#1
Hey guys,

I have a Squier Bullet Strat, and while I quite like the feel of the neck, I'm just not a fan of the sound, or the fact that the tuners/electronics suck. I'm trying to figure out whether it's worth the effort of upgrading, as it is my first guitar, and hold's some sentimental value. How do I tell whether my Squier Bullet Strat has a plywood or basswood body?

I heard the ones made before 2007 are made of plywood, not basswood and have a hard tail. Mine is a 2005 made in China, with a maple fretboard (21 frets), with a tremolo tailpiece.
#3
Smash it against a wall and it should be clear lol jk. If u have a modle number google it
#4
Pop open the trem cavity cover. If the sides look striped (horizontally) then it's plywood.

The Fender/Schaller locking tuners I put on my Affinity made a world of difference. It was fun replacing the pups and electronics. Went w/a Jazz in the neck and an HB-108 in the bridge. Also Fender S-1 switching, but with 2 volumes & 2 tones.

Good luck.
#5
i have what has to be pre-03 (when i started) and i refinsihed it. definitely not plywood. looked like a hell of a lot of 1"x2"s glued together with a few slightly larger pieces thrown in there.
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#6
It shouldn't be. The only plywood Squiers were Midnight Blue Bullets with rosewood* fretboards and hard tail bridges and they were mostly made in 2007** and some in 2006, not before. Also, taking the pickguard off wouldn't help much, if it is plywood then the routing should be painted over. If you want to know for sure, then the easiest way to find out is if you take the neck off and check the neck pocket, if it's striped horizontally, it's plywood. I actually owned one of this infamous guitars, and it was noticeable different from other Strats, even other Bullets.

*It's believed that they're not actually Rosewood fingerboard, but rather another wood that's been dyed to look like it, as the dye will begin to wear off after heavy playing.

Edit: **Clarification; They usually have 2007 or 2006 serial numbers, despite when they were made.

The Fender/Schaller locking tuners I put on my Affinity made a world of difference. It was fun replacing the pups and electronics. Went w/a Jazz in the neck and an HB-108 in the bridge. Also Fender S-1 switching, but with 2 volumes & 2 tones.


Affinities are also made out of Alder. The plywood Squiers are treated as manufacturer defects, not as a standard feature though out the Bullet Series. They were manufactured by a factory in China that either couldn't get Basswood for the right price or because they were trying to lowball the FMIC, either way, when FMIC found out they ceased production with that factory, and discontinued the Bullet model. It has now been replaced with the "Bullet Strat" model; which none of them are Midnight Blue, and none of them are hardtail.

EDIT: if it seems striped Vertically, that's normal for multi-piece guitar bodies.
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Last edited by kangaxxter at Mar 20, 2011,
#7
Quote by kangaxxter
... taking the pickguard off wouldn't help much, if it is plywood then the routing should be painted over... ...EDIT: if it seems striped Vertically, that's normal for multi-piece guitar bodies.

Gotta friend w/an 80's Cort. The guts of the Kahler look-alike had bent, so the trem wouldn't stabilize.

When we took it off, the trem cavity was painted, but you could still tell it was made of plywood. At first we thought the *horizontal* stripes were just made from it being routed in 5 or 6 stages, but there was alternating porosity among the layers (because each ply was laid with the grain 90 degrees offset (perpendicualar) from the next layer.

It was obvious, even through the paint.

I haven't seen enough Squier neck pockets to speak about that, but...
- About 50% of neck pockets I have seen overall have been completely painted.
- The other 50% had the sides painted, but not the heel.
- It's hella easier and better for the guitart to remove the trem cavity cover than the neck.

By horizontal, I meant if you have it laying on its back on a table, then the stripes will be parallel to the table surface.

If you see vertical stripes, then they're probably irregular (and infrequent)--only where boards are glued together. You wouldn't find wood grain going that way (they don't quartersaw guitar bodies; just necks.

Squiers are made from Alder or Agathis. Ironically, some of the more expensive ones are Agathis. Don't know what kind of wood is in the plywood Bullets--I'd guess birch or an Asian alternative, but worst kase it could be pine.
#8
The easiest way to tell is to remove the oval jackplate seeing as it's only held on by two screws and there's no need to remove (or even loosen) the strings. Generally the paint will be thin enough in its cavity to determine if it's plywood or not.

With that said, the plywood is not why it sounds bad. It's the very weak ceramic single coils that Fender puts in them. Put in some pickups that you know you like the sound of and you won't be disappointed.

The biggest negative with Bullets is generally the build quality. They are pretty much just slapped together and generally require a lot of attention in order to play well. Not an issue for me as I build guitars and can fix all the possible problems. The first thing I replace on every Squier is the plastic nut with either bone or graphite. This one change will fix 99% of any tuning issues they might have despite the super cheap stock tuners.

