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Squier Strat Set Up

Discussion in 'Squier Strat Forum' started by dptypatterson, Mar 3, 2010.

  1. dptypatterson

    dptypatterson New Member!

    Mar 3, 2010
    South Carolina
    I recently purchased a Squier Strat and wanted to make some changes to it. I thought I might change the pick ups. Looking for suggestions! Any other suggestions on how I can get the best sound out of my cheap guitar would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

  2. zombiebear

    zombiebear Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 25, 2010
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Check out this thread, i know there are a lot of posts, but it could help you.


  3. capt_goodvibes

    capt_goodvibes Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 28, 2009
    Land Down Under
    PeerlessTone.com | A portal into that ever so elusive quest for the perfect tone.

    Pickup Shootout - 061408

    MIJ '93 62 RI - Bare Knuckle Mothers Milk Neck/Middle RWP
    2007 Custom Shop 1960 Strat Relic - Fender CS 1960 Pickups
    1965 Fender Strat – Suhr Pickups & Silent Single Coil (BPSSC) System
    Fender/Allparts Strat - Rio Grande Tallboys (non calibrated)
    2007 Fender Hot Rod 62 RI - Fender 57/62's w/ Delta Tone System
    Warmoth Strat - Fender 2003 American Standard Single Coils

    Amp used - '66 Super Reverb & JTM 45 Clone

    As we tested these pickups the “Fender Sound” really became the common denominator for judging all the pickups. All the pickups tested except for the Suhr’s (more on them below) all had the same EQ curve and were going for the same sound. This made this a quite useful comparison because we, for the most part, had the opportunity to test single coils all attempting serve up the classic 1960’s single coil tone.

    From this shootout, it basically came down to two guitars. The Strat with the Bare Knuckles and the Strat with the John Suhr pickups were the two clear winners.

    The Bare Knuckle Mothers Milk neck and middle pickups offer excellent examples of the classic 1960 Fender Sound. Hendrixy Clean sounds and classic Strat sounds. The others guitars tested were basically the same take on the classic sound but not really pulled off as well as the Mothers Milk. The Bare Knuckle Mothers Milk were rich, detailed and articulate with great low end, good highs, and that ever so slight mid range dip along the EQ curve that is characteristic of The Fender single coils of the early sixties.

    The Tallboys were very nice and very detailed. At times we wanted to say the Tall Boys were more detailed than the Mothers Milk but they were darker sounding. They were also thinner sounding. They did not serve up the classic Fender EQ curve as well. As we tested these pickups this “Fender Sound” really became the common denominator for judging all the pickups It was simply a matter of which pickups pulled this sound off best and had the fullest response profile without becoming harsh. For instance the 2003 issue American Standard pickups served up the basic tone but they were the harshest sounding of the bunch. The 1960 CS pickups were also excellent but just a little thinner sounding than the Mothers Milk. The 57/62s were pleasant but just did not have the detail and the body of the Bare Knuckles or the Tall Boys. They were not as harsh as the Fender 2003s. They were overall good pickups but the single coil tone was more a more generic version that that created by the than the Bare Knuckles and the Tall Boys. I must note that none of the pickups tested were bad sounding. They did however differ slightly along certain dimensions discussed above.

    Now enter the Suhr pickups. More difficult to rate because its response profile was different. The Suhr’s were the only pickups in our group that were designed to sound like vintage aged single coils. The other pickups are intended to sound like a set of 1960 single coils as they would have sounded new. The Mothers Milks, Tall Boys, and Fender Custom Shop and 57/62s all were designed with Fenders 1960s pickups specs and building materials in mind, but nothing is done to attempt to age the sound. Note than the Bare Knuckles were the closest exact replicas of the originals in regard to the materials used and the building methods employed. The Suhr’s , with their “aged magnets” had a sound similar to a new pickup with the volume rolled back a bit thus limiting some of the high end response. This is a limited description but the basic idea. These were indeed beautiful pickups and it was demonstrated that some licks sounded sweeter through these 'pups. I think I preferred the Bare Knuckles but I think this was because this was the classic example of the tone I expected to hear. The Mother Milks were desert island pickup if you will and they should age just fine naturally. Having said that I would like to spend more time playing through the Suhr’s. I spent enough time with them already to know that I would like to have at least one strat fitted with these Suhr "aged" 'pups. The sound was warm and nice. The highs were there but slightly muted; indeed they sounded like old pickups.

