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Squier Silver Series MIJ - Questions

Discussion in 'Squier Strat Forum' started by cjc1664, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. cjc1664

    cjc1664 New Member!

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    Hi all,

    Way back in the mid-90's I was given my first 'real' electric, a lovely Silver Series Squier Strat, and despite this being my main electric for a number of years, I've never really taken the time to find out more about it.

    So far I've not been able to learn much more than the fact that with serial Q022474, should be a '93-'94 Japanese issue, it's got a rosewood and maple fingerboard and neck, Gotoh USA machineheads, along with a vintage style trem unit.

    Everything is stock, I don't know what material the body is, the spec of the electronics and obviously lost any documentation a long time ago ...

    It would be great if anyone could help to fill in some of the blanks, particularly around the electronics and pups.

    I've used it off and on over the years, and it's a great guitar in it's own right, but I think I'd quite like to give it a little refurb - the frets need redressed, the selector switch needs replaced and the tone knobs are starting to reach end of life as well. It also hums like crazy on anything but positions 2 and 4, and the vintage style trem combined with the plastic (?) nut and the string tree cause stability issues, so I've never really used that in anger.

    That makes it sound pretty ropey, but it's not really! I'm sure there's a few minor tweaks that would just lift it up a little - suggestions welcomed.


    Cheers!
    Chris.
     

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  2. rjhalsey

    rjhalsey Strat-Talker Vendor Member

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    The only suggestion I can make is to sell the guitar to me!;)
     
  3. MisterMiles

    MisterMiles Strat-Talk Member

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    I am in a similar situation. My first guitar was a 1993 Silver Series MIJ Squier. Mine is O serial number. I've had a heck of a time finding information about it, until I stumbled on this link:
    Fender Japan Electric Guitars and Basses Catalog 1993

    Mine is an ST-33. It has 'ST-M' with a large 'E' stamped on the base of the neck. I lucked out that the stock photo matches my black on black with maple neck. The ST-33 body is 'Wood Fiber', which seems to be a fancy way of describing plywood. The neck is really nice and I was looking for a project, so I'm in the process of upgrading electronics and hardware.
     
  4. MisterMiles

    MisterMiles Strat-Talk Member

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    Sorry, I meant 'SST-33'. I've got a disconnect between the fingers and brain today :)
     
  5. cjc1664

    cjc1664 New Member!

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    Hi again,

    I took the pick guard off today to get a closer look at what's inside, I've posted a couple of pics for reference.

    Some more questions:

    - Is it possible to tell from the photos whether those pups are ceramic? I'm sure I read that ceramic pups typically have that block while alnico are usually poles the whole way through.
    - Is it usual to have rigid solder running between the pots rather than flexible wire? I'm amazed the whole setup has lasted this long! One of the pots has come loose in its housing, I'm not sure if anything's broken off.
    - The pots are 250K, the capacitor is 0.047uf. I've read here that it's worth replacing the stock capacitors with a Spague even if it's the same rating. Any thoughts on that?
    - Am I right in thinking that shielding the body cavity will give me a big reduction in hum? There doesn't appear to be any shielding at all. Incidentally, why do guitar manufacturers insist on cutting corners here??
    - To my untrained eye, the body seems to be something other than plywood, certainly not particle wood like in the worst guitar I've ever owned ... difficult to tell from the photos, I know, but any ideas?
    - Would replacing the trem unit be a good idea? It's probably lower down the list than the electrics right now, but it's something I've been considering.


    Thanks once more!

    Chris.
     

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  6. cjc1664

    cjc1664 New Member!

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  7. Bob PB

    Bob PB Strat-Talk Member

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    Hi.

    Yes, the pickups on Silver Series Strats were ceramic, and that applies to the ones in your guitar. On the ceramic pickups the poles are not magnetic at all in themselves, and are only magnetised 'by proxy', courtesy of the ceramic bar stuck to the base. With alnico Strat pickups the poles themselves are magnetic, so no bar magnet is required.

    The whole setup you've kindly photographed there is exactly as you'd expect on a Silver Series Strat. It was cheap and cheerful, and the reason for the corner-cutting you point out was straightforwardly severe competition in the market – Fender needing to maintain a price point, but also needing the kudos of Japanese manufacture to drive the Squier brand above the Korean challengers of the day. That couldn’t be done without the concessions.

    The bodies were solid wood – a departure for Squier at the time, as they'd been building with plywood (in Korea) since the late 1980s. Fender stated that alder was the body wood for Silver Series Strats, but it was disputed at the time that this was always the case. I can't really tell if yours is alder or basswood, but there shouldn't be any problem with either.

    What you see between the pots is probably solder-tinned wire without insulation rather than rigid solder. That's what they normally had.

    Regarding replacements and mods, in your position I'd think very carefully before doing anything at all. There's only a finite number of all original Silver Series Strats. They're not rare, obviously, but in ten or twenty years' time it may not be that easy to come by such a nicely kept example which hasn't been tampered with. They're guitars which kind of beg to be modded, but that's why, in my opinion, it's worth thinking twice before doing so at this point in time. People will keep tinkering with them as time progresses, so the number of well preserved originals will only diminish. If it's feasible, perhaps get a Strat which has already been tinkered with, on the cheap, and mod that. I can’t say I've taken my own advice, mind – I've modded loads of original Strats. But I've regretted some of my decisions, so I'd advise thinking through both sides of the argument before you go ahead with any work.

