Pickguard/tremolo gap in Player Series Stratocasters vs Professional Stratocaster

Oscardeau

Strat-Talk Member
Dec 21, 2018
16
France
Hello everyone,

I wanted to know your opinions and experiences concerning a problem I have with Mexican Stratocasters. I have owned a few Player Series Stratocaster since they came out and I think they are really good for the price, but I can't help noticing some particularities. One thing I have seen, is that the spacing between the pickguard and the tremolo plate is very narrow, when compared to an American Professional Stratocaster. Here is a butterscotch Player Series:
Capture d’écran 2022-11-27 à 21.53.51.png


And here, a Professional II Stratocaster:


Capture d’écran 2022-11-27 à 21.50.43.png

The spacing is really different. I have found that the American guitars are consistent regarding the spacing, whereas the mexican ones can have the right spacing (like an American one) or be very narrow.

I didn't consider this to be a problem, until one day that I decided to replace the pickguard on one of my Player Series Stratocaster, for another official Fender pickguard. After installing it, the tremolo blade got literally stuck against the pickguard, and it was difficult to use, it caused a "clicking" sound. The tremolo blade got deformed because of that. A picture of the problem; it got worse with the strings on:

Capture d’écran 2022-11-27 à 22.08.26.png

The first thing I thought was that the pickguard was faulty, so I took it out and compared it to the pickguard on my professional Stratocaster, and to my surprise, they were exactly the same size, the "faulty" pickguard was well made, I installed it on the American guitar and the spacing was correct...I didn't know where the problem came from, I thought that maybe the pickguard holes where not drilled correctly on the Mexican Stratocaster, so I installed the pickguard again, without the screws...but the problem continued. I pushed the pickguard all the way to the bottom, touching the neck heel, but there was no difference. Then, I noticed that the original pickguard from the guitar was a little narrower to compensate for the narrow spacing.

I came to the conclusion that it was a routing problem, somehow, the tremolo insert holes are drilled farther away from the block cavity, closer to the neck. Since then, I see this problem in many Mexican guitars, only a few have the right spacing. This really bothers me, it has become a deal breaker for me, I find it ugly and it affects the use of the tremolo operation, it can't go all the way down and be pressed against the body, for example. I don't know why Mexican Stratocasters are less consistent than the American counterpart, since they are made with CNC, bad quality control?

What are your thoughts on this? Have you come across this problem?

Thanks for your comments,
 
Last edited:

tanta07

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 28, 2019
2,456
Colorado
I find it ugly and it affects the use of the tremolo operation, it can't go all the way down and be pressed against the body, for example.

I'm having trouble visualizing what you're describing here. You feel the front of the tremelo (by the edge of the pickguard) will somehow catch on the pickguard and restrict the action of the tremelo? Aren't the posts there to restrict the movement of the tremolo in such a fashion? Or am I misunderstanding what you're getting at?

This kind of thing strikes me as a non-problem, unless you are describing an actual problem and I'm just not getting it.
 

The Ballzz

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 26, 2014
2,676
LAS VEGAS , NV
I see and understand the issue! The easy, simple solution is to simply and carefully file, sand, cut or rout that pick guard edge for proper clearance and get on with life! Although, given all the combined geometry involved here, I can see how one or more of the bridge saddles may not be able to travel far enough back for proper intonation. If that is not an issue, go ahead with the clearance adjustment and move forward without giving it another thought.
JMHO,
Gene
 

Oscardeau

Strat-Talk Member
Dec 21, 2018
16
France
Thanks for your comment. It was an actual problem (I sold the guitar long ago), the tremolo blades (in the picture) were caught under the pickguard causing malfunction, this eventually damaged the blades...The posts have nothing to do here, you can only raise them or lower them. It may not be a problem for those who like to deck the tremolo and not use it, in my case, I use it a lot. fender-vintage-2-point-strat-tremolo-pour-am-std-partir-de-2008_1_GIT0033177-000.jpg
I'm having trouble visualizing what you're describing here. You feel the front of the tremelo (by the edge of the pickguard) will somehow catch on the pickguard and restrict the action of the tremelo? Aren't the posts there to restrict the movement of the tremolo in such a fashion? Or am I misunderstanding what you're getting at?

This kind of thing strikes me as a non-problem, unless you are describing an actual problem and I'm just not getting it.
 

Oscardeau

Strat-Talk Member
Dec 21, 2018
16
France
I see and understand the issue! The easy, simple solution is to simply and carefully file, sand, cut or rout that pick guard edge for proper clearance and get on with life! Although, given all the combined geometry involved here, I can see how one or more of the bridge saddles may not be able to travel far enough back for proper intonation. If that is not an issue, go ahead with the clearance adjustment and move forward without giving it another thought.
JMHO,
Gene
Thanks for your answer Gene, I actually did that, but I sanded the rear part of the pickguard instead, thinking that I could push it backwards...
48186_1.jpg

but this didn't work out, since the screw holes actually dictate where the pickguard is going to stay anyway, and I would have had to drill new holes...

I realized as you mention, that I had to file the front of the pickguard, but I didn't have the tools to do it correctly and didn't want to spend extra money to get it done professionally. I ended up installing the original pickguard and the problem was solved. I wanted to replace the pickguard because it was really scratched, didn't look good. I sold the guitar little after that, so I no longer have that problem. :)

I just wanted to comment on what I often see on Mexican Strats, it is an issue for me, but I can understand that this won't bother someone who doesn't use a tremolo.

Thanks for your comments !
 

Slacker G

Senior Stratmaster
May 16, 2021
1,669
Iowa
As just posted above. It's not a real problem that a file couldn't fix. Just shave it down slow and carefully
 


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