Hey guys,

Recently I have decided that I wanted to make something useful of my first electric guitar ever, the good old cheap starter strat. I never play it anymore, as I have purchased 2 slightly better guitars afterwards (A chinese Les Paul copy - its actually pretty decent- and an Ibanez RG5EX1L).

Originally I wanted to build my own guitar with a DIY kit, but as they are basically impossible to find in left handed forms, I decided that I would modify out my old strat instead, since it didn't really matter if I mucked up the paintjob for example. This got me thinking that, I could probably swap out the pickups and strings, install a coil split, and apply some decals, and this guitar may actually come out pretty decent.

I was wondering, do you guys think it's worth shelling out this kind of money on a starter guitar? I was wondering if it would be a better idea to modify my Ibanez, since it is of the best build and probably has the most potential. However, due to the floyd rose bridge system my Ibanez doesn't quite have the versatility I was after (I often play in alternative tunings, Drop C or whole step down). I generally play rock and heavy metal, although often veering into blues rock and indie rock territory.

So, what do you guys think? Is it a good idea for an intermediate guitarist on a budget (5 years experience)?

Thanks in advance,
The neck isn't the fastest thing out there, but I don't entirely want it for shredding. The setup I have, the strings are too thick to get any decent playing out of it, but I think it plays decently. It's never had the most amazing sounds, but then again, I only really played it in my first year f playing through a crappy amp.
I'm actually in the middle of a project similar to the one you're describing. I picked up a cheap california series tele after christmas last year and i've striped off the paint for a natural finish and i'm gonna start wiring in new pickups and electronics once my exams are over. I think its an awesome idea - you can make something awesome out of something less awesome, you can learn a few useful tech-tricks on the way and you (hopefully) end up with a very personal possession.
I Bought a 1980's Encore strat copy from my local antiques shop for £80
It played Amazingly, looked Awful, it was finished in champaigne sparkle, very 1990's country rockabilly.
the singlecoils had large polepieces in, and sound VERY chunky. i swapped out the bridge for a bucker, fitted a killswitch, Replaced the fret marker dots. sprayed it. and replaced the bridge nut and tuners, input jack, e.t.c
I love it.
That looks sweet man! Did you have to cut out a cavity for the humbucker? I was just going to get a stacked bucker in the bridge position with an extremely high output so that the guitar has the capacity to play metal - despite the fact that it is, well, a strat. I was looking at the Seymour Duncan Hot Rails. I was ideally hoping for a sustainiac in the beck as well but its a little pricey, I might buy one for my Ibanez further down the track instead.

When you say you sprayed it, are you referring to the whole body? Was that easy or difficult?
fairly easy, You just have to strip everything,
I cheaped out and used a halfords Matt white over a Roughed up finish. sanded entirely with 800 grit. and it hasnt Weathered too badly over the past year. It was routed completely, so i could have put in HHH if i wanted :P
but i did have to cut out the hole for the humbucker,
my bandmates prefer the sound of my strat to anything else so win win.
im not hot on other pickups, but a stacked bucker sounds like an idea!
Ohhh okay. I was reading an ebook about painting your guitar, and it seemed extremely complicated and time consuming to me, so I was thinking I was going to shell out 100 odd and get an entire body decal kit. Perhaps not the ideal solution, but not a bad compromise at all.

Did you cut out the whole for the humbucker yourself? If it isn't too complex I would do that, since I prefer the look of a S-S-H and there are more options in the humbucker range.
You've been playing for 5 years and you're only just starting to think about changing the strings on your first guitar?

Am I reading this right?
Hahaha no, I see your concern. I changed them over a couple of times when I used to play it, but really after I bought a better guitar I stopped playing it for 4/5 of those years