There comes a point where every Squier owner asks is it worth upgrading a Squier Strat? What can you replace on a Strat, is it even worth it? We’ll help you cover some basic ideas that will point you in the right direction in deciding what upgrades you want to go with for your Squier Strat.
Whether you have a Squier Standard, Squier Affinity SE, or MIK Squier, you might need to consider upgrading the hardware that comes with your Strat.
Many beginners start out with the Squier brand, as they’re affordable guitars that provide great value. Squier’s can feel as solid as higher end guitars.
The great thing with squire is that you can easily upgrade or replace components with genuine Fender Strat parts. Who wouldn’t want a gold whammy bar? Forget about fresh strings, lets get some fresh single coils going!
If your Squier Strat is your first guitar, chances are after a year or two worth of progression and learning you’ll wonder what some higher end hardware could do to your Squier.
If you’re at the point you want a higher end guitar and feel you’ve “outgrown” the Squier brand it might be worthwhile to upgrade some of the parts.
Squier worth upgrading?
The cost of upgrading a Squier Strat can range between $450-1,000+ depending on which parts you decide to replace, and what quality of parts you go with. Personally, if I was going to upgrade my Squier I would go all the way and get the highest end Fender pickups and probably leave the rest.
The basic hardware such as switches and tuners aren’t going to be a significant upgrade in performance, so not worth the price for me.
That being said now would be the ideal time to see if any of the parts need replacing due to wear and tear of playing over the years. So, aside from maintenance or wanting to add some flare to your Strat, I wouldn’t recommend upgrading any parts except for the pickups.
Worthwhile upgrade on a Squier Affinity Strat
The Affinity series is a different story however, this new line of “fender” guitars is lower quality than the standard models.
I would recommend putting money you might put into upgraded pickup options, into a new guitar. The money would be better spent on a higher end guitar. If you’re serious enough to consider the upgrade, you might also be serious enough for a bigger type of upgrade!
Squier Strat: upgrade or replace?
So this begs the question: to Upgrade or replace a Squier Strat? It depends on where you want to spend you money.
Chances are a decent Fender pickup upgrade will run you a in the $400-600 range easily. So, you can quickly see that money could get you to 50% of a brand new guitar in the $800-1,200 range. Where do you want to put your money?
Personally I started with a Squier and progressed to a higher end guitar. I still have my old Squier and might come back to upgrading the pickups.
Chances are I might come back to the idea of upgrading my old Squier, but for now I have no plans. If I were to however, it would probably just be new pickups and that’s it.
Basically, In my opinion, upgrading a Squier Strat is really cool and worthwhile, however, only if you are ok with not using that money towards a high end guitar that will out perform a overhauled upgraded Squier.
Squier Stratocaster Hardware Upgrade Kit
You can replace the nearly the entire hardware on your Squier Strat with genuine Fender parts with a kit. You’ll have color options such as gold, black or silver. price might impact you’re choice, but not enough if you really want the gold tuners (I know I would!).
The upgrade kits will run you in the $500-1,000+ range for Fender parts and about $300 for Squier replacement parts. If you just want to replace a broken part, consider if you want the replacement to be better quality, otherwise go with Squier parts.
Tuner upgrades are an easy DIY upgrade. Some nice gold tuners can go a long way in making your guitar feel improved. Stock tuners are fine, and unless you go with locking tuners you likely won’t see a performance improvement, but you can see it!
If you’re looking for an upgrade, then you’ll have to go with the Fender hardware upgrade kits, there’s just no other good option!
Replacing and upgrading Electronics on a Strat
The electronics inside your guitar are going to be the main components that you’ll want to upgrade. From the pickup, to the volume pot knobs and tone knobs, all the way to the jack, it can all be upgraded.
These are also the parts that might need repairing over time. Years of swinging your guitar around in skinny jeans might have knocked a few wires or screws loose. Just like in your head, haha .
All the electronic components are in the body of the guitar, and the wiring diagram is easy enough to follow. repairing or upgrading can improve the tone, and who doesn’t love a nice clean tone?
If you are handy with a soldering iron, then you can likely upgrade the pickups on your own. Otherwise, any reputable guitar shop will see this type of replacement a few times a year at least and will know what to do.
This is a fairly simple and straight forward swap out of parts. Easy enough that this could be a good first soldering project if you’ve never done soldering before.
Just keep in mind that the quality of our solders will reflect in the performance. If you’ve ever heard a guitar get plugged in that needs a wiring repair you know exactly what I’m talking about, holy moly!
Labor at a shop should only run you $100-200 on top of parts for a full upgrade kit. It really shouldn’t be more than a 2-3 hour job. Any more than that and you might want to seek out a more experienced, or less corporate shop.
Stratocaster Replacement Pickups
Stock pickups are the part that you’ll most often want to replace. The difference in quality from Squier to high end Fender pickups is the real deal! Nearly every other difference from the wood used in the body, to the neck, to the bridge and down to the nut, is comparable in quality albeit a little lower for Squier.
Fender pickups however, crush Squier. Fender is one THE brands known for pickups. Squier is simply an affordable copy of these parts. Fender over Squier in every blind taste test you could imagine.
Ensure that you replace both pickups at the same time. The bridge pickup, middle pickup and neck pickup are equally important. Please, replace all three or none at all. Expensive pickup swapping can cost a bit of cash, but is worth it. With some high end noiseless pickups, you’ll be glad you did.
If you’re having problems with scratchy sounds or feedback when your Strat is plugged in, you might need a repair. If you need a repair and you need to redo the wiring, why not upgrade the parts while you’re under the hood? You’ll notice the difference in tone.
Repairing solders is usually a quick fix, however, if repair is needed due to damage then it could be a bigger mess. Repairing a mess of solder can in some circumstances be far harder than the replacement of new components.