I'll generally swap out the trem for the one currently used on MIM's (in 2008 or so they switched to a full size block) - only $33 shipped (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=390293481663#ht_1667wt_905). It's a direct swap and you simply reuse all the hardware from your current trem. This trem also has the stamped saddles instead of the cast saddles found on bullets.
#9
I have a squier bullet. Mine also sounded like crap, so I put a wilkinson tremolo and upgraded pickups in it. It still sounded like crap. It was basically a waste of a few hundred bucks by the time you count the cost of of the guitar, bridge, and loaded pickguard I bought for it.

Also when I was doing the work on it to upgrade the wood was very strange looking. Not sure if it was plywood, or about 10 Lbs of sawdust mixed with glue, but it was very strange to work with.

I'd take whatever upgrade money you were planning on spending and put it towards a MIM strat, or even one of the more expensive squiers. The bullet is just junk.
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#10
Quote by webwarmiller
The easiest way to tell is to remove the oval jackplate...


And while you have the jackplate off, might as well replace the jack with a DiMarzio jack. $5 or something, 2 solder joints, and it'll grip the cable much better than the stock hardware.

I'm gonna have to look into that MIM trem. Right now I just barely use the trem on either of my Strats--I just use my Floyd Rose guitars for whammy abuse, 'cause I don't like tuning between every song. I can't even remember the last time I had the arm in my MIA strat--I just grab the end of the bridge for subtle dips in sustained notes--always gets a great response from the audience, like WTF?!?!?

The locking tuners in the Squier made more of a playability difference than when I had a luthier do a setup (which was also like night and day--he had to shim the neck). It's just as good as the MIA now. Will a graphite nut be another night/day difference? I already have a Graphtech string tee (took the second one off when I put on the locking tuners since they're staggered heights and the guitars that Fender puts them on only have 1 tee--but maybe the headstock angle is different and it still needs the second one?)
Last edited by jetwash69 at Mar 20, 2011,
#11
Yeah, one of the biggest problems with tuning issues on cheap guitars is the cheap plastic nut they use. The strings tend to bind on them, and many times the slots are cut improperly from the factory. Putting a graphtec or bone nut should make a big difference, especially if you already have locking tuners.
Quote by tubetime86
He's obviously pretty young, and I'd guess he's being raised by wolves, or at least humans with the intellectual capacity and compassion of wolves.


You finally made it home, draped in the flag that you fell for.
And so it goes
#12
Quote by jetwash69
Gotta friend w/an 80's Cort. The guts of the Kahler look-alike had bent, so the trem wouldn't stabilize.

When we took it off, the trem cavity was painted, but you could still tell it was made of plywood. At first we thought the *horizontal* stripes were just made from it being routed in 5 or 6 stages, but there was alternating porosity among the layers (because each ply was laid with the grain 90 degrees offset (perpendicualar) from the next layer.

It was obvious, even through the paint.


Umm... cool story bro. Now, maybe I'm missing something, but I fail to see how your experience with an 80's Cort has anything to do with a Modern(ish) Squier?

I haven't seen enough Squier neck pockets to speak about that, but...
- About 50% of neck pockets I have seen overall have been completely painted.
- The other 50% had the sides painted, but not the heel.
- It's hella easier and better for the guitart to remove the trem cavity cover than the neck.

It's actually easier to tell then that --if it *has* a trem, then it not one of the Plywood Bullets.

By horizontal, I meant if you have it laying on its back on a table, then the stripes will be parallel to the table surface.

If you see vertical stripes, then they're probably irregular (and infrequent)--only where boards are glued together. You wouldn't find wood grain going that way (they don't quartersaw guitar bodies; just necks.


Yes, that's what I meant. I'm if he doesn't find stripes at all, than it's not a problem either way.

Squiers are made from Alder or Agathis. Ironically, some of the more expensive ones are Agathis. Don't know what kind of wood is in the plywood Bullets--I'd guess birch or an Asian alternative, but worst kase it could be pine.

Umm... No. Depending on the model, Squiers are made from either Alder, Agathis Indian Red Cedar or Basswood, with one model made from Mahogany and one from Pine

Bullet Series - Basswood
Deluxe Series - Basswood
OBEY Graphic - Basswood
Standard Series - Agathis
Affinity Series - Alder
Classic Vibe - Alder (Except the Thinline Tele which is Mahogany and the 50s Tele which is Pine)
Vintage Modified - Strats and "normal' Teles: Indian Red Cedar, Tele Customs I&II: Agathis, VM Tele Thinline, Jagmaster and Jazzmaster: Alder, Jaguar and Duo-Sonic: Basswood.
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#13
Quote by kangaxxter
Umm... cool story bro. Now, maybe I'm missing something, but I fail to see how your experience with an 80's Cort has anything to do with a Modern(ish) Squier?


They're both made of wood and the Cort was definitely plywood.


