I am starting this thread mainly for Strat " newbies " like myself. These are excerpts from a thread written by a member on another forum that I frequent. Alot of this I am sure that many of the experienced Strat players here already know but, as I said, it is mainly for newbies. Please feel free to add anything you wish. A Stratocaster typically has a rear-routed tremolo cavity that is covered with a plastic cover and some screws. Take the cover away. It's amazing how the overall sound of a guitar can change by simply taking away this cover. I know it sounds like voodoo, but it's true -- give it a try and hear the difference yourself. Take care of your neck cavity. Uninstall the neck and check the cavity; it should be absolutely free of any paint, dirt and other things. Over the years I've found a lot of funny things there -- credit cards, paper, cardboard, etc. Also, The bottom and sides of the neck cavity should be absolutely plain and free of any paint. If they're not, take a piece of sandpaper and rework your cavity until you see the plain wood. If you feel that the neck does not fit the cavity because the cavity is too wide or too low, get your guitar to an experienced luthier who will "shim" it. Bad work at this critical point can ruin your guitar's tone! Check the corresponding part of the neck (the so-called "neck heel") that is attached to the neck cavity. Often you can find stickers there -- scrape them away. I also highly recommend sanding away all the paint until you can see and feel the plain wood. You don´t need any paint there, and a strong and even "wood to wood" connection will enhance the tone transfer dramatically. Bolt on the neck screws very tight, but don't overdo Let your guitar breath. For this, you should take away the paint at any location that can´t be seen. One critical location is the surface underneath the bridge of a Strat. Eric Johnson knows what he's doing when he does this to all of his guitars. You can also completely remove the paint of the inside of the pickup cavities and the entire surface underneath the pickguard Fender has an interesting little detail on the Eric Johnson Strat. They sand away the paint on top of the inertia bar (a.k.a "tremolo block") that is attached to the bottom of the tremolo bottom plate for a better tone transfer. At first I thought that it was voodoo and marketing, but later I had to take out the inertia bar on one of my own Strats, and since it was out anyway, I gave it a try and the result was stunning. The tone is stronger -- it was like "freeing" my guitar. So give it a try and listen to see if it makes a difference on your guitars.