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Squire Telecaster.

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Hey all. Noob is back with more questions! :D. So you will have to bear with me here! :D.

i have some pretty terrible guitars if im honest. due to me constantly buying the wrong thing, and not knowing what im doing. i thought it where about time i got something that wasnt the worst guitar ever made in history, but not something that i would be scared to modify. after chatting on msn with someone guitar oriented on msn, he told me that some squires can be just as good as fenders. this has got me thinking. i read up on some reviews on the tinternet and they seem to be pretty mixed. being along the lines of some are ok, some arent and the paint finish can be a bit dodgy.

being that i would probably want to paint this a different colour anyway, and change pretty much everything do you think it would be safe to get a second hand one? or is it a no go zone.

its this thread thats given me a LOT of inspiration



Edited by Cult Classic
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It all depends on the guitar. There can be horrible Fenders and excellent Squires. Just play it before you buy it. I've borrowed a Squire strat from one of my friends and it was pretty nice. If you can pick one up at a pawn shop for cheap, go ahead. You can always do your own setup and fix minor problems when you paint it.

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It also depends which Squier you are getting. The affinity series is usually a plywood body beginners guitar with a horrible setup and and fret work. The better Squiers can be jsut as good as a Fender though. But at the same time there are just as many used guitars that are better quality and usually go quite a good price, that you can mod as you feel, but start with a better base.

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i like some of the classic vibe squiers i have tried... 'as good as a fender' is misleading though

they are built cheaper with lower quality woods and lower quality hardware/pickups.

some are nice and perfect for modding, once upgraded they can certainly compete with the average stock fender

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i like some of the classic vibe squiers i have tried... 'as good as a fender' is misleading though

they are built cheaper with lower quality woods and lower quality hardware/pickups.

some are nice and perfect for modding, once upgraded they can certainly compete with the average stock fender

I should have clarified a little better. I would put a higher end model Squier up against a MIM Fender any day, and it would be a close competition. They won't compare to any of the higher end model Fender's.

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Probably the best thing you can do to get past the learning curve is 1) read everything you can get your hands on, and 2) get out there and do it. Get some 2" thick construction-grade pine from Lowes or Home Depot and make some bodies. You'll drop $20-$30 if you really go hog-wild, but the knowledge and experience you'll get will be worth 100 times that amount.

As for tools, I can't help you except to say that there are cheaper alternatives to big power tools. A jack plane instead of a planer, add a combo square to check the edges instead of a jointer, jigsaw instead of bandsaw, circular saw instead of table saw, hammer & chisel & rasps instead of a router. Now, I don't actually suggest you use some of these alternatives, I'm just pointing out that there are cheaper ways to go. Keep in mind also that power tools didn't exist until we had electricity everywhere - maybe 90 years ago. Before that, it was all by hand.

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My first real guitar(in 1988) was a plywood body bolt on Kamen Applause strat I bought from a pawn shop for the (ripoff) price of $200...it was puke green,had a useless "trem",and would not stay in tune through a complete song...

Yet I had it for 5 years as my main guitar(still have it in pieces in the closet)and I loved that guitar...replaced the pickup at the bridge with a Tone Zone first chance I got and used it in a band and everything...

Before that I pieced together a mismatched cracked body with a cheap knockoff strat neck of some type with no electronics...only strings...I played it for hours at a time...every day

My point is if you REALLY want to learn to play to will do it on whatever you can find without worrying about what it looks like...the great guitars come later...the playing comes first.

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Mine says squier, not squire :D

I am a big fan of squiers...cause I can't justify a real "fender"...hehehe

Honestly, there are good ones and bad ones...and the branding isn't always a good judge at all...always best to actually play a few and buy "the one" than the lazy internet way, and you can often get a good deal...

Or...take a good hard look at some second hand ones that turn up if you are going to "work" them like I do...

The Blueteleful telecaster is a case in point...i am impressed that it inspires. I have a '69 LP tht stays under the bed since I have been playing these things...


However, if you read the thread, you will see that there is so much high end gear on that tele of mine, you could buy a real one! The mint real fender wide range pickup in the bridge there is worth more than the rest of the guitar perhaps on it's own (of course I didn't pay that, it came my way).

The basic guitar though was a 25th anniversary model squier that I got second hand. It has been repainted but besides the neck and the body, everything else was replaced. The body appears to be 2 piece ash, so very much like the real thing. However, even the multi piece solid wood and some of the plywood ones aren't that bad.

But that is the beauty of the things...if you get a decent one to build from. The pickups can be replaced, the bridge the nut the tuners...and bit by bit if you like.

The most impressive sound on the guitar is not the mojo $800 wide range bridge pickup but the SCn neck pickup...totally noiseless directly off a brand new deluxe fender via stratosphere on auction for $50 bucks...bargain. The bridge pickup is good, but not at the prices people want them for.

The tremolo isn't cheap for sure, the tuners were about $100, but top of the range fenders. If you look a tthe headstock...


You can see the LSR nut is actually a little wider than the squier neck...just worked out...so I get the real fender string spread on the skinnier squier spec. Not all parts though will retro fit.

