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Squier Standard Strat is -- Looking for Guidance

Discussion in 'Squier Strat Forum' started by RegularJim, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. RegularJim

    RegularJim Strat-Talker

    Age:
    46
    216
    May 8, 2017
    Winthrop Harbor, IL
    Hi folks,

    I picked up a 2004 Squier Standard Strat on the cheap last week. It has a great look and feel to it, but the pickups are SUPER bright sounding. It has a 2-point trem and a large headstock.

    I brought it home, cleaned it up, and restrung it with D'Addario 10's and removed the pickguard for a lookie-see.

    I opened it up to find that it has AlNiCo pickups and 500K mini pots. It is my understanding that 250K pots would be better for these single-coil pickups, but since I didn't have any lying around I just piggy-backed the bridge pickup onto the neck tone pot to try to take some of the edge off. Also, I lowered the pickups to 4 MM on the bass side, 3 MM on the treble.

    This worked, to a point, but I have to have my tone knobs down to about 4 and roll off the volume to 7 or 8 in order to get the shrillness out.

    Does anybody else have one of these? Is this normal for this guitar? Should I get new pickups or will dropping the pickups lower and getting some 250K pots do the trick?

    Thanks for reading!
     
    QMTstrat likes this.

  2. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Squier-A-Holic Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    42
    Apr 19, 2014
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    Got photos? 500k pots is normal for a Squier stock, even with single coils. I think in about 2004 or so is when they started using the generic type plastic bobbin alnico V pickups - which are super low output like 4.5k and EXTREMELY bright on their own.....they seem to lack bass too IMHO....

    I set my pickups super low - like the neck pickup's cover pretty much even with the pickguard surface....and then the middle 1/8" higher and bridge 1/8" higher still.....

    You could try that....
     
    Marty0108 likes this.

  3. RegularJim

    RegularJim Strat-Talker

    Age:
    46
    216
    May 8, 2017
    Winthrop Harbor, IL
    I haven't taken any photos, and I just dropped it off today with my local tech for a nut upgrade, which is the only mod I won't do myself. But here is a stock photo I downloaded that looks just like it.

    When I get it back I'll try to lower those pickups a little more, or maybe I'll just have to find some replacements or learn to love it for what it is.


    [​IMG]
     

  4. Seekir

    Seekir Strat-Talker

    Age:
    64
    162
    Mar 11, 2015
    Hilo, Hawaii
    I bought a used '05 Indo Squier Standard and was also surprised to see that the pots were clearly marked 500K mini Alphas since the conventional wisdom is that SC pickups are best with 250K pots. I think this guitar is fine with the Alphas though. I did have to replace the volume pot which wasn't working well. Chose another Alpha since I wanted to keep the stock knobs and wasn't sure they'd fit CTS pot shafts. It doesn't sound inordinately bright with my amps, and the tone can always be dialed back if you're hearing too much treble. I bought a new 2016 maple neck Standard, a sunburst with a tort guard like the one you have except that it has a maple FB. Seems like a really nice guitar considering the price was under $250. It's frets are smaller than the '05, which is a disappointment. They're supposedly "medium jumbo," but don't look it to my eye. I haven't opened the 2016 up, but assume it also has the Alpha mini-pots.

    As far as strat pickup height goes, I was surprised to learn that a lot of pros seem to drop them very low. SRV, John Mayer, and this guy:



    The '05's innards:

    VolumePot.jpg Pots&SwitchWiring.jpg
     
    RegularJim likes this.

  5. RegularJim

    RegularJim Strat-Talker

    Age:
    46
    216
    May 8, 2017
    Winthrop Harbor, IL
    The new strings were a big help (not sure what was on there before, but they were old and a little corroded). And of course, having a tone pot on the bridge is a huge improvement. Hopefully the new nut will do it some good too. The previous owner put a graphtec nut in it, but it looked like he cut the slots with a hatchet, (the high E slot was too close to the edge), maybe there was some kind of weird harmonic going on because of all that.

    If it's still unbearable I'll just pick up a new loaded pickguard with something nice in it.

    Thanks for the advice!
     

  6. QMTstrat

    QMTstrat Strat-O-Master

    I really like the Standard Strats for their 22 frets, 2 point bridge and GREAT sounding Alnico pickups. They do sound brittle and thin to my ears if you keep the stock pots and caps.

    Once changed to 250k pots and perhaps a .047 cap, the tone settles and it becomes a beautiful sounding guitar. I did this with my '05 Standard and I absolutely love the tone, so much in fact that I've never really considered a pickup swap as I find it good as is.

    Enjoy your new guitar!
     
    fattboyzz and Raiders757 like this.

  7. Vjerilood

    Vjerilood Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    52
    Jul 30, 2017
    USA
    One of the pots in my booteek rewiring job with CS 54 pickups and a megaswitch is 500 but I forget which one.
     

  8. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985 Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    51
    Nov 14, 2013
    Alabama
    I keep my pickups low too. I think it sounds better. Here is how my Strats are set.

    IMG_1479.JPG IMG_1482.JPG IMG_1484.JPG
     

  9. RegularJim

    RegularJim Strat-Talker

    Age:
    46
    216
    May 8, 2017
    Winthrop Harbor, IL
    I just got it back from the local tech. The new Tusq nut is great. I usually keep my pickups almost flush on the bass and slightly higher on the treble side, but I have them about even now, and I have the tone knobs at about 6. I'm satisfied for now. It sounds different than my other Strats, for sure. It plays great too. I'm going to get to know it a little better this evening.

