Feb 8, 2015

Strat Pickguard Replacement

Recently ordered and received a new prewired pickguard from Amazon.  So far I'm extremely happy with it for what I paid :)  

Many pictures after the break.

Arrived packed in a layer of bubble wrap, not super safe but arrived undamaged.

A simple but clean looking pickguard.  I especially like the black trim and that the pickups fit perfectly in the slots, no gap at all.

All three knobs lined up perfectly when dimed, a nice touch.

Comparison of original (right) with new (left).  Note that I gutted much of the wiring on the original, which improved the tone but killed versatility.

The original pickguard coming off

New one ready for installation

Looks great!  I did have to drill a few holes for screws, only about half of them lined up.  The upside is that the screws are now locked in the wood much better than before.

Out with the old...

In with the new.  Now, to be fair, there's hardly any visual difference except for the pickups and trim, which can really only see well up close (and the lighting was better in the first pic).

The difference in tone is insane though, everything is much more clear sounding than the original, and surprisingly is very very quiet, hum is only audible on high gain and high volume settings, and vanishes in positions 2 and 4.  Even though the original pickups were wired in hum-canceling series, the new single coils are still quieter!

Other differences include the pots (original ones were scratchy) and the selector switch, which is much more stiff, for better or worse.

Overall it's a tremendous improvement from the stock hardware that came on the Squier, in many different ways.  Maybe you're wondering though... how much did it cost?

These weren't Fender American pickups.  Not Duncans.  Not Dimarzios.  Nope, this was a dirt-cheap no-brand prewired pickguard from Amazon, at $20.


The killer part?  Since ordering about a week ago, the price has dropped to $15 for everything.  Frankly that's just an insane deal for this set.  Is it a great upgrade to a Fender Standard?  Probably not, and I certainly wouldn't replace an American Standard pickguard with these, but they'll work wonders on a Squier.  

Sound comparisons before/after are in the works, expect to see that within a few days :)

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