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Stratosphere loaded pickguards

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by grim83, Jun 18, 2017.

  1. grim83

    grim83 Tele-Meister

    Jul 14, 2014
    I have my wife's old arbor strat laying around and find it is a fun change of pace from my usual tele and 335 combo. It has a seriously small neck and feels pretty good to play. My only gripe is the pickups are pretty crappy, so I've been looking for a low cost option as this is a pretty cheap guitar anyways. I ran across the cheap loaded pickguards on stratosphere for like 40ish bucks, I just wanted to see if anyone else has tried these. If so what were your thoughts. I typically play a mix of country, rock, and blues.
  2. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Dec 29, 2010
    The stuff Stratosphere sells is good. Whether or not it will be an upgrade over what you have, or whether it will fil your guitar is another story altogether. I don't know what an Arbor is, but it might not be shaped the same as a Fender or Squier, so parts might not interchange.
  3. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Tele-Meister

    May 29, 2016
    Sounds pretty cheap for a loaded guard! That includes pickups, pots, and all the wiring? I'd be leary at that price considering a pickguard alone can run you 25-50 bucks depending on source and material. I'd be interested to hear how they are.
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  5. grim83

    grim83 Tele-Meister

    Jul 14, 2014
    It's just a cheap strat knockoff that you could buy for less than $100 probably, but it's from when the wife was a kid so I might as well use it. Im hoping it will fit, but I'm pretty much split between the stratosphere option, some of the cheap ceramic Wilkinson's, or a set of Tex Mex.
    It is awfully cheap but alnico 5 magnets and all makes me want to gamble. Just hoping someone else already has and can give me an idea of what to expect.
  6. awasson

    awasson Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 18, 2010
    Not all A5 pickups are the same... Here's where I put my $40 ($35 when I bought them). I also bought a pickguard from them for $12/pair and a set of knobs. The wait for them to arrive was almost a month:

    I had a 5-way switch and pots so that wasn't a problem but if you need those, I'd buy a prewired kit from GFS. I don't recall what they sell them for but it's probably $25.

    The result is a very good set of A5 pickups, excellent materials and cloth covered wires.
  7. jvin248

    jvin248 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI

    This is the path I pursue with a bland or bad sounding guitar: change the tone cap(s), test, change the volume pot, test, add a series cap on a muddy pickup, test, swap out pickups. If you start with swapping pickups, you may have left other poorly sounding components in there and you'll swap more than one set of pickups. Lately I've been using Bourns pots, oak-grigsby switch, switchcraft jack, higher voltage non-branded caps. I've fixed guitars with just a tone cap(s) exchange - just today a MIM Strat got a new cap and sounds like a keeper.

    awasson likes this.
  8. grim83

    grim83 Tele-Meister

    Jul 14, 2014
    I planned on changing the other bits out as well arbors are bottom of the barrel guitars so anything should theoretically be an upgrade
  9. awasson

    awasson Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 18, 2010
    Hey with that MIM cap swap; did you swap out the OEM .022MFD and upgrade to a better quality cap or did you change the value of the cap?

    I've also changed out components to get improvements but on my MIM Strat, I wasn't able to get what I wanted without eventually replacing the pickups.
  10. uriah1

    uriah1 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Feb 12, 2011
    You pay for what you get..caveat emptor
    I got preloaded from them and Sigler.
    I usually don't try value PU..if I am going to
    hold on to gtr
  11. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Friend of Leo's

    Feb 16, 2014
    Auburn, California
    Reality check. It costs about a hundred bucks to get a halfway decent set of pickups, something like the stock MIMs, low-model Rose's, Vintage '59s, or Tex Mex's. What do you think the quality of pickups will be that come in your $40 pickguard? They're going to cost the Stratosphere about a buck apiece wholesale and come from Indonesia. Better to buy the parts individually or maybe just buy the wiring harness and order the guard and the pickups separately.
  12. Falconbill

    Falconbill Tele-Meister

    Sep 27, 2015
    $40 for a loaded strat pickguard? Dang, they must have a factory of toddlers with soldering irons banging these out. :cool:
    Chip.Lindsey and uriah1 like this.
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