Beefing up a Mexi Strat

About a year ago my wife gifted me this made in Mexico Stratocaster that she found while perusing the local pawn shop. She got it as an el-cheapo to take camping or whatever, but after tweaking it for a while it has turned out to be my #1 player, over some more expensive instruments. I figured I'd share my super-secret recipe.

The first thing to go were the pickups and electronics. I went with a DiMarzio ProTrack in the bridge and DiMarzio True Velvets in the neck and middle position. ($165 for all three.) At the same time I upgraded all the electronics, including new pots, caps, switch, and wiring, ($40)  and lined the control cavity with copper foil to help tame the hum. ($20) I installed all the aforementioned in a new tortoiseshell pickguard. ($45... and purely cosmetic...I likes the tortoiseshell.) These upgrades to the electronic components made a bigger change in sound than anything else I did.

I also added a GFS Brass Tremolo block. ($30) I tried both the brass and steel, and ended up liking the brass much better. I didn't try any of the popular Callaham blocks, but I'm not convinced I would have seen double the benefit for double the price.

Lastly, I installed a new American-style string tree. ($5) My strings kept getting bound up on the old-school bent-steel type, and the rounded US type made a big difference. I've thought about replacing the tuners as well, but honestly I just don't see the need.  I keep my tremolo decked, and they hold tune just fine. (If I were using the trem bar I would almost certainly upgrade to locking tuners.)

I've thought about new Callaham bridge screws and saddles. I will probably try this in the future....the next time I have an extra $50 burning a hole in my pocket. Anyway, like I's my numero uno now. Who woodu thunk? The fact that my wife gave it to me as a gift makes it even more special.

Want to hear it? Check out my Space Love Navigator and Subliminal Killer in the purple playlist. Every guitar part in both songs was recorded with my li'l Mexi Strat!


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