dcb4
Registered User
Join date: May 2013
20 IQ
#1
So I hear a lot of talk about upgrading guitars and if its worth it or not.. Or why its worth... if it is... Now when I say Fender Stratocaster in the title, i wish i ment american made, but i have a mexican made(still nice guitars) that i actually really love... plays great, plays with you not against you.. However I have been doing alot of research into things like tuning pegs, brass nuts, different bridges bridges, picks ups, etc.. even into the "science" of a guitar made of nice material/denser accessories vs one made of cheaper material/wood and plastic/cheap metal and thin(less dense) accessories... now with all this being said Im trying to get some opinions from guitar players themselfs rather than talk to the ****tard up at guitarcenter on commission.

What are some good starting upgrades or "must have" upgrades to open up with...

Why are these/this the best upgrade to start with

And how might it effect my overall tone and or playing perhaps?
monwobobbo
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2009
60 IQ
#2
it's up to you really. my MIM has an LSR roller nut, Steel trem block, Locking Tuners and Graphtec Bridge saddles. the pickups were changed as well (bought used so not sure what they are) all of these improved the performance overall. the guitar is used as a back up to my 89 Strat Plus and honestly performs just as well. when I have some spare cash i'll be putting in Lace Sensor pickups.
guitar/bass95
Banned
Join date: May 2010
390 IQ
#3
Yup, it's really about what you want, there is no golden standard in custom guitars. Personally, I would be happy with good quality pickups and strap locks, if the guitar feels good otherwise I'd have no need for other mods. If there is a problem with tuning stability, a nut and tuner replacements could also be useful.
Mephaphil
No empty frets.
Join date: Apr 2012
150 IQ
#4
My Custom shop is a much better guitar than my American Vintage stuff, which are great guitars.
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Go ahead and spend your money, I don't care. It won't make you sound better.


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Sure upgrading your gear will make you sound better.


Roc8995
Moderator
Join date: Nov 2005
250 IQ
#5
So this isn't "MIM vs CS" at all, you just want to know how to upgrade your MIM?

A good setup and fret level/dress will maximize the playability. Start here, no sense in trying to upgrade a guitar that's not adjusted properly in the first place.
A new nut will help tuning stability, the stock one sucks
New pickups are always good, usually the most drastic upgrade you can make for tone
New trem is a good idea if you use it a lot, the MIM one is okay but Gotoh and Wilkinson make really great aftermarket ones that sound a bit better and are smoother. If you're fine with the stock trem just make sure you know how to adjust it.
New pots and tone cap: minor improvement but you may notice a slightly nicer pot action/sweep and they should last longer. New tone cap is also minor but they're cheap and you may find a slightly wider range of usability.
New string tree: the MIM ones suck, it's not a huge issue but good ones are cheap and won't bind up the string.
Take off the trem plate: try it. You might be surprised. Plus, all the cool kids are doing it.
Sand the back of the neck: A preference thing, but if you want the neck to feel closer to a CS neck you can sand down the gloss finish on an MIM. Many of the really nice Fender CS necks have a very thin satin finish that feels like bare wood. Sanding down the MIM neck gets you somewhere close.
Psychotele
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2014
10 IQ
#6
Go to Guitar Center.com they have the David Gilmour set up, pick guard, pick-ups, the whole set-up for $299.00. the set-up is easy to install and you'll sound amazing.
Roc8995
Moderator
Join date: Nov 2005
250 IQ
#7
^Why would you do that? The guy asks for generic upgrade advice and you suggest a weirdly specific, overpriced pre-wired "signature" setup that costs as much as the entire guitar is worth?

Unless you're already a huge fan of the EMG SAs (and can't work a soldering iron) or you really, really love Dave Gilmour there are tons of choices that are just as good and half as expensive. I don't see the point in recommending them blind to somebody who just wants to know about generic strat upgrades.
dannyalcatraz
Black Cherry Jello
Join date: Dec 2008
250 IQ
#8
I am surprised nobody has mentioned strap locks. EVERYBODY recommends strap locks!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
dannyalcatraz
Black Cherry Jello
Join date: Dec 2008
250 IQ
#10
I don't have strap locks.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
Carrot
UG's only carrot
Join date: Feb 2006
310 IQ
#12
Out of all the guitars I've owned, All I really do is put strap locks on. Apart from my PRS and LTD i own which have the pickups swapped out.

