Squier contemporary hh telecaster..unfinished maple fretboard???

Discussion in 'Squier Telecasters' started by Powerstroke, May 29, 2021.

  1. Powerstroke

    Powerstroke Squier-Meister

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    I bought this a few weeks back. I noticed that the fretboard looks like raw wood. The neck maybe too.
    I suppose its possible someone stripped it. Its cyk20 crafted in china

    I just put strings on it and pulled the pickguard to flatten it back out again.
    Are these 3 play pickguards worse than a single ply for warping?

    Interesting pickups. Never seen this brand. Squier specific?

    So I took a few pictures. Nothing special or spectacular. But it really looks bare wood.

    20210529_030636.jpg 20210529_030644.jpg 20210529_030519.jpg
     

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  2. Powerstroke

    Powerstroke Squier-Meister

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  3. Lanaka

    Lanaka Squier-Meister

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    I have both a 2017 black metallic and a 2020 red metallic Contemporary Telecaster HH.

    The black metallic '17 Tele has a semi-gloss amber neck/fretboard, while my red metallic '20 Tele has a satin finished neck/board that initially fooled me into thinking its raw wood. The local luthier looked at it and said it's a really thin full satin coat. I plan to refin my '20 neck in a thin amber coat of satin with semi- or full-gloss on board. The '20 neck looks like its been bleached white. :(

    I'm thinking that Squier has downgraded to these bleached-looking satins on their Affinity and lower lines. I'm surprised that they included the Contemporary line in this downgrade. For 400$, I'd think they should've stayed amber with the necks.

    2017 black metallic front.
    IMG_20210316_085801_HDR.jpg

    2017 black metallic rear.
    IMG_20210316_085900_HDR.jpg

    2020 red metallic front.
    IMG_20210515_112616_HDR.jpg
    You can see the black metallic guitar's body in middle, between the red metallic one and the red sparkle FSR Bullet Stratocaster.

    2020 red metallic rear headstock.
    IMG_20210412_133931_HDR.jpg
    This pic should give ye an idea how the red metallic's maple looks like close up.

    EDIT: Typo corrections and added pics.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2021
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  4. Lanaka

    Lanaka Squier-Meister

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    The original reason for the creation of the multi-ply pickguards is because of the tendency of the vintage 1-plies for warping. So no, they're supposed to be less likely to warp. However, they still can warp if sufficiently stressed like being left in a hot car.

    I cannot say for sure, but they're supposed to be what Fender has designed for Squier. I found them, while ok sounding, to be rather weak. I've noticed that the 2020 pups sounded even weaker than my 2017 pups. Sunset downgrade perhaps?

    On my black one, I'm converting it to SSS setup with a Vintage Stack Tele neck, a Custom Shop Built "Hot Twang Banger Stack Strat" middle and a Hot Stack Tele bridge pups. The red one OTOH will stay HH with a '59 4-wire neck and JB bridge humbuckers.
     
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  5. Powerstroke

    Powerstroke Squier-Meister

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    I have jb in a hh squier telecaster. The copper colored one. Love em. Yes these pickups seem ok but not really strong.
     
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  6. Powerstroke

    Powerstroke Squier-Meister

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    Wow your serial is pretty close to my red one. Yeah bleached looking. And cheaper tuners w the screw. However they did make a nice neck as far as wood grain. Its not a ugly quarter sawn slab fretboard like my 2020 affinity i got rid of.
    I really like the amber color. My 2015 mim tele has the nicest neck andcthat almost glass like finish on the fretboard and headstock. Not amber but not bleached.
     
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  7. surf green

    surf green Squier-holic

    Jul 15, 2014
    RI
    You can make the "bleached" satin go away with a spray can of Mohawk amber lacquer. DSCN4875.JPG
     
  8. Lanaka

    Lanaka Squier-Meister

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    My 2020 red metallic #9485 in an interesting coincidence is also close to the serial number of my 2021 red sparkle Strat (shown in above pic), which is #6955. I suspect that not many guitars was made in 2020, while my Strat is an early bird in 2021.

    Yup, altho I've seen other necks (most notably on the Bullets and Affinities) that actually looks almost frosted white! Yuck. Makes me itch to reach for either some oil stains or the amber clears on these guitars...

    The tuners are ok, not the best but also not the worst. However, I still plan swapping them out for a set of Grovers or RATIOS lockers.

