So i have right now my sisters old orange (i assume it used to be red at one point) Crate Electra, which is esentially the equivalent of say a Fender Starcaster (garbage). I was working on some Stoner/Punk stuff and i was playing on my Samick AV6 in C tuning but i realised that i wanted to play in standard and drop D aswell, since i did not want to damage the neck of my AV6 by constantly de-tuning it and tuning it back up i left it at Drop D. However i wanted to play in C still with a Les Paul-like sound. The only other guitar i had was the Crate (which at the time had been locked in a closet for 12 years) so i just bought a set of D'addrio .11's and tuned it down to C, the main problem i am expriencing though is the fact that the guitar sounds very 'dead', it sounds more like a telecaster than a les paul and i have never done any guitar improvemens/customization, i would like to learn though. However my main question is simply as follows; Would i be better off imroving this thing or just buying a new guitar althogether? and if i were to improve it, how could i acheive the sound i am looking for?
You could put a cheap humbucker in it. Or even put a good humbucker in your good guitar, then put the stock one in the cheap guitar.

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You won't damage the neck by changing tunings. You'll just need to learn to adjust your truss rod, and possibly do your intonation.
Improve it with fire and buy a new one, putting good parts or whatever on a junker is not gonna make it good.
Learning to work on guitars on a junker is not a bad idea. Pickups, pots, neck adjustments, even some filing if necessary, are good things to learn, and a junker can benefit greatly from improvements provided the platform is decent. Oceansize's singer/guitarist overhauled a Squier Strat and toured with it for years, so if you like the build of the guitar, then start tearing it apart and learning the time consuming fun of upgrades.
True enough, but to me recreational modding and a particular fondness for the guitar didn't seem to be the issue.
Honestly the mods you would need to do to get the guitar to be better, such as new pots and wiring, pickup, and possibly a new neck if you wanted to go that far, you would be better off to just buy a new guitar.
It all comes down to whether or not you like the feel of the guitar. If so, do some modding. If not, or if you're ambivalent, get yourself a new guitar.
Get yourself a screwdriver and soldering kit and order a low cost pickup .
Watch a crapload of YouTube on installing the pickup and setting up the guitar properly.
Have skills that will benefit you for as long as you play guitar.
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I bought an Epiphone Strat copy from a guy I knew. Thing costed me $80, and after buying a $40 ($50 with shipping included) pickguard for it (loaded with electronics and pickups) it stands up to my DBZ Cavallo which costed me $800 (or $699, I can't remember at the moment).

Cheap guitars are excellent things to work on. Actually, I scalloped the frets from 21-14 as well- that actually makes a nice difference. Now I know I can take guitars apart and put them back together. Also, it gave me a great reference point for buying pickups too.

All a guitar really needs is tuners that don't suck and a straight neck. Strangely enough, lots of these cheap guitars keep their tuning pretty well in my experience.

Best $130 I have ever spent.
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Last edited by JimDawson at Jan 18, 2013,
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Or even put a good humbucker in your good guitar, then put the stock one in the cheap guitar.


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Learning to work on guitars on a junker is not a bad idea.


I don't think actually going in with the intention of massively improving the thing is the best plan (as it's likely to be a false economy and a money sink), but if you can improve it without spending too much, or can use it to learn setups etc., that would probably be well worth doing.
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I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

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The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

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If you want to improve It and not spend much, check our guitarfetish.com


They stock decent quality parts at competitive pricing. I've installed three different sets of their pickups and been quite pleased. If their other parts are as good, you won't have to spend much to upgrade.