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A cheap guitar for learning how to do mods.


RABid

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Can anyone recommend a cheap guitar for the purpose of learning how to do mods and upgrades. A model that uses standard parts such as tuning, pickups, electronics, etc... I live in a very rural area so finding something used is doubtful. So something under $250 that has a good body and neck. Mods I would like to try is changing the tuning machines, pickups, electronics, and bridge. I want to stay away from fret modifications, but an adjustable neck would be handy. Most of all, it should be a model with easy to find replacement parts. No odd pickup shapes. For this I don't have a real preference between Fender or Gibson style bodies. I posted the same question on TalkBass and plan to do the same thing with a cheap bass. Any recommendations?

This post edited for speling.

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Scott's recommendations are very good.

 

I would tend to favor the Squiers, there are so many aftermarket options for Fender guitars it can make your head spin.

For the bass, get a Squier P-bass of some sort. A Jazz would be OK too or better yet a PJ.

Something I've done for customers and myself is to start with a Squier Strat, upgrade all the hardware and electronics. Buy a better neck (I like the Warmoth stuff but there are options) and a body and over time you've built your own custom guitar. Now you can put the Squier back together and either start over or sell it.

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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Strats are great modders. You can do practically anything with a Strat. Two edge sword. All my vintage Strats have been jacked with because it"s easy and effective. They would be worth a lot more money if I had left them alone. ð

 

ES-335 clones are good if you want to up the challenge scale and provide yourself with greater aggravation and skills.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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You can but very cheap kits from https://www.byoguitar.com/Guitar_Kits/Guitar-Kits.aspx I have heard decent things about their kits and they are relatively cheap.

 

I have been wanting to build this one for a while (Just too lazy to pull the trigger I guess) https://www.byoguitar.com/Guitars/Electric-Guitar-Kit-JEM-Style__BYO-JEM.aspx

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https://www.dhgate.com/product/bass-guitar-neck-use-quality-mapleuse-quality/547352438.html?d1_page_num=1&dspm=pcen.sp.list.20.4X8boKqzwPNuEtXmeK6k&resource_id=547352438#s1-16-1;searl|0601151118:20

 

You can buy this replacement neck for only $27.55, including shipping from China. And if you really screw it up and turn it into a piece of firewood while trying out some mods and other ideas, you're only out $27.55.

I rock; therefore, I am.
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I may be crazy but I am having second thoughts on moding a cheap guitar. I have what I think is a 95 American Strat (N505379) that never gets played. Maybe I should invest my time and dollars into it. Give it a different voice and make it a nice alternative to my Jeff Beck Strat. I'm thinking some good locking tuners, pickups, and strap lock. Maybe even electronics. I thought about upgrading the tail piece but am not sure that is worth it. Any suggestions on pickups. Something that would be a nice contrast to the stock pickups on my Beck Strat?

This post edited for speling.

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I may be crazy but I am having second thoughts on moding a cheap guitar. I have what I think is a 95 American Strat (N505379) that never gets played. Maybe I should invest my time and dollars into it. Give it a different voice and make it a nice alternative to my Jeff Beck Strat. I'm thinking some good locking tuners, pickups, and strap lock. Maybe even electronics. I thought about upgrading the tail piece but am not sure that is worth it. Any suggestions on pickups. Something that would be a nice contrast to the stock pickups on my Beck Strat?

 

 

I've LOVED the combination of EMG SA pickups and the SPC mid boost for decades. The new stuff is all solderless as well, very easy to hook up.

With the SPC you can have a single coil sound or a more forward and powerful humbucking sound with the flick of a dial.

 

Since my current band is acoustic guitar/vocals, drums, bass and me on electric and vocals, I just use the SPC cranked all the time.

The one I haven't tried and am curious about is the Fishman Fluence system.

 

As for tuners, I've put everything you can name on every type of guitar. For me up until now I've used the Sperzel locking tuners but I recently installed a set of Graph-Tec Ratio locking tuners on a friend's guitar and they are amazing. Very easy to install, they come with 4 sets of mounting plates so you can probably just do a direct installation without drilling any holes. The tuners have different ratios so turning each tuner a half turn makes each string respond with the same interval. It has always been a sort of fussy thing to get the low string perfect but it is magically simple and fast with the ratios.

