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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink Squier Bullet Mustang project

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This beast started out as a POS Squier Bullet Mustang and ended up as an extremely versatile and fun guitar. I bought it as a gift for my younger brother since i wanted to get a cool guitar that i could mod to his specifications.

It was an unacceptable guitar before the modifications , the toggle switch was cutting out and the bridge was rattling a lot. If i hadn't planned to heavily mod it then i definitely would've returned it. But, to be fair, it is a very cheap guitar, and it's pretty much what one could expect for the price.

Neck was salvageable, needed fret polishing and 3 applications of fret board oil. Nut slots had to be deepened. The 12 inch radius is a good thing. And it's not a typical round D Mustang neck, instead it's almost a flat C shape, closer to what might be found on modern shredders. Not traditional, of course, but works very well and facilitates fast playing, bends, and easy chord making.

The Mustang body required routing to accommodate the extra toggle and roller switches. In fact, there was barely enough body depth to allow for the roller switches, especially with the upper control plate so close to the belly/moob cutaway on the back. The body was so thin that we had to scrap the idea of using a Strat style jack. Despite the body being so thin, it still resonates well, and is very comfortable to hold with it's small shape and light weight.

My brother chose to go with a Stetsbar vibrato. I think it's ugly as hell, but it's his guitar. We would've went with a different bridge/tailpiece option but, once again, the body is so thin that the choices were limited. The Stetsbar works okay, it's pitch range is less than my Strat but more than a Jazzmaster tailpiece, dipping down a little over an octave. Overall I think it's overpriced, but my brother says he doesn't regret buying it.

Pick-ups are Squier Bass VI PUs that i bought on craigslist from none other than one of the Mikes from Mike and Mike's Guitar Bar ( the red headed Mike with a JM tattoo on his arm). At first i had no idea who i was talking to, then i got to describing my project, so then he was telling me about a kinda similar white on white, 3 PU Mustang that he had worked on (https://mmguitarbar.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/img_0917-imp.jpg), i instantly recognized the instrument that he was referring to, and then realized who i was speaking with! It was cool to meet him and chat about guitars, he certainly has a passion. The pick ups sound awesome, and are totally beefy in series.

Wiring is custom, loosely inspired by Brian May's "Red Special" in that it can achieve all series and out of phase PU combinations. But to make it a proper surf guitar i also included all parallel combos too, and a strangle switch. We added the Killswitch because my brother also likes to play Buckethead. The master controls are located in the upper control plate, i used two 1 meg mini pots for the rollers. I couldn't have put this thing together without the help of the geniuses over at the Guitarnutz2 forum, their generosity and knowledge of wiring is staggering.

I made a pickguard template out of cardstock and then sent it over to Pickguardian .com. I thought it was a little pricey, and it took over a month to get back, but i think it looks good. I think in the future i'm going to try to make my own. I must admit though, making the template was difficult for me, and required many attempts before i got a satisfactory result, pickguards might seem easy, but can actually be quite difficult, especially if you're a perfectionist.

My brother is happy with his new guitar, so, mission accomplished. It took over a year, off and on, with many set backs, and more money spent on parts/upgrades than the guitar itself, but was well worth it.

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Last edited: Apr 15, 2019 15:15:20

SandBug wrote:

This beast started out as a POS Squier Bullet Mustang and ended up as an extremely versatile and fun guitar. I bought it as a gift for my younger brother since i wanted to get a cool guitar that i could mod to his specifications.

I love what you did with the trem. Very cool build!

The Squier Mustang is a great platform to modify and adapt. Last week we built a similar model for my son. Not quite a surf guitar, but very versatile with the coil splits.

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Frank

Very nice, Frank! Thanks for sharing! I really dig the pickguard and the look of those chrome PU covers.

Indeed, there are many things that make these Bullets a great modding platform, i just wish they were a bit thicker so as to support a Jazzmaster style tailpiece, that was my only complaint.

You and your son make very cool guitars together! Yes, it's amazing how you can get a huge variety of tones with a good wiring scheme, wiring has become my favorite part of building a guitar. And I remember another Mustang-y guitar where you guys used those neat Marauder style pivot switches. I'm looking forward to seeing your next guitar project together!

Cheers,
Dave

Last edited: Apr 15, 2019 15:07:42

Very cool. I've never played a Squier Bullet Mustang, but I figured they would be rather crappy stock but well suited for mods. Easy to spend more on the mods than the base guitar, but then you get something really cool designed to your own specs.

And I may have to keep an eye out for some of those Bass VI pickups.

edwardsand wrote:

Very cool. I've never played a Squier Bullet Mustang, but I figured they would be rather crappy stock but well suited for mods. Easy to spend more on the mods than the base guitar, but then you get something really cool designed to your own specs.

And I may have to keep an eye out for some of those Bass VI pickups.

In fact I was surprised how good the guitar was straight out of the box. Very well dressed frets and after a quick nut job the action was spot on.

Frank

edwardsand wrote:

And I may have to keep an eye out for some of those Bass VI pickups.

