#1
Title says it all.

I was thinking, could you hypothetically by a 300 dollar guitar and trick it out...like a car so to speak...to make it a much more valuable and worthy product than what you initially bought as?

I was just thinking. There are a lot of guitars that I like in terms of looks and specs (moreso most non-high ends have themselves fixed bridges) that are well...not as well spoken of as other guitars, let's say that. I figured that maybe there could be something I could do where I buy a guitar and make some basic improvements ala pup switching, ect. and maybe I could get more out of it.
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Last edited by TheBodomBullet at Jul 23, 2010,
#2
Depends on the guitar.
Often times you'll find a guitar with a solid construction, but awful parts. You can easily replace the hardware and the electronics, and you can often end up with a pretty good guitar.
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#5
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#6
Yes you can. I buy all my Fenders MIM and make them, in the long run (and IMO) much better sounding than an MIA or even custom shops. It's all about the tone you want and how you want to achieve it.
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#7
Quote by TheBodomBullet
to make it a much more valuable
You can't do that. Modding a guitar always - always - devalues it. You can't buy a cheap guitar, slap some new pickups and tuners in it and turn a profit. Even at the low-end, a guitar is at its most valuable when it is entirely original and untouched.

However, in terms of playability and tone you can certainly improve it a lot. By the time you've changed out all the hardware and electronics and given it a proper et-up, you can - if you're crafty - end up with a guitar that can parallel one costing twice as much. You do have to be smart about it though. A lot of lower-mid range guitars these days already come with fairly good hardware or servicable pickups right off the shelf, and so whatever upgrades you make will either make very little difference or you're going to have to spend a considerable amount buying the very highest quality parts to make the difference noticable. By the time you've put the very best parts on it you'll probably find you could have just bought a much nicer guitar to begin with. You've got to work out whether or not your upgraded guitar will end up still being cheaper than the higher-end models and whether it will be comparable; it could be that once you've bought all the upgrades necessary to get a MIM Strat on-par with an MIA Strat, it's cost just as much as the MIA Strat would have done in the first place.
You've also got to be smart when buying the guitar initially. If you're looking for something to upgrade and get the best out of, you've got to make sure the base is good. Hardware and electronics can be changed; necks and bodies can't (unless you use Warmoth, but by that point you might as well just make a whole guitar from scratch with them). Making sure the guitar has decent quality wood and that the basic build quality is good enough is the key to making a modded guitar worthwhile, and this means trying a lot of guitars out to find a good one. The problem then becomes that it could be a while before you find one worth a damn, plus of course regular stores cost more than online shops.


In short, my advice is this; if you happen to stumble upon a reasonably priced guitar in a store, fall in love with it but later decide you want to upgrade a few parts, go for it. If you can get an absolute bargain on the guitar initially and you know it's a good 'un, go for it. If you know the upgrades won't cost much, go for it. If you've had the same beloved guitar sitting around for years and you want to spruce it up, go for it. But don't bother ordering some random Squier Strat online, dumping a load of new parts on it and expecting it to compete with a MIA Standard Strat, because it won't. Don't spend more money on the guitar+upgrades than it would cost to just buy the top model anyway. Be smart about it, plan it out.
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#8
i have debated in putting in new pickups in my h-50, but i haven't found the justification to do so when the pickups cost so much vs how much i paid for the guitar

if i could get some sort of definitive answer on what happens with a pickup upgrade, i would really consider it or find some good but cheap pickups (SD quality+ but not at SD prices :P)

checking the used prices on ebay hasn't enticed me yet.
#9
A pickup upgrade will give you the biggest change in tone you can get. If the pickups you have don't sound like the SD or EMGs or Dimarzios you want, then you should upgrade to get the desired sound. As far as SD knockoffs are concerned, only use them if you know you like the sound already.

Ebay has decent deals from time to time. I got a used set of EMG 81/85s for $100. I probably could have waited and found a set for a 10 or 20 dollars less if I really wanted to, but that's still a good deal for me at nearly $100 less than the new price.

But yeah, changing pickups is the most noticeable upgrade you can make.

One thing that should be noted about buying a cheap guitar to upgrade is to pay special attention to the fretwork. you may find some frets are too high causing buzzing. I've noticed the more expensive midrange guitars don't have this problem as much.
#10
Every once in a while, a good piece of wood slips down into the beginner range of guitars, where there usually isnt too much quality control in the wood, and so, every once in a while you can find Squiers and Epiphones, and low level PRS's and other brands that have wood and tonal resonance on par, or better than their American or upper pricerange counterparts. These ones are worth replacing the bridges, pickups and wiring on to have a guitar that far far outperforms anything within a thousand dollars or so.