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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I would invest in a set of 3 Fender Vintage Noiseless pups that goes for $199. Maybe upgrade the pots if needed adding an SPC. The pups make all the difference in the world. And throw on a set of locking tuners... :cool:
Take care, Larryz
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I would invest in a set of 3 Fender Vintage Noiseless pups that goes for $199. Maybe upgrade the pots if needed adding an SPC. The pups make all the difference in the world. And throw on a set of locking tuners... :cool:

 

I don't want to throw a clanger at my pal Larryz but the Fender Vintage Noiseless pickups have extremely strong magnets. This affects intonation unless you lower them down quite a bit. They do sound good.

Another option is the Lace Sensors but your Jeff Beck model might already have those? Very quiet and chimey as well.

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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To get some ideas for mods, and consider if it's even worth doing it, check out this video:

 

[video:youtube]

 

 

As an aside - that LTD TE202 is the same model as mine, except mine's black and has a SD Phat Cat in the neck. I played it against three Fender Teles of various origins, and liked this one much more. I did upgrade the tuners to locking Schallers; and I have an Oak-Grigsby harness to make it a 4-way switch & reverse the plate, that I've just never gotten around to doing. Still, even after that, less than $500 into it, including a used hardshell case.

"Am I enough of a freak to be worth paying to see?"- Separated Out (Marillion)

NEW band Old band

 

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I would invest in a set of 3 Fender Vintage Noiseless pups that goes for $199. Maybe upgrade the pots if needed adding an SPC. The pups make all the difference in the world. And throw on a set of locking tuners... :cool:

 

I don't want to throw a clanger at my pal Larryz but the Fender Vintage Noiseless pickups have extremely strong magnets. This affects intonation unless you lower them down quite a bit. They do sound good.

Another option is the Lace Sensors but your Jeff Beck model might already have those? Very quiet and chimey as well.

 

 

Eric Clapton agreed with my "clanger" concept LOL! My Clapton Custom Shop Fender Strat came with vintage noiseless pups and it sounded sweet the way it was set up. Fender also offers a set of "hot" noiseless pups and they would probably need to be lowered as you suggest. I can't remember, but I think my 50th anniversary Strat had the noiseless pups as well...I don't think Fender made a better sounding single coil. You can make any lower end Strat sound like the high prices spread by using the vintage noiseless pups IMHO. +1 The Lace Sensors would be a good choice. I have one Strat with the David Gilmour drop-in pickguard with 3 EMG's SPC EXG set up that out does them all and will make a $200 Squire sound like a $2,000 Strat. They run about $300 bucks these days and that's the way I would/did go but I used an American Standard Strat. :cool:

 

ps. I also put a set of locking tuners (made in Taiwan) as they have the Fender logo on them from Allparts.com. They keep up quite well with the American locking tuners on my American Deluxe Strat.

Take care, Larryz
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Add me to the like the Vintage Noiseless pups. They were stock in my Deluxe Player and I put a set in my Squier last year, got them for $139., see they are back to $199. I've had zero issues with them.

Your Jeff Beck signature model has the Hot Noiseless which are ceramic. The Vintage Noiseless which are alnico and are, as Larry said, in the Clapton signature model. If you install The Vintage Noiseless, you have Beck and Clapton, not a bad way to go.

Jennifer S.

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...

Your Jeff Beck signature model has the Hot Noiseless which are ceramic. The Vintage Noiseless which are alnico and are, as Larry said, in the Clapton signature model. If you install The Vintage Noiseless, you have Beck and Clapton, not a bad way to go.

 

Good to know. Thank you.

This post edited for speling.

My Sweetwater Gear Exchange Page

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Hello RABid

I brought recently the Rocktile Pro L-200OHB which I got for 118. I quite like it as a beginner.

I found a nice article for this topic while I researched. The article is in german but I think you can easily translate it with Google translate or DeepL.

Thats the article in case you are interested https://www.hobbylux.de/e-gitarre-test/

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