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Thread: Squier Telecaster Custom - Mod Project

  1. #1
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    Default Squier Telecaster Custom - Mod Project

    This was my first big mod project, and figured I would share it with anyone interested...

    To start off, I wanted a new guitar with a good single-coil sound, but at the same time, I had the bug to do some modding with coil-splitting-series/parallel. So I visited a Guitar Center, then eventually decided on getting the Squier Telecaster Custom. Let me say, that when I initially got this guitar I was blown away at the quality for $199. After having read the reviews of many of the guys on here, I realized a lot of the squiers are being made pretty well now.

    Unmodded review: For the money, this guitar was fantastic with a little setup. The neck is definitely its best point. Very smooth, and very fast. The frets were a tad bit sharp, but after hours of playing they smoothed out enough. The tuners are not the best, and I found that it went a little out of tune after sitting for a while, but expected at the price point. The witchhat knobs seemed a tad bit chinsey, and could come off if u gave them a slight tug. Other than that, everything on the body was great. The pots and switch were solid, the string-thru bridge is excellent, and best of all the pickups sounded great. The sound of this guitar is hard to pin down, because it has a humbucker sound, but at the same time, they are not very warm and retain some of that tele twang (Although not as twangy as a tele standard). Overall, I highly recommend the guitar if you are looking in the $200 range.

    The modding: Ok, here is where it gets interested. I realized that with a few upgrades, this guitar could go from "good for the price" to "great all around". So I started with the tuners. I swapped them out for mini Grovers. Went smooth, worked GREAT. The nut was made of a piece of plastic, so I decided that had to go. I bought a Tusq replacement nut made by Graphtech. The nut replacement went pretty smoothly, and was a lot easier than I thought. The new nut fit almost perfectly. Just needed some slight sanding on the sides, and it was smooth with the neck. Next I decided to gut the electronics, and replace everything with american made parts. So I put in 4 CTS pots, switchcraft input and 3-way, orange drop caps, and new wiring. Well let me say, this was a LOT of soldering. And really, it probably wasn't necessary, but I had a lot of time on my hands. Next, I decided that I was going to get new pickups which could be split. I decided on a pair of GFS pickups (FAT PAF's - $60-pair). Let me say, for the money these pickups are GREAT. One word of caution: If you plan to do coil-splitting with them, good luck with the wire colors (the color scheme they give you is all wrong, and required some desoldering and resoldering to get the switches right). I then installed two 3-way mini switches, 1 per pup. I wired them so that the three positions were "Series/Split/Parallel", which I got the schematics for from Seymour Duncan's site. Finally, I put new knobs on the 4 pots, deciding to go with the chrome dome-heads of traditional tele's. I left the original bridge/saddles because they are sturdy. Working on this guitar was a dream, because all of the guts are attached to the pickguard. Just take the pickguard off, and you have a wide-open space to work on whatever you want.

    The finished product: After all this work, she needed a setup, really bad. Finally it was finished. Was it worth all the work? ABSOLUTELLY! Not only did I have fun working on it, it sounds fantastic, and is extremely versatile. Played with single coil, it sounds pretty close to a tele standard. Played with full humbuckers, it gets a unique sound. Combine the two? even more unique, and very full sounding. Plugging it into my Vox it can do anything, from clean twang to bluesy single coil sound, to dirty full-out classic rock and beyond. And the quality of it now is superb. Stays in tune for days, and everything is solid. Squier guitars definitely are a great place to start for modding projects.

    Well, back to playing...

    Attachment 472

  2. #2
    Luke Skyrawker Spudman's Avatar
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    Great project write up Leo. I was thinking along the same lines. The necks are awesome on these Tele's and you just showed us how to tame the rest of the beast and turn it into a purring Musicat.

    Thanks. Back to GASing for me...and just when I thought I was over it.

    No Tele For you. - The Tele Nazi

    Guitars: A bunch of Strats, Epiphone LPs, Agile AL2500, Peavey Falcons, Generation Tele, Mystic, Tracer, Ibanez Rg 450, 470, 520QS, S470, SA220, SCR220, ST200, SA160QM, Roadstar II, SZ520QM, M340TV, Rogue PRS, Tele Special, 51, Samick AV4, Musicman Luke, Mahogany & Spruce Acoustic, Classical, Accordion, Hagstrom Viking DLX

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  3. #3
    Regular Fretter Justaguyin_nc's Avatar
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    Would look nice next to my Black Squier Tele...

    Sounds like a nice project... Hmmm

    Any sound clips going through the different pickup settings available?

