Hi guys,

I've been playing guitar for about 8 months now and I'm loving every minute of it. I've been playing mostly rock orientated music but my first love, musically, has always been the blues so I wanted to get a guitar with a more bluesy sound.

I was looking at buying an Epiphone Black Beauty; I've looked into it and watched some demos and love the sound of it but I'm very fond of my strat so I was thinking about upgrading that instead to try and get the tone I'm looking for.

My strat is a Squire 20th anniversary strat (I've had it for a good few years but I've only recently started learning to play) and the only change I've made is the strings which I've replaced with Ernie Ball regular slinkys.

So with that rambling introduction over my question is this: should I upgrade my strat (I'm looking at fender cs 69 pick ups) or would I be better off with the Epiphone black beauty?

Even if I do get another guitar I'd probably like to upgrade my strat at some point anyway so any advice you guys can offer on that subject would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks!
Depends on the tone you want. Even the best pickups for the strat will never make it sound like a gibson/epiphone guitar.

My 2 cents is to do both.
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Hello Franky!

I'm in the process of upgrading my own squire! I've been playing for a lot longer than you, so I probably kow how to define my desired tone better, which pickups I'm interested in and so on. Until you are as familiar as you're comfortable with regarding shaping your tone, you might find yourself buying loads of candies and ending up dissappointed. (Not ment to scare you off, only as a little warning)

If I were you, I'd start with looking at as many pickups as possible which fit your genre (a good rule is that if it's awesome at something, it'll lack in a different area). Do you want single-coils or humbuckers? Remember that upgrading your guitar only has boundaries by money, time and imagination (and in some cases wood as well). Do your research such as: who's tone do I really like and what pickups and guitars do they use?

Then I'd like to recommend you to look at the bridge, because in most cases it's the bridge, the pups and the tuning knobs (tuners) that need replacing. Is the bridge a completely stock, worn-out brick of metal? Do you want tremolo or a fixed bridge? Do you want a Fender-made bridge or is aftermarket acceptable aswell?

The tuners are a bit more fuzzy, because you want your guitar to stay in tune and sound good, so I'd reccomend a bit more expensive tuners (that might be out of you price range, in which case you can keep your tuners until you can get better).

Electronics are also another area which might suck your tone to certain doom. Good quality potentiometers are a big plus and high quality caps as well.

Note that these changes are for your objective probably not needed, but I thought it good to put them down as well. You can go a long way by just changing the pickups. From there I'd move on to the bridge, because it'll make your strings last longer and make your sustain and intonation better. You might also want to change the nut on the neck to an ivory/bone/graphtech one, that'll improve your tone aswell, but with another pricetag.

To sum it up: Do your research, buy new pups and if you want: a bridge.

Don't forget to have a lot of fun! The thrill of playing a guitar that you have MADE your own is awesome!

With regards

[edit] Sorry for the Wall of Text...
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Personally, I'd get a new amp first, a small 5watt tube amp or something. That'll make your tone a huge step better.
If you dig the tone of humbucker guitars (like the Black Beauty), you could always put a humbucker in the bridge of your Strat (Duncan JB or something) and replace the neck and middle with some nice bluesy pickups (I've got Fender Texas Specials in mine, great tone, really responsive too).
But that being said, having a second guitar is always very useful, and an LP will sound very different to your Strat.
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I have a Squier Dissent (solid basswood, HSS) and swapped out the bridge humbucker and middle single coil and was literally amazed as to what sounds I could get. Choosing what pickups to get without having access to try them out SUCKED though. Go somewhere that you can hear them before you buy em.

I've sunk about $200 in pickups into my Squier, did the wiring myself, and plan on dropping another $150 on the neck pickup, electronics, and replacing the crappy plastic nut with a brass one.

Upgrading a Squier will nickel and dime you a bit. I like how mine plays, but I tightened up the hardware and gave it a good set-up too. One thing I haven't gotten around to is getting it refretted. The fret job is total crap on my Dissent. No burs or anything, just most of the frets are not seated on the fretboard well, at all. It plays fine, I'm just picky.
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Oh, and for resonance just play unplugged and see if it's loud. And smack an open A chord and hold the body and see if it vibrates like a middle-aged woman's best friend.
For up grading a squier, I would look at GuitarFettish.com they have good pickup sets for strats that are cheaper than 1 name brand p/u, they sound really good too. They also have replacement locking tuners for strat stlye guitars and they run about $36 a set vs. $70+ for schaller/grover. give 'em a look they are a good value and a quality product.
I just ordered 2 sets of tuners, a complete lp electronics wireing kit, and a Fat Pat bridge pu and it was a little over 100.
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