Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

"upgrading" a guitar that didn't need to be upgraded!

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by warthog, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Wrighty

    Wrighty Tele-Holic

    Aug 17, 2013
    Essex UK
    It's boredom. Get over the thrill of a new axe, just gotta 'improve it', gives us something to do!
  2. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    That boggles my mind really. If I laid down 3 grand on a guitar, nothing (but the bridge :)) will be changed, otherwise I’m not buying. I’ll gut Electros and Streamliners all day/every day but yeah, won’t see me taking pickups out of that ‘59 Vintage Select 6120 I’m shooting for.
    telemnemonics likes this.
  3. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Friend of Leo's

    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    I just hope it goes "back to the way it was" ok. Ya never know.....
    If I may say something in support of 1993 Korean Fender Squier Tele has "evolved" during the 15+ years I've had it. I never just did a "bunch" of stuff at one's been a long, gradual effort. Big changes have been completely stripping the finish, a Warmoth 24 3/4" conversion neck, Jackson "strat" pickups in neck and middle (yeah) positions, and Wilkinson top-loading bridge. Minor changes have been tortoise pickguard, V and T knobs, and selector switch and wiring for the added middle pickup. The point is, everything has been done over time. I think I'm through, but who knows? I may decide to add a margarita blender someday. :)
  4. beagle

    beagle Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 20, 2010
    I don't buy a guitar if it doesn't feel right, sound right or look right. In the last 40 years I've only replaced things that have broken or worn out, which (I think) comes to two refrets, two tuners, a switch and replacing a lost switch tip.
    Piggy Stu and matrix like this.
  5. LowThudd

    LowThudd Friend of Leo's

    Feb 11, 2014
    Sherman Oaks, Ca
    Been there, done that, bought the T-Shirt.

    I have an Affinity strat that I attempted to put a battery box under the rear cover for a Mid boost kit I have. But the Affinity body is so thin, I ended up punching through into the control cavity, and had to reinforce it with wood. Looks ugly. Of course, it was only a $20 guitar, but it was a NICE $20 guitar. Still bothers me when I look at it. I'll just have to put covers on it so I don't see the mess any

    I should have known better. I have the body of a Star shaped Hondo that I wanted to refinish in High School. Kinda ruined it. Still stares at me when I pass by it in the Garage. And that was 25 years ago. lol
  6. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

    This happens far more often than most would admit. For some reason people want to tinker. In most instances "the squeeze isn't worth the juice."

    Early on, I had an American Standard Strat but I thought some Seymour Duncan pickups would make it better. Hah! No perceptible difference in tone to my ears. I learned my lesson then and have not been tempted since.
  7. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    This "wrong" upgrade thing should not be looked upon as a mistake, but should be recognized as part of your tonal adventure. Without these changes, you would not know what the possibilities and potential of what the results could be.
  8. Lobomov

    Lobomov Friend of Leo's

    Jul 15, 2013
    Well first of all .. make sure that the reasons you don't like the new pups isn't a feel thing.

    I'd say change the neck back but give the new pups a chance. Once the old neck gives you the old feel everything might fall into place. Then just sell the rosewood neck.

    I feel the same way .. I much prefer Fenders maple necks than rosewood even tho they both are on something like an american standard.

    And also this:
    telemnemonics and Obsessed like this.
  9. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    No need to be upset about a mod you chose to switch back, it's not like you routed a vintage body for some huge crappy pickup and now it's ruined.

    The reason we like to mod our Fenders so much is 1) because they are so easy to mod, and 2) because we can switch them back with no harm done.
    The good result of switching back to stock is you got to compare.
    Sometimes we like a piece of gear better when we know for sure that it can't really be improved any further. Wondering if it might be better with this or that mod can be distracting, and the electric guitar is by nature a fluid thing with knobs and switches for different sounds.

    The result for me of decades of building and changing parts Fenders is I prefer a basic Esquire, but it needs to have the right body, neck bridge, pickup, control wiring, frets and strings.

    Had to do quite a few experiments to find what works for me.
    Now I'm not flipping switches or wondering.
    Well, there's still room for improvement, but some guitars stay as they are.

    I have zero guitars that are all original as they came from the factory.

    I have lots of parts and can throw together a new guitar any time I have some GAS or a "new idea".
    New idea ha ha ha ha ha...
    Piggy Stu, BorderRadio and awasson like this.
  10. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Nov 18, 2010
    Well, I think this is great news... put the guitar back together and you’ve got a good start on your next guitar build.
    telemnemonics and Lobomov like this.
  11. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    Yup, I think Lobomov has a great idea of changing back to the maple neck, but keep the pups in for awhile to test.
    awasson likes this.
  12. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Friend of Leo's

    Oct 14, 2015
    IL, USA
    Sometimes it's about the journey instead of the destination. Can't always learn what you like until you learn what you don't like.

