#1
Hey guys,

I recently acquired a candy apple green Squier Affinity strat. I'm keen for a bit of modification... I generally jam acoustic, so very new at this...

Pickups are a must... What else should I look at doing? And what could I do myself, what should be handed over to a pro?

Thanks!

Aden
#2
Budget? Would be useful so we could tell you how much hardware to switch out.

In any case, shield the entire control cavity. Tutorials are available all over google for quick and easy shielding with cheap materials.

Upgrade switch, pots, tuners, nut, input... Get a high quality bridge if you can afford it.
#3
If you end up taking everything off you might as well paint it a crazy color, unless you're not really into painting. Then just replace all the hardware, pickups, and of course shield the cavity like that guy said.

Its subjective of what you should let a professional handle. Just do what you are comfortable doing. I wouldn't trust myself refretting or scalloping personally or something crazy like replacing the neck on a neck through or set in design.
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#4
figure out what you want, and then go for it, but honestly, with Squier Affinities, mostly everything should be replaced (if you can afford better parts)

GFS pickups are pretty freakin sweet.
#5
Well my budget is not too flush... Would like to keep things on the low side obviously...

"shield the entire control cavity" - what actually does that entail. Sorry I'm a real newby when it comes to electric...

"Upgrade switch, pots, tuners, nut, input... Get a high quality bridge if you can afford it." - where should I look for these things, and when would it begin to get "too much"... Is it worth putting cash into an affinity strat? (although I do really like the idea of modding her some) But she does play quite sweet! Some noise popped up yesterday when the 5 way switch was all the way up, all the way down, and in the middle. The inbetween positions were completely silent. Is this usual?

"If you end up taking everything off you might as well paint it a crazy color" - this also appeals to me... But can you just paint over the existing finish? Which paint?

Thanks for the help!
"Try to realize it's all within yourself, no one else can make you change. And to see you're really only very small, and life goes on within you and without you..."
#6
youl need to rough up the finnish with some sand paper, or take it right down to the wood if you are going to paint on it, although a friend of mine just sprayed laquer onto the body (over the like 3 in. thick gloss that you get on ibanez's) then painted on that. so really its up to you on that. if you have a power sander its worth taking it right down to the wood, and you might find a nice wood grain =).
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My greencaster =)
#7
I would recommend that you look at Invader Jim's Squier, he did a really nice job upgrading his. I would recommend the pickups and shielding the cavity first. Then do your pots, then the switch. Then if you still have money, either replace the tuners or the bridge.

I would not suggest painting over the old finish, but I'm not to good with refinishing and they could help you out a lot more in the Ultimate Refinishing Thread.


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#9
Quote by Atmarama
"If you end up taking everything off you might as well paint it a crazy color" - this also appeals to me... But can you just paint over the existing finish? Which paint?

You can't refinish the guitar over the existing finish. Not really. You have to sand the existing finish back to the wood, then paint/stain and clear coat (optional). There's a refinishing thread somewhere on GB&C.

Quote by Atmarama
"shield the entire control cavity" - what actually does that entail..

Shielding is as simple as gluing some aluminum foil to the control cavity and pup cavity(s). It reduces 60-cycle hum and reduces electromagnetic interference with the electronics.

Quote by Atmarama
Some noise popped up yesterday when the 5 way switch was all the way up, all the way down, and in the middle. The inbetween positions were completely silent. Is this usual?

Yes. I assume you have an SSS Strat (3 single coils). Single-coil pickups are noisy. When two single coils are active they act as a humbucker-style pickup. The two coils cancel out 60-cycle hum entirely. The inbetween positions use the Neck and Middle pickups, and Bridge and Middle pickups. Even though this is normal, the switch should still be replaced. Stock switches on Squiers tend to be cheap, clunky, and loud.

Quote by Atmarama
"Upgrade switch, pots, tuners, nut, input... Get a high quality bridge if you can afford it." - where should I look for these things, and when would it begin to get "too much"... Is it worth putting cash into an affinity strat? (although I do really like the idea of modding her some)

You can buy these parts from a number of places. There are a ton of online dealers. Whether or not it is worth it to upgrade your Squier is up to you. My Squier Affinity is an early 90s model with an Alder body, maple neck, and rosewood fretboard. The body and neck are rather good quality. I replaced absolutely everything else with some very good parts and I like it better than my friend's Fender American Standard Stratocaster. Before you decide to spend heavy on upgrading, I recommend you determine the quality of your body/neck wood. Some Squiers use plywood bodies--these are for the most part worthless.

Here is a GB&C sticky with links to all the tutorials/guides we have. Read up on them.

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1195306
Last edited by Seref at Jul 8, 2010,
#10
Do you think these would be a good upgrade? Or are they basically what come standard with the affinity?

http://store.guitarfetish.com/vistsewocrbl.html
"Try to realize it's all within yourself, no one else can make you change. And to see you're really only very small, and life goes on within you and without you..."
#11
Probably the same kind of pups. GFSs own pickups are actually pretty good for how cheap they are, but their "Blowout" resale pickups are the same kind of cheap things they stick in entry-level starter guitars. Not necessarily exactly the same, but it won't be much of an upgrade.

Pickups will tend to be the most expensive things on your guitar, besides the body and neck obviously (bridge coming in second unless you have some crazy expensive MIDI enabled Floyd or something). You don't want to be looking for the absolute cheapest there or you really wouldn't have accomplished anything by switching them out.
Last edited by Seref at Jul 9, 2010,
#12
"Try to realize it's all within yourself, no one else can make you change. And to see you're really only very small, and life goes on within you and without you..."
#13
Well, from there it's just a matter of what kind of tone you'd prefer. The pickups can have fairly drastic effects on your sound as it is what send your signal to the amp. Higher output will drive your amps sooner, etcetera.

From here I recommend just YouTube-ing the names of these pickups and seeing if there are any sound samples up. If there aren't any, read through the page and YouTube what the pickups are based on. For instance, that GFS set that says it's based on the '57 Strat... If you can't find any examples of the actual GFS set, then look up the '57 Strat. It won't sound exactly the same by any means, but at least you'll know what those pickups are aiming for.

Just a note--GFS isn't the best by any means. It's not even "good" by some standards. But there will be considerable improvement over the stock pick ups. If you ask me those Stew-Mac ones are just trying to look like EMGs to make a quick buck. I wouldn't roll with that unless you can find a good sample.
Last edited by Seref at Jul 9, 2010,
#14
Quote by Seref
shield the entire control cavity.


Does this just mean there is some foil stuck to the pickguard where the pots and switch is?
"Try to realize it's all within yourself, no one else can make you change. And to see you're really only very small, and life goes on within you and without you..."
#15
Quote by Atmarama
Does this just mean there is some foil stuck to the pickguard where the pots and switch is?


No. That's just some shielding on the pickguard (my Squier came with that, too). Full shielding is foil covering the entire cavity (the wood & pickguard).
#16
Quote by Seref
No. That's just some shielding on the pickguard (my Squier came with that, too). Full shielding is foil covering the entire cavity (the wood & pickguard).


OK cool... paint doesn't do a good job at sheilding?
"Try to realize it's all within yourself, no one else can make you change. And to see you're really only very small, and life goes on within you and without you..."
#17
Quote by Atmarama
OK cool... paint doesn't do a good job at sheilding?


Conductive Shielding Paint does. Normal paint doesn't really do anything.

Although that begs the question (mostly for my own personal interest)--what does Lead-based paints do to electromagnetic interference? I wonder if it's sufficiently conductive to connect to ground and block interference.