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FDP Forum / The Squier Forum / Typical upgrades to a Squier Stratocaster

super mario
Contributing Member
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USA

tone to the bone no other way
Apr 14th, 2016 08:54 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

A good friend mentioned that his son has one of the Squier Strat pack Stratocasters that he got for him a number of years ago. His son has not used it in a while and the dad wants to do some upgrades to the guitar and has asked me to do them. I am looking for some input on typical upgrades that most guys are doing - he has mentioned pickups and tuners. Money wise, I am not sure of the budget he is looking for. It is more about surprising his son with some nice upgrades, etc.

Thoughts.....

Buddahead
Contributing Member
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National City CA USA

Middle age pretend gutiarist
Apr 14th, 2016 10:38 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I swapped out my pickups and pick guard. Installed Vintage Noiseless pickups.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Eat. Sleep. Guitar.

Repeat
Apr 14th, 2016 11:53 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Replace all the electronics (switch, pots, jack, and pickups) with good stuff, do a decent fret level & polish, tweak the nut, and do a great setup.

That will get you to probably 90% of the tone and playability of a US-made Strat. Many will disagree with me about that 90% number, but that's okay with me.



super mario
Contributing Member
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USA

tone to the bone no other way
Apr 14th, 2016 12:40 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Peegoo - pretty much what I was thinking in terms of getting there. Pickups I know are Pandora's box in terms of what folks like/don't like....will have to get a feel for he is looking for in terms of "tone"....going to be a fun project for sure!


amphead4
Contributing Member
********

Cincinnati, USA

Apr 14th, 2016 12:52 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Personally, before money is spent I would make sure the guitar is worthy. I've played a couple of Squiers with super flexible necks. If the one mentioned in the OP is like that, the owner should consider just trading it in on a better guitar.

reverendrob
FDP Data Goon
Moderator

When I sin

I sin real good
Apr 14th, 2016 01:45 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

One of the "Strat Pack" ones may not be a really worthy platform for a lot of $$$ upgrades.

Check out what a used VM Strat or Classic Vibe goes for, and base the feasibility on that to be honest.

LHW

Southwest Florida

Alone in my principles
Apr 14th, 2016 01:45 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"'His son has not used it in a while and the dad wants to do some upgrades to the guitar"'

Has the son lost interest in playing guitar in general, or just that guitar in particular.
It could be money wasted (unless your friend sells the guitar.)

super mario
Contributing Member
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USA

tone to the bone no other way
Apr 14th, 2016 02:17 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

A few points of clarification - (1) it is the son's first guitar; (2) he is definitely still playing, he has moved on to a Les Paul and Tele.; (3) his dad is nostalgic and wants to upgrade the guitar as a gift to his son. This family has been through a lot of stuff in recent years so this is more about a father-son reconnect. Understand about the question of quality of the Strat Pack units....still I see where he is coming from.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Apr 14th, 2016 04:49 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

This is a similar theme to a topic I posted awhile back about "over-capitalising" on a guitar.
Very easy to do, and I have done it myself.

That said, the particular example in my case is a
2002 MIC Squier Bullet Strat.
Yep, very cheap guitar but just has an absolutely beautiful neck. (btw, it's not one of the plywood bodies - it's block-built basswood).

Anyway, my point is I have spent over three times the original cost of the guitar & hardcase on everything but the neck & body (even a re-fret after 10 years). Countless hours doing different mods, a refinish etc etc.

14 years on, that guitar is still one of my most-played and I wouldn't trade/sell it for anything (not that I could anyway!)

If the guitar in question feels good, plays well and has some sentimental value... I say do whatever you (he) wants.

reverendrob
FDP Data Goon
Moderator

When I sin

I sin real good
Apr 14th, 2016 05:09 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yea, if all three are true, I agree, just no evidence of anything past sentimental value!

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Eat. Sleep. Guitar.

Repeat
Apr 14th, 2016 06:03 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

A friend of mine's young daughter wanted to start guitar lessons at the local School of Rock. The instructor recommended a Squier Tele or Strat as a starter guitar because they are pretty good right out of the box for an inexpensive guitar.

