It’s finished. Well, for now. Pictures are below.
I made a some pretty nice improvements.
- New Tuners, Fender 099-2040-000
- New Bridge, Fender 007-1014-000
- New Switch, Fender 099-1367-000
- New Pots, Fender 099-0830-000
- New Jack, Neutrik NYS229
- NOS Capacitor, 50n (2x 100n Tropical Fish in series)
- New Strings, D’Addario EXL115
I got everything installed, and have it nicely setup. This one was a bit of a challenge.
The neck relief was way too much, something like 0.040″ I would say… maybe more. 3/4 of a turn on the truss rod over two days, and it is 0.010″.
Once I got everything installed, I realized that the action was waaaay too high, even with the string saddles lowered as far as they can go, . Only one way that I can fix that– neck shim. I ended up using a piece of an old phone card to make a shim. It is a tad too thick, but should be just fine.
I needed to add an extra tremolo spring to get it to float properly, and the system is now in near-perfect balance.
I decided to stick with the ceramic pickups for now. I have never really had an opportunity to give ceramic pickups a chance. My American Standard came with Alnico, and I upgraded them with nicer Alnicos. The American Standard pickups went into my Mexican Standard, and it’s pickups went into a box. I’m going to give these a shot. In combination with the 50n capacitor, it should be significantly different than my other two Strats, which all have 22n caps.
One last thing to note is that of my three potentiometers, two were around 245k, but one was about 274k. I used that one as the volume, as I have read about people who like 280k volume pots in Strats. 274k is pretty close to that.
So… how does it play? It’s hard to say. After I had finished using a razor blade to scrape an uneven bit on the pickguard, I carelessly set the razor blade down, dragging it slightly across the tip of my middle finger, left hand. It was enough to create a 1/16″ deep, 1/2″ long slice. Direct pressure led to skin glue, which led to butterfly bandages, which led to medical tape. No more bleeding, and a nicely sealed wound, but I really can’t play guitar for a while. That is also why I did not replace the shim with something thinner– I can’t seem to use this hand without opening that cut back up.
I can say, however, that while I was doing the setup, I found the guitar to play very nicely. Maybe it is because my American Standard was made in 1993, and this guitar was made in 1995, but the necks seem incredibly similar. I like it a bit more than my 2011 Mexican Standard, which has a bit of a chunkier neck. Overall, though, I think I am going to like this guitar.
More to come!