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Old October 20th, 2009, 03:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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My Squier customization project

Hi guys, this is my first real post. I am the proud owner of an 06 made in Indonesia Squier Affinity Strat. I bought the thing with the purpose of modding it, and have been keeping a log of sorts over on the Ultimate-guitar.com forums. I thought you guys might appreciate it so I'm going to post it over here. This is basically copied and pasted so if something is confusing that's probably why. Anyways, I'd like you guys to read over all of it and tell me what you think if you don't mind.

Here are pics of the guitar as it sits now, sorry for the picture quality, my blackberry is the only camera I have here at school.




It's in pretty good shape, but the hardware is oxidized....I may just have to replace some stuff....damn

Ok, so like I said, eventually I want to have a fat strat shredder, but for right now, I'm just going to make it into a nice playing guitar.

Here are the parts I'm going to order in the next few months, and I will update this thread as I get and install the stuff.
Graphtech Nut Already ordered
Guitar Fetish Fat Strat prewired pickguard
Output Jack
Trem cover
Roller String Trees
Gotoh style locking tuners
Replacement Trem with Solid Steel block
Neck plate (just to get rid of the squier logos)

I know Guitar Fetish's hardware is imported, and not as nice as some other stuff, but for now it's going to be a major improvement.

Now, Eventually, here's what I want this to shape up like.
EMG fat strat pickguard
New Neck with Ebony Fretboard and jumbo Frets
Also, I'm going to get warmoth or possibly myself if I have the tools down the road, to make a mahogany strat body that is routed for an original Floyd Rose.

I think that my idea will be awesome when I'm done, I'm doing this more for the project than anything. Like I said earlier, this will be a few year project.

After a little research, I found this beautiful blacked out strat, and I decided that was the direction I wanted to go in.

So far I've ordered
Fender Black Accessory Kit
Black Roller String Trees
Black Neck Plate
Black Output Jack
Along with the MIM bridge that I bought earlier, which I've tested and it fits perfectly.
I'm thinking of dying the fretboard black like ebony, because I think that the rosewood and all the black hardware might clash a tad. Also, in the future, I'm going to invest in some nice black locking tuners, probably something along the lines of a grover mini locker.

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Old October 20th, 2009, 03:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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New pickguard, back trem cover, neck bolt plate, MIM bridge, output jack & plate, and a black fender accessory kit. I didn't have time to properly finish it this weekend, so it's just primered white. Pickups are stock Squier neck and middle and an epiphone bridge pickup off of my SG, I didn't see the point in spending money on those until I can afford the EMG's that I want.

Next up, dying the fretboard faux ebony, and possibly Schaller locking tuners.

Comments please gents

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Old October 20th, 2009, 03:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I was doing some reading and I stumbled upon, and was inspired by this article . I wasn't happy with the small tone I was getting from the strat, so I decided to do a little more work. I ordered an upgraded trem block and upgraded saddles from GFS. I also bought a new trem arm, mostly because you have to have a usa sized arm for that block, but I also mangled the black tip on the one I currently have when I was installing it. I know their hardware is a little suspect, but for the guitar I wasn't going to buy callaham parts. If anyone interested here is the links to the parts I bought.
Trem block
Saddles
Both of these things just serve as glorified added mass to increase sustain. While I had the guitar apart, I also stripped the paint out of the neck pocket and sanded to bare wood under the bridge, per the article. If Eric Johnson does it, so will I.

Pics:

GFS block, I sanded the black paint off of the top where it contacts the baseplate, per the previously referenced article.

Everything put back together, you can tell it's a lot heavier and beefier, which is what I wanted.

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Old October 20th, 2009, 03:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Alright, so I bit the bullet and bought some new tuners. I didn't want to spend more than I paid for the guitar on them, so I bought a set of GFS' new sperzel style locking tuners. I had read a lot of good stuff about these particular tuners on a couple of Fender forums I read over. Apparently they are of a much higher quality than the rest of the selection that guitar fetish offers.