Quote by kangaxxter
Umm... No. Depending on the model, Squiers are made from either Alder, Agathis Indian Red Cedar or Basswood, with one model made from Mahogany and one from Pine

Bullet Series - Basswood
Deluxe Series - Basswood
OBEY Graphic - Basswood
Standard Series - Agathis
Affinity Series - Alder
Classic Vibe - Alder (Except the Thinline Tele which is Mahogany and the 50s Tele which is Pine)
Vintage Modified - Strats and "normal' Teles: Indian Red Cedar, Tele Customs I&II: Agathis, VM Tele Thinline, Jagmaster and Jazzmaster: Alder, Jaguar and Duo-Sonic: Basswood.


OK, so I overgeneralized a bit. Thought about editing and saying "with a few exceptions".

Anyway, the vast majority of Squiers ever built are Affinity Strats or SEs (alder). The Standards are more expensive and better, but, like you validated, are made of Agathasis.

All the other models you mention are produced in such smaller quantities that they're not even statistically significant. They might outnumber the plain jane Affinities and Standards in the larger guitar store displays, but they don't move out the door like the Affinities and the Standards. So yeah, I'm not going to say you're wrong on any of your post, but in very general terms my post wasn't wrong either.
#14
Quote by jetwash69
They might outnumber the plain jane Affinities and Standards in the larger guitar store displays, but they don't move out the door like the Affinities and the Standards.


Is there a source for this? Or are you just pulling this out of your ass? Because I'm, like a lot of people, less inclined to believe you when you gloss over actual facts to try and prove a point.
Actually, I go by Dave, but there are already too many Daves on this forum.


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#15
Quote by kangaxxter
Is there a source for this? Or are you just pulling this out of your ass? Because I'm, like a lot of people, less inclined to believe you when you gloss over actual facts to try and prove a point.


85% of all statistics are made up on the spot. ;-)

You must really enjoy arguing, because I already said I agree with you.

I can't remember where I saw actual production numbers or how recent they were, but if you have a source that says that Affinity and SE Strats aren't the most common Squiers, then please PM me with it.

I'm thinking 90% or more ever made are those 2 models, followed by the Standard. That's certainly the bulk of what you see in the second-hand markets. Also I see those same special Squiers you mentioned (Classic Vibe, Vintage Modified, Duo Sonics, etc.) hanging on the racks for years in the music shops. The Bullets too. The difference is Bullets stay in Pawnshops until thrown away, and the special ones move after a couple of months. Even your Affinity Tele sat in the store almost two years; long enough for the pickguard to age unevenly with the sticker on it and for you to want to paint it--how'd that turn out? Wonder how many Affinity Strats Swing City sold in the time your Tele sat in the window? Hope they cut you a deal on that Tele--every time I pass through the area and stop in, those guys are asking for MSRP + for everything in the store. Their "sales" prices often exceed common street prices. But sometimes they have some really cool stuff-like a Korina Fender Strat that's been there for years. That's also the only store where I've seen a Big Block Strat. The strings felt like they were the originals from when it was built in 2007.

But I digress. So anyway if I'm wrong about the majority of Squiers being Affinity and SE Strats, then I'd like to know it, so please PM me if you find any statistics contradicting my facts.
Last edited by jetwash69 at Mar 20, 2011,
#16
Quote by jetwash69


But I digress. So anyway if I'm wrong about the majority of Squiers being Affinity and SE Strats, then I'd like to know it, so please PM me if you find any statistics contradicting my facts.


So where exactly are these "facts" that you are throwing around? Because you seem so keen on quoting my words without finding out if they are true or not, so I'm still not convinced that you have any credibility whatsoever.

Maybe, and I might be going out on a limb here, but maybe you shouldn't make claims without any supporting evidence besides "well, that's what I've seen in pawnshops". Because I'm actually quite sure that Squier doesn't distribute their production figures on the internet, or at all actually.

You see, I don't have to prove you wrong. You have to prove yourself right. I can't prove you're full of bullshit, you have to prove that you're not. And the fact that you're demanding me to prove you wrong, when you haven't even proven yourself right makes me think that you, in fact, are full of bullshit.

Ergo: the Burden of Proof is on you.

EDIT: And I do enjoy arguing, especially against people who have no concept of logical fallacies, because it's so easy to prove them wrong.
Actually, I go by Dave, but there are already too many Daves on this forum.


Fender MIM Stratocaster
Fender Jaguar Bass
Epiphone EJ200 Super Jumbo
Fender Excelsior 13w
Acoustic B300HD (with matching 1x12 cab)
BOSS BD-2W
NYC Big Muff Pi
Last edited by kangaxxter at Mar 20, 2011,
#18
I accept your instrument of surrender, and declare myself winner of this thread.

Now, I must go, someone is wrong over on the The Old Republic forums, and my skills are needed.
Actually, I go by Dave, but there are already too many Daves on this forum.


Fender MIM Stratocaster
Fender Jaguar Bass
Epiphone EJ200 Super Jumbo
Fender Excelsior 13w
Acoustic B300HD (with matching 1x12 cab)
BOSS BD-2W
NYC Big Muff Pi