#1
Years ago I bought a pre-wired pickguard for strat from Stewart McDonald. It was easy to install and seemed to contain quality hardware and electronics. I think that it cost about $100 back then.

I was getting tired of the lace sensors that were in that setup, and wanted a new look on the strat, also. Unfortunately, the factory pickguards & pickups were long gone before I got this 2001 Custom Shop strat, used in Sam Ash for $900.

I saw some pre-wired pickguards being sold over at Guitar Fetish. the one was interested in for my ruby red Strat was a tortoise shell w/ faded-looking pickups and knobs. I thought the colors would look great, and for $44 after shipping, I figured it would be an affordable project.

from their site:

These are our own custom designed- custom wired AWESOME quality pre-wired pickguard units. Go pick up a cheapo Strat from the local Guitar Barn and turn it into a vintage monster! This is NOT a pickguard unit pulled from a low-end Saga kit, or removed from a cheap Chinese Strat® copy. High end stuff here. Wired with Full Sized Alpha Potentiometers, staggered vintage toned pickups, cool vintage aged cream hardware and a nice 3-ply tortoiseshell pickguard.


Initial Impressions:

Opening up the package I was happy with the look of the pickguard and the components. Flipping it over, i was struck by what appeared to me to be pretty thin wires. I hope this does not turn out to be a problem.

Installation:

I am not an expert electronics guy. I figured I could un-solder and re-solder three wires, and I was right. I have not had to solder anything but car speaker wire in over twenty years. But this was not a difficult task. After the soldering, I plugged the thing in and the switch activated the right pickups at the right times.

The hot lead that goes to the jack had a nick in the insulation and I could see the conductor inside. I covered it with tape. I also wish they had included a simple diagram so that I did not have ot go online to doublecheck which wire goes to which terminal on the jack. I'm sure there are hundreds of readers here who already have this information memorized, but a scrap of paper with a picture on it would have been nice. Ironically, I used the diagram at the Stew Mac site.

I reassembled the guitar, strung it up and started playing

Sounds:

I like it. The pickups all sound similar enough that I do not feel like I am playing three different guitars, which was the case having three different kinds of Lace Sensors (red, gold and blue) in the guitar before. It sounds more natural to me.

Let's hope the thin wires do not end up being a problem. Overall I am happy (but it's only been a day) and am willing to overlook the imperfections in quality that I already mentioned, considering the low price involved.

Here are some pics from the project:

Before:





Unpacking:





Finished product:





freepatriot.com
"People never misapply their economy so much as when they make mean provision for the education of children. The only practicable method to reform mankind is to begin with children." -- Noah Webster
#2
Busy night!

Played the guitar at practice tonight and was pleased with the sounds.
freepatriot.com
"People never misapply their economy so much as when they make mean provision for the education of children. The only practicable method to reform mankind is to begin with children." -- Noah Webster