    Ofcourse the Humbuckers in a fender body don't sound anything like a Gibson right? or wrong? Can they have their screaming solos also?

  4. #4
    Regular Fretter t_ross33's Avatar
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    Now THAT's what I'm talkin' about... awesome project, man. The more I look at those Squier Custom Tele's, the more I like 'em. It would look totally *****in' on stage too! All that black and chrome... it just oozes Rock & Roll attitude.

    *drooool*

  5. #5
    Regular Fretter 6STRINGS 9LIVES's Avatar
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    Great post , Leonadis, what was the final monetary output..and how close to the Keef tone can you get ...6S9L

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justaguyin_nc
    Would look nice next to my Black Squier Tele...

    Sounds like a nice project... Hmmm

    Any sound clips going through the different pickup settings available?

    Ofcourse the Humbuckers in a fender body don't sound anything like a Gibson right? or wrong? Can they have their screaming solos also?
    Yeah it was a great, fun project. The humbuckers don't sound quite like a gibson, no. The sound is thinner I guess u can say? But don't let that fool you. I can get great "screaming solo" tone. I unfortunately don't have any sound clips. I don't really have a good way to record... Any suggestions?

  7. #7
    Advanced Fretter tremoloman's Avatar
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    Great post Leonidas! I'm addicted to doing the same type of upgrades you've done to all my low budget guitars.

    I'm almost done with my JagMaster conversion. I've installed Schaller locking tuners, a Fender MIM bridge with a Callaham steel block, DiMarzio pickups, and Elixir strings. So far, it's killer! Now I just want to refinish it and install an American Deluxe Strat neck on it. Ooooohhhhh baby!!!
    "It's funny the way most people love the dead. Once you are dead, you are made for life." - Jimi Hendrix

  8. #8
    Addicted to solder.... duhvoodooman's Avatar
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    OK, lemme get this right--so you rewired your humbuckers to get series/split/parallel cabability? Man, THIS is getting kind of scary now!

    But I sure wouldn't use the phrase "working on this guitar was a dream" with my Dot. Major pain in the butt pulling the entire wiring harness thru the f-hole!
    DVM's Ever-Expanding Gear List:

    Guitars - '05 Gibson Custom Historic Series '59 Reissue (R9); '11 PRS Studio; '08 Heritage H-555 Semi-hollowbody; '12 Fender American Standard Stratocaster; '89 Fender Strat Plus; '10 Agile AL-3000; '12 G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy Semi-hollowbody; " Kwik-Keef Konvertible" '09 Squier CV '50s Telecaster; '10 Squier CV Telecaster Custom; '12 Squier Vintage Modified Cabronita Tele + Bigsby; '12 Xaviere XV-890HSS w/ FR Trem; '12 Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE; '71 Yamaha FG-300

    Amps & Cabs - Mesa Boogie Express 5:25 10" combo; ultra-modded Fender Blues Junior; Vox AC15 Heritage handwired 1x12 combo; Allen Sweet Spot kit amp; BYOC Tweed Royal kit amp (switchable 5E3/5F1 hybrid); Homebuilt 1.5W Firefly Head; Epiphone Valve Jr. combo + mods; Jet City Picovalve 5W head; Drive 2x12 cab w/ Celestion G12M Greenback + G12H30; AB Custom Audio 1x12 cab w/ Celestion Alnico Blue (UK made)

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  9. #9
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    HAHA yeah, the similiarities are inceasing. Looks like you had a nice project with your Dot. Man now thats a guitar I've been eyeing up for a while. How do you like it? I like how you rigged the 3-way switch on the pickguard. I orginally wanted to do this project with my Agile LP copy, but I just love the finish and sound way too much to drill holes.

  10. #10
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    Default Sound clips

    Ok, I recorded some samples... This is my very first attempt at recording myself, so sorry in advance for anything that sounds like junk!

    This is recorded with the Line Out on my Vox into my computer. I don't think the Line Out sounds near as good as the amp speaker, but thats the only way I was able to record. All of them are done using the bassman tweed model.

    The first set are a clean tone and they each are some open chords, then some noodlin around with each of the settings in the order Split, Parallel, and then Series.
    Attachment 497
    Attachment 498

    The second set is with the gain cranked and they are Split, then Series.
    Attachment 500
    Attachment 499

    Let me know what you guys think.
    Last edited by Leonidas; August 31st, 2006 at 01:34 PM.

  11. #11
    Regular Fretter abraxas's Avatar
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    Really good job you've done there!

