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buying guitar parts
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Guitars, Basses, Amps & FX  
Author buying guitar parts
In the "guitar virgin" thread I wax about my 43-year-old self picking up the guitar and taking lessons for the first time. It's going well. I know chords!

So now I'm looking at toying with the old Squier Strat. The guys who run the little shop where I go dig this guitar and tell me that if I spend $400 on upgrading this particular instrument, I'll likely have a way way better guitar than if I was to buy a $400 on the craigslist. I'm not sure if that's true. But I might do a couple of things to it anyways.

So I'm looking at a few things that I have questions about.

First I plan to put a new bridge and block on this Strat. I've done business with Stewart MacDonald and I am happy there. But I also found, which sells "replacement parts" for significantly less than StewMac. Anyone use anything from guitarfetish? I've read a few of the guitar forums where it's very hit and miss. Anyone know of any other shops I should look for? (My next lesson is Wednesday morning and I plan to see what they can set me up with there as well.)

The next couple of things would be new tuners. I've found a lot of recommendations for Sperzel, which Musician's Friend carries.
Same question about guitarfetish where tuners "like Sperzel" are half the price.

And I plan to put at least one new humbucker in the bridge position. Probably a Seymour Duncan Duckbucker. However, in some places I read that X pickup is better in the neck, and Y is better in the bridge. Etc. How might one make such a decision?

And any other pick ups to recommend?

(I'd maybe ask all this on a guitar thread, but I'm happy at Muffs.)
I kinda disagree with spending 400 bucks on upgrading an entry level guitar...especially an old squire strat. fender has really improved their squire line in the past couple of years

imho 400 bucks would go way further getting a mid level guitar on craigslist...or even a new squire classic vibe tele would be a better bet.

you could get a huge choice of giutars for 400 bucks used...something like an epiphone les paul is a great great guitar for the money

I have a jazzmaster from GFS, it was really cheap so I cant complain, its decent, nice pickups.
Well that's the line of thinking I had going in. What I've read and what I was told is that the Korean Squiers from the 90's (mine was made in 1995) are better wood and necks than what Squier makes today, which is what makes it worthwhile. The logic as it was discussed at the shop was that once I was to put on a nice bridge, tuners, and pickups, these parts of the guitar would be much better than the same on a new Squier and even a low-end Fender.

If I were to go the route of waiting to get a better guitar rather than upgrading this one, I'd wait til I can tell the difference. A friend of mine has a $1100 Gibson Les Paul Standard and playing the same little on his that I play on my free guitar -- I don't hear or feel much difference really. The Les Paul sounds different. But not necessarily better.

And a related question: Between a $380 Squier Telecaster and a $450 Fender Telecaster, what's the diff?
Dump the Squire. You can get a brand new made in Mexico Strat at Guitar Center for $500.
richard_k wrote:
Dump the Squire. You can get a brand new made in Mexico Strat at Guitar Center for $500.

Yeah I KNOW that.

But what's better about a $500 MIM Fender than this Squier with nice mods? Are the pickups, tuners, and bridge going to be any good? Or are they just cheap stock Fender?
Given the choice of something I can buy for $500 and something I can modify/make for $500, I'll usually prefer to make it if the results are similar or equal.

I guess what it comes down to is the difference between a good Squier (good not good stock, but good modified) and the low-end Fenders.
There probably isnt much difference between a new squire and a entry level 'fender' all I know is that the squires I played 10 years ago were straight garbage, maybe they all needed a proper setup.

try them both, I know the new classic vibe series is really awesome...the pickups sounded great, the neck was good.

better necks and woods?

well I dunno about that, the neck part is probably refering to the neck shape which is personal preference.
Things I learned about guitar buying.

NEVER buy new. Seems like what you spend a Guitar Center you can get for half the price on Craigslist. So take that dough there for a much better axe. If it is a new guitar you wish to have, wait it out 2 months, someone always lets one go soon after they buy it.

The "players preferred" guitar is not the best. A lot of guitars are over hyped and people eat into that. Just because 75% of guitarists use a certain guitar does not make it a great guitar. The same could be said about parts. My favorite guitars are cheap Tesicos and Del Rays. People hate those. But to me they are the best sounding and feeling guitar I ever played. So play around with many models at stores and try to find the right one for you. Since you are looking for parts, try to demo guitars with these parts and see if that part is right for you. Hell you could like the complete opposite of the pick up set up that was recommended to you.
Mexican made Fenders are better guitars than Squier, in my experience. have recently tried my friend's Mexican made strat, and it was far te best strat I've tried, including American made and vintage strats. But thats the thing - you can never know for sure, specs and brand can't tell you that guitar will be good or bad. I've also played bunch of american and custom made teles, some of these were great, some filled me with anger how can tey cost so much and still sound like rubbish, and even being poorly made.

and regarding the pickups - if the guitar sounds dull when unplugged, it will sounds dull no matter what pickups you put in it.
go find a 1980's Japanese strat, amazing guitars for a great price.
Jason Brock
dodecabilly wrote:
Mexican made Fenders are better guitars than Squier, in my experience.

Danotranto already mentioned the Squier Classic Vibe series. I think they are better than Mexico Fenders right now.

Just a couple of days ago I went shopping for a cheap bass and I tried several Squiers. Out of all of them the Classic Vibe P-Bass stood out heads above all others. I bought it on the spot. I put a picture in the sticky thread here. This series is made in China and I'm very impressed. The quality reminds me of 1980s Japanes-made imports. The fretboard is a nice piece of wood and the pickups are the "real deal", no need for replacements. I'm tempted to go back and try the Telecaster from that line.

I tried their Vintage Modified series too and it was OK (it said Made in Indonesia on the back) but I still liked the Classic Vibe a lot better. The thing is that all of these different "series" have a Squier badge on them, but coming from different factories in different countries pretty much makes them completely different guitars.
Thanks for the info.

Since starting this thread, I bought a six-year-old USA-made G&L ASAT (Telecaster) two weeks ago that is really nice. It has a nicer response on my little Orange amp than the Squier Strat (1995, made in Korea) does. But I'm glad I didn't pay new price for the ASAT since I'm not sure it feels or sounds $1500 better. I look forward to getting my hands on a good tube amp at some point so I can really hear the difference.
Now that I have this ASAT with two good single-coil pickups I'm tempted to find one or two of those single-coil sized humbuckers, like the Seymour Duncan Duckbucker or Little 59 to put in the Squier. It's hard to justify this since the pickups would be double the worth of the guitar, but if I can find some used I'll probably do it, just to get a good idea of the difference. I'll also probably put a bigger block in it for better sustain. I wonder if getting it properly set up would make any sense.
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