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Squier Strat Forum Hear ye, hear ye, Discussith Squier Strats herein

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Old August 17th, 2010, 11:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I'd like to take a cheap Squier and make it look/sound like a $5000 Strat. How?

It seems like I could buy some pickups, pots, etc and a new neck and fake a '62 strat (or whatever would look/sound good). I already have a $45 SE (talked about it in an earlier post). I wouldn't mind sanding the Squier logo off it and putting a vintage logo on. Is there a way I could build something nice for $300. Something that I could prank my friends with and say I paid $5000 for.

What parts would I use? Any good tips? I'm just dying to do a guitar project instead of buying an American Strat for $$$.

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Old August 17th, 2010, 12:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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im sure many here are cringing that it could end up on evilbay someday, long gone from your hands...

but, does sound my my kind of project too! First thing i'd do after you handed it to me, is flip it and look at your tuners. I'd see little holes in the wrong places. I do believe they do that on purpose. prank is up
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Old August 17th, 2010, 01:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by peskypesky View Post
OP mentioned a new neck.
I saw a post somewhere that mentioned how to fill in the holes and refinish a neck.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 01:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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im sure many here are cringing that it could end up on evilbay someday, long gone from your hands...

I definitely wouldn't do that. This would be a keeper!
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Old August 17th, 2010, 01:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have modded a BULLET with tuners,pots,and pickups, kept the same neck but sanded and refinished in vintage. I DID NOT PUT A LABEL ON IT. and it kicks ass
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Old August 17th, 2010, 01:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I've built and modded about 5 partscasters, 3 of which were from squier bodies.

The Squiers actually make pretty good strats once you change out ALL of the electronics. If you leave any of the pots and such it will always sound thin.

The only reason that I don't think your Squier would sound like a $5000 strat is the wood in the body...plywood a great guitar does not make.

Just have fun, mod as much as you can and it will sound really good and play just as good!
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Old August 17th, 2010, 01:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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tuners, pots, pups, bridge and nut..that thang will sing
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Old August 17th, 2010, 02:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I've built and modded about 5 partscasters, 3 of which were from squier bodies.

The Squiers actually make pretty good strats once you change out ALL of the electronics. If you leave any of the pots and such it will always sound thin.
Actually, the original pots are normally 500k, which does the opposite of making it sound thin... with good single coil pickups they can make it sound dark and muddy. The reason Squier uses them is they help keep the stock ceramic pickups from being quite as screechy. With humbuckers the 500k pots are fine tone wise. The problem with them is they are the cheap "dime size" which means they probably won't last as long. Oh, but you probably want to go to 250k pots and single coils if you were trying to fake a vintage Strat since Fender didn't generally put humbuckers in Strats until the 1980s.

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The only reason that I don't think your Squier would sound like a $5000 strat is the wood in the body...plywood a great guitar does not make.
He said it was a Squier Strat SE... those are not plywood, they are either a 2 or 3 piece solid Agathis body. That isn't much different from a lot of USA Fenders. I've modded an SE and its a surprisingly good guitar.

FWIW, I've modded a couple of Korean Squiers which do have plywood bodies and they sound better than you'd probably think. Good pickups, quality electronics and a trem with a big steel block make a big difference in tone.

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Just have fun, mod as much as you can and it will sound really good and play just as good!
This is true.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 02:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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why dont you find a classic vibe used for like 300 and distress it a little.not your se squier though. the parts would be close to vintage 50s 0r 60s strats and they are great guitars.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 02:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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$5000 seems a bit on the high side. Customs don't even sell for that. You might be able to make it look like a $500 guitar, if you follow the advice above.

...of course, you will be a lot closer to $500 spent by then too.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 02:57 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Actually, the original pots are normally 500k, which does the opposite of making it sound thin... with good single coil pickups they can make it sound dark and muddy. The reason Squier uses them is they help keep the stock ceramic pickups from being quite as screechy. With humbuckers the 500k pots are fine tone wise. The problem with them is they are the cheap "dime size" which means they probably won't last as long. Oh, but you probably want to go to 250k pots and single coils if you were trying to fake a vintage Strat since Fender didn't generally put humbuckers in Strats until the 1980s.



He said it was a Squier Strat SE... those are not plywood, they are either a 2 or 3 piece solid Agathis body. That isn't much different from a lot of USA Fenders. I've modded an SE and its a surprisingly good guitar.

FWIW, I've modded a couple of Korean Squiers which do have plywood bodies and they sound better than you'd probably think. Good pickups, quality electronics and a trem with a big steel block make a big difference in tone.



This is true.


I reserve my right to disagree. 500K pots are much MUCH brighter in tone resulting in the thin sound I am referring to. Every Fender strat I've ever played had 250K pots....

My reasoning behind this is pretty simple actually. Yes, Squier uses the mini pots which you mentioned, but when I first started building strats I used 500K. I thought my strats sounded good and I really had a decent tone, but they were always brighter than Fender's. So I started using 250K and I magically started getting good Fender tones.

