Posted Sunday, Apr 7th 2013 @ 8:57

Once upon a time, Gob and Jebus decided they really wanted my guitar to move on down the road. It disappeared one fateful day, and I've found myself looking to replace it on the budget of a musician in suburban Arizona.

So I had a Washburn WI-66 Pro with a pair of Seymour Duncan Hot Rails pickups, and I absolutely want to keep using those pickups. I had the Hot Rails neck and bridge (only two spots on the Washburn), and between the two there is a really great range of lows to highs. Clean or distorted I never had a problem punching through. Conclusion, buy more Seymour Duncan's.

What about the guitar to put them in? Unfortunately, Washburn doesn't make the WI-66 Pro anymore. I could pick one up used, but I'm curious as to what tones I could get out of a full set of the three SD Hot Rails. I decided to look into Fender Strat options, and found some varied information.

New Strats come from America, Mexico, and China. Depending on the country of origin, different electronics are used. I've asked some Strat players around Town and read some reviews online, and I get a general idea that once the guitar is adjusted for any (if at all) intonation or neck issues, electronics are the only important difference.

Well, I want to replace those things anyway. A made in china stratocaster is half the price of a made in USA stratocaster. I will be taking the guitar into a local shop to have them do the work, which will probably run a couple hundred dollars. The pickups and new pots and such will be about the same, maybe a little more. I'm going to see if they can put in a seven way switch instead of a five.

The big question is, should I wait and save for an American, or go for the half the price made in China? There's also a made in Mexico for 25% more than the made in China. As a poor consumer, do I do what's best for me, or my country?