This is CSG Central.

Welcome to Cheap Squier Guitars, the blog all about purchasing, designing, and modding your own personal Squier guitar. Turn your mediocre cheapie into a force to be reckoned with!.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Getting Started

Photograph by trunge (link)
     So you've got, or are thinking about getting, a Squier guitar. Maybe you've played guitar for ages, or maybe you're just getting started. Either way, you have an interest in modding your guitar, and you've come here to figure it all out.

Why Do Squier's Have the Reputation That They Do?

     Squier guitars are decent guitars. They may not have the best electronics, but their bodies are solid, good wood, and they're generally finished pretty nicely. Mostly they get their bad rap due to their quality control. It's not hard to Google "squier horror stories" and come up with a boatload of awful things to say about them. This is where actually seeing your guitar comes in handy before buying it. If you know what to look for, and how to spot imperfections, picking out a good Squier isn't all that hard. Taking it to a luthier afterwards and getting it set up will make things even better.

After Obtaining the Goods

Once you've got your guitar, and you want to actually start modding it, there are a few things to keep in mind. When replacing anything with wooden parts, keep in mind the type of wood you're getting. There are a huge range of tonal differences in each type of wood, and knowing them is crucial to getting the sounds you're looking for. If you're interested in the tonal qualities offered by each type of wood, check out the Wood Guide.

For pickups, and choosing between alloys, neodymium, and ceramic, check out the Pickup Guide

The Benefits of Just Looking Around

     Just seeing what other people have done will give you a great idea of what you want on your guitar. There are a million possible combination out there, and you'd be a fool not to really look at what you can do. Aside from watching the videos on the site, get onto some community forums and check things out!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Creating A Custom Guitar Body : Sunburst Designs

     The Sunburst design is a traditional guitar finish that has been used for years and years. If you're picking up your own guitar body that is unfinished, this is a finish you can apply with minimal effort. It just takes a bit of time and patience!

  • Nitrocellulose Lacquer - Limited colors can be found in a home improvement store. You'll need a base color, as well as a darker color for your outer layer, and clear coat.
  • Masking Tape
  • An Unfinished Guitar Body
  • Time - Lacquer can take a good while to dry, so you'll need quite a bit of time.
  1. Prepare your work surface. You're going to be using aerosol lacquers, and you'll want a well ventilated area for this.
  2. Clean your guitar body. Use a tack cloth and a small amount of oil to clean your wood surface. Let dry.
  3. Lay down your base color on the back first. You want a nice solid 2-4 coats, applied as thin as possible.
  4. Lay down your base coat on the front. You want to use many very thin layers, as dried nitrocellulose is almost irreversible. Take your time, and be sure to mask the sides of your guitar. You want no drips, and as little 'orange peel' as possible. Letting this dry overnight would be optimal.
  5. Take your darker color being used for the burst, and freehand apply the darker outside. This is very easy to do. Simply spray from the center out at a steep angle, allowing your hand to smoothly move around the body. Your burst may seem a little 'sharp', but the clear coat should soften everything and help it all to blend.
  6. After applying a few clear coats, leave it to harden for a few days before buffing it to a high gloss.
Closing Comments
This is a simple design using a minimum amount of masking. If you aren't comfortable spraying freehand, you may want to look into 'softer' masking solutions, and mask everything out. Nitrocellulose is one of the most gorgeous finishes you can create, and when polished to a proper shine, is jaw-dropping.  

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Squier Guitar Mods : Modding Guitar Bodies

    For the casual guitar hobbyist or player, replacing and re-wiring the electronics into  guitar bodies is complete overkill, and requires some knowledge of electronics and soldering. Generally, it's much easier to just simply buy  pre-wired guitar bodies, and to install that. Guitar bodies are in no way cheap either. In fact, it wouldn't be strange for them to be more expensive than your original Squier. Unless you've bought an expensive guitar with nice electronics, moving to a more expensive body might be pointless. Squiers and other budget guitars are known for having good quality wood, but cheap electronics. Buying a new body along with all the of the required electronics is going to cost close to what you would pay for a MIM Fender, which will have superior electronics and most likely materials. If you do decide to go through with modding / replacing your body, there are a couple things to pay attention to.

    Wood Type

    Refer to Part 1 and note the tonal differences in wood types. These will apply to the body you decide to purchase. When purchasing your electronics, they should come with a guide detailing how to install them.
    A huge part of this process, and the most exciting one, is finishing your body. When purchasing a body, they usually come as unfinished wood, that must be painted and sealed. This is where you let your creative side show. Don't be afraid to try different things out, such as stencils, using stains, and special spraypaints. When you've finished your design, you need to apply a sealant. Whether this is polyurethane, nitro, shellac, or any other sealant is up to you. There are a million different ways to go about personalizing your guitar bodies, and my best advice is to simply look around at what other people have done for ideas.

    When purchasing guitar bodies, make sure to pay attention to the cutouts, and to make sure everything else you have or plan on buying fits with the body you've selected. You either have to be prepared to fix the routed holes yourself, or you need to go with a different style of body. For a place to start, check out these bodies at Amazon.

    Mighty Mite Stratocaster Electric Guitar Body - Swamp Ash
    Golden Gate S-313 T Style Guitar Body (Tobacco Red, Single Cutaway, Single Coil)
    Golden Gate S-309 T Style Guitar Body (White, Single Cutaway, Single Coil)


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