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Squier Standard Strat Upgrade Advice

Discussion in 'Squier Strat Forum' started by Shaolindelt, Feb 12, 2018 at 11:38 AM.

  1. Ace38

    Ace38 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    47
    444
    Aug 8, 2016
    Tulsa, OK.
    Umm....for real? Does stainmaster cover your carpet if your cat or dog pees on it?
     

  2. Shaolindelt

    Shaolindelt Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    39
    51
    Monday
    Kentucky
    Total sarcasm. :D
     
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  3. Ace38

    Ace38 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    47
    444
    Aug 8, 2016
    Tulsa, OK.
    I missed it! Sorry, been too many serious and similar posts lately! @Shaolindelt
     
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  4. RegularJim

    RegularJim Strat-Talker

    Age:
    45
    160
    May 8, 2017
    Winthrop Harbor, IL
    I have a Squier Standard Strat too. I made two changes. First the nut broke, so I replaced it with a Tusq XL. Also, I wired the bridge pickup to a tone pot. I was a little put off by the bright pickups at first, then realized it has 500K pots. Was going to change them, but instead I just turned the volume and tone down and lowered the pickups a bit and that solved the problem for me. $0.00 spent on upgrades!

    I used to do a lot of mods, but now I find that in most cases they're unnecessary unless something is just broken.
     
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  5. Shaolindelt

    Shaolindelt Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    39
    51
    Monday
    Kentucky
    No worries. I probably should have posted an emoji to reinforce it! If there was a “saracasm” font it would be my default setting!!!!
     
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  6. Shaolindelt

    Shaolindelt Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    39
    51
    Monday
    Kentucky
    Thanks! Honestly, the more I’m looking into it, the more I’m thinking I’ll probably do two things:

    1) Get another guitar. :) Because - well, who needs a reason?

    2) Upgrade everything on this one at some point. I like the bones, but new tuners, a new nut, pickups, pots, shielding, switch, wiring mods, etc. The reason? None of those are great pieces now and it will give me experience in working on my guitar and a chance to understand more about how things interact. Almost nothing expensive would be “lost” on this guitar. I could always move pickups to a new guitar if I fall in love with them but want them behind a better guitar. If I use a loaded pickguard, even easier.

    I probably won’t modify later guitars as much because I’ll be looking to find ones that overall have what I want. But I don’t want to take a $1200 MIA Strat and mess it up either. I’d rather make a mistake on this one and learn from it. :)

    My debate right now is just pots (which I think could be an improvement for issues I have with their control) or i found a loaded pickguard with a recommended pickup setup (SSL-2s for neck and mid with a SSL-6 in the bridge) for $199.
     

  7. Groovey

    Groovey Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    57
    Nov 17, 2016
    NC. USA
    I wouldn't wait on lowering the pickups. Especially if you like the "clean" tones. If you don't like the results it's easily reversed. I have a Squire that udergoes some kind of mod or change seems like every 6 mo. Wish I had lowered the pickups a year ago. I'm talking flush with the pickguard low. 7mm below the bottom of the 6 string.
     
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  8. Shaolindelt

    Shaolindelt Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    39
    51
    Monday
    Kentucky
    I’ll let you guys know this weekend. I’m out of town for work so have been feeding my guitar fetish at music shops until I get back home! :)
     
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  9. RegularJim

    RegularJim Strat-Talker

    Age:
    45
    160
    May 8, 2017
    Winthrop Harbor, IL
    Have fun then! :thumb:

    I did my upgrade learning on cheap-o yard sale and craigslist guitars and $20 loaded guards on Amazon. I'm kind of a scaredy-cat (and a tight wad), so I wouldn't want to mess up anything as nice as your Standard.

    I don't think you'll find many folks on this forum that will try to talk you out of anything.

    Good luck, and let us know how it works out. While you're at it, check out this guy's Squier Makeover video:

     
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  10. Shaolindelt

    Shaolindelt Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    39
    51
    Monday
    Kentucky
    Well it is just a Squier Standard! And i watched that video before - part of my inspiration!!
     

  11. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 10, 2014
    Michigan
    .

    My usual:

    -keep the stock tuners, as long as you 'tune up' to pitch. If you try to hit pitch on the way back down you'll blame equipment all day long.

    -switchcraft output jack

    -Nashua aluminum flashing tape in the cavities and back of the pickguard

    -shielded cable from volume pot to output jack

    -Bourns pots, 250k for Strats

    -Leave stock pickups and adjust tone with pot and cap selections (measured values).

    -Dan Armstrong Blender Mod (or 4-way for a Tele, split coils for LPs).

    -Fret level/crown/polish plus full setup.

    .
     
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  12. southsidesmoka

    southsidesmoka Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

    Age:
    38
    14
    Feb 3, 2018
    Columbia, SC USA
    Upgrade your pickups to something of better quality. You have a beautiful guitar. Squier pickups are, from my experience, weak and harsh. I prefer Fender Texas Specials for the blues and rock I play...or Lace Sensors for more modern tonal productions. Once you change those pots to some CTS-branded 250k's with either a .022uf (original tone) or .047uf (standard tone) capacitor (all guitar tone controls, including those Squier Strats, have tone capacitors...without the cap, the tone control would simply detente the level of the output signal), you should be able to produce more of a standard Strat tone.

