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Affinity Tele - Newbie to modifications/upgrades

Discussion in 'Squier Tele Forum' started by BackwaterJunction, Sep 28, 2020.

  1. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    It is absolutely possible to wire any 4 or 5 conductor humbucker series/parallel/coil split with a standard 3-way CRL or Oak Grigsby type switch like what is used in most Mexican and American Teles. It may not be possible with the import PCB switch that comes stock in the Affinity Teles. A CRL or Oak switch should only set you back about $10 or less. I don't think you can do series/series bypass tone/parallel with a standard switch, but let me see what I can work out.
     
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  2. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    This is what I mentioned above with the Little '59 - I expect it would sound weak when split, as well. Usually splitting the coil or parallel switching on a humbucker works best with a higher output pickup.

    Boreas, note that he is looking to have a single bridge humbucker and no neck pickup, so not the typical neck and bridge in series wiring you would normally use a 4-way switch for.
     
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  3. Mark-spark86

    Mark-spark86 TDPRI Member

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    Hi,
    This a great way to learn how it all works. I have a Affinity Tele from around 2004 and I was in the same situation as you, I really wanted a new guitar but knew I couldnt afford it so I started reading all the info I could find about upgrading everything.
    Theres loads of great videos on YouTube that will help with tips on soldering, what kind of pots and caps to put in also. I bought some cheap pickups that I heard good things about and was really surprised about how they sounded, I was also on a budget so that had a big part to play also.
    Once you start on your own work though its a big black hole of what you find you want to do next! It's great fun and a good way to learn how it all fits together.
    I'm currently putting a Harley Benton T style kit together but changing all the crap hardware it came with, another great way to learn how to do stuff!
     
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  4. oldfish

    oldfish Tele-Holic

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    get your self a used affinity theres loads about and can be picked up cheap.i got one about 20 years ago with the idea of modding it but never needed to do any thing to it.these are very nice teles after 20 years hard use its still going strong.
     
  5. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I did a full electronics upgrade on a friend's 2016-ish Affinity tele (with top loader bridge). I replaced the pickups with DiMarzio Chopper-T and Twang Kings, same as Richie Kotzen uses, and a 4-way switch. Everything fit just as it should, I had to make zero modifications to the bridge or control plate.

    I found this wiring diagram elsewhere on TDPRI. It may help you out. You may or may not need to adjust the wire colors for your SD pickup (I think GFS uses the same wire color code as Duncan), but it should work out just fine.


    Here is a link to the thread. It has some good info in it. One of the earliest replies documents using this to wire up a Lil 59.

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/humbucker-esquire-wiring.700229/



    [​IMG]


    EDIT: I also found this one, that puts "parallel" in the middle and "split" at one end. In my head, this switching makes more sense to me to have the switching order go "series/parallel/split". Wires for the mini-bucker will be the same as a full size.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
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  6. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Oh - sorry. I saw series and parallel and assumed two pickups.
     
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  7. BackwaterJunction

    BackwaterJunction TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the input. I'm definitely going to check out a Bullet as well, see how both the Affinity and Bullet feel in the hand. Good that there's plenty of space inside for some higher end components too, as that's certainly something I'd be keen to look into. Have you found upgrading the pots and switch has made a noticeable difference?
     
  8. BackwaterJunction

    BackwaterJunction TDPRI Member

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    That's brilliant, thank you. I'll take a look for switches as for a fairly minimal price it'd be great to get something solid.
     
  9. BackwaterJunction

    BackwaterJunction TDPRI Member

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    I'd not even thought about a kit. A project for the future maybe!! How's the quality of wood in that?

    What have you done to the Affinity overall?
     
  10. BackwaterJunction

    BackwaterJunction TDPRI Member

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    These diagrams are incredibly helpful, thank you! I'll take a look at the thread too.

    Can I ask what electronics upgrades you went for?
     
  11. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Sure thing. We replaced the stock pickups with Dimarzio Chopper-T bridge pickup, a Dimarzio Twang King neck pickup, replaced a faulty pot, and replaced the stock 3-way switch with a 4-way switch to connect both pickups in series.

    The series switch is very subtle with these particular pickups, as the bridge pickup is already a series-wired double coil [humbucker], much more so than with traditional tele pickups, but it fattens the sound for leads quite nicely.

    These upgrades, along with a setup, propelled the affinity tele to the top of my friend's guitar totem pole. It's a fantastic little guitar.
     
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  12. Mark-spark86

    Mark-spark86 TDPRI Member

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    I was actually surprised by how nice the body and neck are, Thomann said it’s supposed to be one piece wood but It’s four but that’s ok seeing as I paid £85 with shipping for it. They also don’t say what the wood is but again the price!

