A new lease on life for a Squier California Strat

By tonyhughes Hughes, in , posted: 8-Jul-2009 22:49

A Fender Squier California Stratocaster I acquired was a little worse for wear, with a slightly scratchy sound, what looked like the original strings (5 or so years old!) and a tremolo bridge that seemed to flap around in the breeze and make open chords seem especially off-key.
  • Removed old strings.
  • Cleaned guitar top to bottom.
  • Removed input jack - the factory wiring was very shoddy and there was a cracked solder joint.
  • Re-soldered the input jack and replaced.
  • New strings - Fender bullet end .10 (e).
  • With back plate off, I tightened up the screws hold the bracket for the bridge tension springs, but in the end, I decided that since I don't use trem anyway, to use a 1/2" block of wood between the bridge and the body (inside that cavity) to permanently lock the bridge in place (hey if Slowhand can do it, so can I).
Now the guitar looks, sounds and plays much better.

An unintended (but welcome) consequence of blocking the bridge was a lowering of the action (as previous the bridge sat 1/8th to 1/4" off the body. Intonation doesn't seem too bad (possibly better than before), and with heavier strings, and no give in the bridge, it is now a joy to play compared to before (especially as I am usually an acoustic player).

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Comment by Dratsab, on 9-Jul-2009 19:52

Great work that you've done already!

Now (if you haven't already done so) you might also want to check the intonation of all your strings above the twelfth fret, i.e. "A" at the 17th position on your "E" string is a true "A" - especially with the action having moved.

If the tone is a little sharp or flat, you will want to adjust the forward or reverse action of the relevent piece of your adjustable bridge in order to gain the correct string length which will, in turn, give true intonation along the entire length of the string.

It won't take you long to figure out which way to move the bridge pieces should you need to...

Hope I've made sense

Author's note by tonyhughes, on 9-Jul-2009 20:58

Yep... have tackled intonation a couple of times, but not a whiz just yet. :-)

Comment by John white, on 20-Aug-2009 21:29

i also have a squier and don't use the tremolo. I tighten the screw on the tremolo to lock it in place. But I like to try out your method of block of woods to lock it. Can you show a picture of how the block of wood is wedge for your guitar?

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