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Question for Squier Cabronita owners

Discussion in 'Squier Tele Forum' started by dinomike77, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. dinomike77

    dinomike77 Tele-Meister

    273
    Aug 27, 2004
    Hello! I just took delivery of a used Squier Cabronita earlier this week. While looking for one at a reasonable price, I naturally searched every available article and forum. I’d planned on needing a new bridge, nut and maybe upgrading the electronics. As for the bridge and nut, they are perfectly acceptable on this guitar. The bridge lines up perfectly with the pickup poles and the strings are well-centered on the neck. The jug is well-cut, too and I only lightly filed the slots to make sure they’re smooth. All in all, I’m very impressed with the fit and finish on this $300 guitar, especially considering I was prepared to do a little work to it. The only thing I would even slightly criticize is the thick, plastic-y finish, but that’s to be expected and not a knock on the quality of the instrument.

    I did, however, purchase the guitar used and the only issue is that the neck pickup seems to have been poorly adjusted at some point. It is tilted in its pocket and the head of the height adjust screw on the bass side of the neck pickup is stripped. I have new screws on order, so it won’t be an big deal once I get them in; I already got the stripped screw out and the pickup is jammed in its current position.

    To finally get to my question: once I am able to thoroughly adjust my pickups, how many of you that own these guitars have left in the stock 250k ohm volume pot. Given the good quality of the instrument flying in the face of “internet wisdom”, could it be that the stock pot is perfectly serviceable. I know that people like to use the traditionally more acceptable 500k for humbuckers, but then it seems there are complaints about the taper. Also, people put in concentric pots to have both volume and tone, but would that have you back to putting more load on the treble freqs anyway with two pots in the wiring? So could it be that the decision for a single 250k pot was a conscious decision to keep the guitar from being too bright while also keeping an even taper throughout the volume control’s range?

    Really, this question is because I have too much time while waiting for those screws and I’ve exhausted my internet searching.

    If you just skipped to the end: do you believe that the changing to a single 500k pot for the volume control is mandatory for getting the most out of these Fideli’trons or is there a valid argument for keeping the 250k?

    Long winded, I know, but thanks in advance for any thoughts you’d like to share!

    IMG_0920.JPG
     
  2. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    I owned this guitar and I swapped in a high quality 500k pot with a treble bleed (like the ones TV Jones sells). I also owned a few Filtertron guitars. They're my favorite HB, and I don't like HBs generally speaking. Just FYI.

    Here's the deal with pots--it's your choice on what sounds good. If you ever check out Gretsch guitars, there are a couple of control circuits: Tone pot and Tone switch are the norm. Then there is the Hot Rod Setzer circuit, just a Volume pot. The Setzer HR circuit lets in all the highs, great sound. A tone switch circuit has each pickup running through 2 pots (when no mud engaged), tone pot through 3 pots. All pots are 500k. So a single 500k volume pot is the brightest sound, and a 250k pot is roughly the same as the tone switch circuit wide-open, but don't quote me, I haven't done the math.

    The difference is subtle. I figured out how much because I made blow-by push-pull switches to get into more Hot Rod like tones. I can hear it more with gain.

    I like Fidelitrons, but I could not adjust myself to the mud in the neck position. I have a remedy for that, but I mostly just deal. I think the neck pickup in this guitar deserves a 500k volume pot. Concentric tone control will help keep the bridge position in check.
     
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  3. tery

    tery Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Sep 21, 2012
    Tennessee
    Viva La Cabronita !
     
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  4. dinomike77

    dinomike77 Tele-Meister

    273
    Aug 27, 2004
    Thank you, BorderRadio, for your detailed response. As you can tell from my initial post, I’m *trying* not to rush to mod this guitar simply because I’ve read on the internet. Your answer was very balanced. I’ll see how the pickups balance once I get those screws. Not to discredit your response at all, but one man’s “muddy” is another man’s “dark and rich.” People can complain about standard vintage-style Tele neck pickups, but I like them on the dark and woody side. I do like the *idea* of just having a single volume control and letting the rip-snorting nature of the Cab design show through, but I wouldn’t hesitate to change the pot if I felt I wasn’t giving the guitar it’s best chance to shine. Thanks again for your help!
     
