#1
Hi all, first post here. Looking for some advice.

I have a Squire Strat. It's not the greatest guitar, but it's my first, so I'll never part with it. However, I would like to give it a face lift, and make it a little more playable.

Most notably, I need to deal with the issue of tuning. The thing just doesn't stay in turn. I've had someone suggest blocking the bridge to me, however, I've never been able to use the tremolo function of the guitar, and I'd like to make it so that I actually could.

I'm guessing locking tuners would do the trick? Perhaps a new nut? Maybe I need a whole new bridge? Not sure what the best way to go about it is, so any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Lookin forward to spending some more time on this forum!

Matt

PS On a somewhat unrelated note, does anyone know of a good, easy to understand online tutorial that shows how to set intonation? I don't know how, but would really like to learn. Thanks again!
#2
squier strats perform their best when the trem is not able to dive IMO. i tightened the screws in the trem cavity so theyre almost touching the wood and now it goes out of tune less then my other guitar that has grovers. and it has better/lower action as well.
#3
I did the same thing with mine. Tightened those screws up so the springs are pulling it in to the body. I added 2 more springs, so now I have 5. I changed every part to black, including my tuners. It stays in tune real good. As for keeping the bridge functional, the amount of work would not be worth it. You are better off buying a guitar with a FR or something.
#4
Fret Not intonation tutorial.

Always set intonation with new strings, old strings will cause intonation problems.

Always make other adjustments to action and truss rod (ONLY if necessary) before setting intonation. All adjustments to action will affect intonation, intonation adjustments will not affect action.

Installing a Tremsetter will help a strat stay in tune a lot better, but don't expect it to match a locking tuner tremolo system like the Floyd Rose. It is a lot cheaper though, and works pretty well, I have one on my Squier strat and have very little tuning problems with it. And I didn't have to rout out my guitar to install it. I did have to drill a small hole for the pushrod to have plenty clearance to move so it wouldn't hit the body where the neck pocket is. Only needed to drill about 1/4" deep or so, less than 1/8" diameter. Installation is not difficult, takes a half hour at most.

Also use a #2 pencil to put some graphite in the nut slots, this adds lubrication and lets the strings slide in the nut slots better, which is a major problem with strat tuning (and not just Squiers, any floating bridge guitar by any manufacturer will have the same problem, including American Strats). Often the nut slots are tight, when you use the whammy bar the strings drop in pitch then don't come back to the proper pitch because the nut slots hold tight enough they can't go back to their original location. Graphite does a great job of [mostly] curing this problem. I keep pencils in a couple of guitar cases and in my spare string bag (along with a string winder, tuner and small wire cutters to cut off the tag ends, and some craytex to help remove saddle burrs). Tuning will still wander a little, but usually very little and with my guitar I can just pull up on the G string and it's back in tune, that's the only one that still wants to hang a little.

The Squier nut is probably plastic, replacing it with a bone or graphite one would be an improvement, I've been considering doing mine but so far it's not giving me any trouble, and I don't usually fix anything if it's not already broke. Graphite nuts are good, but I still have to use a pencil on the one in my Peavey Patriot. Next time I have to do any major work on it I'll probably spring for a $6 bone nut and take on the very tedious task of replacing it.

A lot of people don't give Squiers high marks, but if you find a good one, it's a keeper. I've had mine about 15 years and it's my favorite guitar. I put the pickguard (pictured in my avatar) on it a couple of years ago, adjusted the pickups and added the Tremsetter when I first got it. Those are the only modifications, other than replacing volume and tone pots when they broke. Everything is still stock except the pots, and the guitar plays and sounds great. I've played at least 30 American strats and quite a few Mexican and Japanese ones since I got it, never found one that played and sounded better so I still have my Squier. A dozen people have tried to buy it over the years...I'm starting to wear the finish off the maple fretboard, it's getting really dark in a couple of places, I've filed and recrowned the frets 3 times I think, it'll only get one more fret job and they will have to be replaced entirely.

Better ppicture of it on my Photobucket page, along with onstage shots of some of my other guitars and one of a repair job I did a while back. The old Harmony is a 66 Bobkat, great for slide. the black Telecaster now has a black pickguard and a Peavey Super Ferrite in the neck position, great pickup. The lap steel is a mid 40's Electromuse.

Check the screws that bolt the neck to the body, if they become loose that can add to intonation problems. Don't overtighten. Any loose pickguard screws can be easily repaired by dipping a toothpick in wood glue, sticking it in the hole and breaking it off flush, then replacing the screw. Same for strap pegs.

A layer of aluminum foil glued to the back of the pickguard with spray glue (for shielding) will help reduce a lot of the noise inherent with single coil pickups. A full shielding job is great, but more tedious. My Squier was already sprayed with conductive paint, which surprised me, so I only had to do the pickguard. If the pickup cavity is sprayed with black paint, check it with a multimeter. If it shows continuity, it's conductive shielding paint, aluminum foil on the pickguard will finish the shielding job and help a lot. I trace mine out beforehand and cut it with a hobby knife, then glue it on. Keep the foil about 1/4" away from the pickups, to avoid a direct short. I made sure it was grounded to everything by fitting it so it had good contact with all the volume and tone pots. It's now as quiet as my Humbucker guitars unless I get really close to the amp. 6 feet away it's almost dead silent.

While I had mine apart I went ahead and redid every solder joint in it, to make sure they were all solid and done right. A cold solder joint will break right in the middle of your best solo of the night every time...kinda like strings...
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Last edited by Paleo Pete at May 3, 2008,
#5
MOd suggestions? Hmmm... wilkinson trem, graphite nut, new pickups, locking tuners, roller string trees, etc.
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400 with Gotoh GE1996T (EMG 85/60)
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#6
Roller string trees...thanks, I forgot about that one. I put some on mine years ago, love 'em. Cost under $10 I think, and well worth it, simple to install.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#7
$5 @guitarfetish.
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400 with Gotoh GE1996T (EMG 85/60)
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#8
Thanks for all the suggestions and tip!

Like I said, I would like to maintain the tremolo functionality if at all possible. Of course, the guitar was only $300... so I guess I have to keep that in mind when upgrading.

Does anyone think that I could accomplish a functioning tremolo system on this guitar for $150 or less? If so, what would be the most important things to focus on?

If it's going to cost me much more than that, I'll probably just block the bridge.

Thanks again for all the help.

PS Paleo Pete... do you know of any online tutorials that could assist in some of the mods you talked about? Or should I get someone at my local music store to do those kinds of mods?

Thanks,

Matt
#9
^yes, you easily could. LSR Roller Nut-$40.00 (you need to widen the nut slot for it though)
wilkinson tremolo (the outer trem screw holes need to be widened however)-$50
roller string trees-$5
locking tuners-$30
+about $10 shipping, and about $6 tax, this comes to a grand total of: $141, which is in your range.
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400 with Gotoh GE1996T (EMG 85/60)
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
Last edited by oneblackened at May 3, 2008,
#10
Grover Tuners...best upgrade IMO...only other thing I need is to fix the connections which are going out...for the 3rd time...
This ends now, eat the goddamn beans!