I can assume that everyone has mixed opinions on this but I really want to do this.
This upcoming summer I am contemplating on grabbing my first guitar (It is a Squier Strat that came in one of those combo packs with the amp for around £175) and completely doing it up.

I really want to shove some locking tuners into it, throw some really nice pickups, and generally kit everything out so that it is a decent guitar. I already have another guitar that I am very happy with (SG Standard), but I want to give this a shot.

Feel free to give your opinion on this topic and would anyone be able to give me any tips (i'm fairly new to customising and building guitars but I want to give it a shot). Any particular pickups, locking tuners, nuts, etc that you can recommend? Or maybe some things that I could do to improve it?
Whats your budget for parts and what do you hope to achieve tonally from it?
seeing as everyone on the planet has probably played a strat once from a manufacture standpoint there is an upgrade part for everything., by the end if i wanted to transform a cheap strat into something awesome in most cases I'd probably pay more for the guitar new than in parts as i tend to buy used if that makes any sense.

so lets assume the neck is straight and the tone is good acoustically, there is so much you can do to shape the sound. A good fret leveling (not just a setup) and all these parts can help the cosmetics and sound. At the end of the day rule #1 is whatever parts you buy no matter how expensive keep the old parts in case you sell the guitar or want them in another guitar as you're not dropping kahler tremolo or everune money and a routing you cannot reverse easily as kahlers and everyunes take out wood and can only be replaced by others.

schaller locking tuners , grover self locking ones or sperzel trim-lok
graphtech tusq nut - black or white
polish the frets with micro mesh
new pickguard, I like H/S myself

pickguard suppliers
IKNMusic on ebay if your guitars a 6 bolt tremolo, I've never had an issue with these guys and bought 100s of them , just dont get brushed aluminum ones
Dragonfire to guitarfetish , axetremecreations to WDMusic
guiitarheads , ebay (iknmusic again i really like) or qparts.com for custom knobs

new pickups, do this last , being in tune and intonating is much more important
new bridge - schaller has many to Callaham Vintage S or blade runner bridge, guitar fetish has that nice brass blocked one too

electronics are very subjective, dont replace them unless you aren't happy with the current things the guitar does, mods you can do a lot. Now if a pot (volume knob) goes dead or you hear crackling from dirt and a can of electronic cleaner can't fix the guitar don't bother, CTS and vishay (guys who make orange drop capacitors everyone drools over) aren't starving or going out of business any time soon ...whew! my tone is safe! But high output single coils or humbuckers with push pulls and all you can really get just about any sound with.

one random out of the box suggestion is the seymour duncan liberator if you plan to go through 100 pickup swaps, as rockstars we become more than qualified to swap pickups with this system as we just screw to swap pickups , it's 20$ american roughly but you can swap pickups with a screwdriver , no soldering once the systems in.

strap locks
copper shielding
to over kill stuff like supressors on the springs , a brass block on the tremolo

I think my favorite thing for strats as I constantly modify them is adding fuse box terminals onto the input jack and a male to female dupont (servo) cable to take the pickguard completely off to make pickup/pickguard swaps a breeze.

and dont forget strings and pickups make a world off difference too to better shape the sound of your guitar

anyone who reads this send me a private message if you've got ideas for electronics mods or whatever; it keeps this forum interesting for me.
Last edited by Tallwood13 at Mar 28, 2016,
One thing that people always forget is that a guitar weather it extremely cheap or extremely expensive, normally is comprised of the same basic materials (quality varies) however the construction quality is of the most importance and that is what should be improved upon first! Neck straitness, level frets, tight mechanical bonds (no loose screws) other than that it's all incredibly subjective and very personal.....90%of people will say that Seymour Duncan makes good pickups however 100% of people will tell you they don't want a warped neck...

My suggestion is make it comfortably playable first and foremost, and then its just tweeking to personal taste.

I could make a strat out of pine and load it with the BEST (most expensive, lol) hardware/electronics and if the neck is warped or its not stable (doesn't hold tune) its absolutely WORTHLESS!
Quote by gurg06
Whats your budget for parts and what do you hope to achieve tonally from it?

I'm looking at spending roughly between £200 and £300 on it
My experience of guitar mods is

get bored of guitar want to make it perfect
mod the crap out of it and jizz over it
get fed up with it after a year sits on the wall
try to sell it takes ages to get someone at the start of there own guitar mod journey
sell guitar at a slight loss and buy an average strat which has been a pretty perfect/imperfect design since the 1950s
New nut and guts(pots, cap, switch, output jack). Do a complete setup, so how that works and then start thinking about pickups and other parts.
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