NGD: Korean Squier KV97, MIK 1997

NewUser619

Strat-Talk Member
May 28, 2022
76
New Zealand
For the princely sum of $200 NZD this arrived today.

It's a Korean Squier from 1997, the year after they returned to solid wood bodies and not plywood.

Since information on these things is sorely lacking maybe this will be of use down the line for those curious.

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Note the gold logo and the Gotoh-style tuners which replaced the cheapy trapezoid tuners from earlier iterations. They work just fine and while nicer ones do exist these turn smoothly and hold a string without issue, and they look nice too. They can stay.

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The serial number by this time had moved to the back of the neck above the neck plate. There's no pad on the plain metal neck plate.

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The tremolo block is your usual cheapy unit. Nothing special but does the job of holding strings and springs. I suspect a bigger block back here would beef up the tone somewhat.

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The nut on this one is bone and is (to my eyes) around 42mm wide. The truss rod is adjusted via a 4mm Allen key.

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In case you were wondering about the date they very helpfully stamped the month and year on the neck heel and body cavity.

I suspect this is basswood for the body. The guitar weighs 3,977g, which is around 8.75lbs. Not a hog, but not lightweight either. My old Tokai goldstar was around 800g lighter.

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The body is routed for HSS from factory. There's no shielding paint or anything fancy, just quick production line stuff. The bridge saddles are unlabeled affairs and very lightweight. Another area for future improvements.

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The same ceramic single coils as millions of other guitars. They're honestly not too bad at all to be fair to them. Of course nicer pickups exist but they make a sound.

Interestingly all the pots are A500k, not the typical 250k used in single coil guitars. The switch is a cheapy import 5 way, but again works without trouble after 25 years.

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I've not managed to have a real play on it having only strung it about 20 minutes ago. I darkened the fretboard a touch with Fiebing's leather dye and changed the pickguard to black as I've been wanting a black/black rosewood strat for ages. I also spent about 15 minutes rolling the fingerboard edges which improved the feel and then I polished the frets of 15 years of storage unit dust. I have a new nut on the way and also one of those cheapy rail pickups for the bridge because I like a bit more beef in the bridge and those Fleor pickups are great for $18... plus I'm not gonna stick a $150 pickup in a $200 guitar that's destined to be punished.

If anyone knows the size of block these guys use that'd be great as I'd like to look into changing this one out down the line.

My thoughts are that these KV97 (and KV98) Squiers can be turned into really nice instruments. The bones of them are sound - well made bodies, nice necks with good fretwork and hardware that works but isn't flashy - but there's definite room for improvement in the electronics area to turn them from good to great if you're looking for a cheap sleeper guitar to not worry too much about but that will still sound good, stay in tune, and look like a strat shaped thing.

The neck is beefier than I was expecting, but not in a bad way and it provides a reassuring amount of (flat-sawn) maple in the hand and the 12" radius (I know the spec sheet says 9.5" but this is a 12") doesn't hurt things either.

I'll take another photo tomorrow so you can see the darkened board and black guard, it's quite a fetching little thing.
 

balston11

Senior Stratmaster
May 8, 2013
4,342
Preston UK
Some good information thanks as I mentioned to you before I will add some of what you say to my website. Strange how with so many models the left handed models have different headstocks to the right handed ones. Wonder if it's something to do with the process of putting stuff on the headstocks
 

NewUser619

Strat-Talk Member
May 28, 2022
76
New Zealand
Some good information thanks as I mentioned to you before I will add some of what you say to my website. Strange how with so many models the left handed models have different headstocks to the right handed ones. Wonder if it's something to do with the process of putting stuff on the headstocks
What's different about the headstock?
 

NewUser619

Strat-Talk Member
May 28, 2022
76
New Zealand
Presumably so the script logo is always in the right place?

And hey, do you know if a MIM fender trem would fit on these guys?
 

balston11

Senior Stratmaster
May 8, 2013
4,342
Preston UK
Let's hope they chimes in soon then. Cheers for summoning them to my plight.
It would appear from another thread that guitarmaggedon is ill so I have checked through some old threads and it looks like the MIM 6 string bridge will fit. To check the bridge on an MIM is 2 1/16" about 52.4mms double check by measuring the Squier but it looks like it should be okay.
 

NewUser619

Strat-Talk Member
May 28, 2022
76
New Zealand
It would appear from another thread that guitarmaggedon is ill so I have checked through some old threads and it looks like the MIM 6 string bridge will fit. To check the bridge on an MIM is 2 1/16" about 52.4mms double check by measuring the Squier but it looks like it should be okay.
Awesome thanks for the info. I'll probably replace the entire assembly as it's all a little sketchy. And I've got to dress the frets too since it sat in a storage unit for 15 years and they've gone a bit wayward.

Sorry to hear the dude is ill. I hope he recovers soon.
 

NewUser619

Strat-Talk Member
May 28, 2022
76
New Zealand
$200 score! Congrats, it's sweet.
Yeah that's what I thought. It still had the plastic on the pickguard too, and a business card from the store it came from (now closed down).

I figured even with $100 in upgrades it's still a good deal for a strat and the more I play it the more I realise it's got a certain something going on.
 

dpf81nz

New Member!
Nov 21, 2022
1
New Zealand
Hey mate. I'm in NZ too and also have a KV97. Although mines right handed and HSS
When i got mine the pickups and electronics were pretty much shot, so i swapped it all out with a fleeor loaded pickguard and then put in a Tonerider generator in the bridge

I find it nice and easy to play, great value for money, hope you are enjoying yours!
 

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RavenPOL

Strat-Talk Member
Nov 24, 2022
11
Poland
Looks very nice. Black pickguard rocks, visible ply brakes the all-black visage with some spice, especially with white plastic covers for pickups and switches. And the strap!
Not sure about the fretboard though, before dying the wood looked very interesting. I certainly do not get the pau ferro/indian laurel hate. Some of those fretboards are so nice. Congrats on your purchase. Such an original instrument.
 


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