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Should I upgrade from my bullet?

Discussion in 'Squier Strat Forum' started by truman48, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. truman48

    truman48 Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    48
    31
    Jul 30, 2017
    Melbourne Australia
    Ive been playing guitar for only 4 months learning on an acoustic. I recently brought a secondhand Squire Strat Bullet Crafted at the Samick factory in Indonesia in 2010 (Well serial number says IS00099278 so I assume that makes it a 2010 model)
    Its in ok condition except the pick guard was scratched so I brought a new one on eBay. The new one was cheap crap and the pick ups now tilt forwards or backwards and wont sit straight. I don't like the sound but Im not sure if its the pick ups or something else. I brought a line 6 spider 3 amp which seems to make it sound a but better.

    So Im wondering if I should either just wait until Im a bit better at playing before I go and buy a better electric guitar, or If I should maybe spend some money on this one and do it up, new pick ups etc?

    Or even go and buy a newer electric now so I will enjoy it more and it will sound better?
     

  2. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Strat-Talker

    Age:
    52
    251
    Jun 30, 2016
    Heart O' Dixie
    If you like to do homework, and tweak stuff, you could probably improve your Bullet with a good setup to include saddle and nut adjustment, neck adjustment, and pickup adjustment. You can do all of that with screwdrivers and a cheap set of needle files. Fretwork will require more tools, and more skill, but very rewarding and usually needed. Next, might be to address and replace the tuners if they are sloppy (likely). After that, maybe look at the pots and bleed capacitor that may need swapping - this is very cheap to do, but requires some skill. Finally, you could look at swapping in some used MIM pickups. If you did it all, you'd spend $40 on tools, and at least $80 on parts, but you've acquired skills in the process. If you had it done, plan on $200 in labor and parts. Or, you could trade up for $200-500 depending on used vs Squier vs MIM.

    Or, maybe have a setup done for $50 and treat it like tires, oil change, or other periodic maintenance. Add in a fret dress for maybe another $50? It confuses folks why its recommended to spend $100 on a $200 dollar guitar, but its apples and oranges. Periodic maintenance and setup are needed on all guitars, from no-names up to custom shop models. Its not correct to add it to the [sunk] cost of a purchase. In otherwords, Eric Clapton will easily pickup a well-setup Squier and go on stage before he picks up a '64 strat that needs a setup. But the reverse is true, if he's taking it home.
     
    truman48 likes this.

  3. truman48

    truman48 Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    48
    31
    Jul 30, 2017
    Melbourne Australia
    Thanks for the reply Musekatcher. I have the confidence and skills to do the upgrades and most of the tools. Ive done many electrical appliance repairs over the years so soldering and upgrading the electrics is something I can do.

    The only problem is here in Australia finding MIM pick ups would be a lot harder and possibly more expensive than if I lived in the USA. Same with trying to upgrade to a MIM. Im currently bidding on a Squire classic vibe 60s Strat but with 2 days to go Its already at $200 and Im sure will more than double that. So I'm not sure if its worth upgrading or just buy a newer guitar. And if I should go newer will the bullet do me for now until Im at least a better player.
     

  4. henderman

    henderman Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 4, 2013
    largo,fl
    Check and see if the wires are caught under the pickups causing the tilting of them.

    Try lowering the pickups also, most Strats sound better with them lower as opposed to being higher.
     
    truman48 likes this.

  5. jvin248

    jvin248 Strat-O-Master

    920
    Jan 10, 2014
    Michigan
    .

    Watch the youtube videos "joe walsh gibsonuk setup" #5 and #6 on pickup height balancing for best tone.

    Mods: Fret level job that will also include a nut touch-up and full setup. A $100 that will make the guitar play like a $1,000 instrument. Before you take in, replace the volume pot with a bourns, an oak-grigsby switch, switchcraft output jack since you'll need to take the strings off.

    .
     
    truman48 likes this.

  6. Anecdotal story: My first electric guitar was a 1986 or '87 Squier Bullet that I purchased at a pawn shop for like $100. I liked it OK, but after after a year of banging around on it I wanted something more- something that made me feel like I was really playing a guitar. My second was a 1988 Fender American Vintage Re-issue (AVRI). I I loved the vintage feel- it felt real, for lack of a better descriptive. Twenty nine years later I am sitting in my office with that guitar beside me. Choose wisely young padawan and you may find your six-string mate for life.
     
    truman48 likes this.

