Close To Giving Up

CubanB

Member
Messages
2,148
You'll find that if you have to invest money into a guitar to make it more appealing or playable, that it was never worth the investment in the first place. Guitars, for me at least, are magical things until you start ripping them apart to replace everything. It's then that they turn into projects, and projects need to have an end. That proverbial "end" can often evolve into getting into a whole new guitar because you've tried everything to make this one work except being able to simply love it and play it.
That's a good post. I think upgrades can work, if you already have a solid base and just want to further improve it. To enhance it..

But if something is fundamentally wrong and upgrades are trying to fix it, they probably never will.
 
Messages
1,979
I'm kind of thinking about getting rid of my "03" MIM Strat. Over the years I've thrown about $800.00 in upgrades at it. In spite of it sounding decent, I find it much harder to play than either of my LPs and I just don't feel inspired when I pick it up. I had the same issue with a G&L Comanche. I had it for 6 years then ditched it. Don't get me wrong, I really love the sound of a Strat... when someone else is playing it. When I play one, it just doesn't feel "right".

I seem to have more of a knack for playing Les Pauls. Perhaps my Strat isn't set up very well,* but I get better dynamics out of my GIBSONs. Anyone else have similar thoughts?

*I'm going to take it to LAY'S for a better setup before I make My final decision.
Just be sure you know if your problem is with your particular strat, or strats in general. What I mean is that some people, myself included, go through a Gibson phase, or a Fender phase.

They're such different instruments. Scale, weight, pickups, fretboard, guage of strings (for me), that switching between a strat and LP is so jarring, that I just dont switch between the two like i'm changing clothes. It just happens in phases.

If you find yourself bonding with another strat, then look to sell the one you aren't happy with. It's just a bummer that you don't recoup half the money that's spent on upgrades.
 

Peeb

Member
Messages
4,838
Can you at least pull out the upgrade pick guard assembly to sell separately and return the strat to the stock pickups before you sell it? You'll still take a loss, but less of a loss.
 

rotlung

Member
Messages
958
There's no shame in not bonding with a guitar. I can't play strats or Les Pauls. They sound great in other hands but feel and sound awkward in mine. So I play instruments that work for me. There's no point in keeping around a guitar that doesn't see much action.
 

BKRMON

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
561
Tune it down half a step. Seriously. I never got along with the scale length either.
 

yardbird mac

Member
Messages
1,383
Can you at least pull out the upgrade pick guard assembly to sell separately and return the strat to the stock pickups before you sell it? You'll still take a loss, but less of a loss.
I've thought about gutting this thing and saving all of the aftermarket upgrades and selling off the neck/body. I no longer have the original "guts" to this guitar.

When I bought this guitar (I think it was in 2005) it was completely stock - with a maple neck/fretboard). After a while I decided to install a neck with a rosewood fretboard (2006 FENDER neck bought off of E-Bay). The newer neck had larger frets than the original. Soon after installing the new neck I started adding other upgrade parts. I added FENDER locking tuners, Graphtech string trees, and Graphtech bridge saddles ("block" form with graphite string slots).In 2009 I installed a Kinman set of noiseless pickups - pre wired assembly (much better pots). I wanted something that gave me the ability to control the tone on the bridge pickup.* The pickup tone pot allows me some additional tone options similar to the Comanche I had.

After I did the pickup upgrades I installed a Callaham bridge plate with the steel block and press in tremolo arm. For quite some time I alternated between this MIM Strat and my Comanche. Due to its weight and an issue with its neck, I got rid of the Comanche in favor of the Strat. The Comanche had a truss rod problem that wouldn't allow me to dial in any relief in the neck. Instead of getting it fixed I just ditched it.

Anyway, I actually got used to the Strat for a season and pretty much played it exclusively. After a while, I started alternating between the Strat and my 2 Les Pauls. I reserved my 2004 R9 for recording purposes, but practiced and jammed with my LP Standard and the Strat.

This winter has been brutal on my guitars. All of them have had neck/fretboard issues the likes of which have never been seen. Both Les Pauls have recovered nicely, but the Strat is a different story. In early January I decided to go from 09s to 10s strings to compensate for the neck/fretboard issues and readjusted the trem's spring tension. I also adjusted the pickup heights accordingly. Something has been lost in translation and all of the "good" this guitar had is floating around out in space somewhere. I can't seem to get it back.

I've thought about keeping the upgrade parts and purchasing a body/neck from one of the aftermarket manufacturers and building my own... to my specs.

*I went the pre wired route because I'm dangerous with a soldering iron, but I wanted to do this upgrade myself.
 

