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Fender Squier Affinity customization?

Discussion in 'Squier Tele Forum' started by twangabee, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. twangabee

    twangabee TDPRI Member

    10
    Jan 30, 2016
    Ontario
    Hello. I'm really interested in buying a Telecaster Squier Affinity. I posted this somewhere here before - can't remember where, or when exactly. But I recall a few people telling me to just pay more for the Classic Vibe series, which to most are "better".

    Here's the thing, despite the crappy frets on these $200-ish Squire's, I REALLY like the unfinished necks, no gloss on the back or fretboard, and for some reason, they're really snappy and crisp. Yes, the bridge sucks and buzzes, maybe the machine heads too, but I'm feeling inclined to buy one because they're so cheap, and then just mod the thing with better hardware, pickup, bridge, tuners, electronics etc - turning it into a really playable parts-caster.

    I can also get a really good local tech to just pull those frets, and install medium jumbo frets, install a better bridge. I keep getting the feeling every time I pick up this guitar, that it could play really well with some attention to these hardware and setup issues.

    Is it really just the hardware that's the weakest link? I can't get over how comfortable the necks on these things are. They're just the right width at the nut, and they're not too wide further down the neck. I even love the finish: http://www.fmicassets.com/Damroot/ZoomJpg/10002/0310203550_gtr_frt_001_rr.jpg

    Does anyone know what the fretboard radius is on this model?

    Have any of you done upgrades like this on a Squire Affinity?

    Thanks so much
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017

  2. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy Tele-Holic

    Age:
    47
    604
    Jun 25, 2016
    Midwest, USA
    You may want to try looking at rondomusic.com for their tele type guitars if you're looking for cheap but good teles.
     

  3. twangabee

    twangabee TDPRI Member

    10
    Jan 30, 2016
    Ontario
    Thanks dude. Well, I'm just on the fence about ordering a guitar un-played. At least I know the feel of the Squier I was looking at.

    Very strange... some of the really expensive USA models, don't even have the same sustain. It seems like all the Squier's I've personally tried have extremely hard, dense necks, a lot of focus, and a hard immediate pick attack.
     

  4. MuddyWolf

    MuddyWolf TDPRI Member

    Age:
    54
    72
    May 11, 2017
    Paradise, Ca
    There is absolutly nothing wrong with the bridge or tuners on my new affinity. No buzzes. No rattle. The pickups are usable, not great. It needed some fretwork but less than my more than 2x more expensive CV Thinline. Dont believe the negative hype.
     
    Lead2Fan and xafinity like this.

  5. twangabee

    twangabee TDPRI Member

    10
    Jan 30, 2016
    Ontario
    Hey Muddy. I'm just wondering about the bridges on the Affinity Squires because when I tried 4 of them, at different stores, different times etc, all of them had a buzz happening around the saddles, mainly the A string for some reason. And after closer inspection, I realized it had to do with the bottom screws touching the floor of the bridge plate, and a bit of "gurgle" from the springs.

    I just hate extraneous noises in a guitar, whether it can be heard plugged-in or not. It sounded kind of like the protective plastic wrap over the neck pickup, buzzing against the strings, only there's no plastic on the neck pickup.

    Still, a bridge replacement isn't a big deal for me. I can't get over those necks, they feel so right in my hand. It's like it could almost be a V shaped neck - but not, but almost. The width is absolutely perfect. I think I'm going to buy one anyway, I know those little tiny things can be dialed out. And it seems like a popular platform for guys to mod.

    Maybe I can turn it into a parson B-Bender!
     

  6. Sollophonic

    Sollophonic Friend of Leo's

    The good thing about the Affinty Teles is that being a toploader, a vintage style topload bridge will fit onto them, with only some screw holes showing behind the bridge.

    I have done this to a few Affinitys I have owned.

    My latest beater Affinity, currently with a Squier SE Strat neck

    [​IMG]
     
    dannew02 likes this.

  7. xafinity

    xafinity Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Dec 24, 2015
    west of I-10
    Clearly an Affinity is not for you.
    You seem to have a magnetic attraction to Affinitys with 'problems'
     

  8. nicod98

    nicod98 Tele-Holic

    530
    Jul 7, 2014
    Belgium
    If the neck feels good, than the Affinity is THE guitar for you. I find the neck to be the only thing that makes me fall in love with a guitar or not. If you can do the setup/mods yourself, cost won't get out of hand.

    I'd start with only ONE important thing: a proper fret job and setup. If you can't do it yourself, have someone do it for you. This is an investment worth doing on any guitar IMHO

    The only thing i WOULD consider to do right away as well: a new bone nut. I'd go for a TUSQ nut, because I'm used to the string spacing.

