MIM Strat - What should I do to it?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by steeeve, Oct 14, 2005.

  1. steeeve

    steeeve Member

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    Just wondering if someone could give me a quick rundown on what I should do to this guitar to make play better, sound better, and stay in tune better. I have decided to put a set of Virtual Vintage in it. They seem to be about the best I can afford. Possibly some locking tuners as well. Besides that? Please don't tell me to burn it. I need to make this guitar as much of a workhorse as possible for as little dough as possible.

    1. Bridge?
    2. Nut?
    3. Wiring/Electronics? Thinking about maybe a Bleder assembly from Acme.

    Any input would be appreciated greatly.

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  2. MikeP

    MikeP Member

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    First just get a really good setup on it.
    meaning
    Truss rod adjusted, Nut done nice or even change the nut.
    Set up the bridge proper etc.
    Then play the hell out of it.


    If you do decide its a keeper then get those pups you like
    while your in there put in good pots & switch. Good pots are 3 bucks each a switch maybe 10-12

    If you don't like the pups dont change them based on the best you can afford. Listen to other pups in a similar guitar & then get those that you really dig. Most come up for sale used at great prices anyway. Fralins, Suhr, Tyler, many make good pups

    The bridge is probably fine & equal to what is on their Vintage re-issue guitars. Maybe you want the steel block later to try?
    If it came with the zinc block.

    Anyway just get a really good setup from someone unless you can do it yourself. Play it see if it is a keeper.But if I were you I would start there ;)

    PS: Dont under rate the MIM Strat
    I know a few players that not only kill on those guitars but prefer them.
     
  3. joek86

    joek86 Supporting Member

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    Rochester N.Y. Area
    I have a MIM Player's Strat. I prefered it because of the flatter radiused board. I installed a bridge withe a steel block, Klusion tuners, WCR SR PUP's, the RS Guitar electronics upgrade kit, and a good set up. The guitar is awesome!
     
  4. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    I currently have my MIM Strat for sale (in the emporium) but, after replacing the pickups, pots, pickup selector switch, and trem block, it can hold its own with American made counterparts. The pickups and the tremblock made the biggest tonal improvement though....I replaced the other parts more for reliability. The original pots were 500K though and vintage Strat value 250K pots work better with the vintage style Van Zandt pickups I installed. However, I'm one of the weird one's that actually prefers the tighter 7.25" vintage fretboard radius....the flatter radius on the MIM Strat just doesn't work very well for me. Excellent "bang for the buck" Strat though with the proper upgrades.
     
  5. frank62

    frank62 Member

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    i have one and use it all the time on gigs. i did get a different neck from wd and have the vintage style tuners but that is just a personal preference. the stock neck and tuners are fine. i left the stock pups in it and got a bad monkey. it was cheaper to do this than put in hotter pups. these strats can be set up to play really nice and deserve more respect. they are the real thing at a bargin.
     
  6. steeeve

    steeeve Member

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    Thanks everyone for the input. Lots of recs for the steel block. Can someone recommend where to get one? I saw one from WD.

    Sorry Pearly GAtor, I forgot to answer you. I'm not sure how to date these, but I bought it new about a year ago. I guess it's an '04

    Thanks again guys
     
  7. frank62

    frank62 Member

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    if you have a newer mim strat the wd will not fit. mim bridge spacing is narrower than the us bridge. calaham has one for the mim for 55 bucks. this is a touchy subject. they are meant to increase sustain. i don't think they do. if you want more sustain from the stock setup then use all five springs and tighten them until the bridge plate is snug to the body. if you float your bridge then yes maybe the heavy block will add a little sustain. if this tiny amount of increased sustain is worth 55 bucks is up to you. a bad monkey is the cheapest way to solve the pup and bridge issues with a mim strat.
     
  8. steeeve

    steeeve Member

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    Hey thanks frank62. I have a few pedals. I'm just wondering if the Bad Monkey does something specific that these don't. I am a Tele player and this mim strat is my first one ever. I have:

    TPT
    Nobels ODR-1
    orange FD2
    Mosferatu
    DDSS
    TBIAC
    Timmy on the way

    I'm trying to weed them out, and curious what a Bad Monkey would do.