There definitely is a time and place for 500K pots and even minipots, but the whole thread is about getting his Squier to sound like a $5000 strat, and with 500K minipots, that just aint gonna happen.

Onto the discussion of woods, yes, better quality tone woods are going to yield a better sound and resonate better. Maybe not enough for the average person to hear, but the tone will change. I own a MIM strat and built a strat of MIM electronics with a Squier Bullet body and no matter how hard I tried, the bullet sounded so much different. It didn't sound bad, but it didn't have the same bell like chime and it didn't have the same musicial qualities as the MIM. Note, they both had the same pickups and same wiring harness and a MIM neck....had to be the wood.

You are right though about Squier's sounding good...I never said that Squier bodies would sound bad, they just won't sound the same as a good old Fender Strat, but they are fun as heck to mod!!!
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Old August 17th, 2010, 03:08 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Onto the discussion of woods, yes, better quality tone woods are going to yield a better sound and resonate better. Maybe not enough for the average person to hear, but the tone will change. I own a MIM strat and built a strat of MIM electronics with a Squier Bullet body and no matter how hard I tried, the bullet sounded so much different. It didn't sound bad, but it didn't have the same bell like chime and it didn't have the same musicial qualities as the MIM. Note, they both had the same pickups and same wiring harness and a MIM neck....had to be the wood.
It wasn't one of the older non-trem Bullets was it? A lot of those really were plywood and were usually thinner in addition. If it was one of those I could believe what you are saying about the wood. The Korean plywood Squiers I've got are closer to standard 1-3/4" thickness FWIW.

You are also forgetting one big part... the trem. The Squiers use a cheap, thin block made out of pot metal (zinc). Zinc is a "dead" sounding metal. If you were to make a bell out of it, it would go "clink" like a cowbell, not chime. And the lower mass of the small sized blocks that come in Squiers also reduces sustain.

Try putting a good full sized steel or brass block in your Bullet, you might find it makes a big difference...
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Old August 17th, 2010, 03:13 PM   #13 (permalink)
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do the friends your trying to fool know anything about guitars?thats important and i dont think anyone has mentioned it.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 03:24 PM   #14 (permalink)
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It wasn't one of the older non-trem Bullets was it? A lot of those really were plywood and were usually thinner in addition. If it was one of those I could believe what you are saying about the wood. The Korean plywood Squiers I've got are closer to standard 1-3/4" thickness FWIW.

You are also forgetting one big part... the trem. The Squiers use a cheap, thin block made out of pot metal (zinc). Zinc is a "dead" sounding metal. If you were to make a bell out of it, it would go "clink" like a cowbell, not chime. And the lower mass of the small sized blocks that come in Squiers also reduces sustain.

Try putting a good full sized steel or brass block in your Bullet, you might find it makes a big difference...

The bullet was one of the newer ones...standard 1.75" strat thickness. And, both tremolos were MIM standard vintage style trems. I have a big problem with thinner strat bodies.

The tone difference I am convinced was the difference between the Alder in the MIM and whatever Squier uses for the bullets. I know a lot of people really don't believe that the quality of the wood affects the tone, but it really has a huge affect.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 03:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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with acoustics this is true. with hollowbody electrics, still mostly true. but with solid-body guitars? i think it's a load of rubbish. check out how good this guitar sounds and there's no wood in the body AT ALL:

YouTube - KAMY051 acrylic plexiglas-guitar

Definitely not rubbish. I'm sure that the engineers that made that acrylic body made it whatever desired density and weight they wanted. Anyone can engineer a good tone with technology and electronics.

No two strat bodies will be the same. Ash sounds different than maple, maple sounds different than alder, alder sounds different than mahogany and so on...come on man, even you know that maple fretboards sound different that rosewood
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Old August 17th, 2010, 03:46 PM   #16 (permalink)
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makes me think most of the tone is in the neck.i noticed they used a double chamberd cinder block,cheating if you ask me.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 03:49 PM   #17 (permalink)
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HOLLY $#!% i gota order me sum of those the pups that is
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Old August 17th, 2010, 04:36 PM   #18 (permalink)
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why dont you find a classic vibe used for like 300 and distress it a little.not your se squier though. the parts would be close to vintage 50s 0r 60s strats and they are great guitars.
Messing up a $300 guitar is different than turning something I bought for $45 into something that looks like a big dollar rare guitar. Again, this is just a project that sounds like something fun to do.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 06:25 PM   #19 (permalink)
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why dont you find a classic vibe used for like 300 and distress it a little.not your se squier though. the parts would be close to vintage 50s 0r 60s strats and they are great guitars.
I agree. I love mine.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 06:26 PM   #20 (permalink)
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you could break it up and use the wood for firewood on an open fire, that would look lovely
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