    For my affinity tele I changed pretty much everything. New pots, 4 way switch, wiring, scratch plate from white to black and knobs, control plate and pickups.
    Only thing I didn’t change are the bridge and tuners but I may do that at some point.
    You don’t have to spend a fortune to get halfway decent kit for your guitar, you can do it ok a budget. You’ll be surprised what you can do and how much you’ll enjoy it too :)

    Almost finished with the kit, just have to wire everything up and fit the new nut and I’m good to go!
     

    Attached Files:

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  13. TheLondonRiots

    TheLondonRiots TDPRI Member

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    Well the pots feel different, much smoother, and the switch feels more substantial, I'm more confident that the jack won't dislodge... but to be fair I could easily have left it all in place.
    I just wanted to play around with a few mods.
    I had a set of Grover tuners so they went on and are a definite upgrade (stock ones were okay though), the pickups are always going to be the main difference I guess.
    I even put an Orange Drop cap in, but I've no idea how you would ever notice a difference...
    I guess the point is that Bullets and Affinities are great platforms to learn on - I wouldn't dare mess about with my '74 Tele for instance.
    Have fun with it, especially the fun for a new guitar!
     
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  14. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    This is the same diagram I was going to suggest ;) Color codes in the diagram will match the Little '59. If you decide on a Chopper T, instead, I can translate the diagram to Dimarzio colors for you - they are different.
     
  15. BackwaterJunction

    BackwaterJunction TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for this. It's always great to hear from someone genuine that an inexpensive guitar can become a really usable instrument with a bit of work. It's always difficult to tell with youtube reviews that usually try to sell you something...
     
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  16. BackwaterJunction

    BackwaterJunction TDPRI Member

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    Some day, I'm going to have to try one of those Thomann kits. Yours looks like it's come along really well, get that wiring in and rock on!

    You seem to be right about not having to spend a fortune. Found online that I can get an Oak Grigsby 3 way, CTS 250k pots, a 0.022 Orange drop, a Switchcraft Jack and treble bleed kit all as a prepared kit for £30 with a few pennies of change. Might have to chuck those in the Affinity whilst I'm at it
     
  17. BackwaterJunction

    BackwaterJunction TDPRI Member

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    I'd bet the Grovers felt amazing. Weighing up whether I cam justify a new set of tuners for the Affinity; might be one for a bit further down the line I think when I assess the quality that's already there. I think the point you raise of the feel of components is definitely something I'll consider too!
     
  18. BackwaterJunction

    BackwaterJunction TDPRI Member

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    Thanks! I'm thinking I'll go for the Little '59 on this ocassion, but I am open to trying a Chopper T down the line!
     
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  19. TheLondonRiots

    TheLondonRiots TDPRI Member

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    Yep I was fortunate in that a mate offered the Grovers up to me for free. The stock tuners on the Bullet will do a job, they seemed decent enough.
    To be honest, I was amazed at how good the guitar sounded stock. The setup was half decent too, and after 10 mins on the bench it was singing.
    I bought it in Hanks on Denmark Street, they had three in stock and I tried them all. I picked the one that felt right to me, so hopefully you'll be able to try a few out.
    Best advice I could give is to buy a steel ruler, a capo and some feeler gauges (like about £10 total) and have a look at Fender's online resources about setting up a Tele. Buy an Affinity or Bullet that speaks to you, set it up properly then start thinking about mods.
    Cheap guitars used to be ****e, not any more... 20200914_170303.jpg
     
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  20. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    If doing a rail type humbucker the 3-way switching diagrams you have to split coils is a good option.
    I have a full humbucker in my Esquire and I use a 4-way switch with a 4-conductor lead so I wire the humbucker like a typical two pickup Tele on a 4-way switch. North/South coils separate tones as I lowered the pickup and raised the screw poles. Then parallel and series options. Very versatile.

    As for your guitar .. You'll see a thousand recommendations for mods. The ones I'd suggest are going the minimal path:

    -Swap pots, switch, jack for the usual branded culprits. Bend the lugs of the switch 'up' so they don't contact the floor of the thinner Squier body cavity.

    -Nashua aluminum flashing tape shielding in the cavities.

    -Shielded cable from the volume pot to the jack, the typical two wires pick up noise.

    -'fettle' the nut and setup, check frets for level and level if needed to fix buzz. The Indonesian Squiers are quite good now so you may not need to do anything.

    -'Bubba mod' (search the forum for how to) the stock bridge for three brass saddles if you want, you can get the saddles off ebay/etc for a few dollars.

    Generally the pickups are quite good. No one thinks they are because of the price but the Indonesian pickup factory has gotten quite good with the. Lower the pickups to get better tone (you're putting in a humbucker Esquire but a note for your next guitar).

    If you have a tone you don't like when you get done with the guitar:
    -adjust pickup heights up/down/tip
    -swap pots 'n caps, they push the tone even when the knobs are dimed
    -last swap pickups and go back to the top of the list.

    .
     
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