    The following things I consider optional:
    1. The tuners are "good", not "great", but I have not had any issues with them, so I'd leave them as is.
    2. I don't like the pickups, but if they suit you, then they are good. (they can also be swapped later)
    3. Electronics are cheap but can be replaced for very little money. (I'd wait until they are broken, and replace it all when the first component fails)
    4. If you prefer 6 saddles I thought I read somewhere that someone replaced the saddles with american standard saddles (not sure about the string spacing though). Or you could go for the Bubba mod.
     

  9. Sjnoring

    Sjnoring Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    52
    Jan 26, 2017
    USA
    At least as far as the Chinese Strats go, the saddles are center oriented so my leftover Am St saddles wouldn't fit. But the bridge and nut are usually the worst crap on Squires, and they're of course the most important parts, so I think a person modifying a Squier should start there instead of the pickups. If you have a good amp you can make anything sound at least passably good. If you end up liking it you'll want to eventually upgrade the pups, but make it playable first.
     

  10. MuddyWolf

    MuddyWolf TDPRI Member

    Age:
    54
    72
    May 11, 2017
    Paradise, Ca
    Teles are more basic than strats with simple hardware. Less routing and less electronics. There fore it is easier for squier to make a tele a more quality guitar for the same price. thats why i feel that chinese affinity teles can be good while ive never liked chinese affinity strats. There are exceptions im sure. Ive just not really found one.
     

  11. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    51
    Jan 23, 2007
    Denmark
    I havent looked at an Affinity for a long time , so there could be changes I dont know about.
    Theres nothing wrong with the wood , body and neck.
    I think the slimmer body is cool , and the neck is ok , if you can get on with the slightly narrow nut size. You could probably space them out further if you install a new nut.
    The nut on both of mine were really soft , and the first thing I looked at.
    The thing I found most annoying was that nothing with standard Tele measurements would fit
    I did the Bubba mod before Bubba , LOL , and that made the bridge useable. The original saddles rattled like crazy
    Its really fun to do mods , and there is no end to what you can do. I just feel that its easier , and sometimes cheaper, to start with something a bit more expensive
     

  12. MuddyWolf

    MuddyWolf TDPRI Member

    Age:
    54
    72
    May 11, 2017
    Paradise, Ca
    Yeah the thought of the narrow nut used to bother me. I dont think they are as narrow as they used to be but are still narrower than an american. Lucky me i dont have thick fingers and i dont notice it at all when i play. My 54 Junior has a narrow nut too. Yeah thats right. My $4,000 Junior is just sitting right now while i play a $200 squier affinity tele.
     

  13. Zepfan

    Zepfan Friend of Leo's

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    I had a build going and needed a Strat style pickguard and pickups. Found a loaded Affinity pickguard on ebay for cheap that the previous owner had decided was crap. Got it, installed it and was pleasantly surprised. I've always had a problem with liking Strat single coil pickups. These weren't the absolute best, but they do a fine job.

    Most cheap guitars have the same problems that do need changing. Plastic nuts, cheap pot metal tremolo blocks, inferior bridge saddles and bad electronics.
    Replace these as you can afford, work the fret ends if needed and do a good setup. You'll probably be very happy with the results. Then think about pickups if needed, but after these steps you might not need to change them.
     

  14. 5ofeight

    5ofeight Tele-Holic

    Age:
    59
    642
    Oct 17, 2016
    Glasgow
    I must be doing something wrong, My Affinity is a darn good guitar...9.25 fret board radius(in case no one answered your question)..
     

  15. darkwaters

    darkwaters Tele-Holic

    967
    Oct 14, 2012
    Newfoundland
    Just make sure that the "Bones" of the guitar are good, especially the neck and frets. Electronics, pickups, nuts, saddles can all be changed.
     

  16. twangabee

    twangabee TDPRI Member

    10
    Jan 30, 2016
    Ontario
    Thanks to all for the great replies. I just can't find a reason why I SHOULDN'T go buy one. It's amazing that on such a cheap guitar, they give you an all maple neck. The one I want to buy has a particularly hard neck, especially on the opposite side, back of the neck behind the nut.

    Pickups, wiring, I can do that. It's the frets - they're a bit low, and the fret ends stick out a bit. I might just have the thing completely re-fretted.

    As Nicod98 said, if the neck feels good etc. It really does to me, it's the width at the nut that I love. It almost reminds me of a USA Dean Z Time Capsule a friend of mine has - narrower feeling at the nut, and it feels just right.

    I think this might be a great bridge to install:
    Babicz FCH Fixed 6-String Z-Series Strat/Tele Hardtail Bridge
    http://fullcontacthardware.com/fch-z-series-fixed-6-string-hardtail.htm


    5ofeight, thanks for the radius answer - it felt like 10, and no wonder it feels so comfortable in my hand.

