Modding The John 5 Squier - Difficult and Frustrating!

Discussion in 'Squier Tele Forum' started by Night Prowler, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. Night Prowler

    Night Prowler Tele-Meister

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    Not a fan of the mirror guard on my J5 Squier so I wanted to change it. You would think it should be simple to change. But then I noticed that the cutout for the bridge on the stock pickguard on the J5 is more shallow than the one on a standard Telecaster. This must be due to the bridge plate on the J5 being a bit shorter than standard. So installing a regular pickguard will leave a larger than average gap between pickguard and the bridge which won't look right. While I'm aware custom pickguards can be made I'd rather not go that route. So I figured what about changing the bridge?

    I was looking online and found this rather crude drawing of the stock bridge on the John 5 Squier. The humbucker Tele bridges I've come across like This One from Guitar Fetish, all seem to have 5 mounting screws (3 at the base and 2 in front of the humbucker on each side). As you can see in the drawing below, the bridge on the John 5 only has 4 mounting screws (all at the base). So those type bridges with five mounting screws are not going to be a direct swap and will require drilling all new mounting holes. Don't want to go that route, either.

    I'm looking for any help or advice. I'm not even sure what the string spacing is on the John 5 bridge but it seems that its made specific for this guitar, as is the pickguard, which makes mods difficult. :(



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  2. Whoa Tele

    Whoa Tele Friend of Leo's

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    This info is good to know. I was looking at picking one of these up and popping some tv jones in it but I'm not a fan of the pick guard either. Also, thes Gtrs. Seem to run on the heavy side.
     
  3. crossroader

    crossroader Tele-Afflicted

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    I wasn't thrilled with the mirror guard, either.
    I ordered a black paisley "HB Tele" guard from WD and have no issues with it, at all.

    I'll have a look when I get home tonight, but I don't recall the "larger than normal gap" being anything that was all that noticeable. Obviously hasn't bothered me, since I've been playing it this way for a few years, now. I get compliments on the new look, too.

    BTW - I love this guitar. Yeah, it's easily the heaviest Tele I own...probably the heaviest I've ever owned, but it still feels great and sounds amazing.
     
  4. Night Prowler

    Night Prowler Tele-Meister

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    Hey crossroader, I'd really like to see a pic of your guitar with the black paisley "HB Tele" guard from WD installed, if you don't mind.

    So to see exactly what I'm talking about regarding the difference in pickgaurds, look at any normal Tele pickguard and notice how the bridge-cutout area is just about as deep as the control-plate's cutout. Now look at the J5 pickguard and you'll see the difference in that it's much shallower and not cut as deep as the control-plate's cutout.

    Here's a look at the J5 for reference and note how the control plate cutout goes deeper into the pickguard than the cutout for the bridge. Normal Tele pickguards are not like that as both cutouts are about the same depth. That means installing a normal pickguard will leave a sizeable gap between the guard and the bridge. Not a big deal to some I guess but not the look I'm going for.

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  5. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Buy PG stock that you like

    Trace old PG onto it

    Cut it out with jigsaw, leaving 1/8" or so extra

    Stick existing guard onto it with double-sided tape

    Route new guard

    Drill some holes through the original holes

    Unstick old PG

    Profit!

    It's a short afternoon's job.
     
  6. Night Prowler

    Night Prowler Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the suggestion. If I had a drill press and the skill and patience and a router and...

    To take an afternoon to roll your own would be great for someone that likes to do that kind of modding. But not all of us want to take on the tedious time-consuming undertaking to construct a custom made pickguard, myself included. Although I'm sure it would feel very rewarding and the pride factor astronomical as I boasted to my friends, I just cant see myself doing all that.

    I'd still like to know if there's a bridge that's an easy swap to possibly resolve the gap issue. Again, please refer to the drawing in my first post.
     
  7. crossroader

    crossroader Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't have a close-up N-P, but here's a shot of me with my updated J5.

    I had it out for rehearsal last night and there is a bit more of a gap with the WD guard, but like I said before, it's really nothing that looks that odd - at least not to me. Especially since the new guard has a lot of black in it.

    Anyway, here's a look - see if it might be acceptable for you.
    JPT-J5-2012.jpg
     
  8. Night Prowler

    Night Prowler Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the pic but I really wish you had a better/larger close-up picture (note the pic I posted). I do appreciate it but the pic you posted is quite small and your hand is covering half the guard and its just plain hard to see the area I'm interested in seeing with any detail.
     
  9. crossroader

    crossroader Tele-Afflicted

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    Sorry - it's the only picture I have available, right now.

