#1
Hey folks I come to you the gurus of all things customization for your inut and advice on my first build up.

So I have this el cheapo strat copy, (a typhoon, can't find anything on it). It's routed HSH, is made with some sort of really soft, light colored wood, and it doesn't have really any subltey (a 1/4 tone bend for example is really poorly registered by the amp).

What I want to do is make it awesome! Yes I fully recognize that the body and neck are relitive crap.

I'm quite willing to spend money on parts that are reusable (tuners, pickups, etc). This project is about having some fun with what I have available to me right now, as well as learning the ropes with regards to finishing for a "good" build up.

So with that all being said I have some questions:
-What kind of paint/clear coat should I use? I want to strip it back, paint it white, color it in with a sharpie, and then clear coat over the sharpie/paint (see this link for example: http://bovilddb.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/1981232376_074be96c7a.jpg)

-I bought a pair of seymour duncan Humbuckers for a steal from a guy that had no use for them and wasn't interested in a buildup, how do I go about identifying these pickups so I can get a good idea of starting values for pots/caps? (I'm thinking about doing a push/pull volume pot for a coil split on the neck )

-I'm currently planning to refinish the thing, new electronics (to say all the components and wiring is shoddy is quite an understatement, the only thing that will stay is the old middle p/u, and I can't decide if I'll wire it in yet or not). What else can I change that is reuseable in the future and will make a difference in improving this guitar? How does one know quality tuners from crap ones when shopping?

-One last question: I'm not going to change the neck or body (at that point I may as well poor the money into a "real" buildup what kind of stuff can I do with the guitar apart that will improve playability and make it better than what it was to start with?

Sorry for the wall of text guys, thanks in advance
My Gear:

Guitar #1: 1997 Fender MIM Strat
Guitar #2: 2007 Epi SG (G-310)

Effects: Roland DS-1 Distortion (for switching in distortion quickly, NOT cause I want a "l33t brootalz tonz!")
Amp: Roland Microcube
#2
Quote by BMGfan

-What kind of paint/clear coat should I use? I want to strip it back, paint it white, color it in with a sharpie, and then clear coat over the sharpie/paint (see this link for example: http://bovilddb.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/1981232376_074be96c7a.jpg)

There are several suitable types of clearcoat you can use. However, I recommend ordering the aerosol cans from Stewmac. I also do not recommend using sharpie... I think it would look much better if you took the time to tape it off and spray paint it, but that would be somewhat challenging and time consuming so if it makes no difference to you, do what you want.
Quote by BMGfan

-I bought a pair of seymour duncan Humbuckers for a steal from a guy that had no use for them and wasn't interested in a buildup, how do I go about identifying these pickups so I can get a good idea of starting values for pots/caps? (I'm thinking about doing a push/pull volume pot for a coil split on the neck )

If I recall correctly, Seymour Duncan labels their pickups on the back with the model. If for some reason they aren't, pictures would be helpful, and someone on here could try to identify them. Otherwise you could try going on their website and comparing what you have.
Quote by BMGfan

-I'm currently planning to refinish the thing, new electronics (to say all the components and wiring is shoddy is quite an understatement, the only thing that will stay is the old middle p/u, and I can't decide if I'll wire it in yet or not). What else can I change that is reuseable in the future and will make a difference in improving this guitar? How does one know quality tuners from crap ones when shopping?

If you want quality stuff, order the more expensive options from a reputable site such as Warmoth, LMII, Allparts, StewMac, etc. The cheaper options are also referred to as "economy" parts. Good tuners will cost more but are worth it if you're willing to spend the money. Some examples of well-known hardware companies are Gotoh, Grover, Sperzel, and Schaller.
Quote by BMGfan

-One last question: I'm not going to change the neck or body (at that point I may as well poor the money into a "real" buildup what kind of stuff can I do with the guitar apart that will improve playability and make it better than what it was to start with?

Apart from actually changing the neck, you can do a few things:

Get the frets leveled and worked on. If need be, get a refret done but those can be expensive.
Replace the nut. A better nut can help with tuning stability and tone. Graphtech makes some good stuff, and Earvana makes compensated nuts (they cost more, however).
Probably the most important, adjust it properly. This can make the neck a lot more playable. That would include adjusting the truss rod, adjusting the bridge intonation, and adjusting the string height.



Hope that helped!
#3
For the painting question, the refinishing thread is there so all the experts can give people advise in there. I use regular car paint for the clear, ive used 2k auto clear lacquer and halfords own brand, and both were fine. But, as i said, painting thread for more info, thats what theyre there for.
For the humbuckers, generally you would use 500K for humbuckers and 250K for single coils. There is no set rule, but higher value pots give a brighter sound, so humbuckers generally use 500K to brighten them up. Single coils tend to sound almost too bright with 500K, but you may find you like it. Same with 1meg pots - they just sound brighter, and there is no set rule. Your guitar will work with either pot. For identifying them, pics will obviously help and some pickup genius might recognise them. Try measuring the resistance with a multimeter (not sure how, but there are tuts on google) and check in with the ultimate wiring thread for more info. Again for caps, the higher the value the more highs are sent to ground, so generally .047uF is used for SCs to bleed off more of the highs, and .022 for humbuckers. Again, this is not a rule.
As for other stuff, i'd say the bridge. Im guessing its a trem if its a strat, so locking tuners, a good nut (graphite is generally best) and a decent bridge are good for tuning stability.
Hope this helps!