#1
The guitar is a 93 MIM Squier I got for $40 in a pawnshop. Its actually a pretty sweet little guitar in perfect condition, and only paid 40 for it so I don't actually mind putting a few bucks into it. I'm asking for advice if I should just get a prewired pick guard or replace everything individually? The pickups are actually very clean sounding, the tone and volume pots are a little scratchy when they are adjusted. I reckon I could just replace the pots, figured while I'm in there might as well replace it all. So, am I crazy for wanting to upgrade a Squier? Should I just replace the pots or go with prewired? And any advice on those prewired pick guards?




Thanks
Flying in a blue dream
#2
all depends on what you want to do . if you like the pickups no point in replacing them. if you want something different then you need to decide what you are shooting for before we can really give you any useful advice. replace the posts that's cheap enough. 
#4
If you go wiht a pickguard GFS prewired ones have never let me down.
#5
Neat find!  Back in the late 80's those Squiers were going for $400.

Not sure when Squier started with non-standard pick guards, but it might be hard to find one that fits if they've had that issue all along.  These days MIM Fenders have CTS pots just like their MIA counterparts, so maybe yours does too and you just need to clean them like you might for an MIA Strat made in '93.  You can get a can of contact cleaner at Walmart, hardware stores, or car parts places for about $10.

Unless you really hate the sound of those pups, I don't see why you'd need to change them out.  And if you did, then what's the probability that the specific pup you want is available pre-loaded? 

Amps and effects make much more dramatic differences in your tone than pups will--unless you're making a dramatic shift like going to hot rodded humbuckers, or TV Jones type pickups, gold foil, lipstick, etc.

The mods that got me the most bang for the buck on my Squier Affinity were the locking Fender/Ping tuners and the Mighty Mite 2-point Brass Block bridge.  The pot metal bridge most Strats come with hurts your tone more than the worst pickups could (and kills sustain too).  A 2-point trem conversion is a huge hassle, though--it took 2 luthiers to get mine right.  You might be able to just get a brass or all-steel block and keep the factory bridge plate.  If you change the saddles, I'd avoid stamped steel or Graphtech saddles.  

If you find you have to shim the neck, you might want to spend the few $ to get Stew Mac shims.  I've had luthiers shim with picks and other small pieces of plastic, but they didn't have much surface area and they sunk into the neck pocket.  Plus they killed the sustain.

If the ouptut jack doesn't hold the cable well enough, recommend getting a Switchcraft output jack.  DiMarzio jacks are made by Switchcraft.

If you need to change your pick guard and standard ones won't fit, you can trace the outline of yours, scan it, email it to this guy, and Mike can make you just about anything you can imagine out of plastic:  www.quickguards.com

Finally, don't forget about straplocks.
#6
Can't say i' d avoid graphtec saddles as they are excellent ( I have them on my main strat). Bent steel are what is on vintage fenders so I can't see a reason to avoid. Steel block is a good plan. Squirer's don't have c.t.s. pots
#7
I've spent a good deal of time and money upgrading guitars a lot worse than that, but there has always been reason, even if only that I don't like the look of something. (I like pressed steel saddles, for example.) I would try contact cleaner on the pots as a first option, and I wouldn't just drop in a replacement loaded pickguard. - That's way too unfocused for my tastes.
#8
Quote by monwobobbo
Can't say i' d avoid graphtec saddles as they are excellent ( I have them on my main strat). Bent steel are what is on vintage fenders so I can't see a reason to avoid. Steel block is a good plan. Squirer's don't have c.t.s. pots

Thanks for the counterpoint on the graphtecs.  I don't have personal experience with them, but here's where I'm coming from:
- A lot of people who have them love them like you--at least for a while.  Some have worn through the plastic after a few years.  I've worn through Licensed Floyd Rose saddles on one guitar and throughgh the block steel saddles that came on my '06 era Affinity Squier (which I had bought new).  It took somewhere between 5 & 8 years to do that; they happened about the same time.  I use graphite lube every string change.  I spread my playing out fairly evenly over 6-8 guitars during that time and the other guitars don't have issues with saddle wear.  So I wouldn't expect even self-lubricated plastic saddle to last, considering what I've done to non-hardened lubricated steel.  Just curious...how long have you had your Graphtecs?
- IMHO, the saddles and the trem block (or stop tail bar) have the biggest impact on guitar tone and sustain.  Therefore, hypothetically speaking, insulating the saddles with plastic seems counterproductive to me.  But maybe it's not thick enough to make a difference.  Also are all Graphtecs the same?  I thought they make some out of steel with just a bit of plastic in the grooves, but also others that are 100% plastic.  I'd be very wary of saddles made from anything other than brass (for classic Telecaster bridges and Fender offset guitars), hardened steel, or titanium.
- Given the two previous points, I'm not surprised by the many people who've expressed disapointment in their Graphtecs with complaints like wearing out too fast, loss of "tone", and reduced sustain.  One guy was happy with Graphtec to the end, but it turns out the straw that broke the back to make him retire his modded Squier was his saddles were worn out for the 3rd time (factory saddles + 2 sets of Graphtecs IIRC) within about 10 years.

