I have an old Stratocaster shaped electric guitar without any brand. I really love the color of this guitar but it does not sound as I wish. I try to have a good sound for playing blues. Would it be good to change all 3 pickups to original USA Fender pickups? Or do you think that would be a total waste?
I'm quite confident that changing pickups (PU's) will make a big difference.
It would only be a total waste if it already had original USA fender PU's in it and you just didn't know. If it doesn't, it will not be a total waste, the sound WILL change with different PU's.
However, will it give you what you want? That's a different question. What do you want? I'm assuming you want it to sound as much like a real strat as possible.
Changing the pickups will get you very far in the effort to make this guitar sound like a strat. The best advice I can give is start with one pickup (I suggest the bridge PU) and see if it makes a big difference. That way you don't waste a bunch of money. Then, if the difference is night-and-day, you can buy the other two (middle and neck) and be confident it will help.
Keep in mind that PU's need a set up, too. They need to be the right distance from the strings and balanced, so make sure that is dialed in before you declare the effort a "total waste".
I have to disagree with Wilbur Whateley: Yes, this would most likely be a total waste.
Pickups do make a big contribution to the guitar sound, sure. However, they do not generate any sound as such, they just – well – pick up what the body and strings can offer. If this is garbage to begin with, the best thing a pickup can do is cut away much of the signal and boost the least problematic parts, so you can get lots of distortion to make up for the insufficient clean sound. But this is quite the opposite to what you'd expect from a good strat sound, which should be bright, open, and also sound good clean!
So, there are two possibilities:
- The guitar itself behaves mechanically much like a good strat (unlikely for a no-name brand), but the pickups cut away too much. In this case, Fender pickups could be an improvement.
- Way more likely, the pickups are in fact already quite close to the original (really, that's not rocket science nor very difficult craft – you just have to wrap the right number of windings around some ≈ $2 magnets), but the guitar sucks (perhaps an unstable neck with nasty resonances). In this case, you might get some usable sound out of the guitar, e.g. with hot EMG pickups; but it would never be a good strat sound.
If really the first point applies, you can find out by comparing the guitar to a real strat acoustically. That's right, take the two guitars in a quiet room and play them with no amplification at all. If they feel & sound similar, you might give the pickup replacement a shot.
But I'd be willing bet if you played a bit on the Fender and then grab your guitar, you'll immediately feel how inferior it is mechanically. So, better search for a decent guitar and re-paint it, rather than wasting money and time on pickup replacement for a hopeless case.
It really depends on what sound you're looking for. I changed pickups in my Tele and made a huge difference in sound. Gone from country to rock with the pickup. The pickups make a huge difference in sound. Why do you think there are so many on the market and types.
Choose one pickup to change and get a feel for the sound of it. Look at Dimarzio website for options.