Andertons - Modding a Squier Bullet Stratocaster with Better Stuff

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by TokyoPortrait, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Afflicted

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    Hi.

    I thought this was interesting. I think I agree in principle with Lee Anderton - basically, buy the guitar you want, don't buy cheap and try to upgrade it to the guitar you want.

    But possibly only with regards to those with minimal or no experience at tinkering.

    For those who like to tinker, have experience, have a drawer full of spare parts, can spend money, etc., I'm not so sure I'd agree. I guess though, he's clearly not addressing those people.

    Anyway, here's the video I'm referencing. Probably should watch the one that inspired it first though, which I've stuck further below.





    Pax/
    Dean
     
  2. Plumber

    Plumber Tele-Holic

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    Always appreciate the Capts point of view even though I have made some small changes to exemplary fender custom shop guitars to make them a little bit more perfect for my needs

    Typically in strats I cut out the tone controls completely and replace the bridge with a JB jr - easily undoable if needed
     
  3. Mikey_Boss

    Mikey_Boss TDPRI Member

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    Modding it is half the fun (playing it and finding out it actually works being the other half :) )
     
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  4. howlin

    howlin Tele-Afflicted

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    I usually don't agree with Capt. A all that much as he's a bit of a stick in the mud IMHO but, in this regard, I'd have to agree wholeheartedly. After rebuilding a Baja Tele and then a Strat I realized that with all the $ I'd put into these guitars including the original price + parts & labor [some things I just won't do myself] I could have bought a very high-end guitar that I actually bonded with as opposed to these two which looked good on paper but I could never really get on with. I sold both for a significant loss too which is the other downside to all this modding business. YMMV but that was my experience.
     
  5. JIMMY JAZZMAN

    JIMMY JAZZMAN Tele-Meister

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  6. JIMMY JAZZMAN

    JIMMY JAZZMAN Tele-Meister

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    You do "bond" with a guitar you mod. Not saying it's automatically your #1, but there's a
    special affinity for something, anything for that matter, that you yourself make better.
     
  7. rickthescot

    rickthescot Tele-Holic

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    Completely agree with he above. I have 2 MIA Peavey Predators that are totally modified, love them both more than the Fender strat I sold years ago.
     
  8. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've never understood this concept. Even for folks are skilled at such things versus ham handed folks like me.
    I always see folks toss around the prices of new components that appear to be low compared to what I have found when I have considered attempting an upgrade. I once had a James Burton Tele neck in my possession and considered buying an inexpensive body. Then, when I looked at the cost of pickups, pots, bridge/saddle, control plate etc it was staggering. I decided to sell the neck and buy a guitar.
    Further, I've never understood buying a premium guitar and then modding it.
    Then again, to each their own.
     
  9. ricknbaker

    ricknbaker Tele-Afflicted

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    Me too! I've never e understood these posts where someone gets a new guitar and says that the first thing he's going to do is put XYZ pups in it and change the tuners and rewire it. Why not try playing the bloody thing first?
     
  10. Lobomov

    Lobomov Friend of Leo's

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    I really liked this vid .. just shows that modding comes with risk. That the pups you buy, if you haven't heard them before in person can fall flat on their face. That the cheap guitar modded might perform ok, but esthetics might still speak against it ... etc.

    Video off course has a narrow premise, which is buying new guitars at full price. It doesn't consider buying either a used guitar or something at a screaming deal. You might well find a guitar that feels and plays great, but fittet with something (to my ears) awful like dirty fingers pickups ... Still it a great price and putting in a set of new pups still makes it a good deal.
     
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  11. jackal

    jackal Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    It doesn't matter. I must mod.
     
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  12. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    Used parts is where I look. People go on tonequests all the time and sell off perfectly good, barely used, parts, often very cheap. For example, I bought a SD Seth Lover for $15 because the lead was "too short" and a set of US Strat pickups for $30 because they didn't get SRV tones. I've also bought tuners, bridge assemblies and other stuff used.

    I also buy a lot of inexpensive parts from Asia that are actually upgrades to what you find in Asian (mostly Chinese and Indonesian) factory guitars. Pickups are the big bargain here with Artec made brands such as GFS and Guitar Madness being among the best.

    Overall, I agree with the philosophy that if you're going to mod, do it yourself. Otherwise, save up the money to buy what you want instead.
     
  13. BCblues55

    BCblues55 Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    I also have a Predator and a Raptor that I’ve modified. A GREAT platform for modding!!!
     
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  14. tlsmack

    tlsmack Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't think I would upgrade a guitar that was $100-$200 new. Up around $300 is were i feel you can get a solid enough platform to customize. I also tend to do upgrades one at a time, so if you don't get the desired result, you know where the issue lies.
     
