The Fire Truck Red Strat

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ATLAS GEAR – 1997 SQUIER STRAT by FENDER AFFINITY

The history of a customized 1997 Affinity Squier Strat by Fender. This Affinity Strat comes with a white single ply pickguard a FireTruck Red body with Rosewood Fingerboard and ceramic magnet pickups. According to The Squier Book, the Affinity series started in 1997. They’re not bad for the price of the guitar, but upgrades can turn it into something special. The customization is about shielding the circuit with copper foil (it will help keep out unwanted electrical noise) , repair the Jack connector and the bridge, adjust the tremolo, and new set of Strings and few small parts. Both Squier and Fender Stratocasters come equipped from the factory with .009 to .042 gauge strings, which is considered to be “extra light” or “super light” as far as string weight is concerned. The best string for a Strat is one that has nickel content in it. That type of metal brings out a brightness in the Stratocaster that other strings don’t. Guitar itself is surprisingly well built. I’d say in terms of finish it is very well made indeed. No sharp, unfinished corners, no glue protruding, all frets are smooth to touch, action is of a very pleasant height, and everything is made with attention to detail. Tuners stay in tune surprisingly well.

ORIGIN:

This was a Taiwanese 1997 Affinity Squier Strat, Serial Number YN748154; all Squirers with suffix YN are made by: Y = Yako (Taiwan). The second character refers to the decade N = Nineties (1990’s). And the first number following is the year. So, for example “YN7” = 1997. This form is associated with Made in China Affinitys – Logo on the neck (with the standard body thickness of 45mm/1.75). The real age of this mysterious Affinity Strat has been finally solved. The only way to find out its real age was removing its neck and check stamps, with body displaying 1997. This guitar was bought used in 2009/2010 in a London music store and after was brought to Italy by its owner.

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HISTORICAL NOTES:

Designed back in 1954 by Leo Fender, the “Stratocaster” has become ubiquitous among all electric guitar players across the world. Almost everybody is familiar with the look of the Fender Squier Strat and it has been played by some of the best guitarist in the world.

Because the design of the Fender Squier Stratocaster is so popular, it has also become one of the most copied guitar looks over the past half a century. Back in 1965 Fender bought a US-based string maker named Squier. Fender had produced entry-level electric guitars before but had never modeled them after their popular line of Stratocasters and Telecasters. All of that changed in 1982 when Fender introduced the Fender Squier series of guitars. Fender produces their Squiers overseas (mostly in Asia) and use cost-efficient materials, which is why they are much cheaper than your average Fender.

Some Squier Strats were used by famous musicians (in place of the Fender Strat):

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A Squier Strat was used by “Red Hot Chili Peppers” and now is on display at a Hard Rock Cafè in Cairo.

Another “Red Hot Chili Peppers” Fully Autographed Guitar (A fantastic Squier Affinity series Stratocaster, made in China in 1999, that has been FULLY SIGNED by the iconic funk-rock band’s most famous line-up: Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Chad Smith and John Frusciante, who has been voted the greatest guitarist of the past 30 years by a recent BBC poll and is sadly no longer with the band. All of the signatures are located on the white pickguard, in black marker pen, that truly stand out against the candy red of the guitar’s body – a stunning piece of music memorabilia!). A Chili autographed Squier guitar was quoted online for about 3,500.00 USD.

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Also Mark Knopfler, lead guitarist, lead singer and songwriter for the rock band Dire Straits, used a Squier Strat.

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(Fender,® Squier,® Stratocaster® and Affinity Strat® are registered trademarks of Fender Musical Instrument Company).

 

Squier “Affinity” Strat Features:

MODEL NAME: Squier Strat (Rosewood)

COLOR: Fire Truck Red

SERIES: Squier Affinity Series

BODY: Alder

NECK: Bolt-on Maple Neck

FINGERBOARD: Rosewood, 9.5″ Radius

NUMBER OF FRETS: 22 Medium Jumbo

SCALE LENGTH: 25.5″

HARDWARE: Chrome

MACHINE HEADS: Standard Die-Cast Tuners

BRIDGE: Twin-pivot Tremolo Bridge with Satin-Anodized Saddles

PICKGUARD: 1-Ply White

PICKUPS: 3 Single-Coil Pickups

PICKUP SWITCHING: 5-Position Blade: Position 1. Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Bridge and Middle Pickup, Position 3. Middle Pickup, Position 4. Middle and Neck Pickup, Position 5. Neck Pickup

CONTROLS: Master Volume, Tone 1. (Neck Pickup), Tone 2. (Middle Pickup)

 

RESTORATION AND UPGRADE

This is a nice 29 years old Squier strat guitar. It was in a bad shape as it was sitting for years and nobody tried to restore it. There was dirt, rust and dust all over the guitar and it had a few marks and dents. Its original semi-closed tuners were out and the tremolo block was locked! What was special about it was its maple neck, its finish and the fact is was made in Korea. The neck has a comfortable C profile and it looked easy playable. We couldn’t test the guitar but we were confident it would be a nice project.

First the old rusty strings were removed and the guitar was cleaned. The fretboard and the body were cleaned too and then the pickguard was tired down to test the electronics. The pickups were okay but the volume control was worn out. So the entire pickguard, pickups, and knobs were replaced with new fender parts. The electronic housing was shielded using a special aluminium adhesive tape. The tremolo bridge and the tremolo block with were replaced by a new one.

Once the neck and body were ready, the guitar was tuded up by Oscar and Roby with a new set of 0,009″ strings.

Both Squier and Fender Stratocasters come equipped from the factory with .009 to .042 gauge strings, which is considered to be “extra light” or “super light” as far as string weight is concerned. The best string for a Strat is one that has nickel content in it. That type of metal brings out a brightness in the Stratocaster that other strings don’t. This guitar was tuded up with a set of the famous D’Addario EXL120 – You basically can’t go wrong with a set of these. They suit the Strat very well, keep their brightness for a good long while and they’re always available. Even if you prefer another brand over this one, this should be your “backup brand” just in case the kind you normally buy are out of stock.

The guitar is now fully restored and plays better than ever before! The original colour cleaned up is now a real glossy Fire Truck Red! The sound is pretty amazing too and the guitar is very, very easy to play.

 

Here some pictures of restoration:

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EXTERNAL LINKS AND REFERENCES

Squier Guitars (http://www.squierguitars.com)

Rich’s recommended guitar strings (http://menga.net/richs-recommended-guitar-strings-for-squier-stratocasters)

Fender Forum Serial Numbers: (http://www.fenderforum.com/forum.html?db=&topic_number=631490)

Guitarmigi.it (http://www.guitarmigi.it/_Setup/CmpFndAS.html#cambiocorde)

 

Article and Restoration by Glipkerio

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