If you go out and see real musicians, not celebrities but local musicians playing in bars, clubs, stages and so forth you'll see that most of them have lower end guitars with replaced pickups, sometimes hardware changes, and generally good amps that get an amazing tone on the whole.
#11
Not only will resale value STILL be crap, but wood quality, construction quality, etc etc will forever be shoddy. You can't fix cheap materials without replacing all of em.
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#12
Honestly the wood and playability of it are your limitations, you also dont want to buy a 300$ guitar that you thinik is shit out of the box and spend 1000$ getting it up to par when you could buy a guitar that is pricier and you are happy with straight out of the box.
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#13
tbh i've wanted to do this since the start of the year. I'm toying around with the idea of getting an entry level Jackson JS32 Rhoads, Kelly or Dinky and absolutely modding it to the specs that i'd like in a guitar. ATM i'm thinking of putting DiMarzio Crunchlab/Liquifire pups in it, Grover tuners, new nut, new bridge, new pots, the whole works. I might do it when i have some free time, and if i like the feel of the guitar of course
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#14
Quote by DegaDeth
tbh i've wanted to do this since the start of the year. I'm toying around with the idea of getting an entry level Jackson JS32 Rhoads, Kelly or Dinky and absolutely modding it to the specs that i'd like in a guitar. ATM i'm thinking of putting DiMarzio Crunchlab/Liquifire pups in it, Grover tuners, new nut, new bridge, new pots, the whole works. I might do it when i have some free time, and if i like the feel of the guitar of course


I would do that, if I actually had any money. But I don't.
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#15
I've got a no name SG that I would love to do this to, shove a Stealth Sustanic in it, an EMG of some kind, and mabye a fuzz factory. It only cost me £130 quid but plays like a dream.

I don't see why you couldn't do it, and even though it may end up costing more than a good mid-range guitar then it will be exacly how you want it, and completely original, which is pretty cool.
#17
Some cheap guitars aren't built to last. For example I've seen low end Ibanez guitar where the neck had such a hump in it, it was basically f--ked. The guitar didn't start out that way but inferior, hastily dried woods basically left it unstable.
Cheaper guitars are also sometime not accurately designed, even when they are copies of much more expensive models. This can mean the hardware isn't easy to upgrade 9cause it won't fit), or even that things like neck angle are just wrong period. Change the PUs in one of these all you want, it won't correct basic design or build flaws.
IMO anyone who thinks thay can make a cheap $300 into a guitar that's as good as a 2K guitar is fooling themselves.
Moving on.....
#18
^

You can't make it a 2k guitar but at least you have a guitar that is really ''your'' guitar. And that's what it's all about with playing music... making it yours.
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#19
Quote by KenG
Some cheap guitars aren't built to last. For example I've seen low end Ibanez guitar where the neck had such a hump in it, it was basically f--ked. The guitar didn't start out that way but inferior, hastily dried woods basically left it unstable.
Cheaper guitars are also sometime not accurately designed, even when they are copies of much more expensive models. This can mean the hardware isn't easy to upgrade 9cause it won't fit), or even that things like neck angle are just wrong period. Change the PUs in one of these all you want, it won't correct basic design or build flaws.
IMO anyone who thinks thay can make a cheap $300 into a guitar that's as good as a 2K guitar is fooling themselves.


this guy would beg to differ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SohWrnzYqAk&feature=player_embedded#

(posted by someone in another thread, but felt it should have a spot here too)
#20
Very funky, the guy can shred for sure but I'd hardly call that great tone. You'll notice he had to tune his guitar after some sweeping but didn't do any bends tha could've affected tuning, so tuning stability was non-existent. Not to mention the only way to play that thing was to prop it up on his knee.
So nice curiousity piece but hardly a workable guitar.
Moving on.....
#21
Yes, it makes more sense if it's done to a cheap guitar made with a decent wood and neck. Then you can replace p'ups, tuners, proabably bridge and electronics (i.e. a rewiring. Then have it set up properly e.g. action and fret buzz.

Should have a fair decent guitar after that if it's made from alder or mahogany etc.
#22
Yes, in regards to palability and quality of sound. No, in regards to it being more valuable in regards to resell. Whenever you mod ANY guitar, always keep the original parts so that you can put it back to stock if you want to sell it. Keep the good aftermarket parts for another project down the road.

Now, with that said, you can't just buy a $200-300 guitar, upgrade all its parts, and then think you have a quality guitar. While good parts are a part of the equation, all you have done is assemble the guitar at this point. What separates good guitars from the bad is the quality of fretwork and the setup itself. If you know how to do this OR can afford to have it done by a pro then you will end up with a high quality guitar.

I turn lowly Squiers into players all the time. I pull the neck, remove the tuners, pop out the plastic nut, and completely remove the finish. I then roll the fretboard edges and level/crown/dress the frets. I then finish the neck in either oil, shellac, or nitro.....sometimes leave it raw as some really like a raw feel. Next I'll give it a handcut graphite or bone nut and a set of grovers/sperzels. The neck is now as playable as ANY MIA Fender out there (assuming you like the profile). It's all this work that separates a neck that plays great from one that doesn't.

