#1
I have a Starcaster bass and I have no problem with its quality. Now I'm looking at buying a Starcaster 6 string and making it a project. I'm thinking replace the tuners with Schaller locking tuners and put a Seymour Duncan SH-8 in the neck and EMG H4 in the bridge. So my question is do Starcasters have the cutouts for humbuckers under the pickguard? If not is that an easy thing to cut out? Thanks.
#2
I'm not familiar with the guitar, but it's probably not routed for humbuckers. It should be pretty easy to do if you have any experience, and if you mess up a bit, it'll be fine cause there's a pickguard to cover your mistakes!
#3
Starcasters are not a good mod platform. Start with a Squier Strat at least
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#4
Check out the SX strats over at rondomusic. Very cheap starts and are not that bad to play. They would make far better modding guitars then a Starcaster.
...
#5
No.

You're better off with a Squier Affinity for what you want to do unless you want to also do a bunch of fret work. And if you want to have a good looking pick guard, you're better off with a Squier Standard model (22 frets, 2 pt trem, MIA-spec pick guard). I haven't found one of those I've like the tone on, though--even unplugged. Don't know if it's the agathis body or the cheezey saddles that kills the tone on those. But you won't have to get a custom pick guard cut for that like you would with a Starcaster or an Affinity. Also the Standard is thicker. It might also take the locking tuners better. I had to drill 2 holes each for the locater pins. The Affinities use 1 pin each, whereas the Fender/Schaller units use 2 pins like MIA Strats. The Standard probably does, too, since it's modeled after an MIA Strat.

The Duncan Design HB-108 (cheap SH-8 knock-off) from my Schecter fit in the bridge of my Affinity with no problem. I had to remove some wood from the neck pup routing to get the Seymour Duncan Jazz pup to fit in the neck--just a little bit under the bracket for depth. There was plenty of space in the other directions and under the bottom of the pup. It was easy with a Dremel rotary tool with the wand attachment.

Some of the older Starcasters might be better (I've seen some that didn't suck so bad in pawn shops--but they were pretty old). More recent Starcasters I've handled in stores all had sharp frets, and or splintering necks, and broken strings (from saddle burs).
#6
Quote by !..!_Rock_!..!
I have a Starcaster bass and I have no problem with its quality. Now I'm looking at buying a Starcaster 6 string and making it a project. I'm thinking replace the tuners with Schaller locking tuners and put a Seymour Duncan SH-8 in the neck and EMG H4 in the bridge. So my question is do Starcasters have the cutouts for humbuckers under the pickguard? If not is that an easy thing to cut out? Thanks.


BTW, I'm not sure there's as much difference between Squier & Starcaster basses as there are with the 6-strings. I've seen Starcaster Basses in stores with the Starcaster logos printed on the headstock, but with Squier Affinity stickers on the body. The 6-string guitars on the other hand, are night and day difference; ironically, the Starcasters always seemed to cost more, too.
#7
I would definitely have to recommend you go checkout the SX strats at rondomusic. GREAT price, best customer service you will ever get, so even if you think the one you got was completely awful, you can return it, and usually you get reimbursed the shipping, and charged no shipping on your replacement.
#8
Rondo is great. I got a pedal case there for a fraction of what it would cost elsewhere, and the quality was better than most. Shipping cost as much as the case, though
#9
So instead of starting with the starcaster, should I start with say an SX Hawk Fat Ash NA? Or would the Douglas Spad be better?
#10
Quote by jetwash69
No.

You're better off with a Squier Affinity for what you want to do unless you want to also do a bunch of fret work. And if you want to have a good looking pick guard, you're better off with a Squier Standard model (22 frets, 2 pt trem, MIA-spec pick guard). I haven't found one of those I've like the tone on, though--even unplugged. Don't know if it's the agathis body or the cheezey saddles that kills the tone on those. But you won't have to get a custom pick guard cut for that like you would with a Starcaster or an Affinity. Also the Standard is thicker. It might also take the locking tuners better. I had to drill 2 holes each for the locater pins. The Affinities use 1 pin each, whereas the Fender/Schaller units use 2 pins like MIA Strats. The Standard probably does, too, since it's modeled after an MIA Strat.

The Duncan Design HB-108 (cheap SH-8 knock-off) from my Schecter fit in the bridge of my Affinity with no problem. I had to remove some wood from the neck pup routing to get the Seymour Duncan Jazz pup to fit in the neck--just a little bit under the bracket for depth. There was plenty of space in the other directions and under the bottom of the pup. It was easy with a Dremel rotary tool with the wand attachment.

