuff it up with the proper grit of sandpaper, shoot the colour coat and clearcoat as per the direction you will find in the ultimate refinishing thread which is conveniently stickied at the top of the forum, and there ya have it!

Sanding a guitar really only takes a couple days of hard work, even less if you have an electric sander.
Enjoi <--- Friend me
Quote by Scowmoo
Otter, you're my new god.
#17
haha im really noob at this stuff... built an amp this summer, hoping to build some EVH beast next summer.

did EVH do all that stuff? god. refinishing sounds so hard now with all the fancy stuff - sanding sealer, primer, comour, clearcoat? did EVH just paint or did he actually apply all that stuff...?
#18
I'm not sure anyone knows what EVH really did on that strat.....

I think I'm going to just sand the clear off of the squier, lay down a coat or two of primer, then color, and polyurethane clear. I really want to sand all the way down to wood to see what the body looks like bare, but I only have 3 days at home to refinish it, so I'm going to wait on that.

An alternative to sanding down to bare wood would be to use a chemical stripper, if you look at the re-finishing sticky on this forum it has a bunch of really helpful links about all this stuff.
#19
EVH just grabbed some krylon and and masking tape and got to work.

The method I described will give you a better than factory, super glossy, really durable finish. You will notice that Eddie's was dull and damaged.
Enjoi <--- Friend me
Quote by Scowmoo
Otter, you're my new god.
#20
i like EVH's wrecked look. imma do it that way. i mean the EVH finish is gonna look like sht if i clear gloss it.
#22
Small update. I'm not going to go home with weekend, change of plans, so it won't get painted quite yet. No worries though, this weekend I'm going to re-wire the pickups and shield the cavity up real nice. I bought a new genuine fender switch that I'll be installing. The plastic nut is shot on the neck, so I'll be installing a graphtech unit also.

Plus, I just ordered one of These so I'm pretty excited about that.
#23
Mexican string spacing is slightly smaller than stabdard fender, so depending on your individual guitar, you may have to dowel the 6 screw holes, the redrill. You might find there is no problems, but if your squier has standard fender spacing, there will be a little work.
#24
We'll see, from what I've read, the bridge that I bought is for MIM strats and imports with 2 1/16" string spacing, which is what mine is. If it doesn't fit, I'll sell the bridge I just got and get the proper one. That's why I picked a strat to customize though, good parts are so easy and inexpensive to get your hands on.
#25
Quick update + I need your help

After a little research, I found this beautiful blacked out strat, and I decided that was the direction I wanted to go in.

So far I've ordered
Fender Black Accessory Kit
Black Roller String Trees
Black Neck Plate
Black Output Jack
Along with the MIM bridge that I bought earlier, which I've tested and it fits perfectly.
I'm thinking of dying the fretboard black like ebony, because I think that the rosewood and all the black hardware might clash a tad. Also, in the future, I'm going to invest in some nice black locking tuners, probably something along the lines of a grover mini locker.

I need your help though, I love the satin black body with all the black hardware above, I think it looks killer. My other guitar is black though, and I think I might want to do something different. After seeing Jim Root's white tele and Billy Corgan's strat, I really like the look of satin white with all black hardware, so I need your help deciding which one.

Basically, it's either this (ignore the dude)


or this


Thanks Guys!
#26
I ordered a black Fender HSS pickguard too....forgot that up above.
#28
Nice, I really like how that looks. That's how I'm leaning, but satin white looks so clean. Hell, I may do both just so see how it looks....
#29
Yeah, it's a Highway One so it's got the Nitro finish on it, it started off as a Flat/Matte Black and now in the places where I've rested my arm and leg and such its started to get glossy, and eventually it will just wear through completely. I like the look of it though, it originally came with a white pickguard but I switched it for the black one about 3 days after I got it.
#30
*update w/ pics*

New pickguard, back trem cover, neck bolt plate, MIM bridge, output jack & plate, and a black fender accessory kit. I didn't have time to properly finish it this weekend, so it's just primered white. Pickups are stock Squier neck and middle and an epiphone bridge pickup off of my SG, I didn't see the point in spending money on those until I can afford the EMG's that I want.

Next up, dying the fretboard faux ebony, and possibly Schaller locking tuners.

