2000s Squier Stratocaster Electric Guitar (GM Alnico II Pickups)

"Jake, what are you doing posting Squier Strats?" Yeah, I get it, folks! That said, the last Squier Strat was really a gem that got passed-along through my friend Reese to its next life before I got a chance to swap gear on it. Thankfully, though -- because it was great as-is. This one is also a nice looker (flamed neck!) and has a lightweight, nicely-cut body.

Its owner wanted me to upgrade it "the way I would" and that means, to be honest folks, adding very little. The bridge, trem block, saddles, arm, and springs are all high-quality, American-spaced stuff now. I also fit a set of Guitar Madness Alnico II Strat-style pickups.

I've had good luck with the sound and quality (versus price) of a lot of the (mostly Korean, some Chinese) GM gear, so I keep using them for upgrades to inexpensive guitars. The specs and magnet styles are "right" and that's usually what I'm hunting for. Beyond something like these I don't see massive payoffs in pickups unless you're moving into Fralins or Duncan Antiquities or wahtever.

They transformed this one from clicky-clacky Squier-style quacky-Strat sounds to a clean, '50s/'60s-like, chimey, ducky, nuanced Strat voice a little closer to modern American stuff. It's good! Listen to the video.

So -- that's why I shared. One part setup, one part better bridge hardware, one part cheap-but-nice pickups. Now go and fix-up your yardsale Squiers, folks.

Also a "last note" thing -- the original bridges are fine as bridges but are only ok as whammies. I barely ever swap-out bridges myself but treat the stock bridges as "hardtails" by "blocking" them to remain stationary. I've never been happy with the feel and "return to pitch" of any stock Squier whammy when actually in use save maybe the Mustang and Jazzmaster-style ones which seem to work alright.