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December 01, 2006

Squier '51 bridge replaced

So I got my parts from GFS (guitarfetish.com) and it looks like pretty good parts. I started with my Squier '51. First step was to install the new replacement bridge. Both the old and the new bridge is fastened to the body with 5 screws. However, two of the screw holes for the replacement bridge does not line up with the holes left from the old bridge. No problem though, I just took my electric drill and made two small holes. The new bridge was fastened and ready in no time - very easy to do!

how I removed the nut

Next, I had bought a Graph Tech Tusq nut (PQ 5000), so I started removing the old, crappy plastic nut. I used a rubber mallet to hammer gently on the side of the nut, and it started to com loose pretty quick. I gently wiggled it until it came off completely.

The new nut is a Strat nut, and I noticed it's slightly longer and the string spacing is not the same as the old nut. Oh well, that is all I have for now. I'll order a different nut and leave this one in here for now. I need to file it down a bit, because it's too high. I won't do that until I get a new nut, though. These nuts seem very good and hard - a huge improvement over those horrible pieces of plastic they put on cheap guitars.

Then it was time to replace the push/pull pot. I opened up the '51, took a look at the old pot that I didn't like (the tapering of the volume is not to my liking). Low and behold, the new "improved" pot is IDENTICAL to the old pot! That was a surprise. GFS claim this is a good pot. This lead me to believe my old pot could have been just fine, but instead maybe the way it is wired makes the volume tapering that way it is - which I don't like. I prefer a volume knob like on a Strat, where you can roll it off down to 5, and the volume is pretty much the same but it cleans up the tone. I do this on my Tele and I can have quite a bit of overdrive going but if I turn down the volume knob to 5, it's a semi-clean tone great for rhythm playing.

I went ahead with finishing the soldering of the push/pull pot anyway, to see if there would be any difference. Turns out there is no difference - the knob works the same way. I am no electronics guru, so if you know anything about this, please let me know. I'm gonna try and find out how get this wired correctly so I can get the darn volume knob to work like I want it to work!

In the end, the guitar sounds better. The bridge upgrade did wonders - less of that brittle, rattly tone and more guts. I highly recommend this bridge upgrade if you have a Squier '51 - the bridge is like 11-12 bucks - definitely worthwhile doing!

I will work on the SX Strat next, once I get the neck I am waiting for. The SX Strat will receive a new quality vintage-style bridge, and new electronics. That's for a different day though.

By Robert Renman - www.dolphinstreet.com

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Posted by Robert Renman on December 01, 2006

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