Apr 27, 2016

Adventures of a Squier Strat Episode VIII

The lack of remaining Star Wars puns to exhaust is rather disappointing... unlike the continued mods to this Stratocaster!  Featuring three parts, including a new custom fret inlay, Fender American string trees, and a new bridge.

In-depth reviews of some common and useful pieces of hardware and more after the break...

First order of business: replacing the mediocre stock string tree.  Some people say string trees are mostly irrelevant and can be done away with; I happen to agree with Leo Fender that they're there for a good reason.  

Overpriced but they work

The old string tree, even when lubricated with graphite, would let out creaking noises during tuning and large bends up the neck, and it finally drove me to do something about it.  I deliberated over taking a chance with off-brand roller trees but opted for the tried, true, and overpriced Fender "American" string trees.

An easy fit; I did opt to hand drill small holes for the nubs on the string trees rather than sand them off, and the guitar is no worse off for it.

They fit and look quite nice, adding a bit of class and tuning stability, and solving the creaking problem for $10; fair enough even on a budget guitar like this.

With the strings off I took the opportunity to correct everything I didn't love about the original custom inlay; this time I printed off a custom design with a light pearl pattern (doesn't really show up in the pictures) and my initials in an atom logo for science, then clamped using the same method as before.

Very nice!

What's more, it's happy New Bridge Day!  The stock Squier tremolo system doesn't do s*** for sustain, and is nothing exceptional to say the least.  For about $20, this tremolo system is a pretty decent upgrade from the stock Squier in several ways.

You tell me which one is the new one.

In direct comparison, the Mexi tremolo, particularly the block, blows away the stock Squier assembly.  Specifically, the block is about three times the size by weight, which equals sustain and tone transfer, to use some buzzwords of the guitar building universe.

The bent steel saddles also are nice, and the smooth tops mean less string breakage and potentially more flexible bends.  The bent style also seems to have a bit more "pop" and harmonic response, compared to the more "dead" sounding fundamentals of the cast saddles.

One problem though: the new block is significantly larger than the old.  So much so, that it's a rather snug fit in the guitar.  Unfortunately, it's not really moving.  The most tremolo action I could get with this was a fraction of a semitone.  Thus, I cranked down the screws a bit and am rolling with an essentially fixed bridge.  This combined with the string trees means this guitar has more sustain and tuning stability than ever before.

Is this the end of the Strat's story?  You wish.  Where it goes next, nobody knows... except me because I ordered the parts.  So you'll get to find out pretty soon.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Questions, comments, concerns, complaints? Leave your thoughts below!