If I was to upgrade my AM DLX Strat, what should I consider

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by om42, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. om42

    om42 Silver Supporting Member

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    I figured I would pick the brains of the collective. I recently picked up a 2012 AM Deluxe Strat. It has the stock N3 Fender pickups, and as far as I can tell everything else is stock as well. It is in great shape and I like the neck. Because I got such a smoking deal on it, I thought it would be a candidate to try some experimental upgrades and experiment a bit to see if there are changes that could really make it stand out for me.

    My first thought was that I have a Tom Anderson Drop T from the mid 90s and I love the Anderson pickups, they are a bit hotter and more spicy compared to the strat's, so maybe a pick up upgrade would be in order. What else should I consider? Fancy roller nut? better bridge? I like the stock locking tuners so i don't see any value in swapping out those. Pics to follow.
     
  2. jlectka

    jlectka Supporting Member

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    Pickups are the easiest way to give you a satisfying change.
    I’ve used four or five sets and settled on Antiquity II Surfers from Seymour Duncan. They easily nail all my favorite strat sounds and sound great both clean and dirty. I don’t think they lack anything at all, but you will go back to a non-noiseless pickup.
     
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  3. gulliver

    gulliver Supporting Member

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    I recently sold my 2006. I had removed the whole crappy S1 noiseless complete pick guard and sold it. I think it's easier to sell the guitar if you keep the pick guard and sell everything together stock, but I owned the guitar for over a decade and didn't want to keep spare parts.

    Really, that's all you need to do ... pickups. I think you can do SSS or HSS on those. The rest of the guitar is nice IMHO.

    I sold it because the fret wear was getting up there and I moved on to Fender CS quality.
     
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  4. HIDDEN

    HIDDEN Member

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    Best upgrade is to sell it
     
  5. gulliver

    gulliver Supporting Member

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    Why? What is wrong with them? They can sound great when paired with the right pickups IMHO.

    Plus ... OP got a great price.
     
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  6. om42

    om42 Silver Supporting Member

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    Low on the idea list. It’s purpose is to be something for me to learn how to simple maintenance and set ups on and not worry excessively if I make a mistake.
     
  7. om42

    om42 Silver Supporting Member

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    Pics as promised...

     
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  8. djw

    djw Member

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    I have a 2007 that I updated with a set of Dimarzio Areas and a Callaham block. I did it all at once so I am not sure which exactly made the biggest difference. The thing absolutely kills now though.

    EDIT: Adding, along with the new pickups, I swapped the wiring harness as well -- didn't want to get into rejiggering the S1 system. Haven't missed it one bit.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
  9. BMW-KTM

    BMW-KTM Member

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    Callaham block?
     
  10. MickeyJi

    MickeyJi Member

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    I'd rewire it and swap the pickups and leave everything else as is. Those are cool guitars, but I personally don't have any use for the S1 switching or those particular pickups.
     
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  11. TheGuildedAge

    TheGuildedAge Supporting Member

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    I wouldn’t change anything but the pickups.

    By the time you add up the money for everything else you could have just bought a used Anderson or other guitar.

    also, you clearly don’t like the guitar stock which means I doubt you’ll like it enough after the changes and when you go to sell it you killed its value.

    If you want to learn buy some cheap music go round strat copies and chop them up.
     
  12. gulliver

    gulliver Supporting Member

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    Great looking Stat. There should be no hate on these, outside of the electronics. They are a little heavier than most vintage style Strats but this can make some pickups, like SRV Texas Types, punch better IMHO.

    I would just keep an eye on the emporium for pickups. There are a number of custom winders that are cheap and super cheap when slightly used in the emporium. Try a few, find what you like, and you can make this guitar into a monster.

    Fatpups Texas Bluesman sound good in this guitar. $120 new, I bought used for almost half price. I compared to Fralin Blues Specials in a similar weight guitar and they were quite close.

    Not tried in a Deluxe, but I recently discovered Onamac Windery Supremes for fat and punchy tones.

    Benson Custom makes great low cost pickups.

    Consider HSS for some PAF experimenting.
     
  13. madhermit

    madhermit Supporting Member

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    I would buy a whole new pickguard, wiring, pots, caps, knobs and pickups. Way easier to swap out, and you keep the original setup together.

    I have a set of Fender grey-bottom pickups in my American Original, and they sound stellar. Super smooth and way less plinky the the noiseless pickups (I have some in another guitar). Easy to try, just find an American Original 60’s at a store and give it a whirl.
     

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