    I thought you were interested in the area between the top of the bridge plate and the pick guard cut out, which is visible (albeit a little small).

    FWIW, the original mirror guard was within 1/8" or so of the bridge plate. The gap with the new guard is roughly 3/8".
    The pickup cutout (covered by my hand) is the same as the original. The bridge plate cutout on the top side (also covered by my hand) is the same as the lower side - it angles out a bit and comes pretty close to the top corners of the plate.
    Hope this helps.
     
  10. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .
    I have one of these and the silver is flaking off the back (bought it that way from a previous owner, who said his band mates hated when he played it because the stage light reflections blinded them). Looks like a mirror cow print. I have considered scraping the rest off and putting wallpaper under it.

    Find a hardware store that carries vinyl shelf paper and select a pattern you like (there is a black that looks good), stick that on and use a razor to trim around everything. Later you can peel it off and put a different color on it. Easy.

    I changed the tone cap to a high voltage 0.033uF model and the tone really improved on mine. The jack cup wobbled when I got it and I tried the compression tricks to seat the retainer but gave up and just did a pseudo electrosocket trick on it; drilled two holes inside at an angle outward and fastened it with screws - rock solid now.
     
  11. hellopike

    hellopike Tele-Afflicted

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    Here are my two Telecasters, as you can see the space between the bridge and pg are different on both and I've never really thought much about it until now. And in fact I I do think about it prefer the wider space on the blonde guitar. I think you're going to get lots of variations with all the different bridges, bodies, an pickguards. I personally wouldn't sweat a few extra 8ths of an inch of finish showing between the bridge and guard... But that's just me. Good luck.
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  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The question of four screw HB bridge alternatives has been asked many times, and the results are generally the same; not many options, none to solve your J5 problem.
    The basic problem with a HB bridge is that in order to cover the HB mounting tabs the plate needs to be wider than a stock Tele bridge plate.

    The question of the J5 guard is less common, but probably has the same answer.
    If you and other J5 players can't find a replacement guard with the custom J5 shape, you'll need to pay to have one made for you, make one yourself, live with the bigger gap, or live with the stock guard.

    I agree that there are times when the huge Tele parts aftermarket industry fails us, I guess this is one of them.

    Write to GFS and maybe they'll order a batch of J5 guards?
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
  13. Night Prowler

    Night Prowler Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the straight answer and it seems you're right, there is no easy solution to the J5 pickguard swap. I kind of knew going in there may be some issues with modding but I didn't think a pickguard change would be one of them. But after doing more research it appears your list of resolutions seems painfully true; pay to have one made for you, make one yourself, live with the bigger gap, or live with the stock guard. So be it. :neutral:


    Thanks for the nice close-up pics. Personally I prefer the nice tight look of the guard on your red guitar. That's how it should look, IMHO.

    Ideally I would have liked to seen a better close-up pic of crossroader's guitar as it would've clearly shown how big the gap really is compared to a normal Tele. I'm thinking it would likely show a much larger gap than the gap on your blonde guitar. But I guess we'll never know for sure unless someone else has made the change and wants to share.
     
  14. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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  15. Diamond Dave

    Diamond Dave Tele-Meister

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    I'd just remove the existing pick guard, spray paint it the color you want, the matte clear coat it and reinstall.
     
  16. jsewi1

    jsewi1 TDPRI Member

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    Here are my 2... one I used a wilkinson bridge, Esquire PG and a pickup ring... The bridge was in really bad shape... I had to change it... the wilkinson mounting holes lined up perfect... I wish I had a model number of it.. but it was something I had in my parts drawer and I can't remember where it came from... the other has the original bridge and a All Parts Esquire PG... Hope this helps with a good picture of the Gap issue when changing a PG on a J5....
     

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  17. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Is the original PG clear plastic with a reflective backing? If so, is it paint or a mylar sheet? Is it stuck on with adhesive or fused to the clear part? I wonder if you could remove the backing and paint the underside some other color...
     
  18. crossroader

    crossroader Tele-Afflicted

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    Here you go, Night Prowler - close of the stock J5 bridge plate with a "standard" Humbucker Telecaster pick guard from WD:

    DSCN4601 - Copy.jpg
     
  19. crossroader

    crossroader Tele-Afflicted

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    Might be the best solution if anything but that "factory fit" is unacceptable.

    OR, send a photocopy of the original guard to a custom shop (WD, or whoever you like) and have one made.
     
  20. Tuxedo Poly

    Tuxedo Poly Tele-Afflicted

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    My original J5 pg is solid stainless steel. It made a great template to cut a single ply plastic replacement with a fret saw.
     

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