#1
So I got this MIM strat. I really like it. But I'm just wondering how I could make it better. I'm thinking of replacing the bridge pickup (which I never use) with a SD Hot Rails, for one. But then I've read that bone nuts are much better. Is that an easy replacement? Would it improve the tone? What about the bridge? Is it worth it to replace it?
#2
I would only replace the stuff that really annoyed me. If I needed a HB pickup to play gigs in rooms with bad lighting dimmers that induced hum, a Hot Rails is a good choice. If hum isn't a problem, no need to change it.

Totally experiment with your bridge PU. There is a lot of great tone to be found there. Set the amp up so your neck PU sounds good and then roll off the tone for your bridge PU to taste. Good stuff. For best results, play your strat through a good quality amp b4 making any changes.

Caveat: I am of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" school of guitarists. Change without a clear purpose often ends badly IMO.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

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#3
You're being quite vague. What are you looking for as far as terms of an upgrade? What is your current strat not doing that you want it to do. We can go from there.
#4
Actually, not much. I was thinking of the Hot Rails in the bridge to make it a bit more versatile and be able to use the bridge PU for high gain stuff. As for the bridge, well, I haven't used it too much because I worry that if I use it a bit heavily it'll go out of tune, so I was wondering if I could get a high quality bridge that I can abuse (although not as much as a Floyd) without worrying too much about tuning... but I don't know much about strat bridges.
#5
Some people mod their guitars because they like doing modification, and that is fine. But most of the time, you have to ask yourself if it is worth it. A MIM Strat is a relatively cheap guitar, and if you are going to start upgrading it to somehow make it better, pickups plus new tremolo bridge easily runs more than the guitar is worth used. You're never going to get that money back and the changing things blindly isn't going to lead to something good. That said, one or two well thought upgrades of course could make an improvement to a favourite instrument, not matter what it is worth.

I find MIM Strats great right out of the box. I like the pickups, as they sound great with distortion. Not thin and twangy like most other Strat-pickups, but a relatively fat and focused distortion, I guess due to being higher output and ceramic as opposed to alnico.

Humbuckers or at least hum-canceling single coils are great when playing live to avoid unecessary noise - especially with distortion, but if you're not playing somewhere where there are spotlights you are probably not going to run into that problem.

Play the guitar, and if there is something that bothers you that can be solved with an upgrade, by all means do it, otherwise I would just let it be.
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#6
Honestly this one is not going anywhere, I really like it, so I'm not thinking about resale.
#7
Quote by OliveG
Actually, not much. I was thinking of the Hot Rails in the bridge to make it a bit more versatile and be able to use the bridge PU for high gain stuff. As for the bridge, well, I haven't used it too much because I worry that if I use it a bit heavily it'll go out of tune, so I was wondering if I could get a high quality bridge that I can abuse (although not as much as a Floyd) without worrying too much about tuning... but I don't know much about strat bridges.


I think your main problem here is that you haven't tried. Why think of an upgrade when it might be out of order? Try it, if it goes out of tune too rapidly, there are easy things that might help. Simply putting strings on differently, setting it up "perfectly" or make minor changes to the guitar. Replacing the entire bridge should be the last thing to think about already in this case, in my opinion.
#8
Locking tuners are a great upgrade and they can be had for 50$. Makes string changes faster and keeps it in tune better. Just did that to my Korean strat today.
#9
Pickups. I wanted a vintage sound, so I changed mine out for some D. Allen VooDoo 69s. If you already like the sound of your pups, don't bother.

Other than that, mine plays beautifully. No complaints whatsoever and no need to replace any stock parts.

I ended up adding a 'fat switch' to get some more pickup combos including a 'humbucker' setup (basically runs the neck and middle in series so it gets far less hum and sounds fatter with less high end like a humbucker). It's a fun little mod and you can still run your guitar without any change in the way it normally sounds.

I might end up adding a dummy coil and master tone at some point just to have the option of quieting it down if I end up playing in a bad room, but I'm not worried about it atm.

EDIT: Don't know what year your is, but I wouldn't worry about the trem system throwing you out of tune. People dog on the fender trem systems sometimes (because they're not Fl0yD R05E!) but you can set them up (rather easily) to not go out of tune and to go up as well as down in tune. Look up 'floating a trem'.
Last edited by mjones1992 at Sep 6, 2014,
#10
Quote by Cajundaddy

Caveat: I am of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" school of guitarists. Change without a clear purpose often ends badly IMO.


Agreed.

Quote by HomerSGR
Some people mod their guitars because they like doing modification, and that is fine. But most of the time, you have to ask yourself if it is worth it. A MIM Strat is a relatively cheap guitar, and if you are going to start upgrading it to somehow make it better, pickups plus new tremolo bridge easily runs more than the guitar is worth used. You're never going to get that money back and the changing things blindly isn't going to lead to something good. That said, one or two well thought upgrades of course could make an improvement to a favourite instrument, not matter what it is worth.


Agreed.

I'd maybe change the pickups, nut (if it wasn't staying in tune well and if i could be bothered) and maybe the bridge block to steel (if it's not steel already).
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