NGD - My first Squier: a Vintage Modified 70s black strat

Discussion in 'Squier Stratocasters' started by BlueSquirrel, Feb 2, 2019.

  1. BlueSquirrel

    BlueSquirrel Squier-Meister

    399
    Dec 21, 2018
    Europe
    Thanks a million to all of you for the good advice that you gave me on Squier Talk. I've finally felt confident and informed enough to buy my first Squier! I wouldn't have done it if you hadn't been there!

    I ordered it a few days ago when - again thanks to you - I learnt that they were being discontinued. I had been saving for a guitar for a while and I finally "bit the bullet" and ordered one of the very last ones in my country (it was right before falling in love with an Epi Les Paul Standard (!) which would have been out of my price range anyway). It arrived at the music shop this afternoon.

    Originally I would have preferred a lighter colour to match my place, but this guitar is still extremely beautiful, even glamourous imo and looks very Gilmourish as it is, so I've changed my mind on the black finish.

    My first surprise is the guitar's weight. It feels really heavy. I can't weigh it for real since I don't have a scale, but it feels heavier than my friend's Epi (?!) and as heavy as a Classic Vibe strat. Maybe it's just because of the shape of the guitar...

    My second surprise is the maple neck. Not only is it gorgeous, but it's imo as good as the neck of the Deluxe or of the Classic Vibe. It's extremely smooth, the wood grain is fab, the finish isn't very thick nor yellowish (it's obviously lacquered - and feels sort of slippery compared to my acoustic - but it looks more like a satin finish colourwise), and, at the very top of the fretboard, the fretboard edges are actually slightly rolled. It feels as luxurious as the Epi's neck which was super comfortable imo. The nut is 42 mm wide and the neck makes barre chords very easy (although I did prefer the chunkier feel of the Epi).

    My third surprise is the place where it was made: Indonesia (I thought they were made in China?). The number starts with "ICS18", I think it means that it was made in 2018.

    My fourth surprise is the action: it's really low. The strings feel much lighter than my acoustic's (which are, I think, equivalent to a "light" gauge). They feel even lighter than the nylon strings on my classical guitar (so they're "extra, extra lights"?).
    I've just tuned it up with a clip on tuner and it sounds lovely - not as much sustain or bass as the Epi, though. Of course, it doesn't have the same pickups (although the sound is actually surprisingly close - maybe it's my amp). Anyway, it probably needs a good set up to sound right.

    My fifth surprise is the tuning machines. They seem excellent.

    My sixth surprise is the high E string _ it's really close to the fret board (only two millimeters away from the edge) whereas the low E string stands a bit further from the edge. It's still completely playable but it will probably need some getting used to. Maybe it's tweakable? The nut seems standard, so could it be linked to the string spacing at the saddles? I'll try to post pictures (I don't know how to do that from my phone yet).

    I asked the salesmen at the shop if they could do a setup for me, but they said that they wouldn't as they were piano specialists. Their guitar tech is currently away. He should come back in two weeks. I might try to setup the guitar meanwhile but I'm not sure I have the right equipment nor the knowledge (I looked at one of Frudua's video and he uses a tuning pedal. I only have a clip-on tuner).
    There are 3 springs at the back of the guitar to hold the bridge. It's tightened and it doesn't move at all. A fourth spring is included in a little bag.

    Any idea on how to set up the guitar without a pedal? I probably should check the intonation...
    Sorry for the length of this post and thanks again to all for your never-ending patience, your wonderful information, your good spirits and your kindness!
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
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  2. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Squier-holic

    Sep 27, 2014
    Canada
    Yes, all VM's are made in Indonesia except some early 2007-2011 VM's made in India.....

    The high E being closerthan low E to fretboard edge means the neck is not aligned properly, you can fix this but we need to see photos....
     
  3. BlueSquirrel

    BlueSquirrel Squier-Meister

    399
    Dec 21, 2018
    Europe
    Right, great! I don't think I could exchange the guitar anyway. It was the last one at the shop. I had previously phoned other places closer to home and none had one or could still order one.
     
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  4. BlueSquirrel

    BlueSquirrel Squier-Meister

    399
    Dec 21, 2018
    Europe
    Still trying to enclose pictures. ;) 20190202_191939.jpg 20190202_192015.jpg
     
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  5. BlueSquirrel

    BlueSquirrel Squier-Meister

    399
    Dec 21, 2018
    Europe
    Has it worked? Are the pictures viewable?
     

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  6. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Squier-holic

    Sep 27, 2014
    Canada
    Sure looks a lot better for alignment!
     
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  7. BlueSquirrel

    BlueSquirrel Squier-Meister

    399
    Dec 21, 2018
    Europe
    Here are some pictures of the back of the neck.
     

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  8. Eddie

    Eddie Dr. Squier

    Age:
    49
    Nov 5, 2016
    New York
    Man, that's a killer !!!

