Hi everyone,

New to the site, not to forums. I've had a Squier Strat SE100 Special since May 2007 and love how it plays. I haven't been playing long (Jan 2007), but for the sort of music I play, I think my guitar's a little limited.
Don't get me wrong, it's a lovely guitar - 1996 Chinese model, SN YN68...., agathis body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, small headstock, synchronous tremolo, 3 single-coils. But it's the pickups and bridge that I think need some work for my needs.
I play mostly metal (AFI's Killing Lights is my favourite guitar track, and I play a LOT of Muse), so the single-coils aren't really up to the overdrive, even run in parrallel on the selector switch, as they sound pretty muted. In short, I would like to fit bridge and neck humbuckers along with a locking tremolo (the trem on the Strat is pretty bad for keeping it in tune, but I do occasionally use whammy, so a proper locking trem would be useful). However, given the massive range of everything, I don't know where to start!
I live in the UK, so that brings choices down a bit. I'm looking at pickups initially, because I think they'll make the biggest difference to my music. I've got a budget of around £70 GBP, so a bridge humbucker will do for now (until I get paid next month ). I've looked at http://www.guitarampkeyboard.com at their humbucking range, which is essentially Bare Knuckle, EMG actives, a couple of Fenders and Seymour Duncan. I know Matt Bellamy uses a Nailbomb, but at £100 a pickup, that'll be one for another day.
I'm after a reasonably-priced humbucker with good tone and bass, that'll stand up to overdrive well (for reference, I have a Korg Toneworks 105od Classic Overdrive pedal providing that, running into a surprisingly-powerful 30w Laney HCM30R amp). With the massive range in pickups, and the words flying around like 'gain,' 'sustain' and the words people use to describe tone, I don't know where to start! If anyone could give me a couple of pointers, I'd really appreciate it. For what I play, should I look for a different pickup or bite the bullet and get a Nailbomb?

Thanks in advance,
Rob Johnson
i've never had a problem with strats staying intune, make sure the strings a put on correctly, so they lock. Or invest in some locking tuners and a decent nut, i've had ones made out of bone but in my 2 strats.

As for pickups try a seymour d JB jnr, it'll fit straight in your strat pickguard with out any routing etc. or course there are many other single coil size humbuckers you could use, hot rails, lil 59 etc.

Gak is good for new stuff, try ebay for some 2nd had bits. I got sperzel locking strat tuners for £21 inc postage. axes r us do good parts at reasonable price too.

Failing that keep the squier as it is and get a 2nd had guitar with humbuckers and a floyd rose.
look, wait a fare bit and get your fill out of this guitar and buy a new guitar and do that up, a beginning guitar isn't worth a do up.
Quote by Tiksi
people who think that the tuning peg things have to be straight. I went to the bathroom once, I come back, and my friend detunified my guitar, and then asked why it sounded weird. ARGG!!!

Forget the Nailbomb, it's a complete waste of money on that guitar with that amp - if you want to splash out then get a Swineshead Warthog...it'll set you back about £50 for a hand-wired pickup. If you want to keep things on the cheap then look at Irongear, probably the Hot Slag, but there's simply no point spending £100 on a pickup when the guitar is probably only worth that, likewise the amp....you won't get a 10th of the benefit you should from something like the Nailbomb, and actives will be a complete waste of time.


In all honesty though, the biggest difference would come from getting a decent amp - your Korg would sound great through a Laney VC30.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.

Your name is Robert Johnson!?!?


And I'd suggest a high output pickup and for you to not play cleans on it, for an example of how agathis sounds playing cleans look up no youtube "Chatreeo erotomania" he plays through a good amp with a hello kitty guitar the distortion sounds okay but the cleans are terrible.
Quote by IronGear

And don't forget the UG forum discount!

Whats this?
Quote by IronGear
You could consider a pair of IronGear Steam Hammers!

Soundclips can be heard at the IronGear pickup comparator page:-


And don't forget the UG forum discount!


I have to agree with this fellow. I bought some Steam Hammers from them and I couldn't be happier. They are also in a squier strat.
Do they deliver to North America?
Quote by Pikka Bird
Go pikka yourself!
agathis isnt good at all. at least get a basswood guitar b4 u do anything. Id say to get a set of Lace sensor red pickups. Nice, hot single-coil size pickups. A locking trem wouldnt really go well on a Strat. At least not an old Agathis strat. If u rly want a locking trem, id try to get an Epi Les Paul studio with a Floyd Rose. At least get a new guitar.

Take off the pickguard to see if its routed HSS. or HSH. some of em are, and u would only need a new pickguard.
Kickass, I think I'm putting steam hammers into the Fat Strat pickguard/pickup set I got from guitarfetish since I play metal and heard their humbuckers leave something to be desired
Quote by Pikka Bird
Go pikka yourself!
I should have expected this exact response. Thanks for the advice in general - although I wouldn't say no to a new guitar (love an SG, if someone wants to get me one for Xmas ), I find that the Squier is just such a solid, easy-to-play guitar that I'd feel comfortable with taking it to its full potential. Anyway, if and when I get a new guitar, I could just take out the more expensive pickups and stick them in that replacing stock pickups. For me, a new guitar is, at the moment, an unnecessary expense, not to mention where I'd keep the Strat etc. I might invest in a Steam Hammer or two for neck and bridge, and probably get a new pickguard instead of cutting up the Strat's original (that way, I can keep the electronics and pickups altogether). In the mean time, I'll just manage with single coils until I can upgrade or get an SG. Thanks everyone!