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Mod Your Favorite, or Buy a New Strat???

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Shades of Blue, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. Shades of Blue

    Shades of Blue Most Honored Senior Member

    Jan 28, 2008
    South Carolina
    I’ve only got one Strat, and it’s sort of my baby. It’s a 61 Thin Skin. I’ve got Pure Vintage 65 pickups in it and it rocks. But, I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a MIM HSS Player Strat for more versatility. I guess my only issue is that I really don’t want another guitar to take time from the 61.

    Would you mod the 61 with a new bridge pickup, or just buy a new guitar? My trem is also decked, so I kind of like the idea of another guitar with a floating trem....maybe I’ve answered my own question!

    At any rate, just curious about the bigger picture. Do you prefer to make your number 1 exactly what you need, or do you prefer multiple flavors, even if they are for one specific thing/genre?
    Silvercrow and circles like this.
  2. jaybones

    jaybones Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Never need a reason to buy another Strat!

    I started out with a '76 hardtail natural (avatar, first electric, and second guitar ever at that time). I had a jones for playing with a tremolo (can't play Jimi or PF's Sorrow without one), so I ended up buying a Samick S copy from a pawnshop (from when they were making Fender MIJ's), and thought I could build off of it).

    Now I have 6 different ones, 3 that are FMIC family (not counting the Samick), and each one is a different flavor than the rest- woods, pickups, electronics, hardware, etc.

    For me, variety is the spice of life.

    And I wouldn't recommend changing a thing to that '61!
    evangilder, Nate D and Andrew Wasson like this.
  3. Andrew Wasson

    Andrew Wasson Strat-O-Master

    Nov 6, 2018
    Vancouver, Canada
    it's been my experience that a minimum of two Strats are a good idea. One can be the mod platform and you can have a bunch of loaded pick guards to swap in and out. The other can be the pampered baby that all other guitars are compared with. That said, I am not opposed to making tasteful changes to my #1 Strat.

    I’ve got my really minty 2010 Classic Player 60’s That has all the original bits but I’ve done some minor changes to the tone stack and wiring (rear tone control on bridge, no tone on middle, 50’s Gibson tone mod and 0.018uf tone cap).

    To accomplish the desire for a humbucker, I’m putting in a Fender S-1 switch on the volume control to switch positions #2 and #4 into series or parallel. In the normal position it’s regular Strat wiring with the quack on #2 and #4 but push the button and they are in the thicker and higher output series wiring like a humbucker. The tone isn’t exactly like a regular humbucker but it’s definitely a bigger wall of sound and then push the button and it’s back to normal.
  4. jrbirdman

    jrbirdman Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 3, 2016
    Elk Plain, Wa.
    I agree with jaybones - you never need a reason to buy another strat.

    I would get a second strat that you could use as a platform to try different configurations.
    Sometimes a different feel/sound of a guitar helps nurture your creativity.
  5. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 10, 2014

    If you love the tone of your current Strat. Remove the loaded pickguard and buy a new pickguard to add new pickups and mods and whatnot. Then you always have the 'home plate' to come back to if you want. Unsolder the ground(s) and the hot lead to the jack and you can move one for the other.

    I did not do that with my first Strat and eventually I pined for the tones of the original configuration. Parts were scattered. Eventually I got the original tones back but it took some time.

    Your Strat can sound like any guitar you want. I have an RCA jack like old stereo equipment that I just plug a new plate in. I also modded the body so I can slide the plates in while the strings are still tuned up.

    I have older MIM Standards and they are good. The Player Series seems better. So you can do that too. Or if you want to really mod, get a Squier Bullet or a used Strat-Like-Object (many out there on Craigslist) and have at it -- usually these need fret leveling. the non-Squier SLOs have chunkier necks more like MIM/MIA.

    Groovey likes this.
  6. strat_strummer

    strat_strummer Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 17, 2017
    In the shop...
    For the most part I would rather mod but once in awhile I see a new one I just cant live without....
  7. Textele

    Textele Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Oct 10, 2009
    I like to have 2 Strats that are very similar, and I do. If I ever have something go wrong at a show I have the back-up ready to go, and function close enough that it is a seamless transition. Also have a Les Paul mixed in about 20% of the songlist.

    One is my number 1 and the other is it's back up. But the back up gets played on plenty.

    Sounds like in your case, you should get the Player Strat as a change up!

    They are great guitars, that is exactly what my 2nd Strat is.

    Think of how long you can make the frets last before a fret job when you have two to split duty with. :sneaky:
    T Guitar Floyd, Yves and CigBurn like this.
  8. Ebidis

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

    Nov 14, 2013
    I would definitely rather have a second guitar than modify one that I like.
    AxemanVR and Andrew Wasson like this.
  9. Shades of Blue

    Shades of Blue Most Honored Senior Member

    Jan 28, 2008
    South Carolina
    Just bought a Player HSS. Going to put a Dimarzio 36th Anniversary PAF nickel covered humbucker in the bridge...yes, I’m a Mark Lettieri fan haha!

