Fender Standard Stratocaster HSS
Fender Tex Mex single coil pickups
Seymour Duncan Invader
My main workhorse guitar. It’s a Fender Strat so you know it plays well, and is comfy at the same time.
It’s a early 90′s standard Strat that came with a tinted neck, medium frets, three single coil stock pickups and a black finish. Tuners were standard Fender inline 6 cheapo’s and the bridge was a standard non-locking tremolo. The Mexican series Stratocasters have long been value priced guitars, but can be turned into a lot of fun for not much cash.
Fender Stratocaster Mods
The first upgrade I applied was installing a set of Sperzel locking tuners. I’ve raved about how great these are in my Epiphone Les Paul article, but I found even more reason to brag about these tuners. It took me about an hour to install the Sperzel’s because of the tight fit on the Fender headstock. It did require drilling new bracing holes, but everything ended up being covered up once the tuners were put in place. Within minutes of tuning up and jamming I realized the guitar was now capable of doing floating tremolo-style dive bombs and other fun whammy bar tricks. The Sperzel tuners stood their ground and didn’t slip out of tune once. After tweaking the spring tension on the bridge, this guitar became capable of so much more than I had hoped.
The pickups also had to go for two main reasons. First, I don’t have much need for single coil pickups in my style of play. Second, they sounded awful and weren’t shielded very well. To my suprise, when I took off the pickguard to inspect what I was working with I discovered that the body was actually routed to support a tradional humbucker pickup in the bridge position. My initial intent was to install a single coil sized humbucking pickup similar to the Seymour Duncan JB Jr but now I’d have a chance to install a Seymour Duncan Invader that a friend gave me some time back. Invader’s put out a lot of low-end power so they work best in a guitar with a focused high end like this Stratocaster (alder body/maple neck/rosewood fretboard). The volume and tone pots seemed to be of fair quality so I didn’t bother replacing them. I also figured using the 250K pots instead of 500K pots would smooth out the high end and deliver a much smoother tone. This paid off big too, as this Fender Standard Stratocaster can really rip when I need it to, and clean up quite nicely.