I am actually pretty impressed with these tuners. They are heavy, which means added weight, and a little bit of sustain increase. These are kind of copies of the sperzel strat locking tuners, which have the thumb screw lock on the bottom, they are also staggered in height, giving you the option of ditching the string trees. They require a hole that is bigger than the holes for the stock tuners, so I simply drilled a little more than a half inch in from the back, per this article with a 25/64" drill bit. It's kind of a weird size, and even though it's not quite 10mm, it makes for a snug fit, so it worked well.

I always forget to take before pictures, so here is the closest thing I have to a pic of the stock tuners. Basically, they were die cast cheap chrome and sucked.


Here's a few pics of the tuners installed. I am overall very impressed, and it was a straightforward installation. The screws even fit in the holes that were already drilled in the headstock. The only thing that I did not like about the kit was the supplied screws. The screw heads are tiny, and one began to strip a little when I was installing them. I wound up just reusing the stock screws. Worked out nicely, because every other screw I have on this guitar is silver.





Final thoughts:
These are very nice. I recommend them for someone with a squier or an epiphone or similar inexpensive guitar that they want to upgrade the tuners on. The lock mechanism and the tuners are very tight and smooth in operation. They couldn't be easier to string up, pull the string through tight, tighten the thumb screw on the bottom, trim the string and wind it up. The staggered height gives you the option to not use the string trees, but I think I'll reinstall mine since I have roller string trees.
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Old October 20th, 2009, 03:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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That's all I have up to this point. I stripped and stained the guitar over the weekend in a green color. The Agathis did not take the stain very well though, so I wound up using some cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol to make a burst finish. I like it, it's definitely original. Pics coming up after the polyurethane cures. I used polyurethane as my finish, I wanted nitro, but I'm in college and ran out of money so I had to use what I could. It'll be ok.

Comments would be appreciated.
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Old October 20th, 2009, 04:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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the mim bridge block actually fits the squier bullet?
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Old October 20th, 2009, 05:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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sweet little project looks great..Tell us more about youre experience with the gfs block. Can you post a picture of it installed.
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Old October 20th, 2009, 05:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edmeixter von f View Post
the mim bridge block actually fits the squier bullet?
Well, I have the Affinity, but yes, it was a drop in replacement. I wound up replacing all the parts to it though, in lieu of the GFS upgrade Block and Saddles.

The GFS block is superb. It matches up with the baseplate of the squier tremolo perfectly. The difference is phenomenal. When I installed it I also installed those stainless steel saddles, so I got a huge improvement. The biggest difference is the resonance of the body. The sustain in increased because of this, but it also brings out some of the bottom end that wasn't there before, also, the guitar is audibly louder when played unplugged. The only issue is that it protrudes from the back just enough to prevent you from using the rear tremolo cover. I modded one though to fit the new block, and I'll post pictures of it all when I put the guitar back together in a few days.
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Old October 20th, 2009, 06:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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That looks really nice. I have been thinking about painting my Squier but wasnt sure what color. Now after seeing yours im leaning more towards either white or silver.
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 04:34 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I think you're doing a great job so far. I have simular plans for my Lucky - get a GFS tremolo and new tuners. I take it overall it wasn't that difficult to install the tuners?
keep up the good work!

-later
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 08:50 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Nice upgrades! Thanks for sharing! Yes, please post pics of the modified backplate!
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Old October 29th, 2009, 02:07 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Coming out awesome.
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Old October 29th, 2009, 12:24 PM   #13 (permalink)
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i want those fender stamped saddles !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 06:00 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Keep up the good work, looks great. I have a squire affinity also, so im interested to follow this thread
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 07:50 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peskypesky View Post
I can understand that the bigger trem-block results in a louder unplugged guitar, and also a more resonant guitar. But, does this effect the amplified sound quality of the guitar? And if so, how and why? The pickups are not microphones, are they?

