#1
Hello all, i bought a three year old Westfield Strat copy for £35 ($50). I never owned a strat and thought , what the hey, it's only 35 quid.

The thing is, I really like it. I'm no expert, but to me plays well and feels good, is solidly build with no obvious flaws.

I asked a local guitar tech I know if it would be worthwhile spending a few quid upgrading the pickups, trem and tuners etc. but he recommended saving for a Mexican strat which i could probably pick up second hand for approx £250 ($300).

Is this an opinion that would be generally held by you guys? The reason I ask is I often hear and read about people upgrading the pickups on the MIM's.

I'm only an intermediate player and not gigging at the moment. (Hopefully in the near future )

Thanks in advance.
#2
well putting new pickup in might be worth the effort if it can be done cheaply. i wouldn't bother with a new trem and unless the tuners don't hold tuning them either. if you were in the states i'd say get some GFS pickups. not sure what you guys have over there in the line of cheap but better pickups.
#3
If you really like Strats, try a Yamaha Pacifica if you can. I have no experience with MIM Strats, but the Yamaha Pacifica is one of the best guitars around for the money and I really liked it when I tried it out, and I'm not a fan of Strats. I suppose that if you mod it, it could become a great guitar.
#4
cheers guys, Dany if i was going to purchase another guitar it would be a real strat, i was wondering if it was worth upgrading the one i have . thanks
#5
Quote by shero73
cheers guys, Dany if i was going to purchase another guitar it would be a real strat, i was wondering if it was worth upgrading the one i have . thanks


Oh, I see, I only mentioned it as an alternative to the MIM Strat.

Personally, I wouldn't mod a 35 quid guitar, but it's really up to you. If it feels good in your hands and you feel like modding a guitar, go for it!
#6
I mod stuff in that price range. I have one where the electronics cost well over twice as much as the rest of the guitar. The way I see it is, an electric guitar is just a fancy lump of wood with pickups hanging off it. If you like the lump of wood, when not fix up the rest of it? But there again, I like (DIY) modding electrics as much as I like playing them.
#8
I'd upgrade to the mim strat. I tried one before buying an american strat and it was very nice.
#9
A guitar that feels good but sounds bad is an easier fix than a guitar that feels wrong but sounds good. My opinion, if it feels right, might as well put some pickups in, strat style the options for wiring are endless. Single coils, humbucks, coil tap, coil split, phase, on and on. I'd say get a soldering gun and wire it up.
#10
Since your in the UK, Iron Gear pickups would be a good choice
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#11
What do you think needs an "upgrade"?Randomly changing things just to change em can have a negative effect on a guitar that you like the tone of and how it plays.
Bhaok

The following statement is true. The proceeding statement is false.
#12
^^^^ Yes, absolutely. Upgrades should address specific shortcomings in what you have not some vague concept of "better". I recently bought a Vietnamese-made Peavey for Oz$65 with the idea modding it, but everything about it is so good that I leaving it exactly as it is, at least in functional terms.
#13
I wouldn't hesitate to upgrade a cheapo guitar. If you look around you might be able to find used pickups at guitar shops, it's not uncommon at all for people to replace pickups that work fine and sound good because they want the latest name brand whiz bang pickups their favorite mega rock star is using. My last pair cost me $5...still haven't put them in a guitar yet, but for that price I had to grab them.

I wouldn't replace trem or tuners unless they are giving you trouble. In all of my last 9 guitars I've seen exactly one tuner that was actually causing problems. And I could deal with it if I kept in mind it was flaky. It held its tuning well, just touchy and hard to fine tune.

Main thing though, keep it and play it for a while before you decide to change anything. If it plays good and sounds decent for now, no reason not to keep it and consider some modifications, but play it for a while and really get to know the guitar before you make serious changes. First thing of course, give it a good setup, including pickup height. I tweak mine to get the volume levels even, then fine tune by raising or lowering where needed to get more treble or bass if I need it on any specific pickup. In some cases you can also change the value of the tone capacitor and get lots better results from the existing pickups too.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#14
Quote by shero73
Hello all, i bought a three year old Westfield Strat copy for £35 ($50). I never owned a strat and thought , what the hey, it's only 35 quid.

The thing is, I really like it. I'm no expert, but to me plays well and feels good, is solidly build with no obvious flaws.

I asked a local guitar tech I know if it would be worthwhile spending a few quid upgrading the pickups, trem and tuners etc. but he recommended saving for a Mexican strat which i could probably pick up second hand for approx £250 ($300).

Is this an opinion that would be generally held by you guys? The reason I ask is I often hear and read about people upgrading the pickups on the MIM's.

I'm only an intermediate player and not gigging at the moment. (Hopefully in the near future )

Thanks in advance.