    @QMTstrat
    How big a difference did the 250K pots make? In your opinion was it worth the time and effort?

    Thanks.
     

  10. QMTstrat

    QMTstrat Strat-O-Master

    To my discerning ears, it made quite a difference as the 250k pots really tame the highs, the cap also makes the tone knob respond more to my liking - but another great mod is to put a tone on the bridge pickup and maybe even a treble bleed.

    Effort is minimal, I used to think it was a big deal until I learned to do it myself. I would say enjoy playing it as is for now and if and when you get curious about the pots and caps, go for it!
     
    southsidesmoka likes this.

  11. RegularJim

    RegularJim Strat-Talker

    Age:
    46
    216
    May 8, 2017
    Winthrop Harbor, IL

    Next time the strings are off I'll pull out the soldering iron! Pots and caps are pretty cheap compared to new pickups anyhow. And if it's still not to my liking, at least I'll already have the new pots and caps.

    The first thing I did was wire the tone pot to the bridge, I kind of like the neck and bridge on the same pot, since they're never on at the same time.
     
    QMTstrat likes this.

  12. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 10, 2014
    Michigan
    .

    Volume pot kohm value has a big influence on the tone of the guitar and production tolerance range is 20%. I used to swap pickups but buying a box of pots and measuring them up you can find one that trends in the direction you need.

    I use Bourns lately, usual candidate is CTS. Pick some up. Go for "250kohms" pots.

    The other option is find a few fixed resistors around 500k down to 250k and you can solder those across the outer lugs of your 500k volume pot to cut its effective kohms way down. Listen to each and choose the one that sounds the best.

    While you're in there soldering, a switchraft output jack can make plugging in a lot higher quality feel. CRL or Oak-Grigsby 5-way switch will be an an additional upgrade in feel and durability.

    You're using separate tone pots but If it's a guitar I expect to play frequently, I'll change the wiring to match the Dan Armstrong Blender Mod. Master volume, master tone, blender to go from SSS to HSH. Easy and no new parts for the mod other than wiring changes.

    .
     
    Chimey, fattboyzz and QMTstrat like this.

  13. RegularJim

    RegularJim Strat-Talker

    Age:
    46
    216
    May 8, 2017
    Winthrop Harbor, IL
    Whew! That's a lot of work. I've heard about using resistors to change the value of a pot. You solder the resistor leads on the 1 and 3 posts, right? So if I put a 500 kohm resistor on a 500 kohm pot that in that fashion it makes it a 250? 1/(1/500,000+1/500,000))? Did I do that right?
     

  14. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Strat-Talker

    463
    Dec 16, 2014
    Atlanta, GA
    I have a 2005 Standard that I bought for a whopping $27.50 because the previous owner's cat had peed on it. This left the electronics looking like this, rendering the stock electronics useless as well as the bridge/trem assembly...

    [​IMG]

    Fortunately, the heavy sealer paint they put in the cavity prevented the cat pee from soaking into the wood so cleaning it up wasn't difficult. I ended up going with a HH configuration with a set of Ibanez Super 58 pickups I had sitting around along with upgraded electronics. You can see the final result in the right-most picture in my avatar.
     

  15. TangerineDog

    TangerineDog Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 5, 2015
    The EU
    :confused: What an utterly cruel thing to do!
    Glad the paint was stronger...
     

  16. Raiders757

    Raiders757 Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    48
    Sep 2, 2016
    Virginia
    Oh my... Yet another reason to dislike cats. Cat pee is the worst, and on ones guitar? That's one cat that would have been shown the door if it happened at my house.
     

  17. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985 Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    51
    Nov 14, 2013
    Alabama
    Another reason I am not a cat person.
     

  18. 1012jammer

    1012jammer New Member!

    Age:
    51
    1
    Jan 13, 2018
    Houston
     

  19. dirocyn

    dirocyn Strat-Talker

    Age:
    43
    337
    Jan 20, 2018
    Murfreesboro, TN
    I wired Strat with a switch (I was coil splitting an HSS) adding a resistor parallel to the volume pot, that comes on when I split the coil on the humbucker. One side effect of how I wired it is, I can switch the bridge and neck pickups between seeing the equivalent of 500k pots and 250k pots. The difference is dramatic; I would not have expected to observe this much difference without replacing pickups. I like the tone MUCH better with 250k-equivalent pots.

    I used this online calculator to do the math for me... http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-paralresist.htm Remember the standard circuit has 2 pots in it, both of which are resistance to ground.
     

  20. Texturas75

    Texturas75 New Member!

    Age:
    43
    4
    May 2, 2018
    Lima, Peru
    Hi @RegularJim. I have 2006 MIC Standard and it sounds very shrill too, specially with clean Fender amps, but the neck pickup can sound much warmer with the tone rolled off and with some overdrive. Anyway, I'm having a new wiring kit with 250k CTS pots installed on it. It also has a mini humbucker on the bridge, which sounds very dark and fat compared to the original bridge pickup, as you would expect. Can't wait to hear the results!