Now that I have had it for a while, it is time for an update on my Squier Cyclone. I am really enjoying this guitar. My previous review is here: Squier Cyclone Review.
I have done a few minor modifications and upgrades. In order:
Chrome humbucker cover / potted humbucker. The bridge humbucker was microphonic. I potted it, and managed to warp the plastic flatwork in the process. The required repair was a chrome humbucker cover, which I bought from Guitarheads.net. I really like the way it looks.
No more shine. I hate super shiny guitars. They look like toys, not instruments. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I like artificially aged instruments, either. I’m just not a fan of most modern guitar finishes. To cut the shine, I first disassembled the instrument. Then, I spent a good deal of time softening the glare by hand, using 000 synthetic steel wool (Home Depot #570872) and very light pressure. Then, I did a few applications of Meguiar’s Scratch X 2.0 to polish it up a bit, and then I waxed it with Mothers Carnauba Wax. It gives it a more subtle surface that exhibits a more natural shine, at least to my eye.
Upgraded electronics. I replaced the cheap 250k potentiometers with 500k Bourns potentiometers from Mouser (652-PDB241GTR02254A2). I replaced the jack with a Neutrik NYS-229. I don’t recall any modifications to fit the parts, but I have worked on a lot of instruments lately. I might have had to enlarge the holes in the control plate for the new pots. The neck pickup, as expected, had too much treble, so I placed a 500k resistor in parallel with the pickup for the SC-only position. A big part of the electronics upgrade was…
Replacement switching. I didn’t like the 3-way switch included on the guitar, so I replaced it with an Alpha 3P4T rotary switch from Mouser (SR2611F-0304-21R0B-D8-S). I now have four pickup combinations– the standard SC, SC || HB, HB positions, as well as an SC + HB, where the SC and the HB pickups are in series. This position provides a perceived volume boost, and an EQ shift that I perceive as being a bump in midrange content. Nice! I don’t have a schematic drawn up, but I could probably be convinced to do it without much effort.
Replacement knobs. The rotary switch required a new knob. I purchased a NOS Dakaware knob from Ebay (from this guy). I bought some new production Davies Molding phenolic knobs from Mouser (5164-1610AA) for the volume and tone controls. These knobs feel great to use, and look great together.
Planned upgrades. At this point, I think this guitar is pretty much were I want it. It feels great, sounds great, and stays in tune. The only other upgrade I am considering is to put some sort of a finish on the maple parts of the neck. The wood is so light in color that it makes the guitar look like a toy.
More to come!