Improving unplugged tone on MIM strat

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I’ve recently built a tele, and I have a nice LP goldtop. I’ve been playing my 2002 MIM Strat recently and it’s nice enough it’s just a bit kinda flat. The tele and LP ring out and have a bit more acoustic depth to them. The Strat less so. 

I was wondering if changing out the Trem block to a brass one from EBay might help? Maybe a raise of the action? Would a new a new nut or double string trees like an Mia Strat help?
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3482
    If your Strat has the Sung-il vibrato with the skinny, tapered zinc sustain block, changing to steel ought to bring an improvement. (Quantifying "better" is tricky and entirely subjective.) 

    If/when you order a replacement block, make absolutely certain that it is drilled to fit the Metric MIM baseplate. 

    Another popular upgrade is the saddles. The stock MIM items are solid cast zinc. They might as well be cheese. The vintage style bent steel saddles yield the Fender sound. Solid saddles in superior materials should also be an improvement over stock. e.g. GraphTech String Savers. Again, make certain to order Metric with the narrower string spacing.
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  • OctafishOctafish Frets: 1274
    If your Strat has the Sung-il vibrato with the skinny, tapered zinc sustain block, changing to steel ought to bring an improvement. (Quantifying "better" is tricky and entirely subjective.) 

    If/when you order a replacement block, make absolutely certain that it is drilled to fit the Metric MIM baseplate. 

    Another popular upgrade is the saddles. The stock MIM items are solid cast zinc. They might as well be cheese. The vintage style bent steel saddles yield the Fender sound. Solid saddles in superior materials should also be an improvement over stock. e.g. GraphTech String Savers. Again, make certain to order Metric with the narrower string spacing.

    I thought the MIM standard Strat had bent steel saddles? I'm sure the later ones did.
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  • @Lesgrandepotato which model of Mexican Strat is it? That would help everyone to give more specific advice. I do think your reasoning regarding upgrades to the trem are very sensible and will give the single biggest improvement, though I would definitely consider a steel block - I'd  say that whilst brass will be an improvement over zinc it tends to hold back a little of the treble - useful if the instrument is inherently a touch too bright, but that doesn't seem to be the case here, so steel for maximum bite.

    Regarding the nut and string tree, I love a nice bone nut but if the existing one isn't causing problems I'd leave well alone. Likewise string trees - if I need more break angle over the nut (e.g. G string) it just put an extra wind on the post (admittedly easier to judge with vintage Kluson style tuners).
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 3072
    edited November 12
    Assuming strings arent dead, in this order: check neck relief and tighten if too much, slightly raise action & set trem to floating (unless you prefer otherwise) then look at the bridge block and saddles.
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  • Ok, we have bent steel saddles. Just found a set of Ernies so a restring is in order. See if that finds a little something. I’ve noticed the frets are tiny. Maybe it’s a bit of a technique thing too. 
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  • NomadNomad Frets: 508
    Putting a steel block on my MiM strat made a big difference - more attack and better sustain. I also got an arm to go with it, and that has a much better fit in the hole (the original was quite loose and floppy). 

    Nomad
    Nobody loves me but my mother... and she could be jivin' too...

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  • There's also the trick whereby you loosen the neck plate screws (beginning with the ones closest to the body, I think) with the strings fully tuned up - the tension will pull the neck back into the pocket and increase resonant contact. You don't need to unscrew that much, just enough to let the neck move. There are numerous YouTube tutorial videos on the subject.
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  • Make sure the neck screws are not threaded through the body or binding too much to the body. The screw holes should be large enough to allow the shaft of the screw to pass through quite easily. If there is any binding it can stop the neck being brought into proper contact with the body.
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