I have what I believe is a squier deluxe from 97, I've had it since new, hanging on my wall for most of this time. I'm thinking of upgrading the electronics because the tone knobs aren't effective and it all sounds rather muddy. Will just some stock strat pick ups suffice or do I need anything more going on?

Obviously strings will help.

If it's got 16-year-old strings on it then, yes, do those first and re-assess.

You've said that the tone knobs aren't effective. Either the frequencies they are supposed to cut aren't there to start with (bad pickups), or the controls aren't doing their job properly (bad pots/caps).

You've also said it all sounds rather muddy though, which could be a number of things.

People will also want to know what amp you're running and what sort of style you're playing.

I would suggest, before dashing out any buying a bunch of stuff that may not help, trying the following:

1. New strings. More than just about anything else, especially for cleans, this will brighten up your tone no end. Whatever else you do, you should definitely do this. Oh, and give it a bit of a set-up, too: intonation and action.

2. Fiddle with your amp/fx chain. Try EQ-ing on anything that has tone control on it to see if you can get a sound that's more to your liking.

3. Pots and caps will only set you back a few shekels compared to pickups, so it may be worth replacing those first.

4. If you're still not happy then go for some new pickups. After all, some people are really just after an excuse to pimp their gear.

And of course, what everyone in the know universe really needs to improve their tone is a new amp, new guitar and new practise space.
I changed the strings about a year ago, I rarely use an amp, just record straight into a mixer and use headphones. Borrowed a Mexican strat once and it sounded fantastic in comparison.
Quote by Vincewentwrong
So I may need pots? Was thinking about getting a few bits second hand

Strings a year old? Change them. I change mine about once a month and don't play often anymore.

As for pots, get them new. They're only a couple bucks.

Pickups? Find some nice used ones on eBay or something if all else fails.
So late reply but thanks all for the advice, I've gone for mim strat pick ups and will pick up new pots. I have a left jazz bass body I'm going to start on now so time for a new post