03 Fiesta Red Affinity Mod Thread

Discussion in 'Squier Stratocasters' started by SquierTap, Oct 17, 2020.

  1. SquierTap

    SquierTap Squier-holic

    Age:
    39
    Jul 14, 2018
    Nashville, Tn
    Well... Might as well kick the tires and light the fires for this thread...
    I picked up an 03 Affinity model in Fiesta Red a couple of weeks ago... Found it on Craigslist and the guy wanted $100, but I got him down to $70... Normally, I DON'T haggle, but I did THIS time...
    The guitar was in pretty good shape considering the guy that owned it didn't know a thing about it, not exactly a closet queen, but pretty danged good for almost a 20 year old guitar... The flame on the neck is great... And I've never had a Strat with the bigger 70's style headstock, and I've never had a red Strat, either... I was surprised at how much I liked the red with the white pickguard... White pickguards are usually just too pedestrian and plain for me, so I decided a white pearl pickguard was the way to go on this...

    And at this point in my "tone journey" I'm really diggin P-90s... Like Unknown Hinson said when they asked him why he used P-90s in his signature model; Humbuckers ARE powerful, and sound good for heavier stuff, but "I've never been able to get a humbucker to TWANG"... That got me to thinkin; If you put a 4-way Telecaster switch in your Tele it gives you one more pickup option; both pickups (like the middle position) but in series... So your two single coils act like one big humbucker... Well, technically, P-90s are single coils, right? ;) So how come I've NEVER seen somebody run P-90s like that? Probably because it doesn't work, lol... But we're gonna find out, dammit!
    So first, let's get the obligatory "before" pics outta the way, and get crackin;
    IMG_20201014_174638927_HDR.jpg IMG_20201014_175655353_HDR.jpg IMG_20201014_172635387.jpg IMG_20201014_175707508.jpg IMG_20200924_114307500.jpg
     
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  2. SquierTap

    SquierTap Squier-holic

    Age:
    39
    Jul 14, 2018
    Nashville, Tn
    So, first things first; Like I said, the flame on the neck is great, and it's a satin finish, which means that I can Kiwi it, so that's where I started... I went ahead and gave it 3 or 4 good applications, buffing it in between, and I'm really happy with how it turned out... It's not that obnoxious orange "amber" that a LOT of guys like, but it's definitely darker AND you can still see the beautiful grain...

    I had some nice split-shaft tuners in a neck that didn't turn out, so I gave them a shot, and of course they didn't fit, lol... Buck luckily I've got a neck that I bought off a forum member that had some problems... AND a set of "vintage" style split-shaft tuners! So, I popped 'em out and on they went... Turned out really well... Then I replaced the standard "butterfly" string trees with a set of extra gold ones that I got mistakenly on one of my last orders... I normally don't like gold hardware either, but it's startin to grow on me little by little...

    I tried to get the nut out to see if I could replace it... That's the bugger with these Affinitys... MOST Strat style guitars have a 42 mm nut, but these have that 40mm one... I've never cut my own blank but, but since you can't buy a 40mm nut ANYWHERE, I might have to give it a shot... I figure I can use a 42 mm and sand the edges so it fits, but I'm worried about the string spacing, so I'm postponing that one for now...

    So, with the neck outta the way (for now, anyway) I moved on to the trem...

