Bullet tele upgrade questions, nut, control plate, tex mex?

Discussion in 'Squier Telecasters' started by Garven, Oct 21, 2020.

  1. Garven

    Garven Squier Talker

    Age:
    60
    12
    Jan 28, 2019
    Montreal, Canada
    Hi, I recently picked up a new black Bullet Telecaster. I'm really pleased with the guitar but I'm thinking of upgrading it a bit. I disliked the white pickguard so I picked up a cheap Musiclily red tortoise pickguard on Amazon. It fits perfectly looks tremendous. I have three questions about other planned upgrades.

    The nut looks really cheap and I had a good experience installing a TusqXL nut on an old Washburn Hawk electric I've had for 40 years so I was thinking of adding one to the Tele. The nut on it looks to be glued in there pretty solid. Has anyone removed their bullet nut? Was it difficult to get out of there (from what I've read/seen online I know it has to come out sideways)?

    I'm thinking of upgrading the pots and switch. My control plate is 32mm wide with 150mm center to center mounting holes. All I can seem to find from the various online guitar parts vendors are control plates that are either 34mm wide with 150 center to center mounting holes or 32mm wide with 148mm mounting holes. I suppose I could drill out the holes in my existing control plate to fit in larger better pots but I'd rather get a new control plate with the larger holes. Anyone know of a vendor that sells 32mm/150mm hole control plates?

    I don't mind the sound of the stock pickups but I'm thinking a nice upgrade might be a pair of Tex Mex pickups. Anyone tried them in a bullet? If so, how were they? Any other suggestions at that price point or lower?

    Thanks.
     
    dbrian66 likes this.
  2. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Squier-holic

    Sep 2, 2015
    NYC
    I've done it. Mine had been superglued in at the factory and was extremely difficult to remove, and the scars from that procedure will be visible forever. :oops:

    The holes in my Bullet's control plate are large enough to accommodate pots with 3/8" bushings, but I like the little Alphas that are in there. Measure the holes in yours; they're probably the same size.
     
  3. DougMen

    DougMen Squier-holic

    Age:
    66
    Jun 8, 2017
    Honolulu, HI
    Since I love the Yosemite pickups in my Performer Strat so much I put a set of the Tele ones in my LPB Bullet, and it sounds great. They cost about the same as the Tex Mex set.
     
    dbrian66 likes this.
  4. TeleSi

    TeleSi Squier-Meister

    Age:
    34
    145
    Aug 12, 2020
    Florida
    I second the comment about the nut being a pain - I had to take a hacksaw to it and CAREFULLY saw lengthways through the middle of the old nut. New Tusq XL went in like a charm though
     
    DADGAD and dbrian66 like this.
  5. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Dr. Squier

    Age:
    55
    Nov 29, 2017
    Newnan ,Ga.
    Tex Mex is a good choice !

    I'd just upgrade the pickups for now and see how I liked that before delving any deeper ;)
     
    dbrian66 likes this.
  6. Shaytan

    Shaytan Squier-Nut

    Age:
    23
    983
    Apr 10, 2018
    Lisbon, Portugal
    My usual safety procedure is to score the edges of the nut with a razorblade to prevent any chipping, heat up the area using an hairdryer acting like an heat gun just to soften the glue (don't go crazy, 5-10 seconds on the maximum setting in more than enough) and, for Fender-style nuts, get a good grip using pliers and pushing right up.

    This isn't fool-proof and doesn't guarantee a clean removal, it really depends on how it was glued from the factory. Your approach is usually what luthiers do to minimise the risk of fooking a costumers' guitar. You need a steady hand to do it properly or else cut the fretboard as well.
     
    fattboyzz likes this.
  7. TeleSi

    TeleSi Squier-Meister

    Age:
    34
    145
    Aug 12, 2020
    Florida
    I don’t trust myself with a heat gun!!

    a generous helping of masking tape, probably as many as 10 layers, on either side of the nut, and as you say, a very steady hand, with a fine blade hacksaw, and Robert’s your father’s brother!
     
    Shaytan likes this.
  8. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Squier

    Age:
    44
    Sep 27, 2014
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    The nut is made of PPS -
    Polyphenylene sulfide

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyphenylene_sulfide

    It is EXTREMELY hard...it does not need replacing.....I would not change pots either unless they don't work right.....

