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Still have my 1st guitar some 24 years later. Tanara. Need suggestions for upgrades


BiggRedd
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So I still have my 1st guitar that I started playing somewhere around 13 years old. It's a made in Korea Tanara strat that I have zero information on. No model # listed on it. It's in almost perfect condition. Think I paid around $170 for it back then. Has a bolt on neck. I wanted to play drums but my dad would only get me a snare with a rubber head and said I had to learn it the real way, with lessons. I started it and said screw this I wanna bang an entire kit. Since I couldn't I saw this guitar on the wall and said it's mine. So here I am some 24 years later with plenty of other guitars but still keep this out and about. I've been doing some upgrades slowly but surely. I've put new tuner keys on it, a new input jack and new pots on the pickup selector and volume/tones. I didn't really pay attention at the time what kind of pots to use, just bought whatever. So far they sound ok but may do some research going forward to make sure they're what I need. My main focus right now is what kind of pickups to upgrade to. Not looking for something too expensive and used is ok also. for this guitar I'd keep it as a light rock/blues guitar. Kinda Eric Clapton, maybe BB king type glassy clean/light distortions. I'm no guru so I have no idea where to start. It's a humbucker, 2 singles, 5 way pup selector. Once I get the pickup situation resolved any other suggestions on what might be a worthwhile investment on a good upgrade to this? I have a couple of nice schecters and a PRS in the stable fyi.

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Good looking guitar you've got there. I'd start with the bridge, either chuck the diecast saddles and block and upgrade to stainless saddles and a steel block (not brass) or get a full replacement. GFS has some nice trems with solid blocks.

Pickups - if you're wanting to stay budget friendly, I'd check out GFS Lil Killers or Iron Gear Jailhouse Rails for the middle and neck, and probably a Bigmouth or Crunchy Pat from GFS, or an Iron Gear Dirty Torque or Blues Driver in the bridge. 500k pots, all audio, no linear. .22 caps, and with push/pull, you can split the rail HBs for classic tone. I just ordered some Russian paper/oil caps instead of the usual Orange drop, just for kicks on a project myself, may give you that little something as well.

If you're after that truly glassy tone, scrap the HSS and get a new SSS scratchplate, Lace Sensors, or GFS Texas Strat set, or Iron Gear Pig Iron or Texas Locos. 250k pots - all audio, .47 caps. If you go Pig Iron, I'd do overwound to have more on tap, and dial it back with the volume knob.(500k pots, .47 caps with OW Pig Iron)

. Good luck! Let us know what upgrades you go with!

Edited by hellion_213
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Nice looking guitar. I looked at a used Tanara bass back before I bought the one I have now. There are any number of outfits that will sell you a ''loaded'' Strat pickguard so that all you have to do is drop it in and solder a couple of wires. Strat style guitars generally have 250K pots. A higher value will have a slight effect of making your guitar sound brighter. A guitar pickup has a peak at 3-5KHz and the value of the pot affects the height of the peak. Here's an example:

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You'll note that the difference is slight, even with substantial changes in the value of the pot. Neither 250K nor 500K is ''better,'' just different but if you want a Strat that sounds like a Strat stick with 250K.

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  • 4 weeks later...
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one more question. There is a same set up but has a dual single looking humbucker in the bridge. Should I bother with a humbucker back there? I already have a couple humbucker guitars. Should I truly switch this from HSH to SSS? or would HSS be worthwhile?

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Depends on the Dual Coil, and the wiring schematic. If you have a chance to check some clips of the dual coil, that would be good. I just installed one in my EPI Strat a week or so ago, with a blend pot and a coil tap. Goes from glassy clean, to some cool out of phase tones, on to humbucking. It really depends on how versatile you would like the guitar to be. SHR-1 Duncan's are really good, not hardly as glassy as Lace Sensors. I put an Artec in my EPI Strat, and it really does a great job on the classic strat tone, plus sounds really good for 80s metal, and hard rock. added bonus is it wasn't $80+. The differences between it and the SHR-1, are not, IMO $50 noticeable. There's a slight drop in volume, tone is Very Close. Compensate with amp settings, and who in the audience can tell?

Edited by hellion_213
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