For my brother's birthday, my mom bought him a $25 first act strat copy off craigslist. So because i play guitar, and I know he wont even bother after a week or so, it will be mine. But I want to fix it up a bit but there are some problems
-Strings put on backwards
-Really high action
-Crackly electronics
-Missing tremolo arm
-discolored fretboard

Now, the strings and action, I know are fairly easy to fix and I can just buy a new arm, but the crackly electronics, would I just take off the pickguard and check for bad soldering?

And my main problem, is that it is a rosewood fretboard (I think) but many spots and stripes where It is not that dark brown color anymore and it seems dried out. Any way to fix this?

On a separate note, I have never had a guitar with a tremolo and I looked underneath at the strings and it appears that with this kind of bridge, you would not be able to pull up on the bar, i.e. raise the pitch. I just want to know if this is on all strat style bridges or if there is a way I can change it. Also any link/info to setting up a bridge like this would be helpful.

Finally, the frets and other metal parts are oxidized. Any way to fix this, I've heard of steel wool, but that seems really harsh and i tried it on one of my other crap guitars and it just gave me a bunch of dead spots

TL;DR I got a cheap guitar, need to fix it up, the fretboard is funny colors, and I need info on setting strat style bridges and making frets shiny again.


lemon oil on the fret board
makes it look like new
My Gear:

Fretless Squier P Bass
Ibanez SR400QM
Gallien Krueger 1001RB
Traynor TC410
Digitech Whammy
Boss DD-7
honestly if you bought a guitar for $25 id bet its seriously f**ked up. i don't even think its worth "repairing" because even if you fix the electronics and give it a set-up it will still play like crap.
replace every single electrical component in that guitar. pots, jacke, switch, and pups (eventually).

you may have trouble adjusting the action. cheap guitars=dodgy craftsmanship. you may have to do some sanding and tweaking of certain points like the neck pocket area and bridge placement.

0000 steel wool is perfect for polishing frets and buffing the fretboard.

check out the projectguitar.com tutorials. they cover pretty much every aspect of guitar setup.

all strat style bridges are dive-only.