    Thanks again.
     
  9. Wheels

    Wheels Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Steeeve,

    I bought a Bad Monkey for a friend as a gift. I think they are an alternative to the Nobels ODR-1.

    If you decide to sell the Nobels, give me a shout.

    Good luck with the MIM Strat. I am eyeing up VaughnC's. He has good taste in gear.


    Wheels
     
  10. frank62

    frank62 Member

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    in my case i do not like pedals but the bad monkey at 40 bucks was a cheap cure for the weak pups and lack of sustain from my mim strat. i see you have lots of much better pedals than the monkey so you will be fine. before you start spending money replacing the stock parts on your strat just play it the way it is with the other gear you have and you will be happy with it. they are damm fine guitars right out of the gate.
     
  11. Also, remember that bigger strings can bring more tone. And of course, getting the nut properly adjusted is a cheap and easy way to help things.
     
  12. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    Callaham makes an exact steel replacement tremblock for the MIM Strats as well as a complete upgrade kit:

    http://www.callahamguitars.com/home.htm

    Quality stuff....buy with confidence. This is the kit I installed on my MIM Strat and, among other things, it also comes with a stainless steel trem arm.
     
  13. frank62

    frank62 Member

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    congrats pearly gator! i suspect you got the gig because you are a good player. your post proves once again that it is possible to do very well with everyday gear like a mim strat, a bad monkey, and a 40w amp. i like that southern rock! any molly hatchet, 38 special, wet willie, outlaws, skynard, allman bros.?
     
  14. steeeve

    steeeve Member

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    I may end up just setting it up as well as I can and calling it a day. Thanks for all the suggestions.
     
  15. emjee

    emjee Member

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    Marin County, Ca.
    I guess I got super lucky, 'cause there isnt one single thing I would change. And I mean Zeero. It plays so smooth and easy and gets the perfect "Out of phase" tones, a stellar bridge and neck pickup.
    It was made in '96, can anyone tell me if any of those axes had
    brazilian rosewood for a fretboard? Also, I cannot figure out for the life of me why this guitar is so much easier to play than even higher end strats. What I mean is the difference I like about the MIM is that when I bend strings (And I do alot of bending, though not more than two tones) when I release the bend the adjacent strings make absolutely no extemporaneous sounds. On my other guitars, when I release a bend my finger touches the string above it and you hear it sometimes just as loud as the note I bend. Can anyone tell me why? I would cherish any info people could think of as to why the cheapie doesnt do it, but the high end guitars I play do. Any suggestions? Is it a bridge height issue? They all have tens. Any suggestions is appreciated.

    Matthew G
    San Rafael, Ca
     
  16. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    Instead of Dimarzio Virtual Vintage, Get Bill Lawrence L200 neck and middle pickups and a L290 bridge pickup. These are noiseless pickups equivalent to the new SCN pickups found on the Am. DLX 2004-5 strats (also designed By Bill Lawrence). The price is $130 total for all 3.

    Even if you don't change pickups make sure to rewire the 2nd tone control (middle pickup) to the bridge pickup. Now you can rolloff the obnoxious treble that plagues the strat bridge.

    Have a push-pull pot installed in place of one of the tone controls that allows you to turn on the neck pickup in conjunction with any other postion. This allows you to have all 5 original pickup combos as well as Neck + bridge (very similar to the Teles mid position) and Neck+ Mid + Brdg.

    Put a treble bleed cap across the two outside lugs of the volume pot so that your tone doesn't get muddy when you roll the volume down

    Reduce the tone cap value by half (if its .02 use a .01). Now the tone control will be useful thru its entire range instead of being useless mud when all the way down

    Adjust your trem so that it is tight against the body when not in use. this will improve tone and sustain.

    Rub a #2 pencil in all the nut slots before restringing to lubricate them. This helps keep the gtr in tune. Also buy Graphtech string trees ($5 from Stew mac I think) which also helps lubricate a critical sticking point for stable tuning.

    Have the guitar setup by the best tech you can find for proper intonation, action, fret levelling, electrical connections etc.
     

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