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Squier Super-Sonic re-work
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tangelolemon



Joined: 26 Jan 2009
Posts: 2691
Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:36 pm    Post subject: Squier Super-Sonic re-work Reply with quote

So, I just pulled the trigger on a '90s blue sparkle Squier Super-Sonic on ebay!

I remember when these things came out in the late '90s, the blue sparkle one always looked awesome to me. But because I already had a "real" Fender and a 'real' Gibson I thought they were "student" guitars that I didn't need.

FF to now... most of my guitars are old and valuable and fragile, but I tour a lot, so I keep trying to put together a "road" guitar that I enjoy playing but that won't devastate me if lost or damaged.

I started with a '90s LP Studio I upgraded... then a basket-case '75 Tele Thinline husk I brought back to life... but those both ended up being one-of-a-kind guitars that came out so well now I'm reluctant to tour with them so much (putting me back at square 1).

I've already ordered new CTS pots, switchcraft jack and short toggle. I'll dress the frets myself.

The pickups are the big question. I might not want to go super high-end... though I do have a feeler out about a used set of Wolfetones. If that falls through, I think I might go for a set of DiMarzio 36th anniversary.

Does anyone know if the bridge humbucker on this guitar should be F-spaced? I can't find that info out for some reason. It's angled in the guitar, so my hunch is that it might not matter much.
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BrightKJ



Joined: 13 Sep 2008
Posts: 342
Location: Midlothian, VA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, being a Fender product, it should be F-Spaced.

Check out the Dimarzio Transition pickups. You might find them interesting.
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rickrob



Joined: 19 Oct 2011
Posts: 1083
Location: Massachusetts

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is the string spacing at the bridge pickup?

If it is more than 50mm, then I think you can go with the wider F spacing. I think Duncan calls that a Trembucker. You could measure the distance between the centers of the pole pieces on the existing pickup as well.
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tangelolemon



Joined: 26 Jan 2009
Posts: 2691
Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some research has led me to believe there's a relatively uniform gauss strength all along a humbucker, unlike a fender single coil.

SoI found a good deal on some used regular spaced Wolfetone Dr Vintage and went for it.

Ordered new 500k pots, jack, and toggle switch too. Guitar supposed to arrive today!
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marksound



Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Posts: 16668
Location: OKUSA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With the bridge pickup slanted it probably wouldn't make much difference*, but being a Fender product you can bet it's F-spaced.

*Reference: EVH used a pickup from a Gibson (335?) in his original Frankie. He slanted it to stagger the pole pieces in relation to the strings.
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Kregg



Joined: 22 Apr 2008
Posts: 3333
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tangelolemon wrote:

"So I found a good deal on some used regular spaced Wolfetone Dr Vintage!"


That is an excellent pickup! Cool
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jaybones



Joined: 22 Mar 2014
Posts: 426

PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking forward to seeing this guitar!


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tangelolemon



Joined: 26 Jan 2009
Posts: 2691
Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, I'm bad about photos, I know. Photobucket has been frustrating me lately so I've abandoned it and signed up for a flickr account.

here's where I'm at right now--

I did a solid level and crown on the frets. They had almost zero wear, but they weren't overly level from the factory.

Very "vintage spec" fretwire, and they seem VERY soft, so I was hesitant to take TOO MUCH off. Seemed to be roughly a 9.5" radius but it was hard to tell exactly. I was able to get it about 95% of the way toward perfect before I chickened out on taking it the rest of the way there. Just so much material was required to be removed, and the frets are so small.

Compounding matters (no pun intended) is that I was cheating the radius ever-so-slightly flatter with a 10" radius block, which is all I had on hand. So I didn't want to go too crazy with removing material.

It is FAR more level than it ever was from the factory, I can guarantee that much, and it wasn't too bad playability-wise before, so I think I'm set for awhile. As soft as this wire is... I feel like a total refret will not be terribly far in the future considering what this guitar will be used for and the amount of playing it will endure.



Parts are starting to trickle in, so I've started work in that department.

Rather than the stock weird, "backwards" 2-volume-no-tone setup (with the bridge pickup volume control in the 'neck' position, and neck volume control in the 'bridge' position), I decided to go with a master volume and master tone setup, with 50s wiring since I always liked that better.

I found an old Russian paper-in-oil .022 cap in my parts box, and received a couple of 500kA CTS pots in the mail. Here's where I'm at as of right now. The PIO cap just barely, but most definitely fits in the cavity when turned sideways like this



Since I used full-sized solid-shaft pots, the push-on, miniature jaguar style knobs that were stock had to go. I ordered two full-sized Jaguar-style knobs with set screws; should arrive today.

A refrigerator magnet taught me that the bridge plate, saddles, and vibrato claw are all stamped steel. This is good! I don't feel any urgency to replace those.

The inertia block, however, is very clearly zinc.