    Now, this one really pisses me off; I get most of my parts from Musiclily on Amazon... I'm an Amazon Prime fan and even though the 2 day shipping is kaput, it's usually only a few days... Musiclily sells all kinds of budget stuff, including Wilkinson hardware and pickups... So I went ahead and "splurged" (for me, lol) and got one of the Deluxe M Series trems that everyone seems to be lovin on my Musiclily Facebook group, BUT; When it got here, it looked great and I was really excited, UNTIL I tried it and realized that the damned screw holes didn't line up! AGAIN!!! Second one in a row, dammit... I TRIPLE checked what size I needed, and even better than that, I asked @Guitarmageddon, lol... I ordered the 52.5mm (2 1/16) size and that SHOULD be right, and like I said, it LOOKS like it SHOULD fit, but the damned screw holes DON'T line up... Luckily, since this was the second damned time in a row I got screwed, I knew what I could do... I had to take my original bridge, strip the saddles and the block off, and I replaced 'em with the nice new saddles and the full sized block... So, I don't get the shiny Wilkinson logo, but it's close enough for government work... And another thing; One of the springs for the tremelo was messed up too... It had an extra "loop" on the end, so it's useless too... Normally I don't complain when cheap parts are off, cause they're so cheap, but even though it's inexpensive, Wilkinson stuff is normally pretty good... But also, this is the second one in a row, so I might have to re-think where I get my bridges, anyway...

    So, I decided since I'm goin with P-90s and there's great "clean" potential, I would ACTUALLY use the trem on this one... Normally those suckers get locked down, cause I'm NOT a trem fan, but I figured having at least one guitar with a trem so I can do surfy type stuff wasn't a bad idea... And thank God everything works so far! Since I don't normally use 'em, it'll probably be a lil trial and error until I get it right, but that's fine by me... But thankfully the block fit and has a push in wiggle stick... So, wiggle stick it is, on this one...
    The messed up spring;
    IMG_20201017_145725970_HDR.jpg IMG_20201017_155126886.jpg IMG_20201017_155301170.jpg IMG_20201017_155145666.jpg IMG_20201017_155211403.jpg

    So there's where she stands currently... Up next, the pickguard...
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2020
  3. hrstrat57

    hrstrat57 Squier Talker

    65
    Aug 18, 2020
    Rhode Island
    Did nearly the same tweaks to a black label Korean Strat. You can check out those pics.

    really dig that headstock. I’d probably hunt down some Fender 70’s reissue F tuners for that neck but looks nice as is!
     
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  4. cool gouhl

    cool gouhl Squier-holic

    Age:
    47
    Dec 4, 2014
    Cincinnati
    Looks good, everyone should have a red strat.
     
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  5. SquierTap

    SquierTap Squier-holic

    Age:
    39
    Jul 14, 2018
    Nashville, Tn
    I've got an 89 Korean Squier II myself, and I LOVE that thing, ply body and all, lol... Had to replace the bridge cause the original had ALMOST crumbled out, lol... But I went with a standard Mexican trem on that one and it worked out great...
    And yeah, I'm pretty happy with the neck on this one too... It feels pretty good and I've never lucked out and had a guitar with nice flame on the neck before, lol...
     
    hrstrat57 likes this.
  6. SquierTap

    SquierTap Squier-holic

    Age:
    39
    Jul 14, 2018
    Nashville, Tn
    Hell, I had NO idea that I liked 'em! But when I got this one home, it REALLY started turnin my head... I REALLY like the contrast between it and the white pickguard... That's why I went with the white pearl pickguard... And the humbucker sized P-90s that I found were super inexpensive AND they were pearl! Not quite white pearl, it's more cream, but it looks good with it...
     
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  7. brians

    brians Squier-holic

    Age:
    50
    Oct 1, 2017
    South Africa
    Yes there something about a red Strat, gotta have one, where's the final pics?
     
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  8. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Dr. Squier

    Age:
    55
    Nov 29, 2017
    Newnan ,Ga.
  9. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Squier

    Age:
    44
    Sep 27, 2014
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    He's working on the project, he'll get there....right now I think the wiring is being worked on....
     
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  10. Fret Cheese

    Fret Cheese Squier-Meister

    357
    Sep 10, 2016
    Bordeaux
    Love the fiesta red
    Good to know the musiclily blocks work with the affinity bridge plates.
    Think I may have to look out for a similar model :)
     
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  11. brians

    brians Squier-holic

    Age:
    50
    Oct 1, 2017
    South Africa
    Well ok, we'll give him a day of or two, but then it's showtime !
     
