Got Two Guitars Upgraded After, Like, Forever!


JeffS65
Registered User
Joined: 10/07/08
Posts: 1,602
JeffS65
Registered User
Joined: 10/07/08
Posts: 1,602
09/16/2021 4:47 pm

Anyone who's been around this forum for a while, will have heard once or twice that I was going to make updates to a couple of my guitars. My Strat and my ES. Well, that day has finally come and updates are done.

The two guitars are a 2003 Gibson ES333 (Memphis made) and a 1989 Fender Strat. Some of this work is appearance but ultimately the updates are for seeking a specific sound.

The work was done down here in the Atlanta area by the great Dave Onorato. Absolutely fantastic work and a seriously nice guy with encyclopedic knowledge of just about everything. Note: The after photos are Dave's (better lighting than my dimply lit room...)

Here's the 'before':

This Strat is USA made...in a way. This serial number identified it as made in the states but made for export. It' an 'I' serial number. However, how much of it is American made is harder to tell. The best guess is that it was assembled in the US. It's Fender making a Fender Partscaster. The pickups were likely 80's era Squire pickups and a few other things tend to indicate that Fender was grabbing whatever is on the shelf to assemble some guitars to export. That is to say, save cash to maximize the export profit. No idea of the orignal value but on a good day, you might get $700 for one.

But, it plays great.

For updates, I replaced all the electronics, pickgurd and knobs. I replaced the pickguard with a Fender pearloid guard. I also relaced all the wireing with a Mojotone full harness kit and the big change is the pickups. Here I went with Fender Texas Specials.

Wow! What a difference.

The original pickups were at best adequate and could be a bit flat. They were ok but nothing to get excited about. The Texas Specials are a great set of pickups. First, like the StewMacs, the neck pickup came from Fender with a dead neck pickups. Yes, really. Both guitars had DOA neck pickups from the factory. Fender did a nice job of rushing out a replacement.

Everyone has a different goal for their pickup choice and mine was exactly what I got. Big, biting bluesy rock a la SRV. These, in fact, do that very well. I love positions 2 (bridge+middle) and 5 (neck). These pickups are very respinsive to how hard you strike. I could get some subtlety and some bite depending on how agressive I attack.

-----

So, there ya go. I mostly posted this just for info purposes as you often see people looking at pickup changes and no idea where to start. I kn ew my goals and worked to find out what actually got me there. These guitars ended up on the wall after a while but now I can't stop grabbing them. Yes, it is like a new toy but a new toy I was hoping to get....


# 1
William MG
Full Access
Joined: 03/08/19
Posts: 1,652
William MG
Full Access
Joined: 03/08/19
Posts: 1,652
09/16/2021 7:45 pm

Very nice Jeff and good write up.


This year the diet is definitely gonna stick!

# 2
mjgodin
Registered User
Joined: 11/23/19
Posts: 455
mjgodin
Registered User
Joined: 11/23/19
Posts: 455
09/16/2021 9:21 pm

I agree they both look awesome Jeff, but Im really drawn to that ES. Thanks for posting the pics. [br][br]

Moe


# 3
W3
Full Access
Joined: 03/09/17
Posts: 150
W3
Full Access
Joined: 03/09/17
Posts: 150
09/17/2021 9:19 am

Love what you've done to both. I personally like the 333 without the pick guard, has the looks of the Lennon Casino! Have heard great things about the Texas specials too, it's like you got two new guitars, that's always a good thing. Have fun, bro!


# 4
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,386
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,386
09/17/2021 12:19 pm

Great update!

Originally Posted by: JeffS65

The After Strat:

[/quote]

This image needs audio. :)[br]

Originally Posted by: JeffS65It's Fender making a Fender Partscaster.

I have one of those. Parts made in Korea & US, all shipped to a different factory in Asia for assembly, then back here for sale. And still cheaper than some Strats. Haha!

[quote=JeffS65]These guitars ended up on the wall after a while but now I can't stop grabbing them. Yes, it is like a new toy but a new toy I was hoping to get....

Yes! That's what it's all about. Any purchase or work that incentivizes you to play more guitar is the best. Thanks for the great update & have fun playing those guitars.


Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory
# 5
pupsmom61
Full Access
Joined: 04/23/21
Posts: 39
pupsmom61
Full Access
Joined: 04/23/21
Posts: 39
09/20/2021 10:18 am

Both look really great and I'm sure they sound great! I love pearloid pickguards :D


# 6
Herman10
Registered User
Joined: 12/04/19
Posts: 318
Herman10
Registered User
Joined: 12/04/19
Posts: 318
09/20/2021 12:20 pm

Hi Jeff, I have a Fender strat Usa 1994 and still rocking anniversery model ( never understood Fender why the Usa necks have 22 frets like mine and all the rest assembled in an other country only have 21 frets ) and was never quit fond of the PU's tone so I replaced them with the Texas Special PU's balanced set and have been playing for more then 10 years with them untill I changed the bridge PU with a Seymour Duncun hotrod PU ( same size as a single PU but a humbucker ) to get a more stronger rock sound and played with that combination for another 10 years, just loved the versatile amount of sounds from that set up so I'm sure you won't regret it. And something some people may not know is that not only SRV played on them but also Jimmy Hendrix and Mark Knopfler in the beginning years so yes; Sultans of swing was played on a strat with Texas Special PU's.

Have fun


# 7

Please register with a free account to post on the forum.