    DickBanks, Mankonis, circles and 5 others like this.
  10. CigBurn

    CigBurn Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 22, 2014
    Same Shed Different Day
    I could easily get by with just two but like a bit of variety, especially visually. So I kind of have things arranged to accommodate that.

    #1&2 are SSS. Pretty much identical except for finish.
    #3 is HSS currently but am considering a set of CS Fat 50's for it which will then move the HSS to #4
    #4 is HH and probably the least played. Actually its not probably the least played, it IS the least played. :)
    Tele is P94 neck and humbucker bridge.
  11. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 24, 2017
    Newnan ,Ga.
    Congrats on a nice choice !

    Now we need a pic of that 61 in here :0)
  12. JamesE

    JamesE Strat-Talker

    Mar 30, 2018
    Hamburg, Germany
    You made the right decision!
    Now, what do you do when you can't decide whether to play the SSS or the HSS? Buy an HH! ;)
  13. Alan Crossley

    Alan Crossley Strat-O-Master

    Nov 20, 2018
    Republic of Ireland
    Many years ago I bought a '63 Strat in the UK. I also collected numerous guitars during the time, but always came back with the 63.

    I bought it in 1971 as a twenty first present to myself. It wasn't overly expensive at the time and it had been tampered with before I bought it. In the 1960's, in the UK the desirable Strat was in Olympic White. However, due to lack of availability, most imports we're Sunburst. It was very common for buyers to buy the guitar new and have the supplier paint it Olympic White. My Strat also had a separate switch cut into the pick guard to allow the player to phase between the pickups, like we now have on a five way switch.

    I mention this simply because when I came to sell the guitar four years ago, the price I got was significantly reduced because the guitar was not "original ".

    With your '61, with it's decked trem, you can be reverted to original spec without devaluing the instrument.

    My modifications cost me many thousands of £ Sterling. But I didn't buy the guitar as an investment. It was just a beautiful looking guitar.
  14. Ebidis

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

    Nov 14, 2013
    The OP said his Strat is a 61 Thin Skin. That is an AVRI, not a vintage pre CBS Strat, so there is no vintage collector's value.

    Still, if it were my guitar, I would probably want to keep it original.
  15. Dare1

    Dare1 Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 16, 2011
    Personally, I prefer a variety of guitars. I love single coils, but I wanted humbuckers too. Wasn't gonna put one in my Strats, so Les Paul it was. One is tuned to Eb, but I needed standard tuning as well. Etc.
    Ebidis likes this.

    LOSTVENTURE Strat-O-Master

    Jun 15, 2007
    Personally, I would never mod my favorite guitar. Adding the second one was the only way to go.
    And, when you decide to mod the new one, it's time for a third.
    At least that was my thinking 30 guitars ago.
  17. Groovey

    Groovey Most Honored Senior Member

    Nov 17, 2016
    NC. USA
    Get a second ax...
  18. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Strat-Talk Supporter

    Feb 8, 2014
    Minnesota USA

    The Squier SE Special model is (on the most part) dimensionally identical to the Am and MIM Standards and make the best cheap platform for a Strat modding project imo.

    Here are a couple in depth reviews on mine (the 2nd link provides some tips on how to identify an SE model and the 1st & 3rd threads outline how crazy you can get with modding the electronics):

    The project took on a life of its own, constantly mutating as I pushed things as far as I could go, but it was well worth it for me.

    As I pointed out in one of those threads, I only decided to get an SE because I had a couple Seymour Duncan pickups laying around and I thought it’d be a fun backup guitar project, but it’s now one of my most favorite axes because it’s so versatile and sounds great!


    I did swap out the neck with a Fender Modern Player neck because it is a bit more refined, but the original Squier neck does the job well enough.

    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
    evangilder and Andrew Wasson like this.
  19. Badstratplayer

    Badstratplayer Strat-Talk Member

    Nov 26, 2018
    Baldwinsville, NY
    Congrats on new geetar, I had to Google who Mark Lettieri was.
  20. Alan Crossley

    Alan Crossley Strat-O-Master

    Nov 20, 2018
    Republic of Ireland
    I'm way behind on the technical knowledge you chaps have. So, a 61 Thin Skin is not a guitar made in 1961? What does AVRI translate to?

    Apologies for my ignorance, it only now that I'm building my first Strat PartsCaster that all this expertise is overwhelming to an older fellow. Regards Alan
    Silvercrow likes this.