To mod or not to mod. That’s my question

Discussion in 'Other Cool Guitars' started by nickurso, Nov 6, 2019.

  1. nickurso

    nickurso Gretschified

    Age:
    53
    Dec 24, 2012
    New Orleans la.
    I bought a squire standard tele a few months ago for playing in the street. the potential for my brown bear tele falling or getting broken was bothering me so I bought the squire. It’s a great guitar and works great for the street.
    Tonight I brought my Mexican strat our instead. It was great having a vibrato on the guitar and the guitar plays great, but honestly the sound of the guitar didn’t work as well as the tele.
    The other problem I have with my street rig is the amp(Roland street cube). It’s just doesn’t give you anything back. The amp doesn’t react to your playing, there is not a lot of nuance to this set up. I feel like when I’m playing in the street I’m fighting Witt every note I play. The guitar by itself plays really good. The amp doesn’t sound bad for what it is. It’s great for what I’m doing.
    I travel light with the street rig so I know it’s a trade off between the price point and and durability vs my pedicure rig I use for gigs.
    Now that said I like the squire and I’m going back and fourth on whether or not to mod the guitar. Mods come in two trains of thought.
    1) cool boutique mods that cost way more than the guitar but give me a custom guitar that’s and plays great and has cool features.
    2) cool mods for the street.
    I originally wanted to put Keith banjo tuners in it so I could use different tunings quickly on the street. The problem is they are way expensive and for that I could have bought a better guitar, and how many tunings am I really gonna use?
    So looking for ideas whatever they are. I know there is a lot of experience on this forum and I’m hoping to get a great idea I’ve completely over looked.
    thanks in advance for the help
    Pictures of the guitar including guest appearance from Damian Bacci.


    C5074780-E965-4C67-BAF8-62540CEBD26E.jpeg B692D78D-F286-4F3F-90C6-1BFD382955EC.jpeg B28C6C67-D352-4715-8892-31F296BE9B6A.jpeg
     
  2. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    I really like the idea of Banjo tuners on a guitar but those Keiths are priced insane.
    What about Schallers or even those Kluson Firebird banjo tuner reissues? They don’t feel super solid like the Schallers but so far they seem to hold tuning well.
    Maybe just use drop down tuners for the strings you change tuning most often?
     
    nickurso likes this.
  3. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    60
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Why not buy another Squire Tele and keep it at the tuning of your desire . Seems the resale of a guitar is much easier and faster than the resale of tuners . Heck , you could even sell the guitar quicker in a pinch at Guitar Center than you could a handful of tuners .
    Damian Bacci , tell him he's got a You Tube fan .
     
  4. nickurso

    nickurso Gretschified

    Age:
    53
    Dec 24, 2012
    New Orleans la.
  5. nickurso

    nickurso Gretschified

    Age:
    53
    Dec 24, 2012
    New Orleans la.
    The Keith tuners let you lock in two specific notes that you can quickly change while play(with a banjo), I thought it was something I could use to go into open G or D and then back again quickly . Does Schaller make a tuner like that?
     
  6. nickurso

    nickurso Gretschified

    Age:
    53
    Dec 24, 2012
    New Orleans la.
    Because then I would have to carry two guitars on the street. Those gigs it’s all about traveling light. Plus I’m old and just don’t want to carry more than one guitar.
     
    thunder58 and audept like this.
  7. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Age:
    72
    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    thumbs up.jpg
     
  8. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    They do. Schaller D-tuners.

    I just found these. Rickard tuners seem to fall between Schallers and Keith, both in price and quality. Bonus is a 10:1 ratio.
    https://rickardbanjos.com/product/rickard-tuners-set-of-6/
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2019
    nickurso likes this.
  9. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    For the Strat, try a Duncan Twangbanger as a back pickup, it gets you real close to Telly land.
    Have you tried a Brain in front of your Roland?
     
    nickurso likes this.
  10. nickurso

    nickurso Gretschified

    Age:
    53
    Dec 24, 2012
    New Orleans la.
    No power on the street. Can’t use pedals
     
  11. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    53
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    Remember you bought this guitar as a beater for occasinal low-profile gigs, Nick.

    I personally would not invest anything into it unless it is a part that is putting dust on in my drawer, and would possibly improve your live-playing experience.

    Your general concept totaly clicks with me. In a perfect world you should be able to gig with just one "disposable" guitar.

    That`s why all my valuable vintage amps and guitars will stay at home or in the studio.
    I really lost or damaged some of the finest instruments that I was able to buy on my limited budget during the yeras and I mourned a lot about it. (Heavy-duty flightcases are part of the possible solutions.)

    So I decided to play only replaceable gear on regular gigs that do not get too much attention by the media/public.

    I asked my luthier to build me a couple of cheap (under USD 600, not considering the price of the vintage parts -like non-finetuner-Floyds from the eighties- that I already had) "replaceable" and easy to repair guitars for playing live from selected (and improved) parts.
    I ended with three similar (nearly identical) super-simple solid-bodies . One main stage instrument, one "equal" backup and one that fills in when one of them on is temporally "sick".
    It is a matter of finding a nice compromise in just one "amalgam" of instrument. Something without strict style or hisoric connotation. Something that works on all occasions.

    (You just cannot play a worship - gig with a Jackson RR model. A Tele- or a Strat- iteration is just right.)

    Works good for me since ten years.

    The remaining guitars/treasures are used for recording or special occasions that scream for something spectacular.

    These three workhorses are nice to look at, extremely comfortable to operate and feel like a part of me. So playing them in a live-situation will keep me concentrating on my playing and not on operating a vintage strero Falcon with dozends of controls. ( Althogh this special one would make me look cooler, by far.)