I was at a pawn shop the other day and there was an older man, in his late 50's, trying to sell his "upgraded" beater of a bass. It was a Pbass copy and he put in $300 worth of active electronics, pickups etc. and he upgraded the tuners and the bridge. The shop wouldn't give him anything for it, not even $50.00.

The moral of this story is that pouring money into a shit instrument is a fool's errand because there is zero re-sale value. No one cares about all the amazing work you've done to a guitar or bass if they don't recognize the name on the headstock.

Your money is better spent getting a better guitar.
#15
Quote by reverb66
I was at a pawn shop the other day and there was an older man, in his late 50's, trying to sell his "upgraded" beater of a bass. It was a Pbass copy and he put in $300 worth of active electronics, pickups etc. and he upgraded the tuners and the bridge. The shop wouldn't give him anything for it, not even $50.00.

The moral of this story is that pouring money into a shit instrument is a fool's errand because there is zero re-sale value. No one cares about all the amazing work you've done to a guitar or bass if they don't recognize the name on the headstock.

Your money is better spent getting a better guitar.



But, money isn't everything. A guitar that plays the way you want, sounds the way you want is is worth it. Unless you're trying to flip it, what's resale matter? Of course you could strip the upgrade parts off and part it out if you really wanted money. Pawn shops aren't exactly the epitome of judging market values either.
#16
I'd upgrade to the MIM Stratocaster. There is no guarantee that you'll even like the 'upgrades' you do to your guitar. By the time you've spent the money upgrading the tremolo, pickups, tuners and get the thing set up etc... you'll probably have spent about as much as an MIM anyway.


If you insist on modding I would recommend not breaking the bank on high end parts. I don't know what the equivalent is over on your side of the pond but GFS does budget hardware and pups and something similar would be better for what you're looking at doing.


At the end of the day though, you'll still have a cheapo Strat copy. Might be nice after you modify it, but for the extra cash I would get the MIM. Your money is going farther that way instead of pissing it down the endless pit of modding.
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#17
Quote by highgear
Pawn shops aren't exactly the epitome of judging market values either.



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#18
Quote by icanhasgodmode


"Let me call a buddy of mine"


So slap a Gibson decal on it, and tell Chum it's a rare vintage Gibson Strat, boom...$2,000
#19
Cowtown guitars does their appraisals. The pawn stars guys dont know anything about gear.


Considering Cowtown deals with a huge range of instruments (inclusing vintage pieces) I think the Pawn Stars guys are fine.
Quote by zgr0826
My culture is worthless and absolutely inferior to the almighty Leaf.


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I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
#20
my main weapon is a frankenpartscaster made from three separate squier strats lol. The bridge from one, the body from another, and the neck from a third one. I wired a pickguard with a Kent Armstrong Powerblade, an MIA middle coil and a Fender Custom Shop neck pickup. I scalloped the frets and installed Grover tuners, grinded off trem block of the bridge and welded a thick, heavy piece of metal on it and slapped it all together. The whole thing cost me about $175 in total and it blows everything under $600 or so out of the water, plus it is a very unique instrument in that I, and only I, can play it the way I play it. Im the only one that knows where all the sweet spots are, how to make it scream like a possessed banshee, how to get whatever tone i want out of it.

That intimacy and camaraderie with the instrument beats the shit out of having a generically boring MIM. I'll have this guitar for life, and it will always be a part of me as a musician. Maybe it sounds weird but I have a special bond with this strat, and I guarantee you i wouldn't have that if I had saved for just another MIM. If you have the ability and the willingness to painstakingly craft your own, do it, because it's rewarding in so many ways that having a plain old MIM just isn't.
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#21
wow, thanks you all so much for your great replies. I got a cheap soldering iron today for 20 quid so i guess that will give you a clue as to way i'm going to go with this.

I looked at Robbgnarly's recommendation for the Irongear pickups and they look great value at £50 a set.

If i don't like the way it turns out then i will have learned a lesson and save for the Fender.

Also, I will have great fun in the meantime and might learn a thing or two.

#22
Quote by shero73
wow, thanks you all so much for your great replies. I got a cheap soldering iron today for 20 quid so i guess that will give you a clue as to way i'm going to go with this.

I looked at Robbgnarly's recommendation for the Irongear pickups and they look great value at £50 a set.

If i don't like the way it turns out then i will have learned a lesson and save for the Fender.

Also, I will have great fun in the meantime and might learn a thing or two.



It's definitely fun to learn how to modify guitars but be sure you look things up before you start soldering etc... You don't want to ruin any components by overheating them and you want to make sure you're getting good connections and no cold solder joints. Be sure you know how to properly set up and intonate the guitar too because most of the time, when you're doing work, strings come off and bridge positions get screwed. Since it's a trem guitar, you might want to block the trem during periods where you don't have strings on them (makes it easier to return to the proper position when you're putting the strings back too).


Remember, if you aren't sure about something, look it up or ask. It's better to fully understand what you have to do vs potentially messing something up and having to replace things.