    BorderRadio likes this.
  5. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Jan 18, 2010
    on my bike
    I didn't think of that BorderRadio. Thanks.
    I saw a switching configuration here this week that takes the neck pickup out of the circuit. I wonder if that could work with the concentric used to adjust the bridge pickup when in the middle pos?


    I have the same guitar. I believe the reason the initial owner sold it off was because he thought Squier meant it sounded bad. He upgraded to a MIM (500k pot) & said he was happy with it (even though they share the same pickups). My gain.

    Personally I think it suffers from the wet blanket over the amp syndrome with the 250k. 5 minutes with a soldering iron & i'm happy. Like everyone says, we all hear differently. You might like 250k pots. I didn't.

    My 300k pots in the Firebird copy are next. Suffers the same syndrome.
     
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  6. nicod98

    nicod98 Tele-Holic

    958
    Jul 7, 2014
    Belgium
    I kept the original pickups and original pots... and I'm very happy with it...
     
    dinomike77 likes this.
  7. dinomike77

    dinomike77 Tele-Meister

    273
    Aug 27, 2004
    Another thought on 250k pots: some threads I’ve read lament that these Fideli’tron pickups are not wax potted. It’s my understanding that potting helps minimize high frequency squealing in pickups when running a lot of gain. Another way this can be accomplished on a standard Tele is to roll off the tone until the squealing stops. Wouldn’t the attenuation from the 250k pot somewhat accomplish a similar goal?

    Also, our amps are a key component of this equation. My main amp is a Gries 5. It’s a Champ platform with a 12” speaker and a few mods to the circuit. One such mod is a bright switch. Using this bright switch had a noticeable effect on the Cabronita, even more so than my regular Teles. So maybe that’ll be enough for me, once I’m able to really get the pickups dialed. Thanks again to those who’ve chimed in and I look forward to any other observations on the topic.
     
  8. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    If Fidelitrons weren't wax potted I'd be all over them. That's part what TV Jones does to his formula and calls it the Ful-Fidelity Filter'tron. Too bad the Fidelitrons are too warm for me. I'm pretty sure they are wax potted but I don't have any on hand. Remove one of your pole screws, it should come with little balls of wax. If not, let me know!

    I see your reasoning, but 250k won't be the same, maybe 50k pots would help squeal, but then you'd really sound like mud :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  9. dinomike77

    dinomike77 Tele-Meister

    273
    Aug 27, 2004
    I’ll check a pole piece for wax when I get home tonight. Thanks again for chiming in. As I said, this discussion is helping occupy my mind while waiting for those screws so I can do some tweaking and hear for myself. Another thought on the neck pickup: would lowering the pickup body and raising the pole pieces on the bridge side have any noticeable effect on the pickup’s perceived brightness?
     
  10. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    NP. IME, Filtertron-style pickups need to be close as possible to the strings. As for the neck pickup, my remedy is exactly what you said. I lower the bass side of the neck pickup, then raise the poles to "standard" heights. Also try keeping half the poles down, and the other set raised.

    I also just learned of another mod, where you remove three screws on the bass side, three on the treble, so it kind of resembles a WRHB. Haven't done it but heard it makes for a tighter sound on the neck pickup.
     
  11. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Jun 7, 2016
    Smyrna georgia
    I did the Country Gentleman mod to mine.
     
  12. rockymtnguitar

    rockymtnguitar Tele-Meister

    409
    Aug 30, 2012
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I'll chime in on this... My Cab is a really fun guitar play and I've had a blast with it. I did the 500k pot and Electrosocket and I'm very pleased. I'd do it again if I ended up with a 2nd one somehow. Mandatory? No. Good to my ears? Yes. I honestly can't believe the value of these Squiers. Wish I could get ahold of a Bigsby-equipped one.

    Now, that said... what are all these mods I'm hearing about?

    Setzer mod?
    Country Gentleman mod?