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  12. SquierTap

    SquierTap Squier-holic

    Age:
    39
    Jul 14, 2018
    Nashville, Tn
    Not done yet... Still got a couple things left...
     
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  13. SquierTap

    SquierTap Squier-holic

    Age:
    39
    Jul 14, 2018
    Nashville, Tn
    Lol, you really do know EVERYTHING, bud, lol... That's exactly right... But let's just say I'm pretty damned close to bein done... We should know if that 4th position works by today or not, lol...
     
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  14. SquierTap

    SquierTap Squier-holic

    Age:
    39
    Jul 14, 2018
    Nashville, Tn
    Wait... Trust me... In about a week, maybe as early as Monday (tomorrow) they're gonna be releasing BRASS blocks that are less expensive than GFS... They said they should retail for around $28...
     
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  15. SquierTap

    SquierTap Squier-holic

    Age:
    39
    Jul 14, 2018
    Nashville, Tn
    I'll be back on it today... And it will be showtime, lol...
     
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  16. kniah

    kniah Squier-Meister

    306
    Jan 30, 2019
    Waltham, MA
    All this talk of great flame on the neck then no decent pics of claimed flame?

    Love the color on this Strat and looking forward to seeing it complete!
     
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  17. SquierTap

    SquierTap Squier-holic

    Age:
    39
    Jul 14, 2018
    Nashville, Tn
    My mistake! I thought I had adequately displayed it, lol... IMG_20201019_114310911.jpg IMG_20201019_114248856.jpg
     
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  18. SquierTap

    SquierTap Squier-holic

    Age:
    39
    Jul 14, 2018
    Nashville, Tn
    Okay, boys... Sorry for the delay, my internet is non-existent... Uploading ONE pic sometimes takes up to 5 minutes...

    First off, MAJOR thanks are in order for @Guitarmageddon, who helped me come up with a wiring solution and VERY patiently explained the wiring to me... And while I'm at it, A BIG "thank you" goes out to @scrub for sending me his set of Bullet Mustang pups... He wouldn't even let me pay the shipping because a fellow member had JUST blessed him with a tremelo pedal... He's a helluva nice guy and he definitely "gets" the spirit of how we do things around here... I owe both of you guys, and if either of you EVER need ANYTHING, I hope you ask me first...
    Also, evidently BOTH of those deluxe Wilkinson trems that I ordered from Musiclily were the WRONG SIZE... WE had it right, @Guitarmageddon (like there was EVER any doubt) they ARE SUPPOSED to be 52.5mm (2 1/16) but they SENT ME 2 3/16... I mentioned it on their Musiclily Facebook group, and a rep contacted me and asked for my order number, so hopefully they'll make it right somehow... I wasn't gonna do a return, seein how I just stripped 'em, and I KNEW that I ordered the RIGHT size, so...

    Well, on with the pickguard;

    I decided that a white pearl pickguard would look great with the red, and I lucked up and found some inexpensive humbucker sized P-90s that were pearl too... They're more of a cream than white, but hey, for $17, they fit the bill... So when they came in and I checked 'em, OF COURSE they didn't fit, lol... Like somethin would go right and smoothly with one of MY builds, lol... So I had to break out the dremel... The wife actually offered and said "Last time, when you used sandpaper, you left a bit of a gap..." So, I let her get in on the action... And of course SHE left the gap this time, lol... ;) But it ain't THAT bad... But then, even after gettin 'em to fit, it STILL gave me problems... The mounting screws would just NOT work... Damn near stripped 'em... Turns out the holes (in the pickguard) were WAY too small and the screws were threading into the pickguard, and they wouldn't thread into that AND the pickup mounts... I had to take a drill bit and ream 'em out, and they FINALLY fit... But that lil episode lasted about 2 hours... But once they actually DID fit, then it was time to figure out the actual wiring that I wanted to use...