    Quartersawn fretboards? Never seen one, yet. I do have a 2007 Fender Japanese Standard Stratocaster that had quartersawn maple neck, the maple fretboard is a separate piece that is NOT quartersawn. Even tho its a gloss neck and board (I'm not a fan of glossy necks, sticky hands when sweaty), I must admit that it has to be one of my best Fender necks I have.

    The Contemporaries also has excellent necks, I especially love the 12" radius and the tall jumbo frets because most of my guitars in my herd are Ibanezs, Jacksons, and ESPs, all of which has 12"+ radii and extra jumbo frets. I'm STILL adjusting to the tiny frets typically found on Fender necks. :D

    My 1992 MIM Strat has a nice semi-satin feel to the neck, but cannot compare the fretboard as it has rosewood board, which I really prefer anyway.

    The title for the weirdest fretboard (in my collection, at least) goes to my 2000 Fender Starcaster S1. While the satin neck isnt anything special or bad, the maple fretboard has the look and texture of cardboard! Dunno whether it came from factory like that, BUT I'm not complaining as it has jumbo frets, so my fingers dont really touch the board at all. However it certes is a great conversation piece when people realize what the fretboard is. I probably will leave the fretboard as is because it's so unique!
     
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  9. Lanaka

    Lanaka Squier-Meister

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    Yup, while I don't use the same brand of amber lacquer as yours, I do have on order a set of Stew-Mac's semi-gloss and gloss amber neck finishes.
     
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  10. Powerstroke

    Powerstroke Squier-Meister

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    Drooling
     
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  11. Powerstroke

    Powerstroke Squier-Meister

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    Interesting my red contemporary has smallish frets. My orange affinity hh has jumbo w laurel fretboard. My 2014 butterscotch affinity telecaster is small frets too. As is my 2008 red sparkle chicken head affinity strat.
    My rg470mhz is my favorite guitar as far as necks go. I have a jackson dinky that is even nicer but doesnt sound as good. The slick sl54 is also pretty nice neck but mostly i play my teles.
     
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  12. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Dr. Squier

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    Squier having increased prices and cutting finishes on the neck at the same time . Pretty sad IMO.
    My new Bronco has a very thin finish on the neck.
    Ill be remedying that soon though with some amber satin poly . I dont want to wear thru the fretboard finish and have it look all nasty :( . Im gonna put on at least 2 ,maybe 3 coats.
     
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  13. Powerstroke

    Powerstroke Squier-Meister

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    Ive never done that how do you go about it?
     
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  14. BlueSquirrel

    BlueSquirrel Squier-holic Silver Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2018
    France
    I don't think it's a downgrade as the fretboard feels really nice to the touch (less "sticky" and/or "slippery" than gloss imho). Besides, I suppose you could still Kiwi the neck (add some light Kiwi shoepolish on it) to get a nicer appearance while keeping the matte feel. It's been done before by some members of the forum (look for the keyword "kiwi").

    Congrats! It's a gorgeous guitar! I love the hh configuration. ;)
     
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  15. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Dr. Squier

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    Im gonna change the strings, so that will be an opp to clean the whole neck.
    Probably just hit it with some fine paper to get it clean an slick. Check for any high frets. Polish frets.
    Cut my poly lightly with mineral spirits. Put on 2 or 3 coats . Let cure a few days ,then string it back up ;)

    The amber poly will give me just a little tint and keep crap from getting in my neck .

    I may hit the fretboard with gloss as a final coat on it .
     
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  16. Lanaka

    Lanaka Squier-Meister

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    Oh thats right, it's technically now a "tall and thin" frets on the 2020 Contemporary Telecaster HH. It's wider in my 2017 Contemporary. So thats another sunset downgrade for the final year. :(

    I agree, that's basically my plan for my 2020 Contemporary. Actually may also do same treatment on my two Bullets too (leaving the laurel fretboard alone, ofc).

    It's a downgrade insofar as appearance is concerned, but I do agree I like the matte surface treatment insofar as sticky sweaty hands are concerned.

    I haven't tried the Kiwi method. Is there any danger of staining of the hands (or anything else for that matter) after treatment?

    That's actually my plan for the necks too. Satin neck, gloss board. Altho, the only difference is that I planned on doing the fret dressing after the paint job, that way I can clean off any stray finish off the frets at same time and only need do the frets just once.
     
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  17. Powerstroke

    Powerstroke Squier-Meister

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    Yep they are getting cheaper and cheaper. To the point just buy a damn fender used
     
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  18. BlueSquirrel

    BlueSquirrel Squier-holic Silver Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2018
    France
    I haven't done the Kiwi method myself as I don't really mind the whitish appearance of the fretboard, but other members have done it (esp. on Bullet series). You should either do some research on the forum or start a new thread.
     
