MIM worth upgrading tuners and block ?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by edsdds, Sep 20, 2018.

  1. Tim S

    Tim S Strat-O-Master

    Messages:
    639
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2015
    Location:
    NYS
    I've spent too much money over the years "upgrading" my MIM Standards. I would have been much better off saving that money and buying a better guitar (like the MIM Classic Player) sooner.

    Now I have old MIM Standards with lots of mods that I no longer play and will not see much in resale value.

    I learn some of life's lessons the hard way.
     
    shovelmike, jjudas, Davey77 and 2 others like this.
  2. edsdds

    edsdds Strat-Talker

    Messages:
    132
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2015
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I have owned many strats and can never just keep them always switching around stuff. I think the blessing and curse of a Strat is that they are too easy to modifiy sober are always messing with them.
     
    Andrew Wasson likes this.
  3. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    45
    Messages:
    3,216
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2018
    Location:
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Sober or drunk, AMIRITE?

    Seriously, don't mess with a soldering iron after more than 2 or 3 beers. Be safe, friends.
     
    CyFan4036 and JustABluesGuy like this.
  4. heltershelton

    heltershelton BANNED Strat-Talk Supporter

    Messages:
    26,483
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Location:
    Texas
    why?
    jlyb8lM.jpg
     
    Strat Jacket likes this.
  5. Strat Jacket

    Strat Jacket Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    2,686
    Joined:
    May 11, 2018
    Location:
    Illinois
    In my particular case, I chose gold Grovers to match the hardware. They weren't cheap; I would have preferred Schallers but the gold M6's were over a hundred bucks for 6. As it was, the Grovers were 80 bucks plus another 20 for the piloted 10mm reamer (a must-have, IMHO) so it cost me 100 bucks to upgrade a guitar I paid $125.00 for brand-new. Most of the MiM guitars sell for 5X that new, so it's not unreasonable to invest a hundo in the guitar if you like it otherwise...just be aware that you won't get your investment back in cash value. I would be very reluctant to drop that kind of cash in a Squier Bullet or any other entry level axe unless it is pretty much unplayable (as was my Epi...it spent a lot of years sitting in the case because I would get so frustrated with it going out of tune). As was mentioned here, it might be a better investment to put the hundred bucks toward a better guitar than upgrading, but that's your individual choice.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Strat Jacket

    Strat Jacket Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    2,686
    Joined:
    May 11, 2018
    Location:
    Illinois
  7. edsdds

    edsdds Strat-Talker

    Messages:
    132
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2015
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Lol yeah talk to text.
     
  8. lammie200

    lammie200 Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    1,165
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2016
    Location:
    San Francisco
    I can't comment on the block, but I totally agree with the above. With any luck the Hipshot 2 pin Fender replacement tuners will work. They are 21:1, staggered, and locking. What more could you want? They are also not massively heavy especially if you use smaller buttons. I am using those on my partscasters and am not looking back.

    BTW, this thread seems to be confusing some things about tuners either made defectively or have gone bad. They can be and do IME.
     
    Andrew Wasson and CyFan4036 like this.
  9. possumkiller

    possumkiller Strat-Talker

    Messages:
    227
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2010
    Location:
    Poland
    I have a partscaster I've been working on. Squier CV 50s white body (I love the deeper and softer contours), MiM Classic 50s neck, Kluson tuners, 20$ eBay Chinese "alnico v" pickups and wiring harness (sound pretty good). It has a Callaham bridge with Highwood saddles. The Callaham bridge is very well made and does impact the sound. I like it. I bought a Wudtone plate just for the tuning stability. I also bought their thicker neck plate with larger screws. I wasn't expecting any real tonal difference but it made a huge difference. This has become my main guitar now. Notes ring out like a freakin piano now.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
    Andrew Wasson and Strat Jacket like this.
  10. Andrew Wasson

    Andrew Wasson Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    56
    Messages:
    2,614
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2018
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    EDIT: I just noticed this thread is from September. I guess you’ve got it sorted by now.


    Ok, since nobody else asked.... Which MIM do you have and which tuners do you have?