Some of the older Starcasters might be better (I've seen some that didn't suck so bad in pawn shops--but they were pretty old). More recent Starcasters I've handled in stores all had sharp frets, and or splintering necks, and broken strings (from saddle burs).


I made a modern MIA pickguard fit on my Squier...did it fit perfectly...no, but it did fit, and almost lined up with all the holes..some screws were going crooked, but it worked.

The problem with the Affinity Squiers is that the body is very thin, and heavy. The only switch you can fit in there is a import style one, the cheap import style ones, not the nice ones.
#11
Quote by ethan_hanus
I made a modern MIA pickguard fit on my Squier...did it fit perfectly...no, but it did fit, and almost lined up with all the holes..some screws were going crooked, but it worked.

The problem with the Affinity Squiers is that the body is very thin, and heavy. The only switch you can fit in there is a import style one, the cheap import style ones, not the nice ones.


You should have plugged and redrilled the holes, minor effort, significant difference.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#12
Quote by !..!_Rock_!..!
So instead of starting with the starcaster, should I start with say an SX Hawk Fat Ash NA? Or would the Douglas Spad be better?

Definatly consider the guitars on Rondomusic. As for the SX or the Douglas, their both very different guitars. The SX is more of a classic start, while the Douglas is more of a modern super strat. They can both be modified, well any guitar can be. The Strat will provided you with more options to customize imo. Plus I think the finishes on the Douglas are just horrid.
...
#14
Quote by Ghold125
Definatly consider the guitars on Rondomusic. The SX is more of a classic start and will provided you with more options to customize imo.


Eventually, I would Like to get a Floyd Rose. How hard is it to modify the SX to accept one of those?
#15
Well you could get a model that already has a floating tremolo on it, which would make the swap easier. If the guitars body isn't already cut for having a Floyd, you're going to have to cut it out yourself, or pay a professional. That being said, Rondo does have an SX Strat with a single locking tremolo on it, but I'm not sure if it would be a direct swap with any other tremolo. You should try emailing rondomusic if your interested in this, they will help you, just ask what tremolo would be a direct swap.
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#16
Even though you've made up your mind in going a different direction, I have a Starcaster I would much like to get rid of. The pickguard is off but all the electronics work except for the middle pickup, no idea why. I got it a few years ago when I first got into guitar. I'm looking to sell it. I also have a Squier black and chrome standard strat I want to get rid of. I also took the pickguard off it but all the electronics work. The pickguard was some really cheap plastic crap that has broken and chipped in a few places but it holds onto the pots, switch, and pickups like it should.

EDIT: They are both routed for humbuckers in the neck and bridge positions, single coil for the middle.
#17
Quote by !..!_Rock_!..!
Eventually, I would Like to get a Floyd Rose. How hard is it to modify the SX to accept one of those?


If you want a Floyd Rose, then you're definitely not doing it with a Squier Affinity. It's too thin for the Floyd's string block.

I really don't recommend adding a Floyd to any guitar unless you really enjoy woodworking, are good at it, and have the facilities to do finishing (i.e., paint booth, compressors, high quality gun). Definitely cheaper to just buy a guitar that already has one.

Best bet right now IMHO for a Strat with Floyd Rose at low cost is a Fender Blacktop Strat with the Floyd. It's probably a Floyd Rose Special vs. an Original Floyd, but you could always change that out later if you wear it out. Next best (maybe $100 cheaper) is a Dean Vendetta with the Floyd Special.
#18
Quote by ethan_hanus
I made a modern MIA pickguard fit on my Squier...did it fit perfectly...no, but it did fit, and almost lined up with all the holes..some screws were going crooked, but it worked.

The problem with the Affinity Squiers is that the body is very thin, and heavy. The only switch you can fit in there is a import style one, the cheap import style ones, not the nice ones.


A. An MIA guard wouldn't fit my Squier because the bridge got in the way. I sent my guard to Sharp Concepts (the same guys who did Dexter's diamond plate RGs) and they traced it to make a diamond plate HH guard for me for about $75 IRRC. Plus 99% of us can't trim an SSS guard to HH and make it look good. Affinity guards are shitty single-ply anyway. Well worth getting a custom guard cut for them. I'd just get a Squier Standard instead, but I have yet to find one that didn't have God-awful tone, even unplugged. Wondering if it's the low-grade agathis or the crappy saddles/bridge?

