#1
Hey all,

So, a little while back, I picked up an old, MIJ Squier strat as a bit of a project. I had the electronics worked on (oh what a mess it was!), and bought a new pickguard and stuff for it. Turned out pretty awesome for what it is. Problem though, is that I was hoping it'd be a bit more versatile. It sort of just ended up as another metal guitar in my collection

Truth is, I've been wanting to branch out more into the likes of rockabilly/psychobilly, classic rock, and surf guitar, for the fun, and sake of variety. As it sits though, the strat has an HSH configuration, w/a DiMarzio Tone Zone/Air Norton. It's way too warm for my liking (even for my metal tones). It also has a Floyd Rose II bridge.

The main thing that concerns me though, is that the body is made out of basswood. Everyone says it's a pretty neutral tonewood. I'm wondering if swapping out the pickups and pots would make much of a difference? (It had 500K pots installed at one point). Or am I gonna need an alder or swamp ash body for some nice, twangy tones and vintage crunch?

Also, what would some good pickup options be? They need to provide excellent cleans, and good mid-gain. I have other guitars for high gain, chug-chug tones, so I don't need this guitar to do that.

And yes, I realize I'll need a different amp too! :p, but I figure I should start w/the guitar since I already have it.

Thanks!
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
#2
Alder isn't too terribly different from basswood, honestly. And swamp ash isn't terribly different from alder.

If you like the way it feels, keep it and change the pickups or something. Changing the pickups will help, and getting a new amp will help even more.
#3
i would suggest you pick the amp first. I don't want to be one of those "the amp is worth 80% of your tone" guys, but the amp is very significant and can seriously impact what sort of guitar and guitar specs you want (as well as impacting your budget!!)
#4
You can get plenty of roots rock tones out of a Strat just fine. As long as you can finger pick around the middle pickup the design of the guitar won't be an issue.For vintage sound you can just buy a new pickguard prewired with the electronics you need to get that late 50s strat sound; Seymour Duncan sells the good stuff and Guitar Fetish has the budget options. The prewired models cost a little more than individual parts but are much less expensive than paying for a install; you can install it yourself in about five minutes the next time you change strings and the only thing to solder is the ground wire.

Your amp tones matter most—you need good Fender cleans. Revalver MkIII has the best software emulation of a Bassman; Amplitube has a mediocre Bassman model but the super-reverb is good. Or for $100 you can just buy a Fender Mustang I which does sweet modeling of Fender tones.