Need expert help on my VM neck

Discussion in 'Squier Stratocasters' started by TimTheViking, May 22, 2019.

  1. SpeedKing

    SpeedKing Squier-holic

    Apr 9, 2015
    UK
    Well I can't see a PW29 stamp on the bottom of the block but obviously it's a full size block, the bridge plate has the holes fully in the bevelled facet and the saddles look like genuine Fender leftie saddles to me (though the Fender text is much longer/bigger) so assuming the spacing is right I'd say it's a MIM unit.... could be an American vintage though with imperial spacing.
     
  2. TimTheViking

    TimTheViking Squier-Nut

    711
    Feb 13, 2019
    Chesapeake, Virginia
    Lefty?
     
  3. Trumpy

    Trumpy Squier Talker

    Age:
    71
    27
    Feb 5, 2018
    Western WI
    I had a deluxe MIM strat that had the same issue. Turns out that some clear poly the guitar was coated with got in the neck pocket. My favorite guitar tech sanded the neck pocket to remove the excess and said it only takes a small amount to throw things off. It completely fixed the problem.
     
  4. TimTheViking

    TimTheViking Squier-Nut

    711
    Feb 13, 2019
    Chesapeake, Virginia
    Well it will almost be like a NGD for me today. Waiting on my front porch is my Sonic Blue 70's VM Strat that I sent back to Sweetwater to be checked out. You may recall I was having a problem with string drop off at about the third fret. I posted several pictures comparing the neck of my Affinity Strat with the VM Strat and there were definite differences. The word from the techs at Sweetwater is that they could find nothing out of spec and what I was experiencing was not considered abnormal as many players experience it. They explained that the 70s VM Strat necks were a bit more narrow and they weren't for everybody. String drop offs is a common complaint on the VM 70s. So I guess I have to live with it learning to play this one differently, especially my open E chords since the palm of my had dampens the high E string which doesn't happen on any of my other guitars.
     
  5. SpeedKing

    SpeedKing Squier-holic

    Apr 9, 2015
    UK
    S'cuse my language but that's b******s.

    Mine started that way and is now completely fine.

    Lets see pics of the bridge and saddles Tim.... I bet you have the old overly large saddles.
     
    Caddy likes this.
  6. TimTheViking

    TimTheViking Squier-Nut

    711
    Feb 13, 2019
    Chesapeake, Virginia
    I beg your pardon??? Overly large saddles indeed! No body shaming on this site. :eek:
    I'll post those later on but I have a busy day when I get home. Mrs. Viking had surgery last week so when I get home I put on my nurse's outfit.
     
  7. SpeedKing

    SpeedKing Squier-holic

    Apr 9, 2015
    UK
    ...and very fetching I'm sure you look too....

    Best wishes to Mrs Viking!
     
    TimTheViking and Caddy like this.
  8. TimTheViking

    TimTheViking Squier-Nut

    711
    Feb 13, 2019
    Chesapeake, Virginia
  9. SpeedKing

    SpeedKing Squier-holic

    Apr 9, 2015
    UK
    Yeah the saddles are just too wide so the strings can't sit centrally.

    Fix with the Fender MIM 'standard' strat unit as per the unit that Fender sent me when I complained to them myself of exactly the same issues with my VM70 when it was new. Or just change the saddles themselves but I say it's worth changing it all while your about it.

    I've no idea why they've sent it back saying it's all as it's should be when as it should be is the problem here. Fender know full well those saddles don't fit.... and the bridge plate is rubbish. I guess in most cases they think that's OK for the price difference between the VM and say the CVs but I've never heard of a Bullet or Affinity being similarly afflicted.

    I think the MIM trem, new properly cut nut (I'm not sure either the original slot spacings or heights were where they should be) and finally a little neck wiggle if it still needs it will have it sorted. Mine started exactly the same as yours with drop off around the third, second and fourth frets. Now it doesn't suffer from it at all. Perfectly fixable issue.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
    duzie likes this.
  10. TEXINGA

    TEXINGA Squier-Nut

    695
    Dec 7, 2018
    GA
    Just take them back!!!! Who did you get them from, Amazon? I have a new CV70s, and a half year old VM70s each one purchased new from Fender. No problems what so ever. as a mater of fact the CV is my #1 and the VM is my #2 replacing several I have had for years.

    I have to say the Squiers coming out of Indo. are some of the best ones I have purchase.

    The Black one is my VM and the Walnut one is my CV.

    blackpups 013.jpg tenball 096.jpg
     
  11. TimTheViking

    TimTheViking Squier-Nut

    711
    Feb 13, 2019
    Chesapeake, Virginia
    Got it from Sweetwater. As I'm sure you're aware, it's not exchangeable as they have none, especially in Sonic Blue. Since I've sent it to them once already, I highly doubt anything different would come if it if I sent it back again. Maybe they'll send me a different bridge and I can swap it myself. If not, I'll go the Fender route. Thanks for the VM picture. It shows different saddles.

    But here's my concern: It looks like the hole spacing for the bridge screws will be different for the correct bridge with the narrower saddles as each string is centered above the mounting screw. I could be wrong there and the screw spacing is the same on all the bridges?
     
  12. TEXINGA

    TEXINGA Squier-Nut

    695
    Dec 7, 2018
    GA
    That sucks from sweetwater, Since I did a total upgrade on mine so I did change out the saddles. Not because of size problems but because I like them, better feel and better grip with the screws. Use them on all my keepers.

