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So, my wife is a member of an FB group that gives away stuff. It is a local group and they just post stuff they don't need or want then whoever wants it asks. A couple of days ago somebody posted a guitar and my wife, always thinking of me but knowing pretty much nothing about guitars, claimed it for me.

It is a no-name Strat type guitar with one identifying mark

That's right, this was a prize given away at a Six Flags park. Probably Magic Mountain. They used to give them away at the Basketball Challenge. The nut is broken. Over all the thing is a mess. But I have never modded a guitar in any way in my life. I've decided to make this a project and see if I can make it half decent. Maybe strip it down and paint some strange pattern.



I've done a lot of resurrections on that kind of guitar.
A few notes that may help you avoid the typical time and money sinks and end up with a fun guitar that plays easy.

-Don't try to strip the finish, scuff sand and paint over what is there. If there are deep paint chips, fill those or locally sand to knock the sharp edges off. People only really strip one guitar and they learn why they don't ever want to do a second.

-Learn to level frets and set up the nut. A good job here can make a starter guitar play like $1,000+ model. Really, that's all it takes. If the factories realized getting a kid from starter to intermediate by spending $20 leveling frets meant a life long player would buy a dozen expensive guitars they wouldn't let guitars leave the factories in the conditions they do.

-Replace all the Pots, switch(es), and jack with the typical MIA brands. $20-$30 and worth it.

-Keep the stock pickups if they work (looks like the ones in the picture are toast). Make sure to lower these flush to the pick guard (ceramic magnet pickups are higher output than alnico, when players use alnico specs to set pickup heights of course the stronger magnet pickups will sound bad).

-Deck or Block the trem. Turn it into a hard tail. You'll futz with a floating trem way too long. A "big steel block" won't sound any better than a solid chunk of wood wedging that existing bridge to the rest of the body.

-Shielded cable to the jack and Nashua aluminum flashing tape in the cavities using a multi-meter to ensure continuity from piece to piece. You'll have a more quiet guitar than a Custom Shop.

-Tuners ... these are tricky. If you practice good 'tuning up' your guitar you won't need new tuners, if you are good about putting new strings on (wrap the post and then thread the eye) you have no time savings getting locking tuners. Some just like to splurge here.

-If you don't like the guitar tone ... then swap pots and caps not pickups. Use a $10 lever instead of $100 per throw guess at improvement.

A useful mod that I put on Strats: Armstrong Blender. Wiring only change that uses the second tone knob as a blender from stock SSS into hot HSH for a stealth Super Strat or Les Paul.

Of course, you could go crazy and put three hundred dollars of mods in it. And remember those new parts can move to the next parts guitar too.



This DEFINITELY needs a Warmoth neck, MJT body, locking tuners, Callaham bridge, Virgil Arlo pickups, a Spitfire pickguard, and some CTS/Switchcraft/orange drop electronics. That'll fix 'er right up.


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i've had much better luck with garbage electrics than garbage acoustics.
Electrics are much more resilient when it comes to hammers and sharp objects.

have fun learning what not to do on that guitar and you'll be pretty proficient in no time

Tony Done

It looks like a top modding candidate to me, provided the neck is good, along the lines suggested by @jvin248. I personally wouldn't refinish the body, but I might replace the pickguard with black (I make my own) and replace the pickups and/or their covers with black. Another option, if I wanted fancy, is a clear acrylic pickguard painted from the back.


Paint it purple or some other hideous color; hang on man cave wall as artsy fartsy piece, give wife a hug for keeping an eye out for your interest. And you probably will get laid by the weekend.


Hey, don't kid yourself - That board looks to be Rosewood and not Pau Ferro. Consider that. I'm sure you've already got the attention of the Pau Ferro-hatin', pro rosewood / anti Pau Ferro Fender fans out there. You're already got an advantage in spite of the circumstances.


my wife did this - found a $50 Squier Strat at a community garage sale - black with rosewood neck - It was a great guitar! the neck pickup was outstanding, large frets, slim neck - I sold it when I downsized years ago - I was not playing out then and had no plans to - now I am in a band and do open jams - it would have been a great slide guitar. Might just try to find another one.

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