  7. Vjerilood

    Vjerilood Strat-Talker

    Age:
    51
    213
    Jul 30, 2017
    USA
    My advice is to get a '53 Telecaster and a '63 Twin Reverb. You'll like it so much better.
     

  8. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    IS00 serial number is from 2000, not 2010....it's a much lower quality instrument than the newer Squier Bullet line made in Indonesia by Cort.....

    I'd get something else personally, it probably has unlevel frets and possibly a plywood body....
     

  9. truman48

    truman48 Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    48
    31
    Jul 30, 2017
    Melbourne Australia
    Sorry yeah I meant 2000. And yes it does have a plywood body. I can get a brand new Squire bullet for around $229 with Tremolo. perhaps I should just buy a brand new one and stick with that???
     
    Vjerilood likes this.

  10. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Well not if you can get a Classic Vibe for $400...that's a MUCH better guitar....

    Or maybe consider a Standard which would be probably around 300 or so AUD
     

  11. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Strat-Talker

    Age:
    52
    251
    Jun 30, 2016
    Heart O' Dixie
    MIM loaded pickguard:

    http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148356&icep_item=142501332799

    Two MIM strats:

    http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148356&icep_item=311953400934

    http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148356&icep_item=263194182679
     

  12. Groovey

    Groovey Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    57
    Nov 17, 2016
    NC. USA
    So many choices...

    If you like the DIY stuff, you can certainly improve this guitar. A 3 ply pick guard should be affordable, and sturdy. I think mine was 18$US. It's in the avatar.

    You can upgrade and improve at your leisure and as necessary. All the info is here already and plenty of us to help.

    Welcome to the forum. Let's see some pics of this Squire!
     
    truman48 likes this.

  13. Bob the builder

    Bob the builder Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    57
    May 2, 2016
    Cranston, Rhode Island
    Watch some videos and learn how to set it up as is. Save your money, practice. Soon enough you'll get better and you will buy another guitar. Give it a little time so you'll have a better idea what you're looking for. And have fun
     
    Namelyguitar and truman48 like this.

  14. truman48

    truman48 Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    48
    31
    Jul 30, 2017
    Melbourne Australia
    Here are some photos of it with the new pick guard. (I had to trim off some of it to fit over the bridge) You can see how the pick up slots are too big and the pick ups are angled slightly. I checked the wiring and its not pulling on anything.

    Ive watched a lot of you tube vids and read some websites on how to set it up properly and am confident in doing so. Ive already adjusted the intonation etc. I have some fret buzz though and probably need to spend the money to get the frets levelled and filed.
    With new pick ups etc the cost starts to rise and Im thinking is it worth it or will I still have. cheap guitar?

    IMG_0928.jpg IMG_0886.jpg IMG_0929.jpg
    IMG_0930.jpg IMG_0833.jpg IMG_0838.jpg
    IMG_0836.jpg
     

  15. Bob the builder

    Bob the builder Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    57
    May 2, 2016
    Cranston, Rhode Island
    I can't tell for sure but it looks like your neck might have a little back bow and your saddles dont look quite right for proper intonation. Go through the video again and take another shot at it. It will get better, do it by the steps. Straight neck first
     
    truman48 likes this.

  16. truman48

    truman48 Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    48
    31
    Jul 30, 2017
    Melbourne Australia
    I was going to take it into my local music shop and get them to have a look at it but I'm starting to think maybe I should just sell it off and try to get a better one in eBay.
    I'm not in a hurry so maybe I can just keep looking until something comes up.
     

  17. fezz parka

    fezz parka Wiggler of Sticks Strat-Talk Supporter

    Your pickups are too high. And it needs a setup. Other than that, there's nothing wrong with it. Get it set up and play it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017

  18. Ray K

    Ray K New Member!

    Age:
    40
    7
    Mar 22, 2017
    Melrose, MA
    The action looks pretty low as well. That may be the biggest contributor to the fret buzz. Here is a great video for setting the action

    I'm in the mod your Squier Bullet camp. I know some folks prefer to not spend money on a cheap guitar and that's a fair opinion. I find that I enjoy playing my Bullet as much (or more) than my Ibanez. I've upgraded the tuning machines to black locking ones which look really great. Next up in a hotter humbucker and custom pickgaurd.
     

  19. johnnymg

    johnnymg Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 5, 2015
    Central Coast Ca
    Bullets are great for learning how to setup guitars.

    They also have awful tuners so that will give you an educational upgrade opportunity.

    I wouldn't give up on this guitar. They can be very good guitars.

    Bullet doing Gilmour
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017