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Thread: Suggestions for ST-1 upgrades

  1. #1

    Suggestions for ST-1 upgrades

    I built an ST-1 a couple of years ago. I want to upgrade it so that it can be used by my son who is learning guitar.

    I'm looking for ideas for upgrades to take it up a level.

    Here are my ideas:
    - loaded pickguard to improve pickups. There's the Pitbull options for about $35, but will any others fit? Or is it better to buy some new pickups and rewire?
    - new tuning pegs to help it to stay in tune (it's not bad actually).

    Optional
    - new bridge. Or might just block the stock bridge to stabilise tuning.
    - new nut

    Any thoughts or tips?

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Overlord of Music Dedman's Avatar
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    My formulae would be
    Either leave the stock pick ups for now, or go to Tone Riders. Great value for money.
    Tuners, leave them for now or go Mini grovers
    Bridge the Wilkinson ones are good value and have a steel block with is a big improvement.
    Bone nut.

    Of course it all depends on your budget, but that's just my suggestion. My black strat is pretty much what I listed there and its a great guitar.
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  4. #4
    Moderator Brendan's Avatar
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    Quick and simple upgrade is new pots and caps - little change can make a big difference in sound. I like the Toneriders I have in my P Bass and Entwhistles in my J - both are a good an relatively inexpensive upgrade - depends on what sort of sound you're going for...

  5. #5
    Overlord of Music dave.king1's Avatar
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    The only change I have made to mine is replacing the pups with Tonerider Vintage Classics

  6. #6
    Mentor Andyxlh's Avatar
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    I'd agree with this, in order for me...
    Bone nut
    Roller string trees (both available on eBay cheaply)
    Pickups tonerider for sure, there's different types for different styles of music. Great value from Pitbull. If he is a hard rock nut you could buy a loaded pickguard cheap from China with 2 humbuckers in it, eBay. The cheap humbuckers are pretty good imho, much better than the cheap single coils
    Machine heads, Grover from Pitbull. Amazing value, I'll be replacing all of mine with these eventually. This might be number one depending on the quality of the stock ones, I have had great stock sets and ones that slip and have rough gears.
    Bridge, wilkinson
    Pots and caps... cts and orange drop cap from Pitbull

  7. #7
    Overlord of Music Fretworn's Avatar
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    For me upgrading the tuning machines is a given. It’s better for a learner to have a guitar that is easy to tune and stays in tune. I’ve used Wilkinsons mostly and have had no issues. Also for a learner using an ST, I’d suggest taking Rob Chapman’s advice and block the whammy bridge. This will make it a pseudo hard tail, but whammys are a distraction to beginners anyway. It will also help him develop better finger strength, better technique etc. When his skills improve you can look at upgrading the pickups and electronics to make it sound better.
    Current:
    AST-1FB

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    First Act ME276 (resurrected curb-side find)
    ES-5V
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    Custom ST-1 12 String (to be converted to 6 string)
    JBA-4
    TL-1TB
    Scratch Lapsteel
    Meinl DIY Cajon
    Cigar Box lap steel

    Wishing:
    Baritone
    Scratchie 12 string
    Open D/Standard Double 6 twin neck

  8. Liked by: Andyxlh, wazkelly

  9. #8
    Mentor Andyxlh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fretworn View Post
    For me upgrading the tuning machines is a given. It’s better for a learner to have a guitar that is easy to tune and stays in tune. I’ve used Wilkinsons mostly and have had no issues. Also for a learner using an ST, I’d suggest taking Rob Chapman’s advice and block the whammy bridge. This will make it a pseudo hard tail, but whammys are a distraction to beginners anyway. It will also help him develop better finger strength, better technique etc. When his skills improve you can look at upgrading the pickups and electronics to make it sound better.
    Excellent answer

  10. #9
    Thanks @Dedman. I hadn't planned on spending that much money - so I need to think that through. Maybe if I started with the small upgrades first?

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Brendan View Post
    Quick and simple upgrade is new pots and caps - little change can make a big difference in sound.
    As someone new to soldering, is that a difficult job?

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