Compared to inexpensive guitars 20 years ago, these modern ones are *amazingly good* for the cost.

So my pal asked me what I recommended, and I agreed, with a caveat: get the $250 combo pack with the guitar, gig bag, strap, cable, extra set of strings, picks, and a little 10w amp. Then bring me the guitar for a pro setup, and she's off to the races.

I did a fret level and polish, worked the nut, tweaked the neck, set the action and intonation, adjusted the pickups, and lubed the string contact points. As a bonus I installed Dunlop Straplocks to prevent the dropsies.

After her first lesson the instructor called her dad and asked where he got the guitar because it was one of the best Squiers he'd ever played.

I'm not tooting my horn here; I just want to emphasize that a little thoughtful TLC applied to even a bargain-basement Squier can make a guitar play and sound really good.

I've said it before here: the absolute best upgrade you can to to any off-the-rack guitar is a good setup. It makes the guitar *easier* to play--and that is very important for someone just starting out.

super mario
Contributing Member
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USA

tone to the bone no other way
Apr 16th, 2016 06:09 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yup - it is the set-up that makes the sum of the instruments parts work in harmonic bliss! Fancy words for "Dang, this thing sounds and plays good!" Looking forward to this project....

reverendrob
FDP Data Goon
Moderator

When I sin

I sin real good
Apr 16th, 2016 07:15 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yep. They've gotten consistently better and better.

Just basic reality is the "pack" instruments will be the lowest of the low and need the most TLC in setup.

With the way that labor is most of the cost of the thing, makes a certain amount of sense.

super mario
Contributing Member
*********

USA

tone to the bone no other way
Apr 16th, 2016 07:36 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"With the way that labor is most of the cost of the thing, makes a certain amount of sense." - Way too true Revrob.....As this is a favor for my friend, won't be an labor charged on my part, just the cost of whatever he wants to do in parts....

reverendrob
FDP Data Goon
Moderator

When I sin

I sin real good
Apr 16th, 2016 10:11 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yep.

Just a case of it probably won't be transformed.

Improved, probably.

But I'm a "if I don't love the guitar as it is, I don't touch it, and if I love it, I don't touch it unless something breaks because I'm not going to wreck it!" guy.

VanGoghsEar

USA

Apr 28th, 2016 02:59 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

When I upgraded my Afinity Strat, I did not want to put a lot of money into the parts. I bought a loaded pickguard from Dragonfire, which was excellent for the price, it's fully shielded with a metal plate, has three layers as opposed to one original layer, has full sized Alpha pots, and the wiring/solder work was neatly done and the electronics quiet with nice vintage tones (I bought the vintage style pickups model). It was less than $40 at the time.

Not my favorite color, but...

Shows the full metal shielding

super mario
Contributing Member
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USA

tone to the bone no other way
Apr 29th, 2016 01:42 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Purdy neat stuff on Dragonfire's site there Vangogh....definitely worth considering, once the owner hands it off to me.


hushnel
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North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Apr 29th, 2016 09:31 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I agree the set up is huge. Last Friday on my way to a sheep and wool festival I swung by a GC in Gainesville. I was checking out short scale basses, one of the instructors, who knows me, pointed out the Squire Affinity Bronco bass. He felt it was the best bass in the shop. I played it, I bought it.

I dropped a Dragonfire Rail in it and I'm impressed, I have strings ordered but I'm quite happy with it as is. I have a four string adjustable bridge, Monday a set of quality U.S. pots, phono output and cap will be delivered, it's all I plan on doing to it. The pickup made a big difference. The bridge will nail the intonation and the high quality electronics will add to the quality, it needed a better cap, there was little effect on the tone as is.

I'll tweak the truss rod after installing the new strings but the frets are fine and the truss Rod is good as is.

It's a bit shocking that these are so playable.

(This message was last edited by hushnel at 12:32 AM, Apr 30th, 2016)

mirrorboy

Yorkshire, England

Apr 30th, 2016 07:05 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

If you do one thing, only change the nut for a Tusq replacement.

Then all it needs is a set of Fender Bullet strings and a proper setup.

FDP Forum / The Squier Forum / Typical upgrades to a Squier Stratocaster




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