    Like I said, I wanted to run a 4 way Tele switch so I could get both pups in series... And I usually like ONE master volume and ONE tone, but that would leave an extra hole, and I don't dig "dummy knobs"... So, @Guitarmageddon helped me come up with a cross between a vintage flying V wiring (2 independent volume controls and one tone) and the 4 way Tele switch... I learned quite a bit with this, and hopefully I won't have to depend on wiring diagrams anymore... We ran each pickup to a volume pot, THEN to the switch, and finally outta the switch into the tone... But since I've never seen anybody run P-90s on a 4 way switch, it was a complete mystery if the 4th position would work... It took a lil while to get it wired, and I learned yet another lesson; Be careful when wiring your output, cause it's a BXTCH to fit TWO cloth covered push back wires through the tiny routed hole into the output cavity...

    So, I finally got it all wired, and before stitchin her up, I plugged it up and gave it the ol "tap it with a screwdriver" trick...

    Any guesses what happened? Yup, all 3 original positions work, thank God... But position 4 is a big 'ol zero... Totally quiet... Well, dammit, we gave it a shot, anyway...

    So, after many hiccups and problems and havin to just walk off and take a break, I finally had her all together... I had some extra knobs just layin around, but I plan on ordering some silver knurled Telecaster style knobs... So it was finally time to string it up and enjoy the fruits of my labor... So literally THE LAST thing that COULD mess up, did... I put a set of vintage style split-shaft tuners on that were in a neck that I ordered from a forum member that had some issues with the finish... You know how split-shaft tuners work; You put the string down in the hole and wind it up... That's it... Well, when I went to put the LAST string (the high E) on, I went to tighten it and it popped out... Now my string had a lil "curly que" on the end, and WOULDN'T go down in there... So I cut a little bit off and tried again, and for the life of me, I CAN'T get that string to go down in there and HOLD... It just KEEPS poppin out the second any tension gets on it... I'm guessin it's a bad tuner, and it's just not deep enough... I guess I COULD just open another set of strings and TRY another high E string, but a pack of strings is 5 bucks and I just don't wanna waste any more money foolin with this damned thing... I guess I could order a set of replacement tuners, too... But not right now... I'm DONE messin with this one for a minute...

    I've got a couple more projects to do... I'm gonna take those AWESOME Bullet Mustang pups that @scrub sent me and put them in my green "Prima Verde" Strat... It'll only have TWO knobs; Volume and Tone, but through this mod I learned two tricks for when you have 2 knobs and 3 holes; One is to use vinyl wrap over your pickguard... It comes in a MILLION colors and patterns from carbon fiber to wood grain... Just wrap it and only punch out the two holes you wanna use... Or 2; Take a 3/8 diepunch and punch out a "plug" from an old pickguard, or even an unused trem plate (in the same color as your pickguard) and there ya go; "Plugs" for your unwanted hole...

    Well, that's the end of this disaster... On to the next! IMG_20201018_171557315_HDR.jpg IMG_20201018_171653113_HDR.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
    drewcp and scrub like this.
  19. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Squier

    Age:
    44
    Sep 27, 2014
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    It's probably just as well man, putting 2 P90s together like a humbucker would result in a crapload of buzz and hum/noise.......i don't think one is RWRP to the other....

    Just put in a regular 3 way and love it!
     
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  20. SquierTap

    SquierTap Squier-holic

    Age:
    39
    Jul 14, 2018
    Nashville, Tn
    I may eventually do that, bud... Maybe after I put a new set of tuners on it that actually work... It's currently sitting on my workbench with 5 strings on it, and it pisses me off to even look at it right now... I'd LOVE to know what it's like to be able to do ANYTHING without havin 10 things go wrong, but I guess that's just how things are for me... IF there's a way for it to mess up, it WILL... They'll send me the wrong part, or it'll get lost in the mail, or break the SECOND I touch it, or just NEVER work the way it's SUPPOSED to...