    As the testing started the sounds were really similar from all guitars and favorites drifted back and fourth often based on the licks played. However, as time went on, I think the Bare Knuckles were still the clear winners. But I do want a set of the Suhr’s!

  4. GuitarJaeger

    GuitarJaeger New Member!

    Mar 9, 2010
    I recently purchased a Squier Standard. Here are some cheap tweaks that I did to mine.

    1. Dress the fret edges. Remove the strings, tape off the neck and with a small file and 600 grit sandpaper, smooth out those sharp edges. While you're at it, go ahead and get some compound and polish the frets. Big improvement.

    2. Electronics. Replace the 500k pots with 250k. While you're at it, go ahead and move the middle pickup pot to the bridge pickup (that only involves moving one wire from one tab to another on the 5-way switch). It makes a HUGE difference in sound control. My Squier came with alnico pickups. If yours did, LEAVE THEM ALONE. I learned the hard way by replacing two of them with LACE SENSORS. Big mistake. I reinstalled the originals. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the stock pickups and IMO you'll be disappointed that you spent the money and wasted the time. You will make a better change with replacing the pots and moving the tone control. While you have the pick guard off, go ahead and clean up that mess of wiring and solder all your ground wires to one lug and attach it to one of the switch screws with a nut.

    3. Restring (I prefer GHS Gilmours .10 - .48) making sure you knot them at the tuners. Add a third spring to the tremolo and take the time to set it up correctly making sure you end up with the plate absolutely parallel to the guitar body. You will need to tune, adjust the claws, retune, etc., about a half-dozen times to get it set. Verify the neck curvature is set (mine is .010), set your action (I was able to go close to 3/64 at the 17th fret without buzzing), and set your intonation.

    My result was a $125 guitar that plays as well or better than some damn expensive ones that I've owned.

  5. The ADP

    The ADP New Member!

    Jul 27, 2010
    Squier setup.

    Three of the main things I did to my Squier were to move the tremelo spring positions from the standard 1-3-5 / 2-4-6 (Hooks to block) to 2-3-4 / 2-4-6.
    Next, I replaced the neck pickup with a Tele neck pickup. This required modding the pick-guard slightly, drilling two new holes that overlap the originals, as the Tele pickup is bored more narrowly. Not the most attractive mod, but you can always fill the original holes if you don't intend to go back to the Strat pickup. and/or buy another pickgaurd with all-Strat goodies as a standby. If you were to do this mod, an issue is travel of the pickup. I've thought of two ways to solve this. The quick'n'dirty way is to wind electrical tape around the metal pickup shielding until there's no room for the pickup to move. Or, you could take the plastic shielding from the Strat pickup, and remove the top of it so as to only have a "sleeve," and re-bore it to be congruous with the pickup and pickgaurd screw spacing.
    With all the materials laid out, the whole process took me less than two hours.
    Lastly, I fully shielded the back of the pick-guard with metal tape, running a thin earth wire to each piece of tape. (Fresh solder. Clean, fluxed iron.)

    I didn't change any of the other electronics, and there was no impedence issue tele pickup; buzz was actually reduced. (this was before I finished the pickgaurd shielding, which helped a lot more.)
    The range of sounds is really nice. I did buy another loaded pickgaurd "just in case," but I've never felt the need to go back to the pure-Strat.

    As for the changing of the tremelo spring positions.. I'm not a big trem user, but I'd read it somewhere that this position helps stabilise tuning. I didn't find it to be an enormous improvement, but certainly noticeable.

    Food for thought..