    If the tuners slip or have play, change them. Why piss around with something so obnoxious when it’s an easy fix. It’s like you’ve got 2-bits (25 cents) holding up $5. It makes no sense to me.

    I’ve got a 94 MIM and it has the trapezoidal tuners on it. They’re not fit for scrap metal salvage. I installed a $35 set of vintage style Wilkinson split shaft tuners that look just like the stock ones on my other Strat and it never goes out of tune. I don’t do dive bombs but I use the trem and it’s always dead on, in tune always.


    I also installed a GFX full size brass block. I like it aesthetically but I’m not sure that it made a Sonic difference. I’m almost tempted to buy a steel one to try and see if I notice a difference. My other Strat has a full size block from the factory so I can’t really compare to that one to see if I notice a difference. Again, they’re such an inexpensive item, I’d do it anyway but I’m not sure it made a difference.


    Yes to the pickups but only after you’ve adjusted their height to make sure you’ve got the most out of them. It could be that they’re too low.

    What kind of Strat tones are you looking for? Modern, 50’s, 60’s? That’s going to inform your pickup selection.

    Also while you’re in there change the tone capacitor to something useful. One of my Strats came with a .1uf tone cap. That’s just way too large a value (too dark). Most Strats come with a tone cap between 0.047uf and 0.022uf. I tend to go with something in the 0.015uf to 0.022uf range.

    And another thing to look at is the 50’s style wiring mod that’s moves the tone stack from the input of the volume control to the output of the volume control. The result is that your tone isn’t affected by the volume. You set the tone and as you roll down, it doesn’t darken the tone. It stays bright and lively, just quieter.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
    Strat Jacket likes this.
  11. possumkiller

    possumkiller Strat-Talker

    Messages:
    227
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2010
    Location:
    Poland
    I never noticed a real difference between a brass block and a full sized zinc block. They are both soft and heavy. I have heard a difference with steel. I've used the GFS steel block before and it was good. However, the one that says it's for Mexican strats didn't fit my Mexican standard. All the mounting holes were fine but the trem arm hole wasn't right. The Asian metric size fits the Mexican standard.
     
    Strat Jacket likes this.
  12. Dreadge

    Dreadge Strat-O-Master

    Messages:
    509
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2012
    Location:
    Serbia
    MiM standards should be upgraded IMHO.
    But.... If it isn't broke, don't fix it.
     
  13. Tim S

    Tim S Strat-O-Master

    Messages:
    639
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2015
    Location:
    NYS
    I'd rather look at it as "less than $100" saved towards a next guitar purchase that will feel and sound different than the one I have now.

    You can spend the money to make slight differences on what you have now or bank it for a guitar that could sound drastically different.

    (Yes, I've wasted way too much money going down that rabbit hole)
     
    Strat Jacket and Thrup'ny Bit like this.
  14. CyFan4036

    CyFan4036 Strat-O-Master

    Messages:
    830
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2018
    Location:
    On my side
    Well, those changes on many import guitars, especially Strat style, gain much much more than a “slight” improvement. If you’ve “wasted too much money” making these upgrades in the past, I would have to suspect the parts chosen were wrong or implemented incorrectly. I’ve done these types of upgrades to many guitars that needed it and it has always made a big difference in tone and the way the guitar comes alive in your hand. What’re you gonna do with that $100? Buy another guitar that needs upgraded? Or, in your example, save it until you have $400, $500 or $600?... and THEN buy another guitar that still needs upgraded. People buy their guitars for a reason. Customizing them with personal touches is a key activity of many guitarist. We are all sorry that you’ve lost your zeal for tinkering and upgrading but that doesn’t mean the rest of us have. I’m not looking for some nonsense argument here, you know the kind that seem to happen on here while people are safely behind their computers or phones.
     
    Andrew Wasson likes this.
  15. Tim S

    Tim S Strat-O-Master

    Messages:
    639
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2015
    Location:
    NYS
    No disrespect intended -- just a difference of opinion.

    Please don't make assumptions about "my zeal", judgment in part selection or "looking for some nonsense arguments here".

    We're all grown-ups here. :thumb:

    Yes, I've upgraded MIM Standard Teles & Strats (pickups, wiring, tuners, necks, tremsetters, bridges, etc). For all that money on each guitar, I could have bought a Classic Player or a MIA model and had a plain better guitar (IMO).

