Monday, March 30, 2009

Parts != Parts

So, I have been trying to fix up a couple of Squier Super-Sonics. Basically, I want to replace some corroded parts and put them back to stock. One of them has a weird set of third-party string trees. One has some of the bridge saddle height adjustment screws that were corroded, turned upside down and re-cut to take a flat head driver. There are a bunch of rusted, stripped pickguard and tremolo cover screws. The tremolo cover on one is stained with rust. Some knobs are chewed up. One of them has a three-way toggle switch that looks like it was deliberately cut off. The pots on two of them are in very bad shape and may need more than a spray cleaner.

I determined that the bridge of these is really a Fender American Stratocaster bridge, or at least made to the same specs, so the replacement tremolo arms and saddles from Fender made for that line fits perfectly. But the other parts?

Chrome pickguard screws/tremolo cover screws: they are just slightly wider and shorter than Fender screws. Because the screws are just slightly different, the tremolo cover is just slightly different too (the screw holes and the bevel around them is different).

Knobs: the kobs on the Super-Sonic look almost identical to the knobs from a Fender Precision bass, but the Fender knobs don't fit quite right. They are shaped slightly differently; the Fender parts have a set-screw, while the Super-Sonic part is press-fit. I suspect that they are the same knobs as the Japanese Mustang reissues, but I don't know that for certain.

String trees: Stratocaster string trees don't fit. Apparently the Super-Sonic parts have specially-sized screws and plastic spacers.

Three-way-toggle: not only is the replacement part not the same as the Super-Sonic part, but the Strat part won't even fit in the routed cavity.

So, I am now the owner of a bunch of Fender replacement pickguard screws, two toggle switches, a tremolo cover, two replacement pots, and some Precision bass knobs which I can't use.

And I'm deeply annoyed.

This seemed like a simple project, a quick and easy replacement for some of the damaged parts in order to make the instrument look as close to mint and close to stock as possible.

Wikipedia claims that a toggle switch for a Les Paul can be used, but after looking at the routing, I think that part is unlikely to fit.

Several scattered sources claim that these were built with American Stratocaster parts, but that really seems to be only true of the bridge and tremolo and possibly the tuners, and doesn't extend to any of the other parts.

Does anyone know where I could even find parts for these instruments?

UPDATE: it seems likely that the differences in things like pickguard screws might be as simple as the fact that we still haven't gone metric. I've been waiting on that promised move to metric ever since I was in grade school!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Am Not Dead, and Here is Skullcrusher Mountain

Please forgive my lack of blogging. Things have gotten just slightly crazier since baby Joshua came home from the hospital, and I have just that much less free time. I have also been distracted by a little thing called Twitter, and some of the time I might have spent blogging has been spent Twittering instead. I don't ultimately want to be only a twit, though, thinking only in 140-character squirts, and so I will endeavor to blog more often.

Meanwhile, I finally got fed up with making any more changes to the Skullcrusher Mountain mix, and so called it final. Here is the MP3 file (link to, where you can download the file, or play it directly). If anyone would like it in FLAC, let me know.

Jonathan Coulton was kind enough to write about us in this blog entry where he commented "It sounds like a party is what it sounds like, a big internet party." That's exactly what it was, just in slow motion, with people I've never met in person, and involving a lot of endless debate over how to mix the finished product. But it was a great experience! I have continued to record parts for future mixes including two guitar parts and a bass part for "My Monkey," which is being mixed by someone else, and I am playing around with parts for "Creepy Doll" and "Shop Vac" as time allows -- that is, very, very intermittently.

Credits for this particular mix of "Skullcrusher Mountain:"

Bry: Instigator

Joe "Covenant" Lamb: Spoken and Sung Lead Vocals, Ego, White Gold

Charlotte McIntosh: "Miley Cyrus-Style" Bridge Duet and Backing Vocals

Ian "Bigcambridge" Schwartz: Unison and Harmony Backing Vocals

Colleen "Colleenky" Kennedy: Unison and Harmony Backing Vocals, Geek Wrangler

Caleb "voidptr": Soprano, Tenor, and Bass Recorders, LaLa Chorus and Unison Backing Vocals

Dave "H4WK" Scheck: Octave Electric Guitar, Lead Wisperer

Mick "Lunacy" Bordet: Theremin, Electric Bass

Jarrett "SpaceParanoids" Heather: Stylophone

"bobsmitt": Digital Drums

Paul R. Potts: Drone Electric Guitar, Nylon-String Guitars, Additional Electric Bass, Editing, Mixing