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A Noobs First Project - Squier Strat

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ok, so i bought this guitar from a guy on the street in the greasiest part of town for 50 dollars. it works, which is a bonus, but as you can see its ugly as hell and needs some work. this guitar, dubbed "gus's abomination" (because its an abomination, and i bought it in front of gus's pub) is now my first all out guitar project. i have some questions, some comments, some ideas, and seeing as your all very skilled craftsmen (from what i see on this forum) i thought your feedback would be of GREAT use.

ill start off with the finish, because thats where im starting my project. i bought this thing partially stripped of its finish, and obviously that just wont do. thats not black trim, thats missed paint. this picture is a few days old, and already i have most of the black crap sanded off with 40 grit. i just need to get into the cutaways by the neck... but i'm concerned about damaging the finish of the neck and fretboard cause their in good condition. heres where my first questions comes in!

Q I: if i remove the neck, is it overly insane to put back on?

Q II: what should i look out for if i go ahead and remove the neck for this bodywork?

so if its not supposed to be insane to take apart the neck, that leaves my door open to go on with my project with more ease. i plan on totally revamping the electronics, pickguard, and input jack. so basically this lets me strip off gus to make the body real easy to paint.... that is if painting is easy... question!

Q III: i'm assuming that painting a guitar is like painting a lot of other things, primer paint and clear coat, but id hate to assume and run into problems. how should i go about painting it?

Q IV: 40 grit sanding is obviously not good enough, how high should i give it a sanding to before i start painting? 120, 200?

Q V: oil based, latex, water based, other? or can i just take some spray paint and save the whole process... after all, i want it to be a little rough.

i guess to answer question three it might help to know what im expecting out of a finish. i expect this whole thing will turn out "rough around the edges" so i'd like to give it a fairly forgiving paintjob and colour. in my head, olive drab green with a no gloss finish might do the trick well. correct me if im wrong please. im not too concerned at keeping this puppy authentic, olive drab isnt a colour associated with squier but i think its a sweet colour.

ok, so moving along. before i paint this abomination im going to remove the bridge. my ibanez never gave me hell when i got curious and removed its bridge, but this isnt an ibanez...

Q VI: anything in particular i should watch out for on this strat when removing the bridge?

i dont imagine ill be too offended at the bridge, but the tuning knobs on the other end scare me, so i want to replace them. theres a nice grinding that i cant rightly figure out or wish to deal with. so a couple questions on selecting and replacing that bit of hardware...

Q VII: what are some features behind a high quality, functional tuning knob?

Q VIII: are there any "brands" or "types" i should look at in particular?

i figure the installation should be easy enough to figure out... i only see two screws in the back that would need to come out.

Q IX: if my new knobs have differantly placed screw holes, is it acceptable to just carefully drill out new guide holes and screw them in place?

ok, so to me, this project is split into two parts. the first being the refinishing and replacement of tuning knobs, and the second being the replacement of the pick guard and every piece of electronics within gus's abomination. the pick guard is simple... obviously... but im totally in the dark when it comes to the electronics.

Q X: is it possible to have a strat set up like; pickups, p-up switch, volume, high tone, low tone, output jack? if so, then my next questions arent useless.

Q XI: pickups... im going for a warm, rich, bright tone with this one. something pop or funky... what should i be looking at? pickup type, model, brand... like... consider me an idiot because thats what i am with this one!

ok, so i imagine the right switch for the job is very important. in my head it should go like this, three pickups, five options. neck only, neck and mid, all, mid and bridge, bridge only. sound normal?

Q XII: so what should i do for a switch? any brands or type that stick out like a sore thumb?

Q XIII: this is going to take some fancy wiring isnt it? i dont want to go into specifics until im ready to do it if it IS in fact just a lot of fancy wiring.

Q XIV: is there blueprints for this type of setup?

ok, so now a few questions on the volume and tone pots.

Q XV: whats a good volume pot?