    Take your time with these things and enjoy the process.
    awasson, Obsessed and nojazzhere like this.
  13. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

    Nov 15, 2010
    I like coffee, including the "boutique brews“...however, I'm just as happy with a Senior coffee from McDonald's for 75¢ as a $3.95 cup from wherever.

    Likewise, the only time I will "upgrade" or modify an instrument is if it "feels" right (neck, action, balance, weight) but is uninspiring sonically.

    This was how my #1 Telecaster became my #1...the original coil-tapped neck-position humbucker and 5-way switch sounded bad.

    After a few variations, I ended up with the current configuration--a P-90 in the neck position, 4-way switch and a Fender No-Load Tone Pot (along with the stock flat-pole bridge pickup).
  14. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    You know, I'm a bit mystified about this basic fact, that there are guitars on the racks that look, feel and sound right to players.
    Way back I used to find such guitars, but now there are zero guitars that do that for me. Partly because I prefer actual jumbo frets, where Fender generally fits small or medium jumbo which are all low height and different width.

    Players whose needs are met by manufacturers are lucky, and I guess that typical new guitar specs are tailored to the more commonly desired specs.

    What do so many Fenders have thin necks?
    (No idea, maybe only hardcore rednecks actually like them fat?)
    Why do so many Fenders have low frets?
    (Because it says on the internet that you can't play in tune on big frets?)
    Why are most bridge pickups either shrill or else muddy?
    (Maybe because I'm Goldilocks?)
    Why are lower priced but highly regarded guitars (like CV Squiers and Epi Pros) so unsatisfactory to me?
    (Maybe because I already have better quality guitars and don't want variety for its own sake?)
    Why is it so popular to buy lower end guitars and spend as much as the original purchase price on mods that lower the resale value?
    (Maybe I'm not the only player who can't find a satisfactory guitar on the racks?)
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
    El Tele Lobo and beagle like this.
  15. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    Actually many of the "mods" I end up doing are to make an Esquire pretty much stock '50s spec except for the bassy switching.
    My only real deviation from vintage is jumbo frets, which are almost akin to choice of strings.

    Over the years Fender has been modding the original designs, keeping up with the times, or just to appear "new and improved". Also cheaper to make, like the plastic pickup bobbins that work fine but are a mod to the original design that also worked fine.
    Thinner necks are a huge IMO downgrading mod that Fender seems devoted to.
    Almost every modern feature is a mod, and only vintage RI guitars would be actually stock IMO.
    Even the idea of the hot overwound Tele bridge pickup being vintage is a mod, because most original '50s Tele bridge pickups were not hot and dark, like we seem to be told when sold vintage style pickups in the 7-10k ohm range.
    A hotter bridge pickup does work well for some stuff, and the stock low wind pup is a bit of a challenge to work with if you play heavier styles.

    Overall and over the decades of evolution, what we call mods are just spec choices.
    Since Fender has been modding Fenders for almost 70 years, we have a lot to choose from, and a fairly low chance of finding all the right specs in one guitar.

    One thing that helps me keep it simple is using actual fender parts.
    My favorite pickups are old Fender, but some get rewound to specs I like.
    I do have plents of aftermarket pickups in boxes.
    There is nothing that can't be done with Fender parts AFAIK.
    The only parts i buy new are RI three saddle bridges RI Fender Gotoh tuners, pots wire and caps.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  16. beagle

    beagle Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 20, 2010
    I don't buy guitars very often, perhaps one every ten to fifteen years, if I find one I like.
    (Perhaps because I really don't need more ?)

    So mine aren't particulaly modern, don't have skinny necks, jumbo frets or flat fingerboards.
    (Maybe because I'm Yorkshireman that doesn't like parting with his money and also extremely picky?)
    El Tele Lobo and telemnemonics like this.
  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    IIRC I found a guitar I liked on the rack 10 or 15 years ago...
    Georgia twang likes this.
  18. beagle

    beagle Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 20, 2010
    My favourite guitar at the moment is a Squier Mini Strat... :lol::lol::lol:
    telemnemonics likes this.
  19. gobi_grey

    gobi_grey Tele-Holic

    Jun 7, 2011
    clinton, ia
    It makes for an annoying used market. I usually don't tinker unless it needs it. I like to enjoy the product that was meant to be enjoyed. If it's a respectable product, we should respect the product. If I owned a classic car/truck I would want it to be bone stock. 100 years from now everyone will believe that all cars from the 30's, 40's and 50's came with scooped hoods and flames on the sides.
    beagle likes this.
  20. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    Yeah it is interesting... guys cannot wait to attack a guitar with a soldering gun and a screwdriver as soon as they get it, yet how many times have we seen someone post a pix and ask, is this original???

    beagle and SheldonP like this.
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