  15. SolidSteak

    SolidSteak Friend of Leo's

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    I bought one of those newer Bullet Squier strats earlier this year and they are definitely very good. MUCH better than I expected! I could have changed the strings, tuned it up and gone to a gig without doing anything else to it. I was indeed already planning to mod it though, because they don't make them with HH and a 3-way switch. A quick swap with a GFS pre-wired pickguard and it was done. Also, I looked into swapping out the tuners like they did in the Anderton's vid, but it didn't look worth the trouble or expense.

    Overall though, even my MIM Fender strat with Dimarzio Area S pickups is a much better guitar IMO.

    I think that is a big factor - when you buy a cheap guitar and it totally annihilates your low expectations, success! When you buy a more expensive guitar, the expectations are higher and harder to meet?
     
  16. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Holic

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    I have an electronics background - worked as a television engineer for 20 years. I enjoy the modding as much as playing but I don't automatically mod a guitar. It does get played first and then if something is missing or something there I can't get along with, that is when I start the mod process. I have several guitars that are unmodified and several that are. I do consider it fun to make a guitar into my vision if it is needed. I also consider it fun to just play guitars too.
     
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  17. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's

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    I just think the way they modded was very different to how most would do it. We'd typically start out with a guitar that we like some of the features of, a mid to high end squier or low entry fender or equivelant. Then we'd change stuff we'd want to change and I certainly wouldnt be putting in pickups that cost nearly £300 for a set of 3 about a 1/3rd of that in my reality . I wouldnt mod if it meant paying someone to do it, too expensive when you the only tool you need to buy is soldering iron plus solder for £15. Maybe get someone to do your fretwork if youre not modding a lot of guitars because its a skill that takes time to develop.

    Id always change the bridge on super cheap guitars because its going to have pot metal saddles and you'll see that when you change the strings because the strings will make an impression on them.

    So if I did something similar say a strat I would have bought a CV or what was a VM squier, give it a setup, upgrade the electronics and pickups thats if I didnt like the pickups (I really like the duncan design tele bridge pup). What else would you do to one? I like split shaft tuners, i find them faster to string than locking, youll get either steel saddles like on every other fender.

    If I wanted a fender Id get a clean used mim standard and swap the pickups, the electronics are already CTS, Oak grigsby and switch craft. Basically I wouldnt be spending more than what they did on their bullet strat in total and it would be better instrument (IMO anyway).
     
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  18. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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    with modding, first step is to take your time.
    get the best out of an instrument by a good setup, if than something is not good you can see if that can be changed with a little money.
    but if it feels not good (neck to thick, thin, frets to flat ore high etc) than i wood rethink and sell the guitar..
    i had a beautiful G&L Asat tribute, felt good, played good, all was good but in my ears the MFD pickups were to boomy even after extensive tweaking.
    because of the strange form/build of those wide MFD pickups, finding replacement would be hard and expensive and i sold the guitar.

    but than again, i have an old L6s copy of the brand custom, pickups were dead, neck had a severe up-bow and until now i did not like a guitar with tune o matic bridge (top of the saddles to sharp)
    but with a $ 10 roller bridge and some parts i have lying around it is starting to get a beautiful player and just like a holidaytrip, the trip is a part of the joy to ;);)
     
  19. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Auto-swapping for premium parts all across the instrument is where they went wrong. Few do that path. Most pick out one or two things they dislike and replace those.

    If you know how to properly 'tune up' your guitar then you don't need high branded locking tuners, the trapezoid ones are fine. No they may not be the best feeling tuners but they work.

    If you know that the pots and caps can push the pickup tones around you can swap in the premium brands a couple of times to get the brightness/darkness you seek for under $20.

    I block the trems as they end up being a distraction .. first I'll dive bomb instead of real playing, and then I'll think my tuning went out so I'll mess around with all the tricks of getting solid whammy tuning. So I avoid it. It also increases the sustain! without spending on a big steel block that is the fashion. Lots of scrap wood around for no cost.

    The Indonesian Squiers, other than the neck being way too skinny for me, are quite high quality (when measuring quality as identical unit to unit for low product variation) out of many prior factories used. Fretwork levelness is often quite well done. The pickups are actually quite good, if you are chasing classic tones with that 'springy sound' -- even though they are built with ceramic bar magnets (that make all the grown men run away screaming like little girls at the sight of them). Check them out, but not if you like chunky necks. They should really offer two neck styles, one skinny and the other chunky like a Tele and then clearly mark which is which so you can tell in random retailer and CL posts what is on the guitar.

    .
     
  20. howlin

    howlin Tele-Afflicted

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    You would think so but it didn't happen with these two guitars.
     
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