    IMG_1524.JPG
     
  13. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Jun 7, 2016
    Smyrna georgia
    Yeah you just wire it up per the Country Gentleman schematic ( in my case niking the tone pot altogether)
    For the two pots teles commonly have so then its vol/master vol, the blend being the tone.
    Or if you leave in the tone via the 'mud bucket' wiring.
    Its rather Esquire-ish.
     
  14. dinomike77

    dinomike77 Tele-Meister

    273
    Aug 27, 2004
    No evidence of wax that I can see on this pole screw: IMG_0932.JPG

    That spot up by the screw head is a reflection.

    Yes, I am very impressed by the fret ends, nut and overall fit of all the components on this guitar. It’s such a great and unique model, I wonder why they stopped making them.
     
  15. dinomike77

    dinomike77 Tele-Meister

    273
    Aug 27, 2004
    Update: Just went for the 500k pot and all is right. Neck pickup is still a bit woofy and I’m still waiting on the new adjuster screws, but it’s nothing some amp twiddling can’t dial out. Oh, yeah; and tort: IMG_0946.JPG
     
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  16. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Nice! Tort on black is a good combo.

    That screw is pretty devoid of wax, seems pretty convincing. I just found some used Ray Butts Ful-fidelity Filtertrons to drop in my Gretsch, see how that stacks up..
     
  17. Mechanic

    Mechanic Tele-Afflicted

    When I was Cabby shopping a few years ago I was looking at Squiers but found a MIM for reasonable. I found the screw issue on the neck pickup as well, even after changing the pick guard. A little flat file and sanding took care of that so I had adjustment. Cleaned the string groves on the nut and bridge. It plays quite nice.
     
  18. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Jan 18, 2010
    on my bike
    I didn't know these weren't being manufactured anymore?
     
  19. dinomike77

    dinomike77 Tele-Meister

    273
    Aug 27, 2004
    Yeah. I guess MF blew out the Squiers at $200 a few years back and then they were discontinued. The MIMs aren’t currently in production either. So, when the bug for one bit me earlier this summer, affordable options were scarce. Folks want up to $400 or better for the Squiers! Not really knowing how I’d get along with one, I didn’t want to fork over too much. A couple of weeks ago, I got lucky with one priced at $290 with $40 for shipping.

    Reading up on production Cabs might be enough to convince folks that they might not be worth the hassle. Bridge alignment, pickups, pots, “skinny Squier necks,” etc. I’m here to say that my Squier is a perfectly good guitar, especially considering the initial price point. The bridge is solid if you set it up properly and lines up perfectly with the pickup poles and neck. The neck is not a Nocaster, but there’s no way you could deem it a toothpick. The nut might not be the best material, but it’s well-cut and I can see no reason to change it until it gets worn, which might happen sooner than on a different material. The pickups seem good to me and give more than adequate room to adjust them to your sweet spot. I haven’t ever really had a humbucker guitar and that was a big part of why I wanted a Cab: so I could get a little dirtier without the hum. The neck is a bit wooly if you set your amp for a thick tone out of the bridge pickup, but if you EQ around the neck pickup on its own, it’s fine. As a lower-cost guitar, the finish is a bit thick, but totally forgivable when you consider that this guitar seems to just want you to beat up on it!

    The point is that this guitar offers a lot of value and should have a regular place in the Squier line as it seems to have more adventurous models than Fender at times. And I mean regular models, not special series like the “Parallel Universe” stuff.
     
  20. rockymtnguitar

    rockymtnguitar Tele-Meister

    409
    Aug 30, 2012
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I'd say I agree with dinomike77 above on several things:

    1. This seemed like a relatively short life-cycle of guitars from both Fender and Squier. And I cannot figure out why. They seemed to very popular - moreso than just a niche guitar.
    2. Necks are necks, meaning that no matter what the pricetag says, somebody is not going to like the neck.
    3. On the Squier side, the bridges didn't seem to have the lineup problem that the Fenders had. Sort of amusing to my dark twisted mind - especially since one of my bandmates turns his nose up at Squier quality.
    4. And I really agree that sometimes Squier seems to push the envelope a bit more than Fender with certain things. The Bigsy Cabronita is my #1 example of that.

    Really wish they'd bring them back.
     
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