Proper Care of Your Squier® by Fender® Stratocaster® Guitar and Controller
Your Squier by Fender Stratocaster Guitar and Controller is precision-crafted to give you years of exciting gameplay and musical enjoyment. As with all musical instruments—electric guitars in particular—occasional maintenance will go a long way toward keeping it in great condition for many years to come. Since your Squier by Fender Stratocaster Guitar and Controller works as a fully functional electric guitar, here are a few tips for proper care:
Proper Setup for Your Squier by Fender Stratocaster Guitar and Controller
Your Squier by Fender Stratocaster Guitar and Controller works as a fully functional electric guitar. It’s worth noting here that electric guitars are machines, and as such they benefit from and occasionally require periodic setup adjustments in order to maintain peak performance. Please feel free to familiarize yourself with several of the adjustments listed here regarding strings, tuning, truss rod adjustment, bridge adjustments (string height and intonation) and pickup height.
The Squier by Fender Stratocaster Guitar and Controller is designed for use only with strings of .009 to .042 gauge. Heavier strings may damage the instrument. The warranty is void if strings of a heavier gauge than .009 to .042 are installed.
The Squier by Fender Stratocaster Guitar and Controller is designed for use only with nickelplated steel strings. Pure nickel and stainless steel strings will not have good tracking results and should not be used. For optimum tracking results, use only Fender 250 nickel-plated steel strings, gauges .009 to .042 (part number 073-0250-403). There is no better, faster and easier way to reinvigorate the sound of an electric guitar than by simply changing the strings. It’s easy to tell when strings are old, worn or dirty, because they’ll sound dull and lifeless, look corroded, and feel rough to the touch. The electrical conductivity of the Squier® by Fender® Stratocaster® Guitar and Controller's strings can be compromised when they accumulate excessive dirt or wear. You might also find that gameplay can be affected by inaccurate tracking, and that some notes will be missed or dropped.
To ensure top performance from your Squier by Fender Stratocaster Guitar and Controller, make sure to change your strings on a regular basis. See your Fender dealer to purchase replacement Fender nickel-plated steel strings.
Tuning the strings of the Squier by Fender Stratocaster Guitar and Controller isn’t strictly necessary for gameplay, although it is recommended. Tuning is necessary, however, when playing it through an amplifier.
Tuning is easily accomplished using an electronic tuner, which you might want to purchase (many are small and inexpensive). Simply plug the Squier by Fender Stratocaster Guitar and Controller into an electronic tuner and tune up as you would with any electric guitar. With the volume all the way up, pluck an open string or its 12th-fret harmonic to produce the clearest tone for the tuner (a harmonic is a chime-like tone produced by lightly touching the string at specific points with a fretting hand fingertip and plucking the string with the other hand; the 12th fret harmonic is used for tuning). Note that pressing down too hard with the fretting hand will “choke” the string and mute the sound. With a little practice, however, the light touch needed to sound the harmonic tone is easily developed.
TRUSS ROD ADJUSTMENT
The truss rod is the unseen device inside the neck of a guitar that counteracts the bending force caused by string tension and maintains proper neck “relief” (curvature). A properly adjusted neck will have a moderate amount of relief in order to accommodate the vibration of the strings.
To measure neck relief, two tools are needed—a capo (a small movable bar placed across the fingerboard of a guitar or similar instrument so as to raise the pitch of all the strings uniformly) and a set of automotive feeler gauges (.002-.025). The amount of relief is determined by fixing the capo to the first fret, fretting the low E string at the last fret and measuring the distance from the bottom of the low E string to the top of the eighth fret (the fret wire itself, not the fingerboard) using the feeler gauges. This distance should be about .010”. Further, when sighting down the neck from the body end toward the headstock, you should be able to see if the neck is straight or bowed. If there is too much relief or none at all, the truss rod should be adjusted.
Your new Squier by Fender Stratocaster Guitar and Controller has a unique hex nut truss rod adjustment mechanism, easily accessible through the small hole in the side of the neck just below the 20th fret (see diagram below).
Truss Rod Adjustment
If the neck is too concave, insert the 3mm hex wrench supplied with the Squier® by Fender® Stratocaster® Guitar and Controller into the hex nut and turn it toward the battery holder, clockwise a quarter-turn at a time until the relief is correct. If the neck is too convex, insert the 3mm hex wrench into the hex nut and turn it toward the headstock, counter-clockwise a quarter-turn at a time until the relief is correct (see diagrams below). You can double check your adjustments by measuring the eighth-fret gap again with the feeler gauges and by sighting down the neck again.
Convex Neck Relief
Concave Neck Relief
If you meet excessive resistance or if you’re simply not comfortable performing these measurements and adjustments yourself, you can always take your Squier by Fender Stratocaster Guitar and Controller to your Fender dealer for assistance.
BRIDGE ADJUSTMENTS (STRING HEIGHT AND INTONATION)
The bridge is where the strings are attached to the body end of the Squier by Fender Stratocaster Guitar and Controller, as is the case with all electric guitars. Two important adjustments can be made at the bridge—string height and intonation.
String height is mostly a matter of personal preference, although a distance of about 4/64” (1.6 mm) from the bottom of each string to the top of the 17th fret is recommended when the instrument is more or less in tune. This distance can be measured using a small ruler with 1/64” increments. The individual bridge saddles are easily adjusted up or down using the included small hex wrench. Please note that string height and pickup height are factory-set for optimal performance; if you change string height significantly, pickup height must also be reset (see “Pickup Height” below).
“Intonation” refers to a precise series of measurements regarding proper string length and how accurately each string plays in tune along the entire length of the neck. The intonation on your Squier by Fender Stratocaster Guitar and Controller is factory-set and, under normal circumstances, shouldn’t require adjustment. As strings age, however, their intonation can deteriorate—if your Squier by Fender Stratocaster Guitar and Controller doesn’t play in tune, start by installing a fresh set of strings. If tuning problems persist, please contact your Fender dealer.
The pickup height of your Squier® by Fender® Stratocaster® Guitar and Controller is factory set for maximum sensitivity for Rock Band™ 3 gameplay. As previously noted, significant string height changes will require pickup height adjustment.
To determine and properly adjust pickup height, fret the low E string at the 22nd fret and measure from the top of the pickup to the bottom of the string using a small ruler with 1/64” increments; the distance should be no more than 1/16” (1.6 mm). Repeat this measurement for the high E string. To raise the pickup accordingly, simply turn the two Philips-head screws on either side of the pickup clockwise. To lower the pickup, turn the screws counterclockwise.