Bent Steel:
- If you're going for vintage Fender flavor to the exclusion of modern Fender versatility, then bent steel is the way to go if you can find a hardened version or don't mind wearing through them periodically and affecting tuning stability/breaking strings every time they develop a new burr
- Many top of the line Fender Custom Shop (and boutique builders) have bent steel since it's vintage appropriate.  Same for the 6-point pivot trem, screw-in bar, Kluson style tuners, 21 frets, neck heel truss rod access.  Until recently the Custom Shop featured a modern strat as a base (along with various milestone vintage years)--now you can specify any year for the base; the default trem for the modern strat was the "Deluxe American" bridge--it had polished harded steel saddles, a solid block, and a pop-in arm.  Now they're calling that the "2-POINT CUSTOM CLASSIC TREMOLO" and it's the only 2-point you can normally get from the Custom Shop.  It's the same trem they use in the "American Elite" Strats and what they used in the older "American Deluxe" Strats.  Until about 2008 they used similar block saddles in the "MIA Standard" Strats, but they weren't polished.  In 2008 they switched to bent steel along with thick glossy tinted neck finishes, a return to a more "vintage" style for the Standard Strat.  
- The block saddles are objectively better from a modern, versatility perspective.  They have more mass so they sustain longer and contribute to a less twangy tone. They're hardened so they last longer.  I can't quantify how much of a difference they make but you have to pay a minimum of $500 extra to get a new Fender Strat that has them.  There are other premium features on those guitars too, and I'm not sure it's all worth $500 more.  Yet you can buy the good trem with the superior saddles and block by itself for about $200 and put it on a $40 guitar.

CTS pots:
- I'm always looking to learn more about Fenders (and Squiers).  What's your source on what pots they used on the MIM Squiers?
- Until recently (based on what I'd heard at UG) I thought current MIM Fenders used Alpha pots, and only MIA Fenders used CTS.  I got schooled on that, and was able to confirm that I was wrong and the MIM Fenders use identical pots to the MIAs.  I was also surprised to hear that the necks are all made in Corona--although to different QA standards depending on the model.
- I know current Squiers don't have CTS pots.  Do you know what pots they did use on the MIM Squiers?  What about the Korean and the Japanese ones?

Thanks for shedding more light on these esoteric topics...
Last edited by SpeedSterHR at May 31, 2017,
#9
SpeedSterHR

All you have to do is check lot codes to see that they aren't cts . Squier is Asian made and use Asian sourced electronics.

You guys must be brutal on your guitars to wear out saddles like that. Had mine for 5 years now with no wear (my #1guitar).
#10
Quote by monwobobbo
All you have to do is check lot codes to see that they aren't cts . Squier is Asian made and use Asian sourced electronics.
 

This particular Squier is MIM.  They did that for a few years when they were switching things around with Asian production.  Around 2000 a Fender VP, Keith Brawley participated in a forum answering all sorts of questions about Squier, including a few about the MIM Squiers.  One thing he said is they were basically MIM Strats with cheaper hardware (i.e., tuners, string tees, and bridge assemblies).  So if they were using CTS pots in MIM production back then, there's a good chance this Squier has CTS pots too.
You guys must be brutal on your guitars to wear out saddles like that. Had mine for 5 years now with no wear (my #1guitar).

You ought to see the frets on my first 2 Strats!  Maybe it's the 2.0mm Dunlop Gator picks.  Or maybe the rust-prone EB strings I used to use.  The fret wear got under control when I religiously changed strings at the first sign of rust, but that didn't help out 2 guitars with soft saddles.  The graphite grease I used didn't seem to help those saddles either, but maybe that's why there's no visible wear on the saddles of any of the other guitars.  I switched to Elixer Nanowebs about a year ago when I got tired of brand new non-coated strings having rust on them right out of the package.  Maybe Nanowebs would have saved the soft saddles too.