    These days I get more enjoyment simply playing what I have rather than poring over specs to find the next "best" component.

    But that's just me. I'm happy you're enjoying your hobby (or profession).

    Edit: I've also recently sold two of my mod'ed guitars in order to buy a better one (PRS SE Bernie, FWIW). I brought them back to stock condition to get top dollar and have a lovely drawer full of "upgrades" as well as Jimmy Vaughan neck sitting around doing nothing. But that's just my story.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  16. CyFan4036

    CyFan4036 Strat-O-Master

    Messages:
    830
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2018
    Location:
    On my side
    I'm all for differences in opinion. I'm not into chasing the latest greatest upgrades either. I also am at a stage in my life where I can play what I now want rather than having to finish off an import guitar with upgrades because the manufacturer cut corners to hit a price point. That said, I always experienced great results upgrading the trem and block (steel or brass depending on the guitar) on less expensive guitars.
     
  17. Andrew Wasson

    Andrew Wasson Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    56
    Messages:
    2,614
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2018
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    I have to agree with you here. I’m finally at a point where I can reasonably assess a guitar to figure out how to get the most out of it and whether it’s worth the investment. It’s taken a lifetime and in some cases taking a bath on a bad purchase. I can’t say I’ve ever been disappointed with upgrading a guitar that needed it, especially with a bolt on neck guitar like a Strat or Telecaster.

    I’ve got two Strats currently and used to have a third, a 1992 American Standard, which I bought new. One of mine is a Classic Player 60’s which is a great guitar out of the box and absolutely sweeps the floor with my old American Standard. It came with all of the premium parts. The other is a 94 MIM Squier Series, which was Fender’s entry level guitar with questionable hereditary. The neck on this cheap entry level guitar is amazing and makes it worth upgrading. That’s part of the equation, figuring out of it’s worth it.

    The Squier Series guitar in this case now has an upgraded bridge & saddles and tuners from GFS (saddles from Fender). That was less than $100 and now the guitar is a better feeling player than my old American Standard was on its best day. A new pickguard, innexpensive A5 pickups, 3 pots, a tone cap and a 5-way switch and it now sounds on pare with my Classic Player 60’s Strat. So I took a $225 used guitar and put in about $150 in parts and it now plays well and sounds amazing. I’m not sure if I could find anything better for my $375.00. Yes, I spent some time doing the upgrades but that afforded me the opportunity to really get to know the guitar. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    On the flip side, the Classic Player 60’s is a pricier guitar and came out of the box with premium parts. I haven’t felt the need to change or upgrade anything on it except to adjust the pickup heights, upgrade the wiring to my liking and change the volume pot to a linear taper, which is just my preference.
     
  18. Strat Jacket

    Strat Jacket Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    2,686
    Joined:
    May 11, 2018
    Location:
    Illinois
    It definitely reaches a point of diminishing returns. IMHO, if you have decided any guitar is a "keeper", then it becomes a moot point as to how much you put into it, as you are looking for a return on investment in sound and playability, rather than cash at sale. Such was the case with my Epi...it seemed ludicrous to put nearly a hundred bucks in tuners on a guitar that cost $150.00 brand new. However, the difference in playability (and staying in tune) was so profound that I am stll kicking myself for not doing it 20 years earlier. And in many cases (such as bridges, pups, pots, etc) if you find the mod didn't help, you can always return to stock condition, so no loss there. The only ones who lose are the ones that dump 2 or 3 hundred dollars in mods into a guitar with a used market value of 2 or 3 hundred dollars and try to recoup their investment.
     
  19. CyFan4036

    CyFan4036 Strat-O-Master

    Messages:
    830
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2018
    Location:
    On my side
    Absolutely! Definitely not worth while to upgrade if you think it's gonna make you money on a guitar. But when you do it as you did, and I do, it's just special.
     
  20. CyFan4036

    CyFan4036 Strat-O-Master

    Messages:
    830
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2018
    Location:
    On my side
    Sounds like fun, and like you're close to your guitars!
     
    Andrew Wasson likes this.