Transforming a Classic Vibe into a Crazy Vibe
After finding, by chance a used Squier Classic Vibe 60s Strat last year (I was actually looking for a Classic Vibe Telecaster) I decided to get it and turn it into the most extensive mod project I have, so far undertaken on a guitar.
In the past I have installed new, improved pickups in cheaper guitars and on a couple of occasions even added active boost circuitry. This however has snowballed into a much bigger adventure of modification than my previous attempts.
It’s still not finished, but the mods I want to further make are simple addons/replacements of existing parts with upgraded versions. Here’s the story so far. Most of it is documented in the video above, but here is a what I have done so far.
- Installed 2 hand-wound pickups – Vintage Vibe SP90s (Strat sized P90 style).
- Rewired the guitar with a 3-way switch and a master volume plus tone for neck pickup only.
- Replaced the stock string tree with a Grahtech tree and added a 2nd Graphtech tree.
- Refinished the entire body and neck using a Wudtone refinishing kit.
- Replaced the stock tortoiseshell pickguard with a black one.
- Installed a dummy coil under the pickguard to combat hum.
Summary: All in all I’m really pleased with my Crazy Vibe Strat! The guys in my band all like it and it gives me the playability of a Strat (perfect for me) with a nod toward both the Telecaster & a Gibson SG in terms of tone with some Strat character still left in the bridge pickup position for good measure. I’ll try and get round to posting a video demo of the guitar to demonstrate tones as soon as I can.
In October 2014 I changed the pickup configuration: Duncan Designed SC101 in the bridge & neck and put the stock middle pickup back in. Also I replaced the wiring with a solderless harness with a push/push volume knob for two extra tone positions (bridge+neck & all 3 pickups – great for clean tones).
In May 2015 I refinished this guitar in sky blue, using cheap spray paint from my local hardware store: “Home Pro”. The result is pretty stunning. It looks like a vintage guitar that’s still in good condition. I also treated it to a pickup upgrade: Tonerider TRS4 Alnico II Blues. It’s an even better guitar now!