I won't get into many of the other things done, but my point is that simply swapping out parts is just a MINOR part of what separates good guitars from the bad. A perfectly setup STOCK squier will paly better than a poorly setup LP standard. Can't tell you how many times I run into >$1000 with utter shit for playability.
#23
Quote by DegaDeth
tbh i've wanted to do this since the start of the year. I'm toying around with the idea of getting an entry level Jackson JS32 Rhoads, Kelly or Dinky and absolutely modding it to the specs that i'd like in a guitar. ATM i'm thinking of putting DiMarzio Crunchlab/Liquifire pups in it, Grover tuners, new nut, new bridge, new pots, the whole works. I might do it when i have some free time, and if i like the feel of the guitar of course

This is what I was thinking.

And about the fret problems with the buzzing and whatnot. Are there ways to fix that?
-----
Currently using:
B.C. Rich NJ Deluxe Jr. V
B.C. Rich Revenge Warlock
Bugera 6262 212 120 Watt amp :

Coming soon:
B.C. Rich Pro X Mockingbird Hardtail
#24
Quote by sumo456
I replaced pretty much everything in my Hello Kitty strat and it works pretty well now


Pics or it didn't happen...just kidding But I would like to see that
#25
Quote by sumo456
I replaced pretty much everything in my Hello Kitty strat and it works pretty well now


Some might think you are kidding (and you might be), but this is a killer mod platform. It's not easy to find a rear-routed strat body with a singe HB route. The necks on them are like all Squiers....comfortable, but with the need for some minor fretwork to play great. They can become killer San Dimas / EVH style guitars....
#26
You can make a cheap guitar great. You can't higher its value that much though, since it won't have a brand what ever way you turn it. Resale value is probably less than selling all parts on their own.

For me that doesn't matter as much as the fact that I have done something about a guitar. I'm modding that cheap Pasadena Dragon (see sig) completely (it has good quality woods and a good truss rod), the rest will have to go for the most part. I've already swapped in an OFR and levelled the frets, rewired the electronics, completed the AANJ and similar stuff and it's already on par if not better than a 600$ guitar. Once I've swapped the pick ups, it's going to be on par with guitars for about 1000$ or more.

It's the building process of building that matters.
#27
As long as the guitar has good woods and solid construction / neck, all hardware, electronics, pickups , etc. could be replaced so the guitar would be worthy. The thing is... will it be financially worth it? Will you spend less money doing that than you would if you actually bought a guitar that comes with great hardware and stuff on it? Just wondering...
#28
I just upgraded the pups/5 way switch, pots on this Cort X-6 SA model & it plays, sounds & looks awesome. Definately worth the trouble/expense.


#30
Quote by TheBodomBullet
This is what I was thinking.

And about the fret problems with the buzzing and whatnot. Are there ways to fix that?


yep, its a decent idea. If done right and if your building it just for you, then its 100% personalised to what you want in a guitar, and that would make it worth more to you than a guitar costing 2-3 times the price of it would.

As for fret buzz fixing, i've got an interesting story. My uncle bought a Dean VMNT (Dave Mustaine's mid-range sig Korea made) about a year ago, but found that there was a lot of fret buzz on the 2nd fret of the low E string, something that effects a lot of VMNTs apparently. He tried giving the truss rod a tweak and several other methods like raising the action, but nothing worked. So he decided to try putting a piece of tape on the 2nd fret to see if that would make any difference, and guess what? Fixed the fret buzz. String bends on the 2nd fret is a bitch though after, but it fixed it. Im guessing it could be applied to some cases of fret buzz, but probably only the minor cases of it
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#31
Quote by 3-R4Z0R
^do I see alumitones?
Awesome stuff.



Thx....yeah, those are the new splittable "Deathbuckers"...they sound incredible.

Stock pups were'nt too shabby either tbh...but these are a definate improvement...
Last edited by GodOfEmptyness at Jul 29, 2010,
#32
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Currently using:
B.C. Rich NJ Deluxe Jr. V
B.C. Rich Revenge Warlock
Bugera 6262 212 120 Watt amp :

Coming soon:
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#33
bump.

So in a list format. What are all the things you can do to help improve upon a cheaper guitar? That's really what I'm looking for. Price value increase is inconsequential to me.
-----
Currently using:
B.C. Rich NJ Deluxe Jr. V
B.C. Rich Revenge Warlock
Bugera 6262 212 120 Watt amp :

Coming soon:
B.C. Rich Pro X Mockingbird Hardtail
#34
Quote by TheBodomBullet
bump.

So in a list format. What are all the things you can do to help improve upon a cheaper guitar? That's really what I'm looking for. Price value increase is inconsequential to me.

- Change hardware
- Change electronics
- Refinish it
- Level frets and set it up like it's supposed to be set up.