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Thread: Help non guitar player upgrade Squier Strat

  1. #1
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    Question Help non guitar player upgrade Squier Strat

    Hi Folks Newbie's first post

    My son has defied my best expectations when I bought him a Fender Squier Strat pack last Xmas - he is still learning guitar and getting better

    He is now not satisfied with Single Coil Pickups and wnts to "go Humbucker"

    My question is (bearing in mind the whole kit only cost 150 Sterling) what is the best/easiest/cheapest route to upgrade the Strat Pickups to Humbucker ?

    Do I need to do all three or will just 1/2 be enough ?

    I guess that I ned something like dual rail pickups to fit the existing cutouts etc. ?

    Anyone upgraded a cheap Strat copy like the Squier to perform better ?

    Help !

    Thanks in advance

    Jim

  2. #2
    Junkie for soulful guitar metalprep6969's Avatar
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    You could replace the bridge or the bridge and neck pickups with the single coil sized humbuckers pretty easily. What kind of music does your son play? I can give you some suggestions on which particular pickups could be the best.

    \m/
    ...Like a child who's run away...

    ...And won't be coming back...

  3. #3
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    Thumbs up Music Style Update

    Quote Originally Posted by metalprep6969
    You could replace the bridge or the bridge and neck pickups with the single coil sized humbuckers pretty easily. What kind of music does your son play? I can give you some suggestions on which particular pickups could be the best.

    \m/
    Hi,

    Thanks for the quick response

    My son is mostly into Bands like The Darkness (Of Course he is only 15 and doesn't really remember Queen ), Green Day, The Offspring, Slipknot, Garry Moore and even the odd bit of Clapton

    Now he doesn't yet play proficiently of course but even I can tell that he's definitely getting there !

    His apparent "Logic" for wanting a Humbucker setup is that apparently "most rock bands" use Humbuckers I guess that this (if true !) must be down to the Humbucker characteristics staying cleaner under heavy distortion/effects ?

    Anyhows - given the above sketchy info (Logic validity notwithstanding) what's the most cost effective Humbucker upgrade you could recommend and how much is it likely to cost Santa this year ?

    Thanks again,

    Jim

  4. #4
    Junkie for soulful guitar metalprep6969's Avatar
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    Haha, first off, tell your son to get his butt on this forum so he can learn stuff from all the people here!

    Second, I would recommend the Dimarzio Tone Zone (single coil sized, not regular sized humbucker) for the bridge position, and the Dimarzio Protrack for the neck (it's also a single sized humbucker). Some other good similar pickups would be the Seymour Duncan Hot Rails, JB Jr., and lil '59 (the first two would be for the bridge, and the 59 would go in the neck). Each pickup should run Santa about 60-70 dollars. I'd check out www.chucklevins.com though, if you are in the US, for the best price. They are a store in the Washington, DC area, but they will ship and they have the best price on pickups that I've found (you'll have to call them or fill out the "price quote" on their website to get their prices though because they don't advertise them. Good luck.

    \m/
    ...Like a child who's run away...

    ...And won't be coming back...

  5. #5
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    Thumbs up SANTA Talks again.......

    Hi again,

    Hey Guy ! Just Cos' I'm active on the forums at this time (your time ? its 00:30AM Here in Scotland UK) unfortunately doesn't mean that I'm based in the US

    Once again thanks for the suggestions - on a slightly different vein is it really worthwhile spending $200-$250 upgrading the pickups on a $180 guitar ? Is the Fender Squier Strat good enough as a base unit to upgrade in this way ? or should SANTA be considering maybe spending $300-$500 on changing the Guitar ? If so what

    Another thread/thought what about adding say a Vamp-2 effects modelling unit to the existing Guitar instead ? I can pick up one of these units for about $150.

    Any more thoughts/suggestions/ideas ?

    Thanks again,

    Jim

  6. #6
    Junkie for soulful guitar metalprep6969's Avatar
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    A new guitar actually would probably be better. Squiers aren't bad guitars, but they are still for beginners IMO. For what, it's best that Santa discusses that with your son, even if it's just hinting so he doesn't realize he might be getting a new guitar for the holidays

    The V amp wouldnt' do much unless you wanted to play the guitar through the computer or wanted to buy a separate power amp and then a speaker cabinet to play through. Unless you're asking if Santa should get your son an amp, in which case I would recommend a combo to replace (i'm assuming) the Squier amp.

