If your guitar won't hold a tuning right, it's because YOUR guitar is not setup properly. I'm not sure what you mean by the pickups being crap either, I mean they're not Custom Shop Texas Specials or anything but they give out that classic Strat tone and that's what matters. I have a 1996 40th Anniversary Mexican Stratocaster, which I got in 1996 and it still plays beautifully. I have since replaced the nut with a Tusq nut, and refretted the guitar with lower profile frets only once. For someone that wants a Strat and can't fork over enough dollars for an American Standard Strat, you really can't go wrong with the Mexican Strat. Like I said earlier though, if your guitar sounds like shit and/or plays like shit, maybe you should take it to a competent repairman if you can't do the adjustments yourself.