    Check out a site called GuitarElectronics for wiring diagrams, ideas and parts. Hope this is of some assistance or inspiration to somebody. Thanks for reading.
     
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  13. Nadnitram

    Nadnitram Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    49
    552
    Jul 18, 2017
    Canton, Ohio
    A couple of years ago, I bought a cheap Harmony H80T as a platform to learn all about strats. I wanted to start with mechanical stuff, and then move on to soldering. I learned all about the mechanical stuff -- I took it apart, reseated the neck (without the shim that a previous owner had added), adjusted the truss rod, adjusted the intonation, set the string height ...

    In the process, here's what I learned:
    1. I wanted to replace the tuners, but after tightening the original tuners, I found I didn't need to replace them. I don't use trem, so this worked as a long-term solution.
    2. I wanted to replace the nut, but after adjusting the truss rod and tuners, I found I didn't need to replace it.
    3. I wanted to replace the pickups, but after lowering them and then adjusting them several times, I found I didn't need to replace them. The dumb thing quacked just like the sound I had in my head.
    So I ended up with a killer Strat for $40. And I never learned to solder.
     
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  14. Nadnitram

    Nadnitram Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    49
    552
    Jul 18, 2017
    Canton, Ohio
    Sorry. I never properly welcomed you to the forum. Welcome aboard!
     
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  15. southsidesmoka

    southsidesmoka Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

    Age:
    38
    14
    Feb 3, 2018
    Columbia, SC USA
    From an electrical engineering, mechanical and physical standpoint, adjusting your pickup height will move the center of the magnetic field produced by the pickups either up or down - ultimately you want to find the sweet-spot where that field is perpendicularly centered with the vibrations produced by the strings. This magnetic field is weaker in pickups with less wire coil windings and cheaper magnets; i.e. factory Squier pickups from Korea/China/Indonesia, hence the pickups will need to be closer to the strings to properly produce their intended output levels.

    Cheaper pickups of any make/model use less copper coil windings to save money and cheaper, magnets that are not musically tuned to save even more money. AlNiCo magnets - Aluminum, Nickel and Cobalt in composition - are the preferential standard in guitar pickup production. It's these less than desirable magnets that are the main problem because they are NOT AlNiCo-based. Also, the minimal amount of windings used on Squier factory pickups affects their volume - they output a weak signal. Bottom line...GET AWAY FROM CHEAP PICKUPS - your tone will simply morph from what was once considered acceptable to immaculate. Period.

    Seriously, invest in some premium pickups to get rid of the harshness produced by those factory Squier pickups. They are fine for learning the basics but not for bathing oneself in sweet, silky, sultry Stratocaster tone. You can lower and raise cheap pickups all day...it's just like putting lip-stick on a a pig.

    Also, migrating from those factory 500k potentiometers to standard value 250k pots will also lend to the traditional tone of the single coil pickup setup present on a Strat and aide in diminishing the harsh and brittle nature of the factory Squier setup. High value pots, like 500 kilo-ohms, are better suited to humbucking pickups. Squier uses 500k pots to try and compensate for the low-voltage signal put out by the cheap factory pickups.

    About the the tone control capacitor...a 0.022 micro-farad capacitor is more suitable for frequencies at a higher point (think treble and humbuckers) while a 0.047uf cap is preferential for the frequencies at a lower point (think mid-range and single coils). It's a matter a taste, I suppose. Check out this post about tone caps by Seymour Duncan.

    And...in case you get stuck soldering the back of a pot - check out this particular post on how to solder over at Seymour Duncan's site, as well.

    Hope this is of some help.
     
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  16. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Strat-Talk Member

    88
    Dec 16, 2014
    Atlanta, GA
    Squier Standards have Alinco pickups.
     
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  17. Ebidis

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

    Age:
    51
    Nov 14, 2013
    Alabama
    First: "This magnetic field is weaker in pickups with less wire coil windings and cheaper magnets" is a false statement. The magnets create the magnetic field, not the coil. The amount of windings in the coil has nothing to do with the strength of the magnetic field. Also "cheaper" ceramic magnets can be quite a bit stronger than Alnico.

    Second: Squier Standard pickups use Alnico magnets.

    Third: every other part of your post is opinion presented as fact.
     
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  18. southsidesmoka

    southsidesmoka Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

    Age:
    38
    14
    Feb 3, 2018
    Columbia, SC USA
    To elaborate and be more specific as I should've been in my original post, AlNiCo-V or Alnico 5, a particular composition of AlNiCo, is the magic blend of Aluminum, Nickel and Cobalt that does it for Stratocaster pickups.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018 at 1:07 AM

  19. southsidesmoka

    southsidesmoka Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

    Age:
    38
    14
    Feb 3, 2018
    Columbia, SC USA
    I have no problem admitting when I've made mistake. However, I am not trying to pass opinion as fact - I am simply sharing what I have learned over the past 24 years of playing and modifying Fenders and Squiers. If I have made an error, it's due to the fact that I am human. I apologize if I have stepped on any toes - that was not my intention. My intention was to enlighten, educate and share knowledge. If I learn a thing or two along the way, great! Thank you for the admonition, sir.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018 at 1:12 AM