    I really think that`s a time-proven way to go. At least for me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2019
  12. jjudas

    jjudas Electromatic

    27
    Jan 24, 2019
    Metro New Orleans
    IMO investing in tuners and pickups are worthy mods for a everyday workhorse guitar.
     
  13. Sid Nitzerglobin

    Sid Nitzerglobin Country Gent

    Jun 8, 2015
    fROMOHIO
    I've never tried one myself, but I get the impression these are being used w/ success w/ small boards & lower power pedals:
    https://pedaltrain.com/products/pt-vt3

    Might need a couple of them if you're going to be out for a while though dependent on what you need to power (?)

    I usually feel the MiM/MiK guitars I like the feel of are nice enough that I don't feel like I'm over doing it putting nice stuff on them where they might seem lacking to me. My MiM Strat bridge guitars have all wound up w/ new bridges & pickups. Some of the tuners have seemed good enough to me, but I run my vibrato Strat bridges floating so I'm not usually majorly changing the tuning on them w/o spending some time retweaking the spring claw. I'm also not playing mine on the street so probably not all that useful of an opinion ;)

    If you're looking for classic 60s Strat sounds, the Fender Pure Vintage 65 set have seemed a pretty great value to me. Nice dynamics to them IMO, & they seem to work well through the older Blues Cube at my lessons, although it's a bigger AC powered one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2019
    nickurso likes this.
  14. Charlie westside

    Charlie westside Country Gent

    Jul 27, 2018
    Sylmar Califirnia
    I think i'd leave the Tele as is Nick. The whole purpose was to preserve your more expensive one and play on the street with the Squire. you can get a better street worthy amp For the amount of $$$$ you would be spending on the mods for the Tele one that would actually give you that sound defenition your looking for.
    You have to be happy with your decision though. Let us know which way you go.
     
    LongJohn and nickurso like this.
  15. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    Nick I say go back to 1st principles :)
    Why are you doing the street gigs ? - to make extra $$ and it probly promotes your other paid gigs also - so again to make $$.

    I remember when you asked about what amp would be best for the street gigs. I suggested that roland street cube and we agree it's the best option for the street. You bought the Tele on top also.

    So you've already invested $? in the street rig - you know how much.
    At some point in past (I hope) you broke even on the deal and have been making good profit.

    If you spend more $$ on mod's will it increase your earnings at each street gig? Will you get a good $ return on investment or only increase your personal enjoyment?

    Also - for how long do you expect to be doing the street gigs?
    Is it short or long term?

    Only you can decide :)
     
    LivingMyDream, Stefan87 and nickurso like this.
  16. Gretschmen65

    Gretschmen65 Synchromatic

    616
    May 20, 2016
    Australia
    Sounds to me like a couple of pedals will fix your problems.

    Get the battery pack Sid suggested.

    No way I'd waste money modding that cheap guitar. Never worth doing IMO.
     
    nickurso likes this.
  17. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    yeah Sid Volto 3 would be a good solution for many situations but at $100 each Nick would need to know how many hours 1 Volto 3 would power the pedals he'd want to use.

    And again comes back to whether spending more $ on anything at all is likely to get refunded in increased income at the street gigs.
     
    nickurso likes this.
  18. ruger9

    ruger9 Country Gent

    Nov 1, 2008
    NJ
    JMHO- an MIM? Mod it.

    If it were a $3K Pro-line or PRS or something, no. But turning 50 this year, I've become a lot less precious with gear... I have decided it's JUST GEAR. I'm not waiting anymore to buy bucket list items, and I'm not treating current gear with kid gloves... this stuff is meant to be played, experienced, and yes... modded, if it will give you more playing joy out of it. It's just wood and wires. It's just a guitar.

    BTW- "mods that cost more than the guitar".... think about it this way...

    While I have never spent more money on mods for a guitar than I have for the guitar itself... if you added up all the pickups I tried, new tuners when they wore out, custom pickguard, new pots when they wear out, nice leather strap, and God-only-knows-how-many-strings, and in one case, 2 re-frets, I'll bet it's close. I don't have a ton of money, but again- I've got more life behind me now than in front of me, people all around are getting sick and dying at my age, I'm done NOT experiencing things.... IDK how much longer I'll even be here. I want the joy NOW. Hang the cost. What good is $$ in the bank going to do me when I'm fertilizer?

    Sorry, I don't mean for this to sound depressing, just the opposite: live TODAY. Carpe Diem. You only have NOW. (Mod the guitar, LOL)
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
    new6659, Waxhead, nickurso and 2 others like this.
  19. Sid Nitzerglobin

    Sid Nitzerglobin Country Gent

    Jun 8, 2015
    fROMOHIO
    Yeah, I hear ya. On the other hand if you're not feeling it due your setup, I could certainly see it being worth a couple/few days worth of income to rectify the situation w/ a set of pickups & a battery to enable using a Brain/a pedal or 2 if it's financially posible, whether that leads to increased tips or not.

    Just my perspective on it though. I'm pretty picky about the sound & feel of stuff so it would probably happen as soon as I could manage it for me if it was going to bug me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
    Waxhead and nickurso like this.
  20. manunk

    manunk Electromatic

    Playing on the street in the open air with noises all around, the wind, etc, sucks the tone and ambiance right out of your amp. At home my amp (Roland KC110 stereo). sounds great with delay and reverb. Outside you can barely hear that. Just goes with the territory. I have to turn up the volume up pretty high to project the effects, which can be problematic for other buskers or nearby businesses.
     
    Waxhead likes this.
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