B. Yeah, the Affinity is thin, but that doesn't have to stop you. I got a 5-way Superswitch in mine, along with an S-1 volume control/switch, and a concentric tone control (2 pots stacked). I did have to remove a lot of wood from the control cavity with a Dremel to get it all to fit. The wood under the contacts on the 5-way Superswitch is about 1/16" thin. No big deal.
#19
Quote by jetwash69
A. An MIA guard wouldn't fit my Squier because the bridge got in the way. I sent my guard to Sharp Concepts (the same guys who did Dexter's diamond plate RGs) and they traced it to make a diamond plate HH guard for me for about $75 IRRC. Plus 99% of us can't trim an SSS guard to HH and make it look good. Affinity guards are shitty single-ply anyway. Well worth getting a custom guard cut for them. I'd just get a Squier Standard instead, but I have yet to find one that didn't have God-awful tone, even unplugged. Wondering if it's the low-grade agathis or the crappy saddles/bridge?

B. Yeah, the Affinity is thin, but that doesn't have to stop you. I got a 5-way Superswitch in mine, along with an S-1 volume control/switch, and a concentric tone control (2 pots stacked). I did have to remove a lot of wood from the control cavity with a Dremel to get it all to fit. The wood under the contacts on the 5-way Superswitch is about 1/16" thin. No big deal.


I tried to dremel out as much as I could, but I ended up starting to cut into the actual paint, so I stopped. The paint is about 1/16 inch thick if you didn't know.

I went through 3 switches in mine, first was a MIA style switch, it eventually was crushed till the contacts didn't work right, same with a MIJ switch, and the same with a Import style switch...I ended up putting the original switch back in cause it's the only one that I could find that would actually fit and work.

If you replace the saddles, the nut, and tuners, it'll make a massive difference, the saddles, nut and tuners are utter crap in my opinion.
#20
Quote by ethan_hanus
I tried to dremel out as much as I could, but I ended up starting to cut into the actual paint, so I stopped. The paint is about 1/16 inch thick if you didn't know.

I went through 3 switches in mine, first was a MIA style switch, it eventually was crushed till the contacts didn't work right, same with a MIJ switch, and the same with a Import style switch...I ended up putting the original switch back in cause it's the only one that I could find that would actually fit and work.

If you replace the saddles, the nut, and tuners, it'll make a massive difference, the saddles, nut and tuners are utter crap in my opinion.


There have been so many factories making Affinities and there is so little standardization. They're almost like fingerprints.

The paint on mine is way thinner than 1/16"--I know 'cause it has a bad chip--it's about like the candy coating on an M&M, between 1/64" and 1/128".

The body on yours might be even thinner than mine. Mine's a MIC around 2006. The bridge and saddles are OK on it, but I broke 2 tuners after about 2 years of use. I replaced them w Fender/Schaller lockers and now the guitar plays as well as my MIA, if not better. Just wish it had 22 frets.

The saddles on the Standards seem a lot crappier--look like they're made of plastic or aluminum; I doubt they're real nickel.

I've left the nut alone, but I use graphite grease on it every string change (and at the saddle string contact points, too). I have a graphtec string tee (only need 1 with the good staggered tuners). Whammy use (even light) knocks it a couple of cents flat. A quick snap on the trem brings it back perfect every time.
Last edited by jetwash69 at Jan 18, 2012,
#21
Quote by jetwash69
There have been so many factories making Affinities and there is so little standardization. They're almost like fingerprints.

The paint on mine is way thinner than 1/16"--I know 'cause it has a bad chip--it's about like the candy coating on an M&M, between 1/64" and 1/128".

The body on yours might be even thinner than mine. Mine's a MIC around 2006. The bridge and saddles are OK on it, but I broke 2 tuners after about 2 years of use. I replaced them w Fender/Schaller lockers and now the guitar plays as well as my MIA, if not better. Just wish it had 22 frets.

The saddles on the Standards seem a lot crappier--look like they're made of plastic or aluminum; I doubt they're real nickel.


Mines made in Indonesia. The saddles are made from pot metal, and chromed, so yeah, they suck hard core. If you don't' know what pot metal is, just look at the sustain block, that's pot metal.
#22
Quote by ethan_hanus
Mines made in Indonesia. The saddles are made from pot metal, and chromed, so yeah, they suck hard core. If you don't' know what pot metal is, just look at the sustain block, that's pot metal.