Comments please gents

Ignore my dad's gun case, he's a big hunter.



#33
Quote by MadAudioMan
WTF, maybe its just the pictures, but that primer looks really good...


It's definitely not a bad look, I kind of like it. It's going to stay until I figure out how I want to properly finish it and have time to do so.

Thanks for the compliments.
#34
Quote by MadAudioMan
WTF, maybe its just the pictures, but that primer looks really good...

That's what I was thinking haha looks great man, can't wait to see this one.
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#35
Quote by BladeSlinger
That's what I was thinking haha looks great man, can't wait to see this one.


Thanks dude
Gear:
1998 PRS CE 22-10 Top Natural Finish
MIM HSS Strat-Electron Blue
Vox AC4TV
#36
*Update*
I was doing some reading and I stumbled upon, and was inspired by this article . I wasn't happy with the small tone I was getting from the strat, so I decided to do a little more work. I ordered an upgraded trem block and upgraded saddles from GFS. I also bought a new trem arm, mostly because you have to have a usa sized arm for that block, but I also mangled the black tip on the one I currently have when I was installing it. I know their hardware is a little suspect, but for the guitar I wasn't going to buy callaham parts. If anyone interested here is the links to the parts I bought.
Trem block
Saddles
Both of these things just serve as glorified added mass to increase sustain. While I had the guitar apart, I also stripped the paint out of the neck pocket and sanded to bare wood under the bridge, per the article. If Eric Johnson does it, so will I.

Pics:

I ordered new screws from Warmoth with some other parts I ordered, these are kind of rusty so I thought I'd replace them.

Here's the bare wood under the bridge

Stock MIM bridge, saddles, and block. Everything but the baseplate was replaced.



GFS block, I sanded the black paint off of the top where it contacts the baseplate, per the previously referenced article.

Everything put back together, you can tell it's a lot heavier and beefier, which is what I wanted.



And here is the only problem.....the GFS block arm hole doesn't line up with the baseplate hole. Not a big deal, but I don't have any tools to fix it here at school, So I'll just live without it for a few weeks.


I'll update more after I string it up, and set the intonation and action.
Gear:
1998 PRS CE 22-10 Top Natural Finish
MIM HSS Strat-Electron Blue
Vox AC4TV
#37
In hindsight I really should have just bought GFS's mexi bridge with that block built in, but I don't think it had saddles this nice...oh well.

Comments please!
Gear:
1998 PRS CE 22-10 Top Natural Finish
MIM HSS Strat-Electron Blue
Vox AC4TV
#38
That's bangin' bro. I love it.
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#39
Quote by woodenbandman
That's bangin' bro. I love it.


Thanks man, I appreciate it.

I'll have to wait until tomorrow afternoon to string it and set it up, I have an exam in the morning that takes priority unfortunately.

Hopefully up next is a proper paint job (White) and some kind of upgraded tuners. I'm still shopping around on the tuners, as I don't know if it is worth it to buy some badass expensive tuners that cost more than the guitar did......probably a set of GFS black 6 in line locking tuners. I wouldn't normall buy them, but they have to be better than the stock tuners.
Gear:
1998 PRS CE 22-10 Top Natural Finish
MIM HSS Strat-Electron Blue
Vox AC4TV
#40
Ok, so I had a genuis light bulb go off and I put studies aside to take care of it. I looked through my old parts box and looked at the squier bridge. I took it apart and compared the baseplate to my MIM baseplate and sure enough, the hole for the arm was forward a few MM's..enough to clear the hole in the GFS block. I took the squier baseplate and filed/sanded the contact patch where the block goes and where the plate attaches to the body smooth. I remember I didn't like the machining on that part so I thought I'd do a little hand machining on it to ensure maximum transference of vibrations. I found out also while I was leveling that part that the Squier baseplate is actually coated brass where the MIM plate is (I guess) steel. I went ahead and removed all that faux finish on the bottom of the Squier plate. That coating can only hurt tone.

Pics after I set it up as I need to resume studies.

This is shaping up to be a decent guitar. I started this build for fun basically because I love working on things, but I like the way it's turning out.
Gear:
1998 PRS CE 22-10 Top Natural Finish
MIM HSS Strat-Electron Blue
Vox AC4TV
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