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Squier Cabronita Tele Bridge swap

Discussion in 'Squier Tele Forum' started by CJMann, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. CJMann

    CJMann TDPRI Member

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    From reading threads about the Squier Cabronita it seems as if the general feeling is that it's a great guitar for the money but that the bridge is perhaps one of the places where quality has been compromised to hit the price point.

    So I decided to swap out the standard bridge for the Hardtail hipshot style bridge sold by www.axecaster.co.uk.

    I thought it might be useful to others to document the process of doing this. It turned out to be a reasonably easy job, even for a total amateur at guitar modding like me!

    Here's the original bridge:

    [​IMG]

    Here’s the Hipshot bridge alongside the original. It’s pretty much the same size, but has three fixing holes under the saddles instead of the five arranged around the edges on the original bridge:

    [​IMG]

    After removing the strings and unscrewing the original bridge, we can see the string-through-body holes and the earthing wire that sits under the bridge.

    [​IMG]

    Lining up the new bridge over the string-through holes we can see that the new bridge covers the old screw holes quite neatly; there is just enough room for a new screw hole to be drilled for the centre fixing between the old middle screw hole and the string-through holes. I removed the saddles to make it easier to align the new bridge with the string-through holes and mark the positions for drilling the new screw-holes.

    [​IMG]

    Tip: drop the old fixing screws into the string-through holes to help keep the new bridge aligned while you mark the body through the three new fixing holes.

    Find a drill-bit of a suitable size to match the shank of the fixing screw. Mine was a 1/8th inch bit I think, but check it against the screw.

    Wrap some masking tape around the bit as shown to act as a guide so that you drill into the guitar body only far enough to make a hole for the plain shank of the screw, leaving the threaded section to cut its own hole in the wood:

    [​IMG]

    Now drill your three holes keeping the drill as close to vertical as possible:

    [​IMG]

    My drill bit was a bit blunt and some of the poly coat chipped off as I was drilling the middle hole but it will be concealed by the new bridge when fitted.

    Now we can screw the new bridge into place:

    [​IMG]

    And finally we can refit the saddles and string up the guitar!

    [​IMG]

    As I have only just completed the mod I haven't yet had time to set up the guitar properly and evaluate the benefits of the change - but on looks alone I think it's an improvement!

    Also it was good that I didn't need to fill any of the original screw holes in order to fit the new bridge, so it would be simple to refit the stock bridge if I wanted to in the future.

    For folks in the UK, you can get the hardtail hipshot bridge from Axecaster for a very reasonable £18.50.
     
  2. xjbebop

    xjbebop Tele-Meister

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    Is it just me or did the oem bridge line the strings up better..?
     
  3. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

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    looks like the angle of the photos is more significant than any actual difference.
     
  4. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Thanks CJMan!
     
  5. orangeblossom

    orangeblossom Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Thanks for the lesson. Good job.
     
  6. cabron

    cabron TDPRI Member

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    Cool. So, how's your review after you've had time to set up and play it? And how's string alignment and string height?
     
  7. zen-box

    zen-box Tele-Meister

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    If you started with a pilot drill (a smaller 'un) you'd not chew out the finish quite so much.

    You could also stick a bit of masking tape over the body, then use a sharp pencil/fibre tip to mark out where to drill ...
     
  8. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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  9. cabron

    cabron TDPRI Member

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    Gotoh GTC-101

    I've put in a Gotoh GTC-101 (Chrome) in my Squier Cabronita, and the holes align perfectly! That bridge cost me 45 Euros though, so not inexpensive. But it's no fuss and no drilling, as if that bridge was made for this guitar ;)

    Gotoh GTC-101.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
  10. rghill

    rghill Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I am thinking of upgrading the bridge in my Squier Tele Custom. Does the Squier Cabronita use basically the same bridge as the Custom?
     
  11. musicalmartin

    musicalmartin Poster Extraordinaire

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    Gotoh is really high quality though .Worth the money IMHO.I fitted a Gotoh stop tail and bridge to an Epi Dot and it transformed the guitar .
     
  12. sparkletele123

    sparkletele123 Tele-Meister

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    +1 Gotoh products are some of the best.
     
  13. cabron

    cabron TDPRI Member

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    Looks like it should fit. The stock bridge on the Tele Custom looks a lot more like the Gotoh bridge already (fat saddles) than the Cabronita one.
     
  14. savofenno

    savofenno Tele-Afflicted

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    Couldn't you just swap the saddles out rather than change the entire bridge?

    I don`t often say it straight like this, but i feel opener got his Cabronita improved backwards.:twisted: Another story with Gotoh and other really high quality bridges though.
    MIM Fender Cabronitas come with bridge the OP swapped his to, quess that was the idea of whole operation. But now when he has done that, i can only wish his guitar became better.;)

    Edit: i am no longer sure what bridge MIMs come with, i have seen many pics with bridges opener swapped to his guitar, that`s where i have got my wrong (?) idea.:neutral:
    I have Fender bent Strat saddles in 3 of my guitars, like in Old Growth Redwood in my avatar. I like them very much, strings feels to resonate forever on those saddles!:D
     

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  15. xjbebop

    xjbebop Tele-Meister

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    ForumRunner_20131029_175520.jpg
    Mine is stock and I have no problems with it...in fact, I love it!
     
  16. rghill

    rghill Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Thanks for pointing that out... I think I would rather go with the vintage style stamped saddles. Genuine Fender hardtail bridge and vintage saddles (like the one in the OP) can be had for less than $20 shipped on Amazon - I would probably go that route.
     
  17. tomich

    tomich TDPRI Member

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    I was wondering, for those that made the change in the bridge, what was the difference besides in looks and usuability? (I read somewhere that the stock Fender bridge couldn't handle .10's very well.) Did you notice a difference in sound?
     
  18. cabron

    cabron TDPRI Member

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    I admit that the bridge swap might not have been necessary. Did not give the stock bridge much of a chance and swapped immediately. Intonation should be better though because the strings are more fixed, whereas they can move sideways on the stock bridge.

    Mike Eldred said in a Youtube video, that the custom shop version has a stainless steel saddle, which is a good match to the TV Jones pickups. I've bought a Gotoh GTC 101, which is made of brass. Wondering if there is a difference to the Gotoh GTC 102, which is stainless steel. Both fit perfectly.

    I just like to tinker a bit, even if it's not necessary. At least it should not be a downgrade. Next on my list: The S1 switch with the custom shop wiring. The Fidelitrons (not wax potted) can sound a bit shrill with high gain, and I figure the caps will smoothen this out a bit. Maybe not necessary again, but I don't see how it can make it worse ;)
     
  19. tomich

    tomich TDPRI Member

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    Do you know where to get a GTC 102 in Europe? Unfortunately, it looks like Thomann only has the GTC 101.

    Thanks for the insight!
     
  20. cabron

    cabron TDPRI Member

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