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How to fix the intonation problem on the Squier Bullet Mustang HH


This is a cool little guitar, but it has an intonation problem. This is how to fix it.

Since the Squier Bullet Mustang HH's launch, a ton of people have bought one and continue to do so. Why? Because it's one of the best cheap guitars there is.

This Mustang is a simple hardtail (meaning no whammy bar) with a 24.0" short scale. Kids as well as adults can handle this guitar with no problem at all. It's a very easy playing instrument...

...except it has one problem. Setting proper intonation. Out of the box, it can't do it.

I'll explain what the problem is and the simple ways you can fix it.

What happens on the Bullet Mustang is that you're going to have one or two strings that can't be intonated correctly. Specifically, what occurs is that you will tighten the screws, things will be okay, but then uh-oh, problem. The intonation screw is now poking through the string saddle and actually touching the string, ruining the sound of it.

Naturally, you back off the screw so it doesn't touch the string. But that doesn't solve anything. Now you can't intonate the string.

Fix #1: Shorten the screw by filing it

The screw needs to be shortened so it's not touching the string. The first way to fix this is to physically take the screw out (after taking off the strings, of course) and file down the screw. This can be done with a metal file.

Fix #2: Use washers on the back of the bridge

The Bullet Mustang HH is a top-loader guitar where the strings are installed through the back of the bridge. If filing down an intonation screw is something you're not comfortable doing, the alternative is to simply add washers that the screw goes through before tightening it to the bridge.

Take one of the intonation screws to your local hardware store (e.g. Home Depot, Lowe's, etc.), go to where the washers are sold and find the right size that fits the screw. Buy a dozen washers as it's always good to have extras and they're cheap.

When you get back home, add washers to the intonation screw. You'll have to guess how many you'll need to use. Maybe you'll need just one, maybe three, maybe more.

Once you have them installed, this will back off the intonation screw when you go to adjust it, allowing you to tighten it to the point where you get the correct pitch on an intonation test without that screw touching the string.

Appearance considerations

Do the washers look ugly? I guarantee you that nobody will ever notice it. However, if you're a stickler for a proper uniform look, just add the same amount of washers to every intonation screw. If for example you add 3 washers to one screw, add 3 to all of them. Doing this will make the washers look like they were part of the guitar originally.

Alternatively, you could just go with Fix #1 above and file down the screw instead once you figure out how much you need to shorten the screw based on how many washers you use.

However you go about it, doing either fix will finally allow you to intonate the Bullet Mustang HH properly.

Why does this intonation issue happen with the Bullet Mustang?

It's mainly because of the 24.0" short scale. Were it a 25.5" scale, that extra scale length would eliminate the problem. This is why the Squier Affinity Telecaster (also a top-loader) with its 25.5" scale never has this issue and the Bullet Mustang with its 24.0" scale does.

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