    I really want to know why everyone seems to want to replace their nut and then just drop one in without getting the nut slots to the right precise depth and width for intonation and tuning stability......it's never necessary unless the nut is broken.....
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
  9. fleezinator

    fleezinator Squier Talker

    Age:
    44
    16
    Jun 22, 2020
    Texas
    I replaced my Squier Affinity Strat's nut with a Tusq XL after reading up on tuning issues and repeated string breakage (I suspect it was binding on the stock string trees & possibly the nut). In retrospect, I think it had to do more with the fact that the trem only had 2 instead of 3 strings. Regardless, the nut & string trees were replaced and a 3rd spring was added and it now holds tune like a champ.

    [​IMG]
    It was my first time replacing a nut and I used the smallest flat head I could find, the ones used for eye glass repair. I exacto knifed around the edges of the nut and taped up. I wedged the screwdriver at the bottom of the nut and made gentle taps to get it worked in between. I alternated sides every so often and aimed to keep the flat head parallel with the fretboard so as not to gouge the wood with any blunt strokes.

    [​IMG]
    I'm not sure if the process was any harder or easier than what others have experienced, but I made it a point to just go slow. The string spacing is wider with the Tusq XL, but I got used to it pretty quick.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Sanded down and polished.
    [​IMG]
    Hope that helps!
     
    Viking likes this.
  10. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Squier-holic

    Sep 2, 2015
    NYC
    You're right. I didn't know what it was made of, but its hardness was impressive. My welding torch cleaners wouldn't work on it and I had a spare TUSQ XL handy, so I said, "Lemme just pop this out and replace it," and the nightmare began.

    If I'd had proper nut files, I'd have used them and left it in.
     
    Guitarmageddon likes this.
  11. archetype

    archetype Squier-holic

    The nuts on my two 2018 Bullet Strats were horrible when I tried to file the slots for larger gauge strings. I used nut files and they dragged in the slots like I was filing hard cheese or something. They certainly felt soft when performing that operation: nothing like filing bone.
     
  12. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Squier

    Age:
    44
    Sep 27, 2014
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    As of 2019, they have upgraded the nuts.....it seems like higher end Squier now gets real bone, and the lower end gets the PPS - gone is the soft gummy plastic....
     
    Rick-T137 likes this.
  13. Garven

    Garven Squier Talker

    Age:
    60
    12
    Jan 28, 2019
    Montreal, Canada
    Thanks to everyone for the replies. I think I may hold off on the nut replacement as the guitar plays fine. I do want to try another set of pickups. The ones that came in it sound ok but not spectacular. I also have a 2018 Classic Vibe 50's Strat and the pickups that came in it are definitely keepers but my Bullet Tele pickups don't seem to have as much of the classic tele sound as I'd like.

    As for the electronics, the pots are ok but the switch seems a bit cheap and clicky, not nearly as solid a feel as the one on my Classic Vibe Strat.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2020
    LutherBurger likes this.
  14. DADGAD

    DADGAD Squier-Meister

    Age:
    67
    386
    Nov 1, 2017
    California
    I picked up a new Bullet Tele to replace the one that got stolen. Unboxing it at home, I discovered problems with the nut. The gap between the E strings and the edge of the fretboard were off and there was a gap under the nut on the low E side.

    Tried to pop the nut off by drifting it with a punch and it wouldn budge. It is superglued in place. Reading up, acetone is supposed to losen superglue. Also, Goof Off makes a superglue solvent. I decided not to mess with it and returned the guitar. A replacement is on the way to me.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Squier

    Age:
    44
    Sep 27, 2014
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    I can't spot a single issue with it? The nut spacing looks right to me....what am I missing? Even my $2000 Fender Clapton Strat made in USA had a gap under the nut on the side....
     
    drewcp and DougMen like this.
  16. Nabilhuakbar

    Nabilhuakbar Squier Talker

    Age:
    32
    39
    Oct 20, 2020
    Utah

    I just put some Tex mex pups in my affinity. So glad I did. The stock pups aren't bad but those Tex Mex pups are a huuuuuuge step up. The bridge pickup will take a bit of manhandling to get through the bridge plate, but it WILL fit.
     
    LutherBurger likes this.
  17. archetype

    archetype Squier-holic

    Excellent! My 2018s were like gray Gummi candies.
     
  18. Garven

    Garven Squier Talker

    Age:
    60
    12
    Jan 28, 2019
    Montreal, Canada
    Thanks. I ended up ordering a set of Keystones from Wilde pickups. Now I'm hoping the bridge pickup fits!
     
    Nabilhuakbar likes this.