So as you might be able to tell, I just joined these forums last week. I feel almost bad saying this, but I think I prefer this new Strat to my Epi LPC I've had for 21 years. Anyways, onto the "experiment." Since getting this I've been doing quite a bit of research on various topics regarding this guitar and honestly the most interesting part, is just how close these things can sound when compared to the most expensive Fenders. Sometimes inexpensive parts were used and held there own to the super expensive ones. That being said my experiment is this: How good do some of these inexpensive parts out there sound/perfrom? How will inexpensive parts transform this "budget" guitar **OR** are they a waste of time and money and ultimately will I put stock parts back on this thing? I can't wait to get started! So here is the list of parts/mods I plan to do to see if I can get this thing to perform while keeping one rule, keep it cheap. I've ordered several parts already and eBay was heavily used. (1) Tuners - $20 (*I offered $16 for these so fingers crossed the bid is accepted!) I don't like/trust these tuners and with the tremolo, I think locking tuners will be a big benefit. I've almost pulled the trigger on the Fender Locking Tuners ($50) but it goes against my rule. I think I'll end up going with unbranded locking tuners on eBay. This should be VERY interesting. http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148356&icep_item=293513256474 (2) Nut - $13.70 After a bit of research and again because of the tremolo, I went with a Graph Tec TUSQ XL Nut from Amazon. I just put one on my LP and following rule number 1, it was cheap. (3)Pickups - $46.56 So I couldn't decide on which eBay pickups to go with so I bought 3 different ones. The first ones are a set of 3 Alnico V single coil pickups. Total cost - $21.41 http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148356&icep_item=293170860376 Second set was again a set of 3 Alnico V single coils. Total cost - $12.23 - Super excited for these. http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148356&icep_item=124039074170 Third one was a wild card and is clearly a copy of the popular humbucker for the bridge position. Its labeled as a FLEOR Hot Rail Guitar Pickup Small Humbucker Double Coil 9-10K. - Total Cost - $12.92 http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148356&icep_item=303163435103 (4) Electronics - $35.94 So I read that a popular mod for these guitars was to switch out the 500k pots for higher quality 250k pots as well as the selector switch. I ended getting a kit from Guitarelectronics.com which included 3 CTS 250k pro pots, an Oak Grigsby 5-Way switch, and a new jack. Not sure if this was the cheapest option, but it was the first product I saw. (5) Shielding - $16.09 So this topic I've done very little research on. People say its good to do, I have no clue, so lets see if it makes a difference. I found this KLUSON full coverage pickguard shield on ebay for $12.26. I've also read people use metal tape made for duct work to shield the inside body of the guitar. I found some 3M tape on Amazon for $3.63. (6) Neck - $9 At Home Depot I picked up a 2 pack of 220 grit sanding sponges after seeing a video on youtube. The idea is to lightly sand/polish the edges of the neck to "roll" them and create a more comfortable feel. Not that my guitar had any, but this also smooths out anything fret sprout. (7) Setup - $0 Doing it myself. I think with enough research combined with trail and error, I should end up with something playable, lol. We shall see. Total cost for parts - $141.29 Cost of guitar - $150.00 Grand Total - $291.29 -Not that price matters for an experiment but interesting to know For testing, I don't have any high end boutique amps by any means which follows Rule #1, keep it cheap. I have a 20 year old Fender Princeton 65 (solid state) and an about 10 year old Fender Super Champ XD. I just ordered a Tungsol 12AX7 and two 6V6GT replacement tubes today for $72.20. That should be a decent test amp for all of this. As far as parts are concerned, thats all I have for now. If anyone has some other inexpensive ideas, throw them out there and I will consider it. As I get the parts/mod the guitar, I will definitely post pictures. Cheers!!!