Troy Thibodeaux
Pickup installation - not so fast.
Today was the day I was going install my new pickup in my Strat. I bought a cheap Hot Rail knockoff from Amazon. It was $14, so I was not expecting much, but it actually had good reviews, so I thought I would try it out. This is a cheap Squire Strat that I am upgrading, and I don't mind experimenting on it.

The pickup came with no wiring diagram or instructions, so it was off to internet to research. I installed a few EMGs in the past, but the instructions were very clear and easy to follow. And the the active EMGs came with their own pots, screws, etc.. This pickup was bare bones. Just the pickup and two screws and two springs.

I get it, it was cheap. So I found a few instructional videos on YouTube, but they were for the Seymour Duncan's, and of course the wire colors on this pickup were slightly different. I was just about ready to give it a shot. I felt about 90% confident I knew where the wires needed to be connected to, but as I took a real close look at the wires on the pickup, I noticed one wire was cut. The wires on the pickup have not slack, so there was no way for me to repair it. Oh well, Amazon return, here I come.

The question now is, do I order another one. I think I will. Again, $14 we are talking about.
Squire Strat Transformation
I bought a cheap Squire Strat off of Craigslist back in June, and I'm slowly upgrading it to be a decent playing/sounding guitar. I am convinced that I can achieve this for less than buying MIM or a USA strat.

First things first is that I loved the way the guitar looks, but that's not hard to come by. All the Strats, cheap or expensive, look great to me.

Second, it needs to play good. I started with a decent playing neck. I have not tweaked it yet, but there is a slight bow, and at least one fret that needs to leveling. I'll get to that later, as it plays pretty good as it sits.

As far as looks go, I want to remove any evidence of it being a Squire. I  replaced the neck plate, as it had "Squire" stamped on it. It now says "Fender". The tuners and bridge saddles also had "Squire" on it, and the new parts will get rid of that. I also sanded the neck, including the headstock, so the old Squire decal is gone. I left the decal on the back of the headstock that has the serial number. That is a giveaway, but I'm not doing this to fool anyone, as I would disclose all this if I ever sell it. I just don't like seeing Squire. It gives me a bad vibe, and would also do the same to the audience. OK, so I guess I am trying to fool people, but not to cheat anyone.

Starting in a good place with a good looking, good playing guitar, I'm going to hit the main parts that make a guitar sound good, and play well. I ordered a new bridge, nut, and tuners. It plays pretty well already, like I said, but it needs to stay in tune of course, and new tuners really helps there. The nut and bridge really help with tone.

The upgraded bridge is thicker and is supposed to be made out of a better metal, which affects the tone, and it's says "Fender" on the saddles.




The next obvious thing that affects the sound is the pickups. That's a tricky one, as you can really go all out and spend some money, but I'm not even sure what sound I want.

I did order a cheap pickup from Amazon that I will put in the bridge position. It's a stacked humbucker that had some great reviews, but it's really cheap, so I'm not expecting too much.

Musiclily Dual Hot Rail Blaster Humbucker

I will also add some stain to the headstock. It's so white now, specially after sanding. It looks some worn-in color. I might add a decal of some sort .Maybe a flur-de-lis, but maybe leave it blank. I also plan on scalloping the neck.

I'm sure I'll add some other pickups, even if I end up like the Hot Rail. Maybe I'll go with all Hot Rails, but I'm thinking I might want a more traditional Strat sound in the bridge.

Right now I am $200 in. After installing the new parts, tweaking the neck/frets, if I am happy with the results, that is a great deal. If I buy a used MIM Strat for $200, it would not have the quality of parts I am adding. It definitely would still need upgraded tuners and a nut, as I have a MIM Tele that I made those upgrades to and it made a difference.

If I spent the $600 for a used USA Strat, would it be better than my modded Squire? It probably would, but that's 3X the price. The bottom line is that it has to be a good playing and sounding guitar, so no matter what kind of "deal" I have, it doesn't make sense if I don't end up with a quality axe.

There are some other little things that might make a bit of a difference like an upgraded input jack and pots. Those are pretty cheap upgrades, and I hear/read that they can come in to play. I also read that those things make very little difference, if at all.

We shall see.
1969s rehearsal. Is there a show on the horizon? Yes!
We had a great rehearsal, and we are more than ready for a show. The 1969s will be coming at ya soon!

49th Vibration rehearsal in the park, sans Ape.
Tightening up the tunes for an upcoming show. Robbie and I took the acoustics out to the park to play for the squirrels.

Brees had another great year and the defense had another terrible year says "Last season (2015) marked a downturn for him (Brees)..."


In 2015 Brees was in the top 10 of every QB stat except for interceptions, which he was #12 (min 300 attempts). The Saints led the league in offense yards, and ranked #8 in points. You can't ask for more from the guy.

He can't play defense too. The Saints defense ranked #2 in defensive yards and points given up. An offense can't overcome that very often. With a terrible defense, they still managed to win 7 games. Hell, just a few years ago the Saints set the all-time record for the most yards allowed in a season.

I don't expect much different from the Saints in 2016. We are one game in, and it looks like more of the same. They scored 34 points, but gave up 35. Brees threw for 400+ yards and 4 TDs with no interceptions. He even threw a franchise long 98 yard TD to WR Brandin Cooks.

At 37 years old, we can't expect more than a couple of more good years out of Drew. Even the all-time greats (which he is one) hit a huge wall in their late 30s. By 37, most have already hit that wall, but even ironmen like Favre and Peyton eventually can't do it anymore, and 39-40 seams to be the absolute max.

Brees will be in Canton one day and the Saints will kick themselves for wasting his last few productive years. At least that's the way it's heading, but I would love to be surprised. We'll see.

4 miles done and pooped.

My run started out pretty warm. I think it was 91 degrees. But it's great now. cooled off and there's a breeze but I am spent.

Low Gear farewell show
I went out to the Curtain Club in Deep Ellum to see Low Gear's final show. I had not seen the band in over 10 years. My friends David Osbourn, Rob Wilson, and Roy Johnson got back in the band for the final show. The last few years Dave and Rob had moved on to other projects. One project being the band Driven Below, who also played that night.

It was a fun night. Both bands were awesome and it was good to talk to Rob and Roy, although I left before talking to Dave.

1969s rehearsal. New song in the works. Good jams.

The 1969s have been moving along pretty slowly these days, but we are keeping our chops up, and we have some new material in the works, so def progress. Hopefully a show will happen soon.
Ever wonder what all Google knows about you? The answer is, everything.
Keep in mind that this image is not from a GPS tracking app. I didn't have any app running to track my movements. This is what Google does all the time, every day. It's cool and scary all at the same time.

I picked a random day from a vacation we took earlier this year. You can see everywhere I went that day. It evens knows the difference between walking and driving.

If you have a Google account and are an Android user, you can go to Google Maps and the click on the menu and go to "your timeline".

That's just the start. Go to and check that out. It knows all.

Fun times working on a logo for a new project.


t t t h i b @ g m a i l