How do *you* make a new Stratocaster *your own*

cheapshades

Strat-Talk Member
Feb 12, 2020
35
Indiana
I play it and experiment with pickup elevation, looking for my idea of what the guitar should sound like. Most other things are good to go, or I would not have brought the guitar home.

I spent a few days setting mine up. I began by setting it up for 10's (which is what I use on my PRS with slightly shorter scale length). But, I just couldn't get 10s to feel *right* on the 25.5" scale length Strat. So, I started over and went back to 9s. Now, it is butter and feels nearly identical to my PRS (which is sporting 10s).

I probably spent the most time dialing in the pickup height. That's the one part of a setup that I just haven't mastered. I know very well how I want a guitar to *feel*. But, with a new guitar that has unfamiliar (but beautiful) pickups, I had a tough time knowing how it should *sound* with various styles of play. But, I finally nailed it, so now I just get to play!

It is SUCH a nice feeling to have my relief, action, trem height, intonation, and PU's dialed in so that now I can just jam! And, these pickups are SO creamy!
 
Last edited:

cheapshades

Strat-Talk Member
Feb 12, 2020
35
Indiana
If it doesnt have them, locking tuners, new strings, and setup. Play for a few weeks and tweak the setup to get perfect for me.

That's essentially the only part that I ordered to upgrade -- locking tuners. I also changed my pickguard, as I wasn't a huge fan of tortoise on Olympic White. Otherwise, the Pro II is damn near perfect for my taste.
 

Gridlock

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 18, 2020
1,696
Tampa, Fl
Usually, I first install a new set Earnie Ball Slinky .010’s,

I’ve also converted quite a few HSS Stratocasters to SSS Stratocasters over the past few years.
 

6th Stringer

Strat-Talker
Jan 30, 2014
124
Rogers AR
I have a 1991 American Standard - Same Color!! It's all stock and I don't plan to change it. My Mod Shop Strat on the left in Bordeaux Metallic is a different story.
I was not happy with the vintage spec 14:1 ratio tuners on the AO 60s neck. The Pure Vintage 59 pickups sounded great in the demos I watched before ordering, but when I got them they turned out to be WAY too weak for me at 5.6k. So, I got some Kluson Supreme tuners with 19:1 ratio and I got some custom wound Tone Hatch pickups wound to 7k. I also got some stainless steel bridge saddles. It is a string through hardtail. It will hold a note as long as you care to - without any processing. I have a pearloid pickgaurd I could put on. What do yous guys think? Mint or Pearloid?

20220605_173942.jpg
 

Miotch

Most Honored Senior Member
Jun 28, 2011
5,469
ok
Install a pair of Dunlop strap buttons, set it up the way I like, hang it around my neck and plug it in.
 

6th Stringer

Strat-Talker
Jan 30, 2014
124
Rogers AR
I spent a few days setting mine up. I began by setting it up for 10's (which is what I use on my PRS with slightly shorter scale length). But, I just couldn't get 10s to feel *right* on the 25.5" scale length Strat. So, I started over and went back to 9s. Now, it is butter and feels nearly identical to my PRS (which is sporting 10s).

I probably spent the most time dialing in the pickup height. That's the one part of a setup that I just haven't mastered. I know very well how I want a guitar to *feel*. But, with a new guitar that has unfamiliar (but beautiful) pickups, I had a tough time knowing how it should *sound* with various styles of play. But, I finally nailed it, so now I just get to play!

It is SUCH a nice feeling to have my relief, action, trem height, intonation, and PU's dialed in so that now I can just jam! And, these pickups are SO creamy!
I have been using Ernie Ball Mighty Slinkys on my Fenders lately. They are 8.5-40. They feel amazing and you don't have as much low end drop off as you might expect. I use 9s on Gibsons (mostly). I have gotten so many guitars at pawn shops that were almost unplayable before a proper set up. I think that is one of the main things that deters people from learning to play. Their guitar is never adjusted and is uncomfortable to play.
 

Birdsong

Strat-O-Master
Jul 24, 2018
509
Nenc
I spent a few days setting mine up. I began by setting it up for 10's (which is what I use on my PRS with slightly shorter scale length). But, I just couldn't get 10s to feel *right* on the 25.5" scale length Strat. So, I started over and went back to 9s. Now, it is butter and feels nearly identical to my PRS (which is sporting 10s).

I probably spent the most time dialing in the pickup height. That's the one part of a setup that I just haven't mastered. I know very well how I want a guitar to *feel*. But, with a new guitar that has unfamiliar (but beautiful) pickups, I had a tough time knowing how it should *sound* with various styles of play. But, I finally nailed it, so now I just get to play!

It is SUCH a nice feeling to have my relief, action, trem height, intonation, and PU's dialed in so that now I can just jam! And, these pickups are SO creamy!
Nice guitar. How low did you go with your v-mod 2 pickups? I noticed when I adjusted mine , they didn’t like to be adjusted as low as my regular alnico 5’s
 

Guy Incognito

Senior Stratmaster
May 14, 2019
4,832
Here and now
Having just brought home a gorgeous new olympic white American beauty, I am curious how others have transformed their new guitars from factory fresh to something uniquely theirs?

I think the first thought that comes to my mind is to play it -- play it in, play it out, let it develop character naturally that came from being played and loved by me. It'll wear in, get a ding or scuff here or there, etc... That is my overall goal.

However, I'm curious what others have done to purposefully make their guitar something unique to them? Stickers? Pickguards? Hardware changes? Curious to see what's out there. =)
I can't remember the last time I bought a new guitar but whatever I buy becomes my own when I pay for it.

Then I change the pickguard, pickups, knobs, tuners and bridge. It's because I like doing that stuff (and then doing that stuff again and again) I don't buy new guitars. I used to buy new guitars but to me they do lack character/mojo and I never ended up keeping any of them.

I historically go through guitars fast enough that I personally don't own any long enough for me to legitimately create any mojo by just playing them. My 61 reissue SG is the only guitar I've had/played long enough for it's wear and tear to be my wear and tear. Ironically it's the only guitar I've ever kept long term that I haven't modified in any way.

It's like it was mine before I knew it existed.
 

jvin248

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 10, 2014
5,829
Michigan
.

I can't imagine "Relic It" has not shown up in the thread yet! That's like missing out on seeing a pedal thread and not stuffing it with a few suggestions for 'get a RAT'.

img_20170206_123137sm.jpg


Actually, for a newish guitar I'd just rewire it with the Armstrong Blender mod. Wiring only change to spin up from SSS to series HSH.



.
 

Censport

Strat-Talker
May 4, 2020
226
Nashville/東京
Deck the trem (if it's not a hardtail, obvs), fresh set of D'Addario XL120+, set the intonation, and off I go.

If it's one I've built, I finish it with a custom sticker of Rogue on the headstock.

Rogue_Cray_720.jpg
 

joebtone

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Jan 26, 2022
2,367
Northwest US
Having just brought home a gorgeous new olympic white American beauty, I am curious how others have transformed their new guitars from factory fresh to something uniquely theirs?

I think the first thought that comes to my mind is to play it -- play it in, play it out, let it develop character naturally that came from being played and loved by me. It'll wear in, get a ding or scuff here or there, etc... That is my overall goal.

However, I'm curious what others have done to purposefully make their guitar something unique to them? Stickers? Pickguards? Hardware changes? Curious to see what's out there. =)
Setup, setup, setup.
 


Top