DIY Guitar

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Page: Strat Project

Black Strat Upgrade ProjectThis project is mostly the upgrade of the existing guitar.
My son finally picked up his Squier Strat for his hip-hop projects.
I have nothing against the hip-hop. I have my favorites too as in any genre. but probably not that many as in blues-rock though :)Anyway, I liked this Strat abandoned once by my son.
So I needed some replacement.
I’ve found the very similar model on
After a brief negotiation I’ve got a deal of $80.
Not too bad for the almost new Indonesian Squier Strat Affinity.
But still this guitar needs serious upgrade.


– Guitar itself: $80
– New “Grover” tuners: $41
– Earny Ball Original strings: $6
– TNT guitars pre-wired HSS pickguard loaded with Dragonfire pick-ups – $37 plus $20 shipping (Bought on
TOTAL: $184

That’s it.

First Things First

Before anything else I decided to replace the original pegheads.
From my experience with the squiers this is the first thing which will start to irritate you.
Guitar loses the tuning very easily.
Especially if you use the tremolo often.
So I decided to replaced them with the Grover set. It is not that expansive as GOTOH.
And remember, this is just a Squier Strat. You wouldn’t invest too much in it.
Otherwise I suggest you just to buy a new guitar. But that’s another story.

single Grover guitar tuner

There is some drilling job to be done as the original tuners don’t have the screws holding the things.
But the Grover ones do.


Make sure you have deep enough holes drilled for the Grover peghead screws.
Because I have been breaking 2 screws before I figured out what is the issue. And the worst thing about it is that the screw particle left in the hole is not easy to take out.

Working on the Bridge

Here is how the bridge looks like with the strings tuned:

Strat tremolo bridge

And this is wrong. Normally the top plate of the bridge should rest on the body unless tremolo is being used.
So what is the problem?
First of all I checked how the bridge is mounted on the back of the body.
The following image explains a lot: there are only 2 springs holding the bridge!


Fixing the bridge

This was the easiest part to do.

Now with the 3 springs it should be rock solid.

I had an idea to put even more springs but desided to stop on 3 for now.

So far I’ve rarely seen more than 3. And I don’t plan to use the tremolo too much.

So if I will need more I can easy add it later.


First, I was about to replace the WHOLE bridge as it’s very cheap on Squiers.
But after a couple of conversations with the experienced luthiers I’ve found that this is not necessary and doesn’t improve the quality of sound.
But what DOES important is the saddles. For now I left the original ones.

And if I’ll find I have any trouble with them I will fix them later. I so the real good ones for $70! And that’s not the limit.



Shielding is the cheapest and very important part of the guitar upgrade.
Many people use the aluminium tape. And I prefer the copper self adhesive tapes.copper
You can easily find them online at the price below $5.

And I’ve never seen any Squier guitar properly shielded. I believe it’s just the question of the guitar class.
So. The main reason to apply the shielding is to protect the electronic parts of your guitar from radio waves interference which is one of the biggest causes of the unpleasant humming. Just be careful not to cut your fingers with the edges of the tape. Try to overlap the pieces: it’s always better to have axtra layer than a gap between them.

That’s how it looks when it’s done:



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