Did you replace the whole bridge or just the saddles? What tuners, nut, and saddles/bridge did you go with?
#23
Quote by jetwash69
Did you replace the whole bridge or just the saddles? What tuners, nut, and saddles/bridge did you go with?



I replaced the saddle with Graphtech String saves, and the nut with Graphtech black tusq. The tuners where just some AllParts Mini tuners, great cheap tuners. Replacing the trem block is hard because they don't make any that are thin enough for the body, so the trem block will keep resting against your body, and start randomly throwing out your tuning.
#25
Quote by ethan_hanus
I replaced the saddle with Graphtech String saves, and the nut with Graphtech black tusq. The tuners where just some AllParts Mini tuners, great cheap tuners. Replacing the trem block is hard because they don't make any that are thin enough for the body, so the trem block will keep resting against your body, and start randomly throwing out your tuning.


Yeah, I guess you could take the block to a machine shop and have a 1/4 milled off. Might have to drill the spring holes deeper so they still latch. Or maybe just take a grinder to the block. Probably not worth it all, though.

So with the Graphtech nut, does it go out of tune at all with whammy use? Which model Graphtec nut did you go with?

The only MII guitar I have is an Ibanez Xiphos. It's not bad; only problem with the craftsmanship is the paint's a little flawed where it meets the neck binding on one side. Great price though, for a mahogany neck-through guitar with DiMarzio D-activators and a FR (even if it's an Edge III). The trem has held up after 5 years of whammy abuse now with no problems. Only have to re-tune at string changes (3-6 months).
#26
Quote by jetwash69
Yeah, I guess you could take the block to a machine shop and have a 1/4 milled off. Might have to drill the spring holes deeper so they still latch. Or maybe just take a grinder to the block. Probably not worth it all, though.

So with the Graphtech nut, does it go out of tune at all with whammy use? Which model Graphtec nut did you go with?

The only MII guitar I have is an Ibanez Xiphos. It's not bad; only problem with the craftsmanship is the paint's a little flawed where it meets the neck binding on one side. Great price though, for a mahogany neck-through guitar with DiMarzio D-activators and a FR (even if it's an Edge III). The trem has held up after 5 years of whammy abuse now with no problems. Only have to re-tune at string changes (3-6 months).



When I first installed everything, I could dive bomb 100 times without loosing my tuning, but after a few years of that, eventually the graphtech stuff started to wear out, and didn't hold the tuning as well.

I used exactly this, but back then, everything was black. http://www.graphtech.com/product-339-2/
#28
Quote by Oldmonkeys
Wait, TS are you talking about the crappy strat style guitar?

or the semi-hollow starcasters like this:



LOL. I was thinking that too, but I've never seen one of those for less than $4,000. Besides, TS didn't say anything about playing Arctic Monkeys.

...@ethan_hanus:

OK, now they're more specific in their description; they used to just have 2 models for "imports", and it wasn't clear which was for what. That's the main reason I never went with it.

Interesting that the graphite wore through. I was under the impression it was impregnated throughout. Guess not. Thanks for all the info. Hope all is well in the Great state of Texas. Take care...
#29
Quote by jetwash69
LOL. I was thinking that too, but I've never seen one of those for less than $4,000. Besides, TS didn't say anything about playing Arctic Monkeys.

...@ethan_hanus:

OK, now they're more specific in their description; they used to just have 2 models for "imports", and it wasn't clear which was for what. That's the main reason I never went with it.

Interesting that the graphite wore through. I was under the impression it was impregnated throughout. Guess not. Thanks for all the info. Hope all is well in the Great state of Texas. Take care...


It is impregnated throughout, I think what it is is that it gets compressed overtime, and becomes hardened, or it just slowly cuts through the material and eventually just wears it out...idk, but that's my experience with it, even though I love the product.

Thanks, the weather is still insane here, but it's going pretty good.
#30
Quote by Oldmonkeys
Wait, TS are you talking about the crappy strat style guitar?

or the semi-hollow starcasters like this:


This. Is it a solid body or a semi hollow? The hollow one would be a fine project.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#32
Yep. Fender Starcaster good, Starcaster by Fender bad.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#34
Maybe as a first project yeah but i'd happily take one on as a project guitar, well as a restoration project anyway.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band