The bridge seems like one of those Ping bridges they used on MIM and CIJ strats in the 1990s, and and other than the block and the 10.5mm string spacing, seems surprisingly accurate to vintage Fender strat bridges (I have an actual 1958 Strat and another strat with a Callaham bridge to compare to).

The chrome plating on the underside and around the holes might not be the tidiest, but other than that, the quality seems totally acceptable to me.

After some careful measuring and studying of pictures, I bought a solid-steel "Made in Mexico" inertia block from GFS (only about 25 bucks). They offer an "import" block, too, and it felt weird not ordering that one, but the MIM really did look much closer to what I have than the "import," which had the arm hole in a clearly different spot... so I ordered the MIM, seeming to remember that CIJ and MIM used a common bridge supplier in this era.

There's some chance it won't fit and I'll have to order a whole bridge assembly, but it really looks right. Fingers crossed.

I considered going the "full Callaham" for this one, but I'm getting a little bit less picky about such things lately. Really keeping an open mind, I didn't see much wrong with this bridge, particularly once I upgrade the block to solid steel. So we'll see!

The block should arrive tomorrow, and I'll really be able to investigate whether I'm good or it's back to the drawing board.

My pickups, it turns out, are coming from Australia (Perth... literally the antipole of NYC) and I don't think the guy has shipped them yet. Actually, I'm really hoping he's not just vanished with my money...

regardless, it might be awhile. Sad
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bildo



Joined: 14 May 2009
Posts: 2824
Location: Houston, Texas

PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking good Brad. On the level(pun intended). If you go .032 or lower on fret height you will then have issues bending. That is my low mark on a level. Unless they are jazz no bend fretless type.
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tangelolemon



Joined: 26 Jan 2009
Posts: 2691
Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Bill.

I was going by 'feel', but I just measured and I'm at about .040 right now, which is right where I like them.

I suppose I could take some more off if I wanted to at that level. Once I get everything sorted I'll give it a setup, and if I feel like I want to finesse the level a bit more I'll feel comfortable taking off another 2 or 3 thousandths.
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tangelolemon



Joined: 26 Jan 2009
Posts: 2691
Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welp--

the "Mexico" inertia block arrived yesterday, and doesn't fit.

Turns out the bridge on this CIJ guitar is totally USA vintage spec... I measured wrong.

As a test, I took the Callaham block off of one of my strats, and it fits near-perfectly... near enough that I was able to install, arm and all, with no problem or convincing at all.

Bridge is definitely original to the guitar, too. Very odd. Learn something new every day!

Here's hoping that the GFS-spec block is exact enough to the Callaham block that it will fit as well, because I just ordered one.
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tangelolemon



Joined: 26 Jan 2009
Posts: 2691
Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

in case anyone is silently following along...

I took another .001-.002 off of the frets and got them all the way level; average height is more like .039 now, which is totally acceptable to me.

Got the "made in USA" spec steel inertia block; it fits a treat, but now the threading for the vibrato arm doesn't fit, so I've ordered another arm. Confused It's always something!

Still waiting on pickups, but I've got the rest of the guitar wired up and waiting for the Wolfetones to wing their way literally halfway 'round the world to me.

But I couldn't resist... once the bridge came together, I strung her up and did a preliminary setup. Man, this thing is awesome! It's interesting how much slinkier the .011-.048 strings feel with the 24" scale. Not a super short scale, not really even a "short scale," but it's very easy (and fun) to play. Frets came out great, and the action is very low.

Sounds GREAT unplugged.

I use Schaller strap locks, and since this guitar has one of the strap buttons affixed to the (recessed) neck plate with one of the neck bolts, it got complicated.

the stock neck bolt head was far too large to fit down inside the Schaller strap button as is needed for the locking system to work. So I bought another screw of the right length (2") and had to grind the head down so that it would slip down in there. The new screw was ever-so-slightly longer, and the neck plate is recessed, so to guard against it poking up through the fretboard, I utilized a spacer between the strap button and neck plate in the form of a very thick washer. Worked great!

I'll grab some pics once the pickups arrive and I can get them installed.
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bildo



Joined: 14 May 2009
Posts: 2824
Location: Houston, Texas

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like it is coming together nicely. I have been throwing around building me a 24 scale something.....so I am watching Wink
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The Ballzz



Joined: 14 Jan 2014
Posts: 160
Location: LAS VEGAS, NV

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A really cool trick with those GFS blocks (if handy with a drill press) is to bottom tap the arm hole and then drill for a nylon or Delrin insert like Callaham does on their's. It avoids needing a spring and gives the same feel as a Callaham block and arm. Be advised that the GFS blocks are more squared off than most others and you will likely need to either grind the block a bit or open up the rout in the body, just a tad!

Best Of Luck To Ya,
Gene
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RolandR



Joined: 03 Sep 2003
Posts: 8908
Location: Coastal Calif.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So GFS tremolo blocks are o-kay? They're so affordable for milled material.
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