NGD - Squier California Series Strat and Upgrades

Discussion in 'Squier Stratocasters' started by Atmarama, Nov 16, 2019.

  1. Atmarama

    Atmarama Squier Talker

    84
    Jul 18, 2010
    Durban, SA
    So having got to a Stratless state a little while back this Black California Series Squier Strat popped up on my local classifieds.

    It was advertised as MiJ, which is obviously not the case here. Does anyone know anything about these models? Where they were made etc? It has a serial number sticker on the back of the headstock 0060150304.

    I'm pretty sure it had the pickups and pots upgraded since they're pretty great sounding Alnicos and full size 250k pots. I did have to do a bit of resoldering to get things working smoothly though.

    I changed out the cheap Squier branded sealed tuners and put on a set of 6 in a line Ibanez "Smooth Tuners" I had lying around. The stock pot metal saddles were replaced with a set of bent steel Fender saddles. I added 2 springs so all 5 are engaged and tightened the tremolo so the bridge is flush to the guitar. And out of sentiment and personal preference I also changed the pickguard to white (just like my old Mexican Squier that I stupidly sold years back, oh and Claptons Blackie!).

    After a set up and intonation fine tune this guitar is playing and sounding really great! I would love to know more about the origins of these models and any more info on them. Seems great options for the modders and tinkerers among us. Unfortunately I forgot to take off the neck for deeper inspection..

    Some pics here - before and after.





    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-J810F using Tapatalk
     
    Stratlover84, Viking, Rey08 and 7 others like this.
  2. Fret Cheese

    Fret Cheese Squier-Meister

    250
    Sep 10, 2016
    Bordeaux
    Nice strat :)
    Not much info on the squier wiki about these other than the alder body and standard 9.5" radius etc
    The fat strat versions were apparently Chinese made so I'd imagine this one is also? They look like higher spec SE's but I'll leave such conclusions to anyone who has actually seen one in the wild :)
     
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  3. rorygman

    rorygman Squier-Nut

    Age:
    64
    682
    May 9, 2017
    Barcelona
    My understanding is the California series were made in China and were very similar to the SE in quality (if not the same). The California branding on the headstock I think is pretty cool and I keep looking around for one myself. (I did have the chance of buying an 'as new still in box' CAR Strat California a while ago but got cold feet as I didn't think it was totally legit.)

    The giveaway for provenance is the serial number sticker which is the same format as the CAE-series Strat SE serial numbers that emanated from China in the early 2000's.
    I believe these California Strat models were reserved for, or only marketed into, the Asian / Asia Pacific areas, certainly not available in Europe or NA.
    I could be wrong of course and I'm sure someone knows more than me. Personally I'd really like to know more about this model. (e.g. colours, options, dates).
    Cheers,
    rorygman :cool:
     
  4. Eddie

    Eddie Squier-Axpert

    Age:
    50
    Nov 5, 2016
    New York
    SE meant for the international market.
     
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  5. Amir Khalid

    Amir Khalid Squier Talker

    Age:
    58
    95
    Jun 12, 2018
    Kuala Lumpur
    I own a Squier California Strat too. Mine's white (Olympic White, I think, but I'm not sure) with a maple fretboard. I emailed Fender to ask about the series, and got this reply from one Brad Shelton:

    "The California series are Chinese-made Squier models similar to the Affinity models but were simply made exclusively for overseas export, sold mostly in China. They were introduced in 2003."

    Shelton says they are still available in some markets but didn't say if they were still in production. He also confirmed later that Affinity-level spec does indeed mean they have the thin body.
     
  6. Stratlover84

    Stratlover84 Squier-Nut

    Age:
    35
    935
    Jun 16, 2016
    NY
    An SE with Affinity thickness body.
     
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  7. Atmarama

    Atmarama Squier Talker

    84
    Jul 18, 2010
    Durban, SA
    Thanks for the input and replies folks. This Cali Series Strat seems to have a full size thickness measuring 1.75 inches?

    This guitar is playing and sounding so good, man I am glad to be back in Stratland... only upgrade she could need now is maybe a replacement MiM bridge assembly but I'm not so sure that'll improve anything... already got the bent steel saddles..

    Don't think I mentioned it but I'm sure the neck was carefully rolled and fret ends smoothed to because the neck feels perfect.

    Sent from my SM-J810F using Tapatalk
     
    Kenneth Mountain likes this.
  8. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Squier-holic

    Age:
    54
    Nov 29, 2017
    Newnan ,Ga.
  9. MinorKey

    MinorKey Squier-Nut

    Age:
    52
    777
    Jun 14, 2012
    Darlington UK
    Reminds me of the strat I once had
     
    Atmarama and Kenneth Mountain like this.
  10. Kenneth Mountain

    Kenneth Mountain Squier-Axpert


    I'm confused about the fender guy saying it was affinity spec ? full size body and small headstock are not affinity ? what is affinity about this series ?
     
  11. Atmarama

    Atmarama Squier Talker

    84
    Jul 18, 2010
    Durban, SA
    Ye I double checked the thickness with my caliper, 1.75" exactly. Small headstock and nut width is 42mm.

    I'm also really not sure what is Affinity about this series.. Maybe it has the same bridge and tremolo system and electronics as the Affinity but headstock, nut width and body thickness are not Affinity series specs at all.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
  12. Atmarama

    Atmarama Squier Talker

    84
    Jul 18, 2010
    Durban, SA
    Nope my one definitely has a full thickness body.

    Sent from my SM-J810F using Tapatalk
     
  13. MinorKey

    MinorKey Squier-Nut

    Age:
    52
    777
    Jun 14, 2012
    Darlington UK
    What's the difference between affinity and SE?
     
  14. JBrooks

    JBrooks Squier-Meister

    Age:
    44
    175
    Jun 18, 2019
    Chicago
    Don't have a pic handy but the stickered serial number looks the same as my SE.
     
  15. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Squier

    Age:
    43
    Sep 27, 2014
    Canada
    Huge difference - the pickups/electronics are the only thing the same. The SE has 'Squier' branded tuners, a full thickness heavy body, and a small headstock. The Affinity has D shaped sealed tuners, a thin light body, and large CBS/70s style headstock....
     
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  16. MinorKey

    MinorKey Squier-Nut

    Age:
    52
    777
    Jun 14, 2012
    Darlington UK
    Thanks for the info
     
    Las Palmas Norte likes this.
  17. Unless you find a mid - late 90's Affinity, which has a full thickness body, small headstock and 22 fret neck.
    Cheers, Barrie.
     
    MinorKey likes this.
  18. MinorKey

    MinorKey Squier-Nut

    Age:
    52
    777
    Jun 14, 2012
    Darlington UK
    Yea when googling affinity strats and SE strats I noticed they all had the same kind of tuners. Mind you I don't think squier make SE strats anymore do they? Google just throws up any new strat when you type in SE strat
     
  19. No they don't. The last made where about 7 years ago.
    Cheers, Barrie.
     
    drewcp and MinorKey like this.
  20. MinorKey

    MinorKey Squier-Nut

    Age:
    52
    777
    Jun 14, 2012
    Darlington UK
    So my next question is, what is the modern equivalent?
     
    Las Palmas Norte likes this.
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