    \m/
    ...Like a child who's run away...

    ...And won't be coming back...

  7. #7
    IbreatheMusic Author Bizarro's Avatar
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    I'd only upgrade the bridge pickup in the Squier for the most bang for the buck.

    There are MANY options for a new guitar in the $300-500 range! Ibanez, Fender, Epiphone, and a bunch more. Here's a "pro tip", Look at the online stores for prices, and get the local stores to match those prices. A lot of times the local guys mark stuff up quite a bit waiting for Santa to come walking in...

    Vox makes a really nice little amp called the AD30VT for $240 US. It's nice, has lots of FX and amp models, and it very versatile in the tone department. You might want to check it out. I'm going to buy one for myself in the next month or so...
    -Bizarro
    Google is your friend

  8. #8
    rising shredmaster
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    I upgarded my quire with some EMG pickups in... real sweet sounding now... but it was only temporary while I find better guitar... then I will put the EMG's in that most likely...

    WIth the money you are talking about... It is much more reasonable to buy a whole new guitar...

  9. #9
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    I have a seymour duncan lil 59 in my strat (bridge position) and I have to say, it's the most effective one-step drastic improvement in sound I could have made. I love it. I play hard rock/progressive, and for your sons tastes, I'm sure he'd dig it. Remember though, amplifiers still play a major role in the sound... new pick-ups arent a be-all-end-all unless you have a decent amp to compliment them.

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    Thumbs up Lots to think about :)

    Guys,

    Thanks a lot for all the help and suggestions so far it has certainly given me lots to think about

    I still haven't made up my mind about whether to go the new guitar route (costly ) the new amp route (versatile ) or the upgraded pickup route (cheap if start with single bridge upgrade ) or maybe a combination of the single pickup and the Amp option. (Proves I'm not a cheapo Dad )

    A well decisions decisions as they say.

    Once again thanks for the really usefull and quick feedback and please feel free to post any other suggestions that spring to mind.

    Cheers,

    Jim

  11. #11
    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    you know,

    not to divert the topic, but in defense of the squier, i have to say, i've played my squier for 12 years now and i love it. it just feels right. great narrow neck. it still has all the original electronics and pickups. badly in need of replacement, true, but the only thing on it that's failed is the tone knob, and i've got a temperamental pickup switch. fender deserves a pat on the back for this beginner's guitar. solid!

    (i'm moving to a jagstang next)
    "All bad poetry is sincere" -- Oscar Wilde

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by fortymile
    you know,

    not to divert the topic, but in defense of the squier, i have to say, i've played my squier for 12 years now and i love it. it just feels right. great narrow neck. it still has all the original electronics and pickups. badly in need of replacement, true, but the only thing on it that's failed is the tone knob, and i've got a temperamental pickup switch. fender deserves a pat on the back for this beginner's guitar. solid!

    (i'm moving to a jagstang next)
    Actually your defense is wrong here. Squiers from 12 years ago are a different beast than the squiers of today. I actually wouldnt mind having an old squier. i just wouldnt touch a newer one. So the Squier you have was made when they were worth something unlike the ones now.
    Ibanez S470

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  13. #13
    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    yeah i dont know too much about them. mine came with NO pickguard. its just a plain red wood body. i love the fact that it has no pick guard. i think it was made overseas, too. i have heard the newer ones are made in mexico.
    "All bad poetry is sincere" -- Oscar Wilde

  14. #14
    Junkie for soulful guitar metalprep6969's Avatar
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    I thought Squiers are being made overseas while lower tier Fenders are being made in Mexico (ie Tacocasters)

    \m/
    ...Like a child who's run away...

    ...And won't be coming back...

  15. #15
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    My Squire strat is 2 years old and I think it is a really good guitar... When I still had my old squire-from-the-beginner-pack amp, I thought it was a piece-of-crap cheapo guitar, but then I got a new big amp with tube-pre-amp and all of the sudden my guitar sounded better than I had ever imagined..
    Seriously buy a good amp.
    Even though your son changes guitar, he wont change the amp if its a good one..
    It drastically improves the sound from the sucky squire amp.
    "You don't fill somebody's shoes, you come with your own shoes and kick the door down!!!" - Zakk Wylde

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