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Mini-Stratocaster: Help me ye setup gurus!


u6crash
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Purchased a Squier Mini-Strat for my niece for her birthday. I'm not expecting the thing to be perfect, but if there are some little things I can do to make it a little more consistent, that would be awesome.

Impressions out of the box: It isn't great a keeping in tune. Strings on it have some corrosion. I'm going to switch to a set of 10-46s. I would kind of like to polish the frets a bit, but not sure if I have the right stuff (or where it is at).

Action is not too bad. Intonation is not as awful as I thought it would be. I'll tackle it more when I get the new strings, but the D string was most off.

I wonder if the tuning instability is mostly in the tuners themselves. If so, I have a set of All Parts tuners that I might try to drop in there. Kind of want to get some thoughts on that before I go ripping tuners of a guitar. The ones I have are staggered height vintage style (7880-001 if anyone cares) and no telling if they would fit until I take off the old ones.

Bought an Orange Crush 20 for it and man...I kind of like it. I don't have a lightweight solid state practice amp anymore, but this almost makes me want to get one.

IMG_20210625_075050.jpg

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3 hours ago, u6crash said:

I did read that somewhere after posting this. I might go as far as trying to cut a new nut for it. I have some nut files somewhere...I think.

It really does work and it's way easier to mess with than graphite. I use it on my bigsby'd guitar sometimes.  Got that tip from Chet Atkins.

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On 6/25/2021 at 7:54 AM, u6crash said:

I'm going to switch to a set of 10-46s.

Yeah, I'm late to this party, but...remember these mini-strats are short scale, 10-46 strings will be very loose in my opinion. I bought my daughter one and put 11's on it. I haven't really noticed any issues with my daughter's mini, action is decent and the little thing is comfortable and fun to play. The short scale means bends and heavy hand vibrato is really easy compared to a standard-scale guitar. 

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On 6/25/2021 at 3:56 PM, mrbrown49 said:

It really does work and it's way easier to mess with than graphite. I use it on my bigsby'd guitar sometimes.  Got that tip from Chet Atkins.

I remember reading that somewhere years ago, and had occasion to actually do it once. I typically use graphite [or baby powder* in a pinch...do not pinch the babies!]

 

*I'm always concerned, due to labeling laws, that there must be some small % of baby in there, right?

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Good advice so far. Tuners are rarely responsible for poor tuning stability. If necessary, replace the cheap plastic nut with TUSQ or something similar. And yes, go with 11's or even heavier. A beginner is going to be ham fisted anyway, making it more likely she'll pull the strings sharp.

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