Upgrade 85/86 MIJ Squier Stratocaster?

tendingtropic

Squier Talker
Nov 6, 2021
28
Amsterdam
I love the feel of the guitar

but not sure about the (ceramic) pickups, a bit hot / muddy sometimes, and the 5 way switch crackles a bit when moving, and the volume knob is a bit loose.

I'm considering upgrading, maybe with one of those fender pre-wired sets (pickguard+knobs+pickups). and maybe also the bridge/tremolo.

any advice on which ones to go for? I mainly make ambient/textural music.

Thanks in advance!
 

Eddie

My Squier is on Fire !!!
Gold Supporting Member
Nov 5, 2016
19,661
New York
No, the 85 MIJ has value stock. There are plenty of Squiers out there to mod.

If the switch crackles, spray some DeOxit. If the Volume knob is loose, then take the knob off and tighten the screw.

Don't change anything on it. Get another Squier to upgrade.
 

Guitarmageddon

Squier-Axpert
Sep 27, 2014
11,596
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
I love the feel of the guitar

but not sure about the (ceramic) pickups, a bit hot / muddy sometimes, and the 5 way switch crackles a bit when moving, and the volume knob is a bit loose.

I'm considering upgrading, maybe with one of those fender pre-wired sets (pickguard+knobs+pickups). and maybe also the bridge/tremolo.

any advice on which ones to go for? I mainly make ambient/textural music.

Thanks in advance!

No, the 85 MIJ has value stock. There are plenty of Squiers out there to mod.

If the switch crackles, spray some DeOxit. If the Volume knob is loose, then take the knob off and tighten the screw.

Don't change anything on it. Get another Squier to upgrade.

A 1985 Squier MIJ ST-357 or ST-362 'Standard will not lose value if you change the pickups, pots, and switch to something high end like Alpha A250K (which it had stock), or CTS A250K (CTS will require slight reaming out of pickguard pot mounting holes). I'd use a high quality open 5-way vintage style switch. Keeping the original pickguard though if it's not damaged - that is preferred because you're guaranteed to not have to drill any new holes.....
 

Texaspicker

Squier Talker
Nov 19, 2021
82
Fort Worth, Texas
I have a 1988 Japanese Strat and love it! To my ear, the ceramic pickups sound great but the guitar is loud. It doesn’t say Squier on the headstock but it’s the same as the ones that do. I tend to agree with the idea of finding another Squier to mod but, in the end, it’s your guitar and you are the one that plays it….so….mod away if you’d like! I would suggest paying good heed to Guitarmageddon’s recommendations.
 
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BlueSquirrel

Squier-holic
Dec 21, 2018
2,938
France
I love the feel of the guitar

but not sure about the (ceramic) pickups, a bit hot / muddy sometimes, and the 5 way switch crackles a bit when moving, and the volume knob is a bit loose.

I'm considering upgrading, maybe with one of those fender pre-wired sets (pickguard+knobs+pickups). and maybe also the bridge/tremolo.

any advice on which ones to go for? I mainly make ambient/textural music.

Thanks in advance!

About the loose volume knob, if the knob can't be tightened a little more, you could try taking the knob off, then wrapping the shaft in a little bit of cling film before putting the knob back on the cling film. Sometimes it's all it takes...

I suppose you've already tried to EQ the pickups with an EQ pedal?
 

65refinyellow

Squier-holic
Jun 29, 2015
1,768
norcal
You can buy a switch but if you’re not used to wiring buy two like I did and you’ll get it. Use the first one to practice on.

Of all ceramic stock pickups in many guitars I have had, these are amazing.

I liked them so much I showed them to my friend who hangs out with Seymour Duncan and we just both raved about the ‘85 Squier ceramic pickups to him.
 

tendingtropic

Squier Talker
Nov 6, 2021
28
Amsterdam
I have a 1988 Japanese Strat and love it! To my ear, the ceramic pickups sound great but the guitar is loud. It doesn’t say Squier on the headstock but it’s the same as the ones that do. I tend to agree with the idea of finding another Squier to mod but, in the end, it’s your guitar and you are the one that plays it….so….mod away if you’d like! I would suggest paying good heed to Guitarmageddon’s recommendations.

Given it some thought and you are right. the sound is good (but hot pickups indeed)
and the other issues I can resolve. Noob question: to make the volume/tone knob firmer I need to remove the pickguard, right? and the de-oxit in the pickupselectorswitch, where do I spray it?
 

shingh2002

Squier-holic
Sep 30, 2020
1,558
UK
To tighten the volume or tone knobs you need to remove the plastic knob (use two spoons on either side and slowly lever it up), and you’ll then be able to tighten the nut with a wrench.

If you really wanted to avoid removing the pickguard, you could spray contact cleaner in the crevices of the pickup selector switch and wiggle them back and forth. Usually contact cleaners comes with a straw type nozzle for you to poke them in areas, but there’ll be some spray back so shield yourself and your guitar with a tissue or something.
 

hrstrat57

Squier-Nut
Aug 18, 2020
899
Rhode Island
Pics? Those ceramics are very responsive to height adjustments. If it’s a ST357/362 you wouldn’t upgrade the bridge it is top quality. Strong agree with @Guitarmageddon buy a fully complete /wired up set and drop into existing pick guard to avoid likely drilling - you’ll only need to solder 2 points - Jack and ground. Use original jack just solder leads from jack and ground. Easy peazy. Duncan SSL 1 rig is recommended. Carefully bag up the original pickups/potentiometers and wiring.

Amsterdam is a hot spot for boutique Strat builders. Rebel Relic and Oswald. Either might be in a position to help especially if you posted credit for work well done here and on Strat-Talk
 
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BlueSquirrel

Squier-holic
Dec 21, 2018
2,938
France
Given it some thought and you are right. the sound is good (but hot pickups indeed)
and the other issues I can resolve. Noob question: to make the volume/tone knob firmer I need to remove the pickguard, right? and the de-oxit in the pickupselectorswitch, where do I spray it?
What I mean is you could try adding a bit of cling film between the knob and its shaft, so you wouldn't have to remove the pickguard, just the knob (some people use two spoons as levers, a shoe lace or a soft ice cream stick for that. Just make sure you protect the finish with a rag) . The cling film would add a bit of friction under the knob - just like it feels before you remove the original plastic film on the pickguard under the knobs when a guitar is new. It might just be enough to make it feel firmer.

If it doesn't work, then yes, you might have to tighten the shaft (take the knob off, unscrew the pickguard, tighten the shaft and the bolt, screw the pickguard back on).
 
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