Q XVI: do high and low tone pots even exist for guitars? if so, whats a good kind of tone pot for my warm rich bright funky pop sound im trying to achieve?

output jack

Q XVII: whats a solid quality output jack? im friggin tired of my jacks being broken, so im looking for something kinda rugged, as well as good for my tone.

thats all the basic electronics hardware right? im more interested in knowing what to buy rather than how to put them together.

if your kind enough to read my questions and attempt to answer even one of them, thanks! also, just imagine that theres an unlimited budget for everything as well as a fearlessness to cut! like i said, this is my first real project guitar and i dont think it will be a quick or cheap one. i want to put in the quality. i hope that at the end of this road ill end up with a highly modified strat that sounds like it should cost thousands of dollars.

im more concerned about the first portion of this project at the moment. i hope i can paint it and get those new knobs on without a hitch.. because then its all under the pickguard work which i dont think will be hard if i just pay attention. and the pick work could also be easily done by the local music shop if i find it way too complicated.

once again, any input is greatly appreciated. all wisdom i can gain before i dive in too far could be the differance between sweet and sucky... and sucky is going to cost a lot of cash.

Thank You

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Wow man, lotsa questions, I'll work on answering as many as I can,

I have a similar project going.


Mine's an Ion not a squire though.

The Neck shouldn't give you any problems, Mine has come on and off about three times now, when you put it back make sure it goes in tight but don't overtighten and hurt the wood. (messy fix)

Painting is out of my league, I'm sure a few guys here would help you better with that, I myself have always liked tung-oil guitars so I haven't really pursued paint.....

Not too much can go wrong with the bridge, just make sure the strings are off (duh) and you can use a pair of needle nose plyers for taking the springs off the claw in the cavity. after that its just unscrewing a few things and making sure you don't loose the parts.

Gotoh makes some good tuners, Grover also makes good ones....

If you need a source for prices on parts www.stew-mac.com is a good one, they are a little high on some things, but everything they carry is real good quality.

Yup Just make sure the knobs are lined up good and you mark the holes right, you don't want them to come out all crooked.

Yes strat layout is possible, you'll need a new pickguard and electronics though.

Pickups..... Fender noiseless mabye?

Yes there are blueprints for this stuff around, I don't have them but someone here should, wiring isn't terribly difficult, its easier than calculus anyway... (he he he) Basically follow the blueprints, its kinda like connect the dots... only with wire, and a hot sodering iron....

Good switches you can get from stewmac, good pots too, I've good things about switchcraft switches too. Juts look around on stew-mac and you'll get an idea of what companies make good parts and what they cost

The project I have right this second is what I'm calling the Alien-1 I'm planning on building an alien-2 later, With a body blank and pre-made neck, I priced out a maple neck and alder body, floyd rose, humbuckers, all gold hardware. Your pretty basic "super-strat" style guitar.

With all new EVERYTHING it came to around $700 or so, I'm sure if I shop around I can get everything mabye $100 off though. all the wood going into the guitar costs mabe $250, the single most expensive part is the Floyd Rose.

Sorry I can't help ya with paint! Hope I answered all your questions!

Good Luck man!

Edited by Firefox2551
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I may be a bit daft... but it has an interesting look right now. Aside from the answers previously given, dive in, take it apart and learn. Not all at once though, take the neck off, & put it back on. Open the cavities, learn the wiring... then start looking at the information on the site and relate it to what you are doing. Best way to learn imho.

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wow, thanks again! my biggest concern was the neck for sure, and hearing that its not an insane thing to rip out is good to hear. i like this info so far, it definately pumps me up to get this thing done! as for its current look.. yea i think its pretty sweet too, but im interested in making a git thats worthy of the trophy "most improved" =D

hey links are good to have too. past questions are good to learn from... and i apologize if ive asked questions that are frequently asked.

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For paint, check out www.reranch.com, as well as the message board there. They are focused on projects as these, and there are directions on the site for different finishing options, along with top quality paint in aerosol cans.

Also, for pickups, pickguards, electronics, and hardware, check out www.guitarfetish.com, as well as their ebay store. (Sellers name is "guitarfetish _parts")

Edited by custom22
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Just be careful while you're taking everything apart and don't get into such a rush that you lose parts. Keep the neck plate and screws with the neck when you remove it and place it aside. Keep the pickguard screws with the pickguard and the trem springs and screws with the bridge, stuff like that.

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right on! well, ill try to get some digi pics as i go along to show whats goin down with this beast. i hope this info points me in the right direction. i figure ill ask a lot of questions while purchasing, but its good to have a general direction to follow just in case i feel like the dealers in the city are ripping me off (which HAS happened before)

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