Squier Strat upgrades, where do I begin?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Gutterguy, Jul 4, 2020.

  1. Gutterguy

    Gutterguy Tele-Meister

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    I bought a $109 Squier Indonesian Strat from GC. Serial is 0412... It plays well and I haven't opened it up yet. I would like to at least upgrade the Pickups and Electronics for sure. Any upgrades that are more desirable than most? Tuners, Pickups, etc.?

    Thanks, R.[​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  2. medownsouth

    medownsouth Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Put SC101s on it, a high mass trem, better tuners, better saddles - you'll have a heck of a player
     
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  3. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    You may want to play it first, that's the best way to decide if it even needs upgrades.
     
  4. preactor

    preactor Tele-Holic

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    Try Deaf Eddies Chromacaster mod. I would not have a Strat or Squier without one!
     
  5. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    Is it a Standard? I can't quite make it out when zooming in. I have a 2005 Walnut Satin one (see below).

    The tuners work fine on these guitars as long as you know how to properly string a guitar. No need to swap them unless you want the convenience of locking tuners.

    I've got the trem decked and blocked on mine. I replaced the damaged original with one from an Obey Strat. KMise has a nice, heavy block that I used on a recent partscaster build. I think it's available in both 2 and vintage 6 posts.

    Pickup choices are wide open on this guitar since it's (if it's like mine) routed HSH. I went with a HH configuration although I'm going to be swapping this out for 2 P94-ish pickups soon. The stock electronics are actually pretty good on the Standard, full size pots, an OK switch and Alnico pickups (not great but not bad, easily as good as what you would get from a GFS Alnico V set). Unfortunately with the one I bought, the originals were damaged beyond repair and had to be replaced, along with the pickguard and bridge/trem assembly. Here's what it looks like now...

    29295425250_230dd1a7a2_o (1).jpg
     
  6. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    Trow away the plastic nut and replace with a Tusq one.
    A good quality Tremolo with Steel block and saddles.
    Electronics and a possible mod or 2.
    If the tuners are sealed and keep in tune, keep them, if not then replace.

    Pickups can be suggestive. Some people like the ones that come on these and some don't. Do a good set up first and play around with the pickup heights before replacing the pickups.
    Which pickups to use are again - suggestive. If you want good Strat style pups then look at Deneb-Tone or Cavalier for Alnico types. Both makers are TDPRI Members and make great pickups for great prices.
     
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  7. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Unless you're having specific problems with the hardware, I'd do pickups and electronics first. Definitely junk in there right now.
     
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  8. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    I have to respectfully ask.....what's "wrong" with it now? Are you unhappy with how it sounds? ....how it plays?......does it stay in tune? "Improvement" is in the eye (and ear) of the beholder. Do you have a good guitar tech who can do a set-up? He/she may have some suggestions for changes. They might also help prioritize what needs to be done. You may want to get this guitar into "player" condition, play it until you know what is important to you, then upgrade or buy a better instrument. Good luck! ;)
     
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  9. Deeve

    Deeve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Nut first
    then probably, tuners

    a friend did this last fall & lost his mind, ordering NS gearless tuners, a roasted neck and some kinda "better" wiring harness - all told, spending more than $400 over the $119 he paid for the original guitar...

    Guess how many weeks before he traded it back?:rolleyes:

    Peace - Deeve BruceTele28986.jpeg BruceTele29074.jpeg BruceTele29084.jpeg BruceTele29125.jpeg BruceTele29137.jpeg
     
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  10. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    As a lover of cheap guitars here are my suggestions.

    1) good set up. No way to evaluate what needs upgraded without that first.
    2) trem block. Typically Squiers use a lightweight trem block, I would just get a drop in tremolo and replace the entire unit at one time.
    3) Pots and switch, the pots are usually smaller than standard USA or MIM models but if they are not scratchy and they turn fine I would leave them till you need to replace them.
    4) pickups - this is a hard one, I have replaced ceramic pups in a strat with Alinico 5s and realized the ceramics sounded better. Then I had another strat that I hated the ceramics and replaced them with some nice alinicos and loved the sound.
     
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  11. Javier668

    Javier668 Tele-Meister

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    Dont waste money.
    Play stock first.
    A better trem maybe.
    All the other parts are playable.
     
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  12. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    My Squier Strat sounded pretty good with the stock ceramic pickups when I set the right height adjustments, I only changed them because I set out to mod it when I bought it. DSCF0861.JPG
     
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  13. Switchy

    Switchy Tele-Afflicted

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    Replace the tuners and you'll be good. No kidding, the tuners are the weakest point of all Squiers.
    But Squiers are excellent guitars!


    The stock pickups are good until you start buying into everybody's opinion on pickups.
    But keep the original pickups for a while, you'll be surprised. Pickup sound is subjective.
    Do a real good careful setup and you'll have an excellent playable guitar in your hands.

    Oh, do buy some new strings.
     
  14. Brendan

    Brendan Tele-Holic

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    I picked up one of those on CL once. The 2-point trem is decent. No full block option that I could find, but it works just fine. I didn’t have a problem with the tuners. Pickups were worth upgrading. Nice necks on those.
     
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  15. richiek65

    richiek65 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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  16. Gutterguy

    Gutterguy Tele-Meister

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    I have been playing it and it sounds pretty good. Getting rid of the pickguard, white knobs and covers. Changing to black and I think I’ll settle on it. Thanks.
     
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  17. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    You are on the right track, I think. Get to know it. Fix the appearance.

    A good pro setup can make an astounding difference. Worth it.

    Always have a specific goal in mind when you mod. Making negative characteristics better is the highest priority. Trying to make something that's already good into something better will empty your wallet fast.
     
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  18. urbandefault

    urbandefault Tele-Holic

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    This. Always this.
     
  19. Engine Swap

    Engine Swap Tele-Holic

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    Got mine for $25. HSS pickup config.

    Played it. Pickups were a little thin and the HSS doesn't work for my style of playing.

    I got a SSS pickguard and a set of GFS pickups. Replaced the pots, because they were all 500K.

    Dressed the stock nut and tweaked the truss rod - that was it.

    Stock trem (floated) and tuners are fine. Sounds and plays like a dream.
     
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  20. Alcohen

    Alcohen Tele-Meister

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    If it has trouble staying in tune, a Tusq XL nut - it has lubricant baked in - fixed the problem on my Squier Cabronita. Other than that, YMMV.
     
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