Do. They sound awesome. They seem to be the same ohm resistance values as the VM Jaguar guitars, just with a RWRP for the middle, makes for a perfect set. B=11.08 M=6.18 N=5.89

I think when i make one of these tone monsters for myself i'll use a Fender Pure Vintage '65 in the bridge. I already have a set in my VM Jag and they really sound amazing.

Last edited: Apr 16, 2019 12:15:41

I plan to do a baritone build project some day, so I might look for the Bass VI pickups to use in that. I got a Tele body for that project, but I may have to rethink things if I go for those pickups.

Cool! I'll keep my eyes peeled and let you know when i see some floating around.

Btw, my little bro has one of his Squire Bass VIs set up to be a baritone and it sounds really good, as one could imagine those PU are very good for deep yet sparkly tones. Scale length of course is 30 inches, it's tuned B to B, with 13 17 22p 31 41 55.

Hello David! Love what you did to the Bullet Mustang! I have one lying around and have been looking out for a trem system that works on it.
Could you tell me what exact model the Stetsbar is? Thx!

Thanks, Stefan.

Here's a link to the sale... https://reverb.com/item/5876621-stetsbar-luthier-oem-guitar-tremolo-vibrato-nickel

As you can see, it's the "Luthier OEM" version. It works well. I must say though, the guitar neck joint needed to be shimmed after i installed the Stetsbar, and the Stetsbar kit came with a shim that worked perfectly.

Please post your project once you're done!

Cheers.

Last edited: Oct 19, 2019 16:04:44

Thanks David! Although there might be a long stretch of time between the idea and actually doing this:-)

A few more questions:
1. This Stetsbar model includes the bridge am I right?
2. It only requires some more drill holes but no routing or am I missing something?

Thanks for you help!

Stefan

Last edited: Oct 24, 2019 08:43:14

You're welcome Stefan.

  1. You're right. If you look at the reverb listing you'll see the tunomatic style bridge that it comes with. It has a 12 inch radius which matches the neck radius of the Squire Bullet Mustang.
  2. Correct, that model doesn't require routing, you'd just need to add a few drill holes. Now, if you wanted the whole plate to be flush with the body and not have to use a neck shim then you'd need to rout down about 2-3mm the same shape as the tremolo plate, but that's not necessary to make it work. I just put it on without any routing, works fine after i shimmed the neck.

Happy tremming~~~~

SandBug wrote:

Indeed, there are many things that make these Bullets a great modding platform, i just wish they were a bit thicker so as to support a Jazzmaster style tailpiece, that was my only complaint.

I had been wanting a cheap beater Mustang to mod the crap out of and was very excited when the Bullet came out. However when the first reports of the body being too thin for a JM vibrato surfaced I bought a Jay Turser JT-MG instead.

If anybody's interested here's a non exhaustive list of surface mount units I came up with while researching vibrato options for another guitar I didn't want to route:

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Teisco-style vibrato - dirt cheap, very easy to install (5 screws), works quite well in my experience. Lacks a little subtlety maybe. Requires a separate bridge.

photo
Bigsby B5 (and copies) - easy to install. I'm not crazy about its stiffness but aftermarket softer springs can be bought for it. Requires a separate bridge.

photo
Vibramute style unit seen on eBay. No experience with these. Requires a separate bridge.

photo
Guitarfetish X-trem - Looks a lot like a Bigsby but closer in fact to a Teisco-style or a Vibramute. No experience with these. Requires a separate bridge.

photo
Gibson Vibrola - No experience with these but I hear they don't have that much range. Requires a separate bridge.

photo
Duesenberg Les Trem II - Excellent unit, smooth and always returns to pitch. Needs drilling for 2 bushings similar to stopbar ones. Requires a separate bridge. Exists in lefty version.

photo
Stetsbar - No experience with these but SandBug gave plenty of valuable information.

photo
Schaller Les Paul Tremolo - AFAIK, the only one aside from the Stetsbar that doesn't require a separate bridge. A little stiff in my experience but not as much as a stock Bigsby. Needs drilling for 2 bushings similar to stopbar ones. Couldn't see it on the Schaller website so it might be out of production but it can still be found on eBay and Reverb.

Floyd Rose now sells a surface mount vibrato as well, but who'd want that on a Mustang? Mr. Green

Old punks never die... They just become surf rockers.

Last edited: Nov 06, 2019 15:31:43

Yeah I been playing my new white Squire Mustang Bullet all week. Nice mod ideas on here. I found the original set up sounds best with both pickups on.

I leaving mine like it is now being its the best guitar I found for picking out notes and mapping out songs from recordings. Even if you don't modify this guitar its great for just using it to learn new songs with, then pickup a real Mustang for everything else. The Bullet has just weak enough pickups to be just right for what I use it for. I must have picked up 5 new songs in just a few days.

The neck feels unfinished and dry to me, I like finished necks myself, but getting use to this neck now. Its a plain jane guitar for sure. Mine was only 149 dollars and change new, so it is what it is, would make a great student guitar.

Last edited: Nov 06, 2019 21:59:01

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