I've been thinking about getting some of these GFS upgrades for my Squiers, but before I lay out the cash, I want to be sure it's not just smoke and mirrors.
It has a bigger bottom end, not really amplified, just more pronounced than before. The highs ring a little big clearer as well. It's just overall clearer sounding and more resonant with an increase in sustain. I really like it, but I've heard of a lot of people who don't like them because it takes away some from that "strat" sound.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 11:38 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Small update here, I'm still fighting with the finish on my guitar, and I had a little accident involving the body falling off of a shelf. Nothing that some loctite, wood filler, stain, and sandpaper couldn't fix though. But since I have replaced almost everything but the wood, I didn't think it was appropriate to have the Squier logo on the headstock. Also, I wasn't happy with the oversized 70's headstock, so I decided to do some work on that area. I used the strat headstock template that I got from the downloads in the Ultimate Guitar forum starter kit thread (found HERE), it's in the guitar building, repair, and templated folder. I didn't feel up to the task of reshaping the round part of the headstock since I was only home for a weekend and had access to my tools, so I just cut a big hunk out of the headstock to make it match the look of a modern strat headstock. I may go back and make the round part on the end a little smaller, but probably not.
Here is a picture of what the oversized headstock looked like just for reference:


For the logo, I wanted something completely different and custom, and for that I hit EBAY. I told the seller in the comments that I wanted my name "Josh Taylor" printed as the main logo in the same font as the fender logo in silver letters. I wanted Stratocaster and made in america to stay, and I wanted the serial number to be JT00001, being my initials and the first guitar I've ever built/rebuilt/customized/whatever. The logo came to me not as a waterslide decal, but as a logo simply printed on a sheet of transparent plastic. For the next steps I consulted A Project Guitar Tutorial. I coated the back side of the decal with mod podge and let it dry overnight. The tutorial used spray adhesive, but I just used the mod podge to glue the logo to the headstock, as it dries clear and cleans up with water. I just took a small flat brush and applied a thin layer to both the headstock wood and the back of the logo, pressed the logo into place, and pushed out the excess glue. I still need to clearcoat over it when the glue dries, and for that I will use satin polyurethane. This is the only picture I've got right now, as the only camera I have available is my blackberry.


I think it turned out really awesome, I'm quite pleased. I think this is the part that will really set my guitar apart and make it my own. Some advice though, if you decide to go on ebay and look for someone to make a custom decal, I would advise spending another dollar or two and getting a waterslide decal. It will go on a lot cleaner and easier. If you do go that route, definitely give the decal a few coats of clear before you apply it just for protection.


What do you think?
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Old November 12th, 2009, 05:51 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Not to hijack the thread, but tell me a little more about the tuner situation, please...

I'm guessing your originals looked a lot like:


If so, when you say "The screws even fit in the holes that were already drilled in the headstock", did they line up perfectly, or did you have to struggle with them a bit? How confident are you that the new larger holes are centered exactly as the smaller ones were? Is there room to put the top screws back into the wood, or are they partly covered by the new tuners?

The pic is of the stock tuners on a Peavey Predator much like mine, and I've determined that at least some of the Affinities came with these tuners as well. I don't have to tell you why I'm anxious to find an upgrade, but I'm not keen on turning the back of the headstock into Swiss cheese either. I don't mind reaming the capstan post holes, but I'd prefer to either cover or use the existing screw holes.

Thanks.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 04:18 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I think this is cool but I really don't see the point. All this is going to cost you a heck of a lot of money - you'd have been better of just buying a better guitar to start with.
How much are all these upgrades going to cost in total?
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Old November 13th, 2009, 04:35 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I think this is cool but I really don't see the point. All this is going to cost you a heck of a lot of money - you'd have been better of just buying a better guitar to start with.
How much are all these upgrades going to cost in total?
What he said^^

At the end or the day, if you bought a Mexi, you'd have likely spent less,
and would already have workable parts.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 04:48 PM   #20 (permalink)
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A lot of guitar modifying may end up costing more at the end... but its addictive and fun and it passes the time! Unfortunately in some cases (like mine) it also is a good way to avoid practising...
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