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Squier tuner replacements

After over 20 years of faithful service, the high-E tuner on my 1989 Squier II Stratocaster doesn't work anymore. The tuner button doesn't turn the post anymore because it simply wore out due to age.

Getting exact replacement tuners for a Squier Strat/Stratocaster isn't exactly easy, and here's why:

Back of pegboard on my 2010 Squier Bullet Strat:


Back of pegboard on my 1993 Fender Stratocaster USA Standard:


As you can see, they're not the same at all. The Squier tuners mount via two small wood screws on the back of the pegboard while the Fender tuners mount on the front of the pegboard via a single nut.

What this means is that you can't just walk into a guitar shop and buy exact-fit Squier tuners because they simply won't have them. Yes, you can buy exact-fit Fender tuners, but they won't fit the Squier.

My '89 Squier II Stratocaster is nearly identical to the 2010 Squier Bullet Strat:


Something a lot of people don't know about my Squier II tuners is that they're plastic. The high-E as you can see literally started to decay after years of use. That's not dirt you see, that's tuner rot; it happens with any guitar that has plastic tuner buttons. Squiers all have metal tuner buttons these days, but back in the late 80s/early 90s there were Squier Stratocasters aplenty that donned the plastic buttons.

I can still tune the string by taking a pair of pliers and turning the post, but the tuner button itself won't turn the post at all because it's literally falling apart.

I measured the spacing of the posts and the screw hole spacing between the '89 and the 2010 Squier and they appear to be identical. If not identical, they're only off by maybe a millimeter or less, so they should fit.

When you look at the '89 and 2010 side by side, the tuners may look different...

image image

...but they're not except for cover shape. The '89 has a hexagon cover shape while the 2010 has a square, but both of them at the plate are parallelogram-shaped and the screw holes appear to match up exactly. The hexagon covers on the '89 actually gives the optical illusion that they're larger than the 2010's tuners, but they're not.

I was in luck as someone on eBay was selling Squier Bullet tuners that are exact-fit:


They're brand new and only cost me $12.90 with shipping included for a full set of 6.

I bought them today, so hopefully they'll arrive before the end of the week.

There is a slight possibility these tuners won't fit my '89. Even though the measurements check out, you can never be too sure with these things.

I see it this way - it's worth 13 bucks to find out whether this will work or not. If not, I have a complete spare set of tuners for my 2010 Squier.

Published 2011 Aug 1

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