    Keep it forever !!!
     
  9. strat_strummer

    strat_strummer Squier-Nut

    Age:
    57
    523
    Nov 24, 2018
    Lost in my Sticks
  10. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Squier-holic

    Age:
    53
    Nov 29, 2017
    Newnan ,Ga.
  11. SpeedKing

    SpeedKing Squier-holic

    Apr 9, 2015
    UK
    I made two adjustments on mine with the same issue from new.

    Firstly loosened the neck screws off and readjusted slightly the neck angle to improve alignment then whilst I had someone else hold it there tightened up the screws again.

    Secondly I e-mailed a very polite and otherwise praiseworthy note to Fender to ask where I could find Fender stamped bent 'steel' saddles the right width to replace those that were obviously too wide for the bridge from new hence the high E being close to the fretboard edge and E and B sitting on the very inside of the saddle rather than the middle.

    Their solution? (if the neck wiggle doesn't work)

    They sent me as replacement a complete Fender MIM standard strat trem unit with the better materials all round and the bigger block.
    It drops right in no other mods needed and can be found easily and pretty cheaply. It should be stamped PW29 on the bottom of the block if it's genuine. Someone will have a part number...
     
  12. BlueSquirrel

    BlueSquirrel Squier-Meister

    399
    Dec 21, 2018
    Europe
    Thanks a lot for your tips! I really appreciate your help!
    Yes, I'm pretty sure someone was kind enough to write the part number on the forum and I wrote it in my songbook. I'll go get it in a second.

    I'm currently watching a video on setting up a strat. They say to put beeswax to lubricate the pivot screws at the bridge and to put some more under the string trees. Unfortunately I don't have any beeswax. I was going to use Carmex lipbalm as it worked on my acoustic guitar's nut. Does anyone has any thoughts on lipbalm vs beeswax?
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
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  13. BlueSquirrel

    BlueSquirrel Squier-Meister

    399
    Dec 21, 2018
    Europe
    By the way, Speed King, should I remove the strings before attempting to unscrew the neck then screw it back?
     
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  14. BlueSquirrel

    BlueSquirrel Squier-Meister

    399
    Dec 21, 2018
    Europe
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  15. BlueSquirrel

    BlueSquirrel Squier-Meister

    399
    Dec 21, 2018
    Europe
    Guitarmageddon and Speed King, I owe you one! I lowered the string tension, unscrewed the neck and found a tiny scrap of wood trapped between the body and the neck (close-up picture enclosed). I removed it, tightened the neck screws again and bingo! It has improved the neck alignment imo (trying to post a picture here).
    So thanks a million for your help!
    The low E string and high e string seem more centered/ similarly positioned now.

    I'm currently playing Sunday Bloody Sunday on the strat and it sounds really good (although I haven't finished the setup yet).

    Please, PM me your details and I'll send you something to thank you! :)
     

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  16. blind radish

    blind radish Squier Talker

    40
    Sep 2, 2015
  17. SpeedKing

    SpeedKing Squier-holic

    Apr 9, 2015
    UK
    Thanks is thanks enough, glad we're getting you there.

    Do you have a photo of the bridge/saddles in it's freshly aligned state? Be interested in seeing if the strings pass over them centrally now. If not it's not much to upgrade either saddles or the whole trem. Saddles too wide for the bridge were certainly a factory fitted error on some (mine is a '15 Indonesian). You could always just rub the sides against a file to narrow them. That's what I did to my VM's saddles eventually before I fitted them to an Affinity.

    I generally think the narrower import spacing (Squiers and most MIMs) should have the strings passing directly over the pole pieces of the bridge pup (which is angled away from an exact 90 degrees to the strings) whereas the original and wider US spacing will see them directly over the pole pieces of the middle pup set at precisely 90 degrees to the strings.

    My VM70 with MIM trem unit..

    [​IMG]

    My Japanese vintage spaced '72 Re-issue..

    [​IMG]


    PS Whereabouts in Europe are you?
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
  18. BlueSquirrel

    BlueSquirrel Squier-Meister

    399
    Dec 21, 2018
    Europe
    Thanks for the pictures, they're very enlightening. :) Now that you mention it, the strings don't always cross the pole pieces in the middle. I can't take a picture right now but I'll do so later.
    BTW I'm across the channel.
     
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  19. Davis Sharp

    Davis Sharp Dr. Squier

    Jan 7, 2016
    Maryland, USA
    An all black Squier with a maple neck makes me smile. I'm glad that you're happy with it too. :)
     
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  20. itsyourboyGru

    itsyourboyGru Squier Talker

    Age:
    34
    84
    Jan 20, 2019
    Miami, Fl
    Beautiful grain on that fretboard
     
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