So yeah have at it and have fun. I recommend also noting WHERE your wires are attached before you start taking it apart. Makes it easier for when you put everything back together.


You might want to invest in a string winder too. Especially if you get in the habit of tweaking and adjusting a lot.


Also, mark things down that you'd like to be the same way. You like the height of your bridge pickup and it's sounding good? Sweet, mark that down so you can put it that way again.


Don't forget the saying 'measure twice, cut once' because you should be applying a similar thought process when working on your gear.
Quote by zgr0826
My culture is worthless and absolutely inferior to the almighty Leaf.


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I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
Last edited by H4T3BR33D3R at May 12, 2015,
#23
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I think the Pawn Stars guys are fine.


I agree, looks like they are all eating well ;-)
#24
it depends what you are looking to upgrade. pickups aren't a bad thing to do. keep the originals and swap them back if you sell it. EVERY guitar i mod i keep ALL original parts in case i decide to sell it.

i wouldn't bother with a bridge upgrade, nor tuners (unless it didn't stay in tune).

my wife's first guitar was a strat copy (lotus IIRC) that wasn't too bad in stock form (she got it before i met her), and it isn't bad. she plays mine now if she does play, but it wasn't terrible.
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#25
Check out Entwistle Pickups too. I threw a couple in a squire tele custom I had given to me. HDN in bridge and Nemesis in the neck. Coil tapped em both. Locking tuners, graphite nut. All black with maple neck. Having the rail coil tapped in the neck it makes noises my other guitars can't reach. lol. It's still got a neck like a fencepost but for an £80 complete refit it's awesome and now has a job to do other than gather dust.

http://www.entwistlepickups.com/pickup.php
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Last edited by crackerjack123 at May 13, 2015,
#26
Quote by trashedlostfdup
it depends what you are looking to upgrade. pickups aren't a bad thing to do. keep the originals and swap them back if you sell it. EVERY guitar i mod i keep ALL original parts in case i decide to sell it.

i wouldn't bother with a bridge upgrade, nor tuners (unless it didn't stay in tune).

my wife's first guitar was a strat copy (lotus IIRC) that wasn't too bad in stock form (she got it before i met her), and it isn't bad. she plays mine now if she does play, but it wasn't terrible.


Tuners are one of the easiest, cheapest, and most effective upgrades. Id absolutely recommend you change them on a strat copy, they are all but guaranteed to make a big difference.
Quote by yellowfrizbee
What does a girl have to do to get it in the butt thats all I ever wanted from you. Why, Ace? Why? I clean my asshole every night hoping and wishing and it never happens.
Bitches be Crazy.

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#27
Quote by Acϵ♠
Tuners are one of the easiest, cheapest, and most effective upgrades. Id absolutely recommend you change them on a strat copy, they are all but guaranteed to make a big difference.


They are not that expensive, but depending on the guitar you have and the tuners you buy, you could have to do some drilling and reaming to get new ones in. Not a big deal for me, but it could be for some. Not all budget guitars have shitty tuners either.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#28
Just do it dude. If you like how it feels, roll with it while addressing problems. Sounds bad? New electronics. Won't hold a tune? New tuners and/or nut. Tremelo issues? New bridge setup. It's worth modding a guitar you personally like.
#29
Quote by highgear
But, money isn't everything. A guitar that plays the way you want, sounds the way you want is is worth it. Unless you're trying to flip it, what's resale matter? Of course you could strip the upgrade parts off and part it out if you really wanted money. Pawn shops aren't exactly the epitome of judging market values either.


I agree with some of that- if the priority is having something unique and he doesn't mind throwing money and time at it, then upgrading a junk strat is a fine idea. That being said, Fender sells their guitars for dirt cheap - so he can easily just buy one with his budget. No one has Fender beat on price /quality ratio for the low end instruments.

If a pawn shop won't buy something for even an arbitrarily low amount, it's a pretty clear sign that you have something that is essential worthless to everyone but yourself.
#30
^^ not to nitpick but plenty of guitar makers beat the hell out of Fender for lower end price-quality ratio. in fact fender is fairly middle of the pack
Quote by yellowfrizbee
What does a girl have to do to get it in the butt thats all I ever wanted from you. Why, Ace? Why? I clean my asshole every night hoping and wishing and it never happens.
Bitches be Crazy.

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#31
Quote by Acϵ♠
^^ not to nitpick but plenty of guitar makers beat the hell out of Fender for lower end price-quality ratio. in fact fender is fairly middle of the pack


Not if you're looking for a strat or a tele style guitar.
#32
Mmmm yes, even if you're looking for a strat or tele style guitar
Quote by yellowfrizbee
What does a girl have to do to get it in the butt thats all I ever wanted from you. Why, Ace? Why? I clean my asshole every night hoping and wishing and it never happens.
Bitches be Crazy.

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