But I suppose the point is...that tele of mine would easily have worked out around a grand by the time it was all done. It does play better than a lot of real fenders for sure, and is a complete one of a kind.

In fact, just an hour ago, I played it for a couple of non guitar players who have never heard me play...and they were blown away by the look and the sound...and of course the sustainer as a bonus. That is kind of my test for these things...plus they wouldn't know a fender from a squier, just what it looks and sounds like.

The big advantage to squier is that it is "almost a fender"...that is the shape and the headstock and stuff are legit and from any distance you can't tell...hehehe

My other squier is my strat...again, not your cheap ordinary one though...


Not the best pic and undergoing some massive modifications. I think these were called contemporary strats...uniquely squier. The body is mahogany and the headstock (larger 70's style) is tinted to match. No scratchplate and top loaded HSS pickups, duncan designed HB in the bridge...good two point tremolo. The body is thinner than the real fender but quite sleek and lighter.

Ok...but the body is multiple strips, which you wouldn't notice as it's stained, but this particular has one bit that is darker than the rest just off centre...result, bought new in a shop at half price!!! That's $300 vs $600 ...so there are bargains out there. The neck is great, frets and stuff...but again, high end squier.

But before I went squier crazy...I went even cheaper...many hear will know the old "sustainer strat" (now retired as I wore it out!)...


I bought this in very poor condition (no bridge!) for $50 bucks from a pawn shop. Not the best guitar at all...however, with a lot of work and very little money, this become the test bed for several years for a lot of amazing stuff...including the sustainer.

The body has ply top and back but hardwood strip board inside...was camouflaged under a sunburst thing. The entire guitar is hollow under the scratch plate (all the better to play with the electronics) and is so practically semi-acoustic! Also, the "sound hole" goes right through the guitar...making the whole thing very light. When the sustainer went in, I added a back cavity for those extra knobs...and started to play with piezos in it.

The bridge looks ok, but it was a pretty cheap replacement part (die cast) and I did change the tuners to cheap sealed ones over the old open things. But, I did a lot of free things to make it play a lot better despite the poor quality. For instance, I "staggered the tuners" with plumbing copper washers and loosened up the string trees so they kind of tilt...even with the old plastic nut, it stayed in tune really well. There were a whole bunch of little experiments that this guitar suffered to learn whatever I know.

The squiers though are a little better...hahaha

A note on tele's though...some people really don't get on with them...I have always found them a challenge, my brother can't seem to play them at all! It is odd, they are such a basic guitar, but a traditional tele can be a challenge for many...but the rewards can be great. They can really show up your faults though, strats a little less so, LP's seem to me to be even easier...though I have weened myself off them!

My current project is a cheapo LP that you may also find ispiring...but on the back burner for a bit...so stand by (no sustainer though...but some other features of interest...plus a khaler!)

Anyway...it is not the brand...especially with cheap guitars...but getting a good one, or at least one that has potential. This is almost impossible to tell unless you meat the thing in person.

Also, be aware that parts can cost a bit once they all add up...but you can do it a bit at a time. The pickups are never quite as good...but if you are patient, you never know what you might be able to find to replace into them.

If keen to mod, but want something that looks the real deal, squiers can be great. There are other great cheap guitars as well, but none say fender quite like a squier these days. The guitar I got to replace the sustainer strat for moding cost me $130 new from a store...I spun the guy a yarn about how I was going to tear it apart and he found a strat from a "pack" (generally the cheapest of quality) but it is not at all bad...decent neck and frets, solid (if dodgy, possibly basswood) body. However, it has quite an airy sound to it. I immediately took out all the electronics and just transplant in my electronics projects into the bathtub route...but very playable and that's the main thing.


For want to be builders, I really encourage people to start out with a guitar that's half decent that actually plays. Better yet, do what you can with what it already has...most guitars suffer from bad set up...so now is the time to tweak what you can to get intonation and action and really learn how a guitar ticks and what works for you before you try and build on from scratch. Then, you can practice finishing...muck around with the electronics perhaps...replacement pickups can make a big difference. But the thing that will make you sound better, is a guitar that "works" and works for you. This is not about pickups and mojo stuff...this is about set up as much as anything...the best hardware will sound crap if it won't play in tune!

Anyway...a typically long post...but I got to say, squiers...love em (also less likely to be stolen...I dare not take the gibson out anymore, let alone tell people I have one...if it leaves the house it is no longer insured and, well...it weighs a ton! Also, although it was modded back in the late seventies a bit...I regret some of those mods, and I wouldn't dare do anything to it now! A squier...well I have no problem doing anything to the things really...until I get it right, then they become kind of special.

And, thanks again for the praise for the blueteleful telecaster...it isn't everyone's cup of tea, and not everyone would get along with my set up (reasonably high action and heavier strings)...but I feel right at home on it now and there's no other guitar like it, nor sounds like it...and much as you and many would like to sound like LZ or who ever, eventually you will treasure the things that sound like you...at the moment the modded squiers are my sound!


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im fine with what i have. im just chasing tone at this very moment in time and are dabbling in building another guitar.

