Skip to content
Notifications
Clear all

strat upgrade

13 Posts
11 Users
0 Likes
2,745 Views
matt56789
(@matt56789)
New Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1
Topic starter  

I'm thinking about upgrading my mexican standard Strat HSS with a Callaham bridge and a Gibson classic 57 humbucker in the neck. To do this, I would also need to buy a new pickguard to accommodate the new pickup. All in all, this repair will cost about $300 US. Does anyone have any insight as to whether or not this upgrade will be worthwhile for me?


   
Quote
TRGuitar
(@trguitar)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3709
 

It's only my opinion, but your making a $300 upgrade to a $400 guitar ..... thats $700. I think it will play and sound better but not $300 worth. :?

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
ReplyQuote
Ande
 Ande
(@ande)
Prominent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 652
 

$700? With a bit of looking around, you can probably get a whole guitar of a better category...

Best

Ande


   
ReplyQuote
mmoncur
(@mmoncur)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 168
 

I put new tuners and new pickups in my Mexi Strat - it's probably about an $800 guitar now - and I don't regret it. Sure, I could buy another guitar (and I did!) but I like the feel of this Strat, it was my first guitar so it's sentimental, and I think I still saved money compared to an American Strat. More importantly I ended up with a guitar with exactly the pickups I wanted.


   
ReplyQuote
Hyperborea
(@hyperborea)
Prominent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 827
 

I think the value proposition of upgrading components on a cheaper guitar versus upgrading to a more expensive guitar depends on whether the upgrading the components on the cheaper guitar is just to bring the cheaper guitar closer to the more expensive guitar. If all you are doing is installing the same or similar components to what is on the more expensive guitar to the cheaper guitar and the final cost is close to the more expensive guitar then it may not really be worth it. Some things won't be upgradeable (e.g. body wood) or at least not easily/cheaply and you won't be able to get your money back out in the future if you decide to sell it.

If you take a $300 guitar and add $300 of stuff to it that you would get on the more expensive $700 model of the guitar is that a good idea? I wouldn't think so but there are extenuating circumstances (models discontinued, sentimental, etc.). On the other hand if you are happy with the $300 guitar but only want a small $50 change towards the $700 model it would be better to spend the $50 on the $300 guitar than buying the $700 one.

If what you are doing is taking the guitar in a direction that you can't go just by upgrading the whole guitar that makes a lot more sense. If you are adding a Bigsby to a guitar that doesn't have one or types of pickups or exotic wiring that no other model of this guitar has then that can make sense. I've dropped locking tuners and strap locks in all of my electrics - none of the similar model guitars usually come with them. I've added shielding and wired one up with the Jimmy Page circuit (all 4 pots push/push controls) - again not available.

In the end it's all fuzzy and there is no black and white answer.

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson


   
ReplyQuote
Steinar Gregertsen
(@steinar-gregertsen)
Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 503
 

I bought a used Mexican Strat some months ago and upgraded it with a Callaham trem block, Duncan Antiquity II pickups and a Callaham blender knob (blends bridge and neck pickups when pup selector is in potitions 1 and 5).

The first thing I changed was the trem block, and I'd say it's worth it - it's not like "wow, I got a new guitar!!" but it gave the guitar a somewhat more focused tone and better sustain. In combination with the other upgrades I'd say it 'elevated' the Strat from "decent" to "very good".

Steinar

"Play to express, not to impress"
Website - YouTube


   
ReplyQuote
gnease
(@gnease)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5038
 

Upgrading a guitar can give you something you can't buy off-the-shelf. Changing the trem block is probably a minor operation; but putting a 'bucker in the neck position is not, unless this guitar has a bathtub route (large, general purpose "bathtub" shaped pup mounting cavity below the pickguard). Anyone know? If it does not, you will need to route the neck position pup cavity. On the up-side: You don't really need to invest in a new pickguard, as the original can be routed for a larger pup. Saves a little $$$.

-=tension & release=-


   
ReplyQuote
Steinar Gregertsen
(@steinar-gregertsen)
Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 503
 

It'll need some routing, here's how it looks:

"Play to express, not to impress"
Website - YouTube


   
ReplyQuote
Ricochet
(@ricochet)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

Wouldn't be worth it to ME. To YOU? Only you can answer that. It'll be your own. You probably won't get back anywhere near what you have invested in it if you decide to sell it that way. Probably best to keep the old parts, put it back as it came and keep or sell the other parts separately if it comes to that.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
ReplyQuote
grwagner
(@grwagner)
Active Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 8
 

I'm thinking about upgrading my mexican standard Strat HSS with a Callaham bridge and a Gibson classic 57 humbucker in the neck. To do this, I would also need to buy a new pickguard to accommodate the new pickup. All in all, this repair will cost about $300 US. Does anyone have any insight as to whether or not this upgrade will be worthwhile for me?

Try a Seymour Duncan Little 59 (think that's the name). It's the same size as the single coil, and sounds pretty close to the Gibson. Not the same, but a lot cheaper :)


   
ReplyQuote
TRGuitar
(@trguitar)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3709
 

I added sustain to my Mexi Strat without changing the trem block .......... its called 5 springs cranked down tight. :twisted: I don't use the trem. I do have a replacement pickup in mine, but you see mine is an old Mexi Strat and I don't believe they had the Fat Strat yet when I bought it so it has 3 single coil pickups. (1992 model) I put a Duncan HotRails in the bridge that cost me $80. Oh, don't know about the newer Mexi's but my old one is routed just enough for the 3 singles.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
ReplyQuote
fredramsey
(@fredramsey)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 128
 

I added sustain to my Mexi Strat without changing the trem block .......... its called 5 springs cranked down tight.

Can you elaborate on this? What did you do? What was the effect? How can I do it?

Thanks!

:?:

Learning requires a willingness to be bad at something for awhile.


   
ReplyQuote
quarterfront
(@quarterfront)
Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 225
 

I added sustain to my Mexi Strat without changing the trem block .......... its called 5 springs cranked down tight.
He's talking about putting in 5 trem springs and tightening the trem spring claw down until the floating bridge doesn't float and is firmly pressed down against the body of the Strat. Better contact between the bridge plate and the body = better sustain.

As for the rest.... I have a 2004 MIM Strat. I got it because it was what I could afford. Later, as I played more and got curious about how mods would effect the sound, and more critical of the sound in general, I added a Calliham block, Ferriglide saddles, Seymour Duncan SSL-1's, Schaller straplocks, Fender/Schaller locking tuners, American Standard style string trees (2 in place of the original 1), copper shielding inside the body cavity, shielded wire to the output jack, upgraded pots, 5-way switch and output jack connector. Oooh, and cream colored knobs and pup covers. I think that's it....

I did this, for the most part, a piece at a time. I've learned a lot and hey, I've had to set the guitar up half a dozen times, so I know how to do that....

Sometimes you upgrade to get something specific that's missing; sometimes you do it to learn what happens when you change a component; sometimes you do it just because you're having fun playing around with the instrument.

Is my now $800 MIM strat "worth" $800? Well, I love it.... I still might swap out the pups for something different at some point. Then again, maybe I'll buy a pawn shop strat sometime and start working on it. Geez, I don't know.


   
ReplyQuote