Currently building my own strat so that's all gotta be bought and stuck together.
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EyeballPaul
Registered User
Join date: Mar 2014
60 IQ
#13
Forget strap locks ,Just put rubber washers on after you attach your strap.(i heard it works,Never tried though)
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crazysam23_Atax
Feuergesicht
Join date: Oct 2009
490 IQ
#14
Well, what do you want to upgrade? Do you want a different tone? Better quality electronics or mechanical parts? Does the standard Strat bridge bother you? (Bugs the crap out of me, lol.)
Dave_Mc
Chirp and Swirl
Join date: Mar 2005
440 IQ
#15
^ I hate when my tremolos bully me. Always making snide uncalled-for comments.
Quote by crownegamers
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?

dannyalcatraz
Black Cherry Jello
Join date: Dec 2008
250 IQ
#17
Trollmelos?
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
T00DEEPBLUE
Boba FRETT
Join date: Oct 2010
260 IQ
#18
I think you'll find that the correct technical term is 'trollbrato'
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EMarkM
Thinker
Join date: Dec 2011
10 IQ
#19
Quote by EyeballPaul
Forget strap locks ,Just put rubber washers on after you attach your strap.(i heard it works,Never tried though)


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Dave_Mc
Chirp and Swirl
Join date: Mar 2005
440 IQ
#20
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
I think you'll find that the correct technical term is 'trollbrato'


Quote by crownegamers
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.

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

dcb4
Registered User
Join date: May 2013
20 IQ
#21
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Well, what do you want to upgrade? Do you want a different tone? Better quality electronics or mechanical parts? Does the standard Strat bridge bother you? (Bugs the crap out of me, lol.)


Well yes, I guess I am searching for a different tone. I want to find something that is quite warm, yet has a nice sharp attack.

Yes I am kinda interested in the whole of the guitar. I am not very guitar tech knowledable. Ive been playing for 4-5 years but not a wizard when it comes to how this sounds different than that, and why... so I am interested in better quality electronic parts and mechanical parts. the standard bridge is bothering me but maybe not as much as others because im not very familiar with much else.
paul.housley.7
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2013
140 IQ
#22
Here is some help for you:
This guy here I think does some good tone demos. It'll help you to hear the difference between the pickups and different positions. This particular model is the American Standard Fat Strat but he has a bunch of others as well.
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0SrW1_mbm_8

Now here is a tone demo between MiM and MiA that demonstrates how close they are, but you can also hear that the MiA is just a little bit sweeter.
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AUr5aIPmkH0

Here you will find a pretty comprehensive overview of the different models, and a particularly telling demonstration of tuning stability with each. Now the MiM strat might not go out of tune so quick if it had a better nut and a good setup but the MiA strat puts up with the abuse in spite of being fresh out of box.
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QnUuUjqHEMU
dcb4
Registered User
Join date: May 2013
20 IQ
#23
Thats cool and all but my question is less the differences between MiM and MiA and more good accessories to mod a MiM like bridges, pick ups, nuts, tuning pegs etc
paul.housley.7
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2013
140 IQ
#24
Quote by dcb4
Thats cool and all but my question is less the differences between MiM and MiA and more good accessories to mod a MiM like bridges, pick ups, nuts, tuning pegs etc


Yeah it's really cool!

But my answer is more like - here's MiA stuff, if you like MiA stuff then slap some MiA stuff on your MiM.
So it is more specific than you probably thought, but I also can see how I gave you the wrong idea.

Me - I just like the MiA stuff. I like the Eric Johnson Strat (as it seems almost everyone does) and I like the MiA Standard pickups better than most of the upgrades. My brother-in-law offered to sell me his 97 MiA Lonestar Strat - it's even in a color that I like - but I don't want the Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates humbucker or the Texas Specials. I'd rather just have a stock HSS Strat. I think they sound better.
dcb4
Registered User
Join date: May 2013
20 IQ
#25
Quote by paul.housley.7
Yeah it's really cool!

But my answer is more like - here's MiA stuff, if you like MiA stuff then slap some MiA stuff on your MiM.
So it is more specific than you probably thought, but I also can see how I gave you the wrong idea.

Me - I just like the MiA stuff. I like the Eric Johnson Strat (as it seems almost everyone does) and I like the MiA Standard pickups better than most of the upgrades. My brother-in-law offered to sell me his 97 MiA Lonestar Strat - it's even in a color that I like - but I don't want the Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates humbucker or the Texas Specials. I'd rather just have a stock HSS Strat. I think they sound better.


ahhh i see, hmm havent thought of it like that. interesting. ill look into it... and suggestions? like what are the names of some of these things i can look up?
paul.housley.7
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2013
140 IQ
#26
The HSS pickups that i like are called fat 50s. The single coils that is. Then the humbucker is a diamondback. Both available at Fender's website but i bet you can save significantly if you just find a loaded pickguard for sale.