A couple of weeks ago I found a pretty nice Squier Affinity Strat for only $119 so thought I would pick it up. I’ve been wanting a cheap Strat for a while now to show people that you can get a decent tone with an inexpensive guitar. Many may see the guitars I use and think that you really need an expensive one to sound good but that’s far from being true.
For the demo I’m using a 1966 Vibrolux amp into a Two Notes Captor and using an EVM12L IR. For strings I’m using DR Pure Blues .010s. Settings for all the gear used are in the video.
Here’s a quick pic of the guitar before the makeover.
Here’s the breakdown of all the upgrades I did to this guitar, what this project cost, and links to where you can purchase the items I upgraded. This doesn’t include the cost of sandpaper and any tools that would be required though. All the prices listed are as of August 14th 2019.
Disclosure: Most of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.
Squier Affinity Strat Guitar Used – $119
Graph Tech Bone Nut – $10.13
Graph Tech String Tree – $12.71
Tone Shaper Wiring Kit – $30
(1) Capacitor, .022µF Orange Drop
(1) Jack, Switchcraft 1/4″ Mono
(3) Pot, CTS 250k Audio, Low Torque (1/4″ Bushing Length)
(1) Switch, 5-Way, CRL
(3) Wire, 22 AWG Cotton Push Back w/ Tinned Overcoat, Black
(3) Wire, 22 AWG Cotton Push Back w/ Tinned Overcoat, White
Fender Locking Tuners – $49
Musiclily Pickguard – $10
Fender Pure Vintage 65 Pickups $109
This comes to a total of – $339
The stain, which I will have extra leftover was $45 so add that in if you wanted to stain the neck. I probably used half of each can so however you would want to count that. The stain would be optional. I also picked up a Fender waterslide decal to put on the headstock but I haven’t put it no yet.
Stewmac Tinted Vintage Amber Nitrocellulose Lacquer $20.68
Stewmac Clear Gloss Nitrocellulose Lacquer $15.27
An equivalent guitar would be a Squier Classic Vibe Strat for $350-$399. I believe this build would have better wiring, pickups, nut, and tuners than that guitar though. To me, this Strat before I did the mods was a better guitar to play than my Classic Vibe Tele. Not sure what the new ones are like but that guitar is hard to play due to the smaller frets and doesn’t stay in tune that great if you are using .010s in standard tuning. That’s why I keep it in Open G.
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Sounds great and looks good!
Nice job explaining in reality to what you can to a low price guitar, also great playing and sound.
Jack Pearson loves Squire Strats and if they are good enough for him, there must be something to them. He is playing one in the video of The Allman Brothers Band video with a bunch of guest musicians. Jack sounds great playing with Derrick Trucks and you would never realize he is playing a cheap priced Squire if you didn’t see it in the video. He does an interview and talks about how he came to own a couple himself while he was out looking for a cheap starter guitar for a relatives child. Great job John. A lot of us have spent more on a effects pedal chasing the illusive tone down. Thanks.
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