    I liked the sound of the clips, keeping in mind the "Line Out" issue (I had a AD30VT and I know).

    I think this Squier sounds very much like a SG, which is logical, since the woods/body size and the electronics are somewhat similar. (Agathis is similar to Mahogany sonically).

    All in all you have a guitar with very interesting sound for pocket money!

    Congrats!

  12. #12
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    Anyone else take a listen??

    I'm interested to hear what you guys think
    (thanks abraxas! )

  13. #13
    Addicted to solder.... duhvoodooman's Avatar
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    Yup, the line-out recording method (been there, done that) with the AD30VT definitely leaves a lot to be desired, but the clips show off the differences between the p'up configurations quite well, I think. That's quite a broad range of tones you end up with, for a modest investment in 4-conductor p'ups, plus a couple of switches & some soldering work. Nice job!

    As long as you have access to a PC with a decent sound card in it, all you really need to do is pick up a modestly priced mic to record with. I got a Behringer XM8500 from Musiciansfriend.com for $20, and it does a great job for an amateur like me. I use the freeware Audacity program for capture and editing. The results sound tons better than the line-out method did!

    BTW, I never responded to your question re: how I liked my Epi Dot. Answer: LOVE IT!!! This guitar just seems to "fit" me like a glove. I find myself playing it more than either my LP or my Strat lately. Part of that is because (1) it's "newer" to me, and (2) the pickup mods I've done make it a lot of fun to fool around with. But it's also because it feels so comfortable and natural for me to play. I know that's a very subjective thing, but feel is such an important part of playing guitar, and the Dot just feels great to me. Like wearing a comfortable old flannel shirt....
    DVM's Ever-Expanding Gear List:

    Guitars - '05 Gibson Custom Historic Series '59 Reissue (R9); '11 PRS Studio; '08 Heritage H-555 Semi-hollowbody; '12 Fender American Standard Stratocaster; '89 Fender Strat Plus; '10 Agile AL-3000; '12 G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy Semi-hollowbody; " Kwik-Keef Konvertible" '09 Squier CV '50s Telecaster; '10 Squier CV Telecaster Custom; '12 Squier Vintage Modified Cabronita Tele + Bigsby; '12 Xaviere XV-890HSS w/ FR Trem; '12 Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE; '71 Yamaha FG-300

    Amps & Cabs - Mesa Boogie Express 5:25 10" combo; ultra-modded Fender Blues Junior; Vox AC15 Heritage handwired 1x12 combo; Allen Sweet Spot kit amp; BYOC Tweed Royal kit amp (switchable 5E3/5F1 hybrid); Homebuilt 1.5W Firefly Head; Epiphone Valve Jr. combo + mods; Jet City Picovalve 5W head; Drive 2x12 cab w/ Celestion G12M Greenback + G12H30; AB Custom Audio 1x12 cab w/ Celestion Alnico Blue (UK made)

    Pedals/Effects - Too many to count, including TONS of DVM's Home-built Pedals - See some of 'em HERE and HERE, TOO!

    DVM's Gear Photos
    Visit MY WEBSITE!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by duhvoodooman
    As long as you have access to a PC with a decent sound card in it, all you really need to do is pick up a modestly priced mic to record with. I got a Behringer XM8500 from Musiciansfriend.com for $20, and it does a great job for an amateur like me. I use the freeware Audacity program for capture and editing. The results sound tons better than the line-out method did!
    Hey thanks a ton for the info! The line-out is pretty bad, as you well know. I'll definitely pick up a cheap mic, like you recommend. For how much one costs, that sounds like its well worth it. Thanks again for the info.

    Quote Originally Posted by duhvoodooman
    BTW, I never responded to your question re: how I liked my Epi Dot. Answer: LOVE IT!!! This guitar just seems to "fit" me like a glove. I find myself playing it more than either my LP or my Strat lately. Part of that is because (1) it's "newer" to me, and (2) the pickup mods I've done make it a lot of fun to fool around with. But it's also because it feels so comfortable and natural for me to play. I know that's a very subjective thing, but feel is such an important part of playing guitar, and the Dot just feels great to me. Like wearing a comfortable old flannel shirt....
    Awesome! I've been drooling over the Dot for a long while.. That'll more than likely be my next guitar purchase, but first I think I have my sights set on a valve junior. I think I will really like the Dot. I tend to like the gibson-style guitars much more than fenders. My agile is still like "going home" when I pick it up. Still have loads of fun with my tele tho...

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