    You can find my full article on Silver Series Strats on the link below. That will give a lot more detail. That site has loads of other stuff on Strats and other Fenders (MIJ in particular) too. Click on the Music Making tab at the top of any page and you'll find a full index...

    The 1992 Squier Silver Series Stratocaster | Planet Botch
     
  8. Bob PB

    Bob PB Strat-Talk Member

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    Sorry for the double post, but ha ha, what a coincidence.
     
  9. cjc1664

    cjc1664 New Member!

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    Hi Bob,

    Looks like our posts crossed in the ether. Thanks for such an informative read, it was very useful, and you've certainly given me food for thought.

    If I were to do nothing else with the guitar, I'd certainly need to replace the selector switch as it's virtually unusable nowadays.

    Chris.
     
  10. MisterMiles

    MisterMiles Strat-Talk Member

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    Thanks for the great write-up Bob. It answers all of questions I've had about this model. It's nice to know that it is a solid wood body. It makes sense since I could never find the plywood layers in the cavities.
     
  11. Bob PB

    Bob PB Strat-Talk Member

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    You're both very welcome.

    Just to add a little about the pickups and buzz… the middle unit should be reverse-wind / reverse polarity, and that'll mean humbucking operation for positions 2 and 4 on the switch. The early guitars had that feature, anyway, and I can't imagine they'd have changed it for any reason.

    In fact, the pickups impressed Guitarist mag's David Mead, who reviewed the Silver Series Strat in '92. With a slight edit for brevity, he said: "Usually, the pickups on a model of this price range tend to be a little on the limp side… But not in this case: the sounds available run the gamut of well-known Strat tones without once veering toward the pale and sickly." He then concluded: "Even the bridge pickup, a likely contender for frailty even on some originals, gave a splendid account of itself when put to the test." The trem unit was also assessed positively. At the end of the review, Guitarist highly recommended the Strat, so whilst there was some obvious cost-cutting, these guitars did impress the pro writers. And Guitarist mag didn't hold back if they were underwhelmed by something.
     
  12. Benlawyers

    Benlawyers New Member!

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    I'm doing some work on my '93 silver series at the mo. IMO a superb guitar and certainly plays better than any modern MIM i've picked up. i'm going for a Billy Gibbons Red Devil Seymour Duncan in the Bridge, a floyd Rose Rail Tail to replace the old Trem and Obsidian blender to replace the electrics. also going with Graphtech Tusq nut and Grover Rotomatic locking tuners ..
     
    Seymour Duncan likes this.
  13. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Planetbotch is one of the most notoriously unreliable sites on the internet so I'd take anything you read there with a pinch of salt. Unlike any kind of forum, there is no way of challenging inaccuracies on that site - it's strictly one man's opinion, & once posted on the internet it gets quoted as if it was fact when often it's wrong. I know this from some of the stuff he has posted about Tokais which was just plain wrong.

    As for early 90s Squiers, I had a 1994 Squier Strat, made in Japan, M prefixed s/n. That was when I realised that much of what I read on the internet about "all Japanese guitars are great!!" was untrue. I could accept the ceramic pickups (they're easy to upgrade), but the trapezoid shaped tuners were awful, the plastic switch was troublesome & needed to be replaced, but it was when I found that it had a plywood body that I realised that 1990s Japanese Squiers were a bit of a gamble.....

    I didn't keep it long.

    128_2812.JPG
     
  14. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    These were the tuners - probably the worst trap tuners I have tried. Tuning up was like stirring a bucket of swarf with a big stick..... :oops:

    127_2795.JPG
     
  15. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    This is the one I had. So does that mean that the model was STM-3S?

    128_2809.JPG
     
  16. Blind Walker G

    Blind Walker G New Member!

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    So here's just another production mystery. This is a March 1995 stamped Squier Silver Series. As far as I know this is months after the Japanese Silver Series production stopped. On top this has a Squier Custom Edition label on the neck heel. I know regular Fender Japan custom editions, but I've never heard of a Squier custom edition. Would be great if anybody can offer some information.
    squiersilver1.jpg squiersilver3.jpg
     
  17. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Canada Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Welcome to the forum - we need to see more pics to concur with you - headstock back and front, etc......

    The 95 might be internal production codes, it's not normal for Fender Japan or Squier bodies or necks to have a year stamp......
     
  18. Blind Walker G

    Blind Walker G New Member!

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    This has a March1995 stamp at the end of the neck, as known from Fender US. Just forgot to make a pic of ths. Will send more pics later on. It has the typical Squier Silver Series headstock with an N-serial. The potis are 500k US ones with a big Japan stamp on. I'm in it for a long time and know one thing or two, but never saw something like this Squier. And no, it's definitely not a fake, it's a cheap and worn guitar from a pawn shop.
     
  19. edmartin54

    edmartin54 Strat-Talk Member

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    Not all Korean Squiers are plywood. I have a Silver MIK Squier (1987) E7 series that is alder with mahogany top and bottom, has Fender labeled Gotoh tuners, Fender saddles, American spacing and 9.5" radius neck. Love this guitar!
     
  20. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Canada Strat-Talk Supporter

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    You mean Alder with maple top and bottom :)
     
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