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Buy an expensive guitar or mod a lower / mid range model?.

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by thomo5150, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Groovey

    Groovey Most Honored Senior Member

    Nov 17, 2016
    NC. USA
    I have modded a Chinesse Squire after a 50$ purchase, and
    ugrades as follows

    +18$ bridge saddles for import
    +80$ slotted bone nut and set neck (outsource)
    +25$ GFS solid steel tremelo block (no audible change)
    +18$ black pickguard (looks cool black on black)
    +280$ USACG neck, ebony fingerboard, compound radius
    abalone face and side dots
    +95$ Schaller f series staggered height, locking
    +15$ chrome colored plastic knob and pickup covers
    +85$ fezz parka harness w option for series/parallel
    +93$. set of single coil set custom pickups, delivered

    +‎150$ TSA Case

    Even without the case your up to 759$ US.

    Today I can do the bone nut and neck set myself. But it's tricky. Could take a few days. Still 20$ for the nut and time spent. If I did it myself. Forget the large block. -25$

    Still ~ 680$. No case.

    Unless you REALLY like modding tweaking , I'd say buy up. Aim high. If you Do like mods and upgrades, I'll be your best friend.
    Yves and Stratoskater like this.
  2. Groovey

    Groovey Most Honored Senior Member

    Nov 17, 2016
    NC. USA
  3. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Find a guitar you like and buy it. Play it a while, then play it another while, then some more. Then think about it some, forget about it some. Maybe you bought an expensive guitar that suits you, maybe you bought a cheap guitar that suits you, maybe whichever one you bought needs work. Do that.
    skypeace likes this.
  4. CigBurn

    CigBurn Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 22, 2014
    Same Shed Different Day
    Totally depends on the player, his interests and to a huge extent his skills with whatever mods he has in mind. If you can do a really nice finish yourself, setups and upgrades to the various hardware at a competent level, the calculations change a ton.

    For me, I have a pretty specific feel and sound I enjoy as well as the guitars appearance. Having several strats, I migrate upgrade them, with one getting the best neck or whatever and then moving the replaced parts to one of the others.

    That said, I have two partscaster strats and tele that get 99% of my time. I have 3 other strats that languish of which only one is likely to stick around for a refin and build. Crap what was the question again?

    Oh yeah, get what works/plays/looks/sounds best for you and be happy. :)
    thomo5150 likes this.
  5. heltershelton

    heltershelton BANNED Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 5, 2013
    im going to start building them myself. even then you can spend a lot. ive got about a grand in my tele, but i hand picked every single thing about it. neck radius, frets, profile, body wood, tuners, pickups, bridge.......everything.
    rich724, Ruscio, Grux and 1 other person like this.
  6. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    I hand picked my nose earlier.
  7. CarbonCanyon

    CarbonCanyon Strat-Talker

    Mar 30, 2018
    Mt. Rainier
    That's why I choose to build... At least with Fender type guitars...I can spend 800 bucks on parts and get exactly what I want.

    The only draw back is my own set up limitations which are constantly improving with my increase of knowledge and skills. Even with those deficits they play nearly as well as those that I've played that I loved the most.
  8. Class A Knob

    Class A Knob Strat-O-Master

    Nov 25, 2017
    It seems like you're asking the difference between a hot guitar and one that's 100% stock that has "provenance". So the next question would be: who exactly is this guitar for?
    bgmacaw likes this.
  9. ole lefty

    ole lefty Strat-Talker

    Mar 24, 2018
    north carolina
    i dwelled on this myself for a while before i bought mine,, and finally decided to go with an usa american standard used,,,, i wanted a rosewood fretboard and sunburst,,, lefty. so i looked and waited until one came up on reverb. i got a 2004 in great shape usa for 600. i usually don't buy anything unless i play it,,but with all my parameters the market was kinda small. but it came in and was fine,, i took it to my guitar guy and he set it up and cleaned everything and got her running great for 65 bucks including dressing the frets and freshening up the fret board and it feels and plays like a 1600 dollar strat.... so middle of the road worked for me. bought a tkl professional case-TKL 8930 ,,built like a tank at my local music store for 179.00 out the door,,, guy saved me about 50 bucks there . its a little heavy with the guitar in it but its protected well.

    terry m
    Stratbats and thomo5150 like this.
  10. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh needs you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 10, 2014
    Initech, Inc.
    I love to tinker. Gimme an upgrade platform any time.
    Ruscio, Grux, johnnymg and 1 other person like this.
  11. Jason D

    Jason D Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 30, 2016
    Fulton MO
    I like a mid-range strat, modded not stirred.
  12. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 21, 2010
    Sheffield, UK
    If I need a guitar, I go and find one I like. I prefer new, but a good clean used one without mods or wear might be acceptable. I don't want to do anything more than a set up. I don't collect or trade, so anything I buy has to be just right for me. I prefer Tokai or Japanese Fenders with vintage 50s specs. Fender USA have absolutely nothing that interests me now.
    skypeace and Neil.C like this.
  13. esseff

    esseff Strat-Talker

    Dec 19, 2017
    Definitely a modder of mid-range Strats.

    I like to make them my own and put my stamp on them. It makes me laugh when ppl say you can’t improve on Leo’s design. Hell, he went to G&L and improved on it himself! Jimmy played his upside down, he cared so much about the design!

    I do have criteria on what I buy to do my modding tho. No Squire and no Mex standards. My favs are upper end Mex models like the Artist series or the special models like Classic Players, etc. I think they give the best bang-for-buck, fit, feel n features but are cheap enuf that you don’t mind messing with them.

    Strangely, I never mod any of my Gibsons. It’s like they deserve more respect (and they are hell expensive).
    skypeace likes this.
  14. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985 Strat-Talk Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    The first thing I noticed was that he said the Squier had new frets... Well, that is major surgery, and about the most expensive thing yu can do to a guitar, so that negates anything that is said afterward.
    Stratoskater and bgmacaw like this.
  15. thomo5150

    thomo5150 Strat-Talk Member

    Dec 16, 2009
    Perth / Australia
    Depends what you call expensive?
  16. artgtr

    artgtr Artgtr Strat-Talk Supporter

    Aug 18, 2013
    Modding expensive guitars beyond being able to return to stock, could cost you value. I wouldn’t take a $6500. Masterbuilt & start modding it. This is the price range I consider beyond what I would spend. A new Masterbuilt this would be the average price.
  17. TheDuck

    TheDuck Most Honored Senior Member

    Jan 12, 2016
    Lil' Rhody
    A soup is only as good as its stock.

    A cheap guitar, no matter what you do to it, will only ever be a cheap guitar. No matter how much money you throw at it.

    Spend the money and get a quality guitar. In the long run, you'll be happy you did.
  18. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    Well, he was comparing it to a 1977 Strat. That's not exactly the pinnacle, is it? A Strat from Fender's worst period in history - when QC was at it's lowest? :confused:
    Ebidis and Thrup'ny Bit like this.
  19. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Most Honored Senior Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Running with Scissors
    I prefer to buy guitars that I like the feel and tone of. If they are high cost then so be it, but I do prefer new so that I know no one else has messed with it too much.
    Stratoman10, TheDuck and Thrup'ny Bit like this.
  20. newplayeroldguy

    newplayeroldguy in the wind

    May 12, 2015
    north and east
    I started with a cheap guitar and a cheap amp and wasn't happy with either even after a good set up. So I found the right MIA for me and then I went through a couple of amps and got the right one after a couple of false starts. Now I've got what I need and didn't spend a fortune to get it.
    Stratoman10 and Stratoskater like this.