so I'm doing a project guitar. I bought a Squier strat for $30.

I'm repainting it, doing some body modifications, like rounding the edges off to be more satch-like (for a lack of better words). and doing a complete set-up and rebuilding the guts as well. basically, it won't be the crap-strat it began life as.

I generally don't use single coils in my guitars. I want this thing to have some balls with the new pickups. what would you recommend? this isn't as much for my personal tone taste as being used as an example at how different this thing can look and sound when I'm done with it. but I am interested in high gain. I could route and throw some humbuckers in there. but I think staying with single coils will still help maintain it's personality.
Seymour Duncans and Bare Knuckles are good for vintage tones but if you want heavy go for some EMG's like Zakk Wylde Or the ones Trivium and Metallica use
If it's already routed for a humbucker, which is likely, then you could just get a replacement pickguard and fit a humbucker in the bridge....Seymour Duncan Custom Custom is a great pickup. If you want to keep it singles get some overwound vintage types, Fender Texas Specials or if you don't want to shell put that much the GFS pickups have a great reputation...they'll even supply them already wired into the pickguard if you want to save yourself a job

Actually called Mark!

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Well you said Satch, get a PAF Joe or Fred from dimarzio or one of the other 900 Satch/Vai pickups Dimarzio makes. I put a PAF Joe in my Shitebeater guitar and its a nice sound
yeah, it looked like it was routed for a humbucker already, it would just be a matter of getting the appropriate pickguard, which I think would be the way to go here.

thanks for the input fellas. I'll probably go with an EMG 81/60 combo in that case.

I'm not going to start buying the parts until the paint job is finished yet. it's the first time I'll be doing it. I have some books, and of course the internet to help this luthier in training, but I want to be satisfied with that before sinking more cash into it.