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  19. Powerstroke

    Powerstroke Squier-Meister

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    Use a heat gun...roasted maple.. just kidding.
    I think from what ive seen for 2020 and 2021 guitars squier is going down the toilet fast.
    I grabbed a few this year and all were absolutely garbage junk.
    Cracks in the paint at neck pocket. Sloppy neck pockets. Necks that felt like fuzzy wood. Fretwork a 2 year old could have done better. Major fret ends to slice cheese. Loose hardware. Paper light feeling. Just complete crap from $199 hss bullets to the contemporary and classic vibes. Even the mim player series seem a lil iffy.
    Hopefully this will change.
    I think these are signs of more crap to come
     
  20. Lanaka

    Lanaka Squier-Meister

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    On initial assessment, I'd be inclined to agree. My red 2020 Contemporary Telecaster HH had a few issues that needed addressing but minor enuff to be correctable during a good complete setup.

    My red sparkle 2021 FSR Bullet Strat with SN in the 6900 range, had a little more issues. While the finish was excellent, the neck was really frosted satin and the red sparkle was noticably brighter or lighter. The fret sprout was a tad bit worse. Nothing a good thourogh setup cannot fix.

    My red sparkle 2021 FSR Bullet Telecaster with SN in 40300 range, OTOH still had that satin neck but the fret sprout was significantly reduced to just needing the rounding of the raised part of the ends and fret polishing. Very noticably is the red is much more deeper red and the gloss has improved to the point of looking deep enough to dive in. The Tele is noticably heavier than the Strat, I suspect most of the Tele's extra weight is due to the slab body form factor compared to the comfort cutted Strat.

    The hardwares of both FSRs are well attached (no loose parts) altho the tuners are not perfectly aligned to each other (about half of the tuner knobs are not perpendicular to the long axis of the guitar) on the earlier Strat, while the later Tele had only a couple tuners that are faintly crooked. The biggest issue is the slightly rotated bridge on the Strat, the entire assembly is rotated about 2-3° clockwise. It's still within the adjustment range of the saddles to intonate the strings but the uneven gap between the top of the bridge and bottom edge of the pickguard is bothering my OCD.

    Now I will admit that these issues are probably well within the range of acceptability for a 200$ instruments so it's not a hard pass. That's including the necks looking bleached white. HOWEVER, for the 400$ Contemporary Telecaster HH, that appearance is less acceptable.

    However, I had to accept it due to fact at time of purchase, the C.T. HH has already been discontinued and supply of the "new" guitars has dwindled to point that when I bought mine, it was literally the LAST one at the last source that had one listed as available on the net. There were some red ones listed on eBay but was already listed at extortionate prices. (800$ average for a red one, really? REALLY?) Others were cheaper but had ridiculous shipping charges from out of country, like 200$+ from Japan, for example.

    Nvm, I'll just take my chances with this one from Twin Town. Turns out twas not too bad, aside from the white satin neck, it just needed adjustments expected during a good setup. Including a proper fret polishing job.

    The poplar bodied Contemporary Tele HH has a nice substantial feel to its weight. However as expected of the basswood bodied FSR Bullets, they're substantially lighter but doesn't exhibit any head diving tendencies. I think the laurel wood for the fretboard may be also lighter weight-wise compared to rosewood. If true that helps to balance the head to body.

    Later on I think I will rig up my balance scale again which simply consists of a roller bar that has been polished mirror smooth and a special fixed length silk guitar strap that minimizes friction on the bar. When a guitar is hung on the bar with this strap, it will then slide to it's natural balancing point.

    For example an SG typically will end up with head pointing straight down, while a Rhoads V or a Voyager type typically go the full opposite direction and point straight up. A good alder Strat will typically hang somewhere in middle with a perhaps slight body heavy tendency, a typical ash body tend to be slightly head heavy. Twill be interesting to measure a pine bodied telecaster.

    Perhaps another reason to get the current Classic Vibe 50s Tele? Its supposed to be pine bodied ...according to Sweetwater, I'll check directly with Fender/Squier later.

    Hopefully these issues ye mentioned are due to shortages in quality workers and/or supplies and will soon rectify itself as time passes post-COVID. I mean even China has made great improvements in the quality of manufacture in SOME of their guitar factories in recent years, would be sad to see those gains go down the drain.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2021