    Again, thanks so much guys.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2017

  17. TheOneTrueSID

    TheOneTrueSID TDPRI Member

    11
    Apr 22, 2017
    USA
    I've had my Affinity for over a month now, and I can't tell you how happy I am with it. As matter of fact, I just picked up my old LP, and it had quite a bit of dust on it.

    The thing came out of the box set up almost perfectly (the intonation was a little bit off on the G string). The wood has a beautiful grain. It sounds good, and stays in tune as well as any guitar I've ever owned. I put a set of D'Addario's on it (9s), and the action is so perfect that it seems like you only have to think of a note and you are playing it. It is a top loader, so yes replacing the strings is a bit tricky, but nothing major.

    Buy this guitar. If you regret it, message me. I will buy it from you and donate it to the
    Blue Bear School of Music.
     
    cbh5150 likes this.

  18. h3d0n15t

    h3d0n15t NEW MEMBER!

    Age:
    36
    1
    Jul 23, 2017
    Bletchingley, UK
    I was also dubious when I ordered my affinity tele without playing, but out of the box it was a pretty decent guitar.

    I bought the guitar specifically to mod it out, but here are my initial impressions on the unmodded guitar:

    1. Cant fault the finish on the guitar, I cant find any issues on it at all.
    2. Neck pickup has the adjustment screws straight into the body so if you like tweaking the pickup heights this can be a pain as you have to remove the entire pickguard to tweak the neck pickup.
    3. Neck is great and I like the satin finish and thinner profile.
    4. Frets were decent with no sharp edges or buzzing. I took a fret rocker over them and there were no high frets either.
    5. Electronics are really cheap but having said that they did the job. Pots were smooth and there were no scratching noises when using them. Switch was ok although felt a bit flimsy.
    6. Nut was ok but I did get a bit of sticking on the G string, nothing unusual there. The string spacing is a bit smaller than on a normal tele and can feel a bit cramped if you have big fat fingers like me ;p
    7. Tuners are good keep tuning just fine.
    8. Pickups were what you would expect from a budget guitar. They don't sound terrible but the are not great either.
    Like I said, I got this specifically to mod it out but would have been happy with it without doing any mods for the price.

    Here is a list of the mods that I have done with mine:

    Swapped the standard nut for a graph tech tusq black nut, its tight but has a larger string spacing than original so its now not as cramped and I don't have any issues with the G string sticking:

    IMG_0651.JPG

    I swapped the stock pickguard out with a white pearl pickguard that was already drilled for the neck pickup screws for tweaking without having to take the entire pickguard off.

    IMG_0659.JPG

    I swapped out the pickups for a set of Tonerider TR2 Hot Classics, amazing set of pups for the price. Attention to details like the copper plate and the string wrap on the bridge pickup is amazing:

    http://www.tonerider.com/hot-classics

    IMG_0514.JPG

    I replaced the stock electronics for a six string supplies telecaster wiring kit, there is something satisfying about the clunk of the CRL spring action switch:

    http://www.sixstringsupplies.co.uk/product/telecaster-wiring-kit

    IMG_0508.JPG IMG_0510.JPG

    Next I did some shielding of the cavities and pickguard:

    IMG_0521.JPG

    Finally I swapped the bridge out for a three saddle version. It took some time to find a version that would fit the pickup route as all the vintage style bridges I could find were a lot narrower than the stock bridge on the affinity and would have left copper tape and parts of the route showing if installed.

    I didn't want to risk doing the Bubba mod as I don't have a vice or drill press at home to do this. Finally stumbled upon the Musiclily Vintage 6-string 3 Saddle, which although it is about 5 mm shorter than the stock bridge its pretty much spot on for the width.

    I had to drill 3 new holes for it but that wasn't an issue and the original holes are all hidden by the new bridge, and if I decide to go back to the stock bridge the new holes will also be hidden, so pretty much win win.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01LEF1JPO/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    IMG_0653.JPG

    Intonation is fine with the saddles but I will probably look at getting a set of Wilkinson compensated brass saddles to finish it up.

    Before and after pics:

    IMG_0658.JPG IMG_0657.JPG
     

    Attached Files:


  19. orangeblossom

    orangeblossom Tele-Afflicted

    I have both a affinity tele and strat. Great guitars. No issues with either one.
     

  20. Burn Yesterday

    Burn Yesterday TDPRI Member

    98
    Oct 5, 2012
    Durham, NC, USA
    Wow, I like everything about the Affinity except the neck. I should save your name in case I want to get rid of one. I have giant hands and am clumsy besides so a big baloney neck works better for me.
     

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