    The ones on the right came with my Squier, the one on the left is its replacement.

    transformnewsq 004.jpg
     
  13. SoundDesign

    SoundDesign Squier-holic

    It's likely the same reason you can take a car into the service department with "Problem X". Problem X is so well documented with that car that they don't even need to pull it up on the computer but they still look at you wide-eyed and say they've never heard of that happening before. Lot's of places will deny until they can no longer deny.

    I think I got lucky in that it didn't take a lot to get the shop where I bought my VM70 to acknowledge that "something's not right here" but I was prepared for more of an argument.
     
    TEXINGA likes this.
  14. TimTheViking

    TimTheViking Squier-Nut

    711
    Feb 13, 2019
    Chesapeake, Virginia
    Update:
    I called Fender and a rep answered the phone. Kinda nice in this world of automated voice response systems. While the rep was sympathetic, he referred me to the local GC tech/Luthier in Virginia Beach. I called and talked to him and I need to bring the 70s VM Strat to him to examine. From his perspective that's reasonable. He can't make any judgments or suggest remedies if he hasn't seen it. I think I have some time Friday to take it in for him to look at after another company takes look at the foundation of my house. Round and round and round she goes...
     
  15. SpeedKing

    SpeedKing Squier-holic

    Apr 9, 2015
    UK
  16. TimTheViking

    TimTheViking Squier-Nut

    711
    Feb 13, 2019
    Chesapeake, Virginia
    I took my VM 70s Start to GC today and let the tech take a look. He played it for about 15 minutes after inspecting it. He commented that Squier was getting much better at the quality of the instruments they were putting out particularly the higher end ones with more attention to the nut. He could see really nothing wrong with it and said he wouldn't change a thing as it was quite good. Since I got it back from Sweetwater, I have been having less of an issue with the E string dropping off the fretboard and I guess I have to adjust my technique a bit.
     
    drewcp likes this.
  17. SpeedKing

    SpeedKing Squier-holic

    Apr 9, 2015
    UK
    I'm glad you're happier.

    Mine was likewise made better by neck & saddle adjustments but in the end I went the whole hog to do justice to the rest of the guitar.

    My nut was IMO noticeably off so it got changed for a bone one with better cut slot widths and just as importantly heights.

    The trem got changed though the saddles would have been sufficient alone.. at least to cure the extra width issue.

    Neck adjust to line it all up...

    Original.... notice the E to B spacing and where the third fret dot is.

    [​IMG]


    Bone...

    [​IMG]

    Much better spacing and alignment.

    If it were mine I'd still whack in that MIM trem unit (making sure to use screws without thread for the top few mm so they don't bite on the plate as it moves) and for $30 get a new nut.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
    drewcp likes this.
  18. TimTheViking

    TimTheViking Squier-Nut

    711
    Feb 13, 2019
    Chesapeake, Virginia
    Well here's another update...
    I'm still having the same issue with the high E string dropping off the fret board at the 2nd and mostly 3rd fret. If you've read this thread, you'll know I sent it back to Sweetwater for them to check and after they declared it fit and within spec, I then per Fender, I took it to the local GC where the same declaration was made. So no resolution.
    I called Fender again yesterday. The rep told me I could take it back to the GC or another one and specifically ask for them to file a warranty claim for a defect whether it be nut, bridge, fret cut or something else. If the claim was accepted by Fender, one of two things could happen:

    1. Send me a replacement guitar. Very doubtful this would happen since the VM has been discontinued and there is probably not another new Sonic Blue anywhere on the planet.
    2. Refund. So how do I replace it with the same quality instrument for $230?

    The Fender rep stated that they stock no overseas parts like saddles or bridges so there was nothing he could send me.
    I am going to call them today again and specifically ask that they send me a new bridge with narrow saddles or at the very least, a set of narrow saddles I can install on this VM.
     
    drewcp likes this.
  19. SpeedKing

    SpeedKing Squier-holic

    Apr 9, 2015
    UK
    I think if it were mine Tim I'd do the same as I did with mine again.

    For about $55 you can get a new bone nut cut properly and installed and a MIM trem unit you can pop in yourself. With those fitted it's just a question of loosening and adjusting the neck for alignment....

    Without doubt ask Fender for the replacement bridge parts first though...
     
    TimTheViking likes this.
  20. TimTheViking

    TimTheViking Squier-Nut

    711
    Feb 13, 2019
    Chesapeake, Virginia
    Update:
    Since I've been down the Fender road twice and both times it was a dead end, I decided to try replacing the nut since the string spacing a touch wider than my other Strats giving less space at the ends. I decided to go cheap the first go round and ordered a pre-cut Tusq nut from Sweetwater. The replacement was not a easy as the one I did on my ES=335. The ES335 popped out easy with a few tap, the new Tusq nut fit perfectly after taking a bit off the bottom to bring the first fret action down. I don't think I actually glued it as the fit was pretty snug and the string tension won't let it move. But anyway, the VM's stock nut was really glued in. It was also very soft. I couldn't pull it with any pliers, gouging it up in the process. So tapping it from the side with a small nail set wouldn't break it loose either. So I had to be more aggressive with the hammer and nail set to finally break it loos. The nail set made a huge gouge in the outside and when it broke loose, it took a chunk off the fret board on the tuner side of the nut. The Tusq replacement was a bit wider than the neck to that needed to be sanded but the first fret action was good as is. The real test would be did it fix my string drop off problem. The good news is that it did. I played it for about an hour without a single drop off. I think the new nut combined with pulling the neck over as far as it would sit in the pocket fixed it. The dot inlay at the third fret is also centered now where it has been in the past. I'll post some pics when I get a few minutes. Thanks to everyone for the help and suggestions.
     
    duzie, drewcp, mofojar and 2 others like this.
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