2013 Squier Bullet Stratocaster Electric Bouzouki Conversion

Post updated entirely October 2020...

I received this guitar as a trade-in in January and promptly set-about modding it into a 3-course, DAD-tuned, bouzouki-like instrument. I'm a fan of Alec Finn's zouk playing with Celtic outfits, and he's used this same tuning for decades. It's not as deep as a 4-course Celtic-style zouk or octave mandolin but it has all the chime and springiness that I like to hear from a zouk.

Recently, I swapped-out its original Strat-style pickups and load-out for a new pickguard and GFS double-lipstick humbucker pickup. The Alnico bar-magnet design of the pickups works better with string-to-string balance and it has that chimey, kerrangy, clean and hi-fi sound that I was looking for out of this. I think this swap-up has really "made" the instrument, to be honest. It sounds like itself, now. In addition, I put a coil-tap switch in place so one can get a "true blue" single-coil lipstick tone out of it, too.

Repairs included: modding the bridge to allow 3 Telecaster-style saddles and a top-load string configuration, modding the nut for 3x2 stringing, install of a new pickguard, pickup, and wiring harness (500k volume pot, mini-coil-tap switch, Switchcraft jack, shielded), new Gotoh Kluson-style tuners at the headstock, and a good setup.

Setup notes: the neck is straight, the truss rod works, and action is spot-on at 1/16" overall at the 12th fret. It plays fast and easy. String gauges are 26w-14-10 low to high, doubled. I have the strings mounted so they "wrap around" the spring-loaded adjustment screw of each saddle. It's not necessary to keep the strings aligned in the chosen slots but it does make them much more "rigid in place" if strung this way.

Scale length: 25 1/2"

Nut width: 1 5/8"

String spacing at nut: 1 1/4"

String spacing at bridge: 1 7/8"

Body length: 18"

Lower bout width: 12 3/4"

Side depth at endpin: 1 1/2"

Body wood: basswood

Fretboard: rosewood

Bridge: original but modded for 3-saddle load

Neck feel: slim C-shape, 9.5" board radius

Neck wood: maple

Weight: 5 lb 12 oz

Condition notes: obviously, it's been modified. The hardware is all better-quality than what was on it, though. It's pretty clean throughout save for a couple side bumps near the strap button on the lower bout and one longer finish crack on the back next to the tremolo plate. Said tremolo/whammy bridge has been adjusted to "locked" on the surface of the body, but there's no reason it couldn't be made to float so it works with a bar correctly.