A Case Study in an Assault Victim – A Fender Squire Strat – Part I

This article will be abbreviated compared to the usual and customary pieces that I write for this feature. Today I am acting more in the role of my day job of health care provider, except the patient is not a human being, but rather a guitar that was the victim of an unprovoked and brutally vicious and physical assault. This will be a case study of the assessment, treatment and ultimate healing of Mr. SS or purposes of this case study, simply SS.

SS is a Fender Squire Stratocaster, manufactured in Indonesia in the year 2010. Approximately one month ago, SS was the victim of a brutal assault in the home where he resides with his owner.

For reasons still unclear, a now former housemate assaulted SS by brutally throwing him to the ground and stomping on his head, neck and body. The assailant wore heavy work boots that served as the first weapon in this assault.

Then the assailant proceeded to pour an unknown liquid onto SS’s body with the intent of damaging and/or destroying SS’s electronics and thus his ability to speak. It was reported that the fluid was water, however upon my initial examination, when SS was brought to the clinic, I think my nose detected the faint smell of urine.

SS’s owner tried to help SS by performing emergency surgery, opening up SS’s body cavity and