Monday, December 28, 2009

How to make your cheap Squier Strat play and sound better

How to make your cheap Squier Strat play and sound better

A lot of us start of on beginner or entry level guitars or get them as a backup and then realize that these are pretty nice and comfortable to play for example my made in China Affinity Strat is a very comfortable and good looking strat in Metallic Blue.
The rose wood fretboard and maple neck has a very comfortable grip and the finish is top notch.I liked it so much that i decided to start to use it live and that is when i realized the difference between a pro level strat and an entry level strat.I was getting horrible feedback and the tuning stability was way off and i had to retune after every song.
Back home after the gig this got me thinking as to why my American strat does not have these problems and on investigation i found that the US Strat has 5 springs in the tremelo cavity and the Squier has only 3 therfore the bridge was moving about too much and causing tuning problems,i had a spare spring lying around from an unfinished project which i promptly installed in the tremelo cavity and that immidiately gave the bridge a firmer feel and it reduced the tuning problems.The floating bridge thing is a sure shot disaster for Squier type strats and one should tighten the tremelo claw spring so that there is very little rocking motion upwards a la Steve Vai on the bridge.

The squealing pickups and feedback were really irritating at the gig so i promptly threw out the bridge and the neck pickup but wait i kept the middle pickup because it is reverse wound for noise cancellation in positions 2 and 4 on the 5 way switch-cool!
I had a good stash of pickups from the last Guitar Centre sale i went to and i chose the Seymour Duncan Hot Rails for strat in the bridge and put the Fender Hot Alnico 3 American Single coil pickup in the bridge.On soldering all these parts together i did the Eric Johnson trick that is wiring the bridge pickup to the lower tone control pot and the bridge pickup to the higher tone pot so that i can control the shrillness of the bridge pickup.

The guitar sounded like a classy beast and i was feeling really stupid for having shelled out loads of money on the US Strat though i really love it the way it comes ready out of the box.

The last thing i did was put a graphtech nut and graphtek bridge saddles on the Squier and it was ready for world domination all it needed was a decal on the neck/head stock that said The Best Strat in the world in bold italics.The graphtek nut has micoscopic teflon-more slippery than graphite,rolls the strings back into tune.The graphtek saddles/string savers-super slick string savers help stop premature breakage .Microscopic ball bearing lube action makes them even more slippery than graphite.

This guitar has become my main touring axe and i plan to actually rub the Squier deacal off and write something stupid or maybe get Eric Johnson to autograph the Head stock with a sharpie cause a lot of the ideas came from studying what he does to his Fender's!


download helper said...

Hey Tuki da!
That's some good experiment! Really enjoyed how you made the ordinary become a pro one. Please do write more. Awesome blog!

avik said...

Hi Tuki da,

I'm about to apply your technique in my 2 yrs old Fender Squier Affinity with Bridge and Neck pick up of seymour Duncan- Blackouts singles AS-1.
Whats ur Suggestion?

Steve Dunkley said...

Ditto. Some great tips. Keep writing.

Oswald said...

The floating bridge thing is a sure shot disaster for Squier type strats and ...