Rick51

Member
Messages
3,738
I'm kind of thinking about getting rid of my "03" MIM Strat. Over the years I've thrown about $800.00 in upgrades at it. In spite of it sounding decent, I find it much harder to play than either of my LPs ... When I play one, it just doesn't feel "right".

... Perhaps my Strat isn't set up very well,* but I get better dynamics out of my GIBSONs. Anyone else have similar thoughts?

*I'm going to take it to LAY'S for a better setup before I make My final decision.
Don't overthink this. Get a good pro setup. There's no reason why that guitar shouldn't play as well as the best playing cost-no-object guitar on the planet if there's nothing wrong with the parts. You might have a high fret or two, you may need the nut slots tweaked, or you might just need to get it all adjusted.
 

Birddog

Member
Messages
3,118
I played an LP from the time I was about 13. (I'm 46). In my 20's I added some Strats to the collection, but always worked my way back to the Les Paul. I recently started a new trio that is heavy on the blues / blues rock so I bought a new Strat for the new group. It sounds great. It plays great...Then I got a deal on an LP that I couldn't pass up, one that plays even better than my Standard LP. I bought it a few weeks ago, and haven't put it down since. It's just the style, shape and sound that fits me the best, and I feel like a much better guitar player when I'm playing an LP. I'm not a strat basher, and still have two of them, but I think it's possible to get in that place where you KNOW you're playing an instrument that fits you and your style of playing. And don't let anyone tell you that an LP isn't a versatile instrument. It is. Good luck!
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
32,631
If the nut width is too tight you are doomed to having to pay too much attention to scrunching up you fingers in the first position. The Lp might make all the difference, here.
BUT that is not so on every Strat.
They can play very easily. You need to try a bunch and decide if you do not like Strats or do not like Strats that don't fit you.
You should try double hb Stats, too.
There are soooo many variations.
 

dougb415

Member
Messages
9,824
A good set up goes a long way in making a guitar play well. If that doesn't do the trick then it could just be that you don't get along with the longer scale 25.5" length.
I recently had my practically unplayable RW '60s Strat set up professionally. Night and day difference.
 

gigs

Member
Messages
10,927
I had a girl in high school break up with me and said "I don't like you. You are crude and immature." I guess she could have started taking me apart and working on the parts she didn't like or just move on.

Just moving on worked out best for us both.
 

Mark Robinson

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
8,514
Tune down to Eb as many greats before you.
Good advice! If it was my guitar, I'd probably backtrack on the graphtec saddles too. Put some D'addario 9.5 on there, tune it down. Make sure the tone knob is wired to the bridge pickup and use those tone knobs!

If you are used to a Gibson tonality, put your Stratocaster tone knobs at the midpoint or lower, bring them up little by little, you will hit a great spot where the clarity is there but the tonality keeps its body and fullness. Run full up on the tones, a Stratocaster can sound ratty and thin, compared to a buckered Gibson.

Get it set up for sure!

The thing about the Stratocaster is you sort of need to hunker with it, put in some serious time, so that you can address it on a subconscious level.
 

Ape Factory

Member
Messages
2,505
I'm sort of the opposite of some of the responders here. I generally can tell when the bones of a guitar are decent and a few upgrades are almost a necessity for me personally. I get a good vibe from the guitar and enjoy playing it but maybe don't gel 100% with something. I've owned three guitars I had no desire to modify and they're all late-model PRS (2009+). I purchased an awesome Corsa LCPG which after three pickup swaps and a switch to sprague caps became my #1.

I will say I owned an EJ strat for a bit and did find it tough to play with 10's unless I dropped the tuning half a step and then it was great. But still far, far harder to bend than my current 25.5" scale guitar, a telecaster Warmoth build. Ironically, it's easier to bend on that guitar, with 10's, than all my 24" scale range necks (3 of them) with the same string gauge. Don't know why, just is.

But the parts swap is usually a desire to amplify the desirable traits I see/hear in the guitar and it usually revolves around pickup swaps. I will say I'm more of a humbucker player than single coil and it took me a while to understand how to play with a single coil guitar vs. a humbucker. Just need to wrap your head around it. Even my telecaster has a humbucker in the neck.

But in the end, if you've put all this money into it, I'd return it as close to stock as you can get it and sell off the aftermarket parts, and the guitar, separately and find something that does inspire you.
 

TorzJohnson

Member
Messages
324
I agree with the guys who said to tune down to Eb. You've got the Kinmans and if you're on TGP you probably have a boo-teeky amp... get a good setup and tune down to Eb and the results should make you weak in the knees.

If not, you may just not be a strat guy, nothin' wrong with that.
 

dwk302

Member
Messages
1,949
Go with what works for you. If you're not inspired by the Fender and are inspired by the LP, then you have your answer.
 




Trending Topics

Top