If the above post is not enough...I am completely with wes on this..."it" is really in the fingers...

My experience was a little different...my first guitar was ok...a law suit ibanez SG with bigsby...

However, being the kind of person I am, I left school, got a factory job and saved all my money and get serious. I had a theory...hmmm. I figured, I wanted no excuses from the equipment...so I got a second hand gibson Les Paul black beauty. Soon after I had it refretted with jumbos and all kinds of fashionable mods at the time...all professionally done and top notch work.

I also never played another guitar, I didn't own one, I didn't want one...and I played about 8 hours a day for a while...eventually in bands, we might do 4 hours in a sweaty pub and rehearsals...changed the strings at least once a week. I played that guitar in rock, jazz...even a duo with a female singer...hehehe

The idea was that it was sooo familiar to me after 20 years. However, things change...maybe I got strat envy...and I got a very cheap strat, and never looked back. By then I only played about the house...but it was so much better to have a decent light guitar, a trem and the variety of sounds...and the ability to mod it and not always be looking over my shoulder.

The real LP did not make me a better player...my theory was wrong. Like Wes...the real secret was putting in the hours and using the ears...tweaking and modding can help a bit...once you know what it is you want and need...not what others think you do or the latest trend (p-90's at the moment isn't it...hehehe)

There were all kinds of sounds in the LP...don't get me wrong...I am very fond of it even if I don't play it these days. However, EVH showed clearly that a bitser guitar can sound great in the right hands and become a classic in itself.

Also, it is worth noting that the classic sounds, like LZ were mostly created before there were hot replacement pickup options and such. Some of the recorded sounds were played on remarkably cheap instruments...danelectros for instance made of hardboard. Again, it is not the guitar so much as the player and how it is played...that takes time.

Where Wes and my approach are perhaps similar...we worked these guitars into functional instruments...I could have just as easily got by with a cheaper guitar well set up as the LP...it just took me 20 years to realize it. I suppose I could go for better guitars...but I would have less of them (possibly a good thing)...or I could get into building them from scratch...but this is kind of cheaper and easier and more immediate and just as valid in it's own way. Certainly... a great step up to building your own thing if that's what you want to do. Even with a squier, being a fender...the whole thing screws apart...so if you wanted to branch out and make your own body sometime...you have the neck and all the parts and how they fit together before you start...and if you get tired of it or it fails...well, you can alway put it back together again!

Ok...now it really is time for bed!


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My first real guitar(in 1988) was a plywood body bolt on Kamen Applause strat I bought from a pawn shop for the (ripoff) price of $200...

You ain't kiddin' about rip-off price. I started playing in '87 and hung out in my local shop a lot. IIRC, their Applause listed new for UNDER $200. For that money, you could have bought a new Peavy.

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psw dude, you have completely changed my outlook. i actually cant thank you enough. i might as well keep all my guitars, and simply modify them. its so much simpler. i may just get myself a squier tele (look i spelled it right!) be it a good one, that someone reccomends. perhaps get it off one of the for sale threads on here if theres one going.

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Thanks...the blow to the head must have done some good!

I actually think Leo spelled squire wrong...but never mind!

I have replied to your PM and I think you are right, the LP copy you have is a good place to start. First thing is to work up the intonation and playability of the thing. Get the guitar strings that are going to suit your style, probably similar to mine 10-46 and a slightly higher action (more forgiving on slightly uneven frets) and all very old school...which is what you are kind of after anyway.

They do skimp on wood quality and stuff...but the big savings most make are with the finishing and set up...if they do anything at all to them...slap a bridge on them and let them go...some even are shipped with the truss rod rattling about in there! Fortunately, a lot of this can be solved with a bit/lot of time on your part for little or even no money or specialized tools!

Next is maybe to think about replacement pickups and such. However, much as I like to fiddle around with electronics and such...and these things do have their quirks and may not ever be "as good as X"...they can be made perfectly adequate for you.

The rest is really the challenge of learning to play around the quirks and deficiencies and use them to your advantage...just like kung fu!~ You will likely become a better and more unique player...you may even grow to prefer a guitar with quirks and such. Being able to understand what make a guitar good for you, spotting the potential and knowing how to fix it will save you a lot of money also. A lot of people ditch perfectly reasonable guitars, or guitars with potential, because they never spent the time to really get the most from them!

Anyway...good luck...I am sure there are more long posts still in me...I am glad some are read and appear to make sense...


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A lot of people ditch perfectly reasonable guitars, or guitars with potential, because they never spent the time to really get the most from them!

I used to buy new speakers from guys like that ALL DAY LONG. Guys who would buy-n-try speakers and decide in the first 5 minutes whether they liked it or not, then ditch them for 2/3 value, a lot of them never understanding that you have to break a speaker in for awhile to even hear what it -really- is going to wind up sounding like.

I saved a ton of cash and got to try out many kinds of different speakers that way and really figure out what kind of speaker sounded good in what situation and which ones I really preferred and why...because so many guys would just sell them after a 5 minute tryout...loved it.

There is a lot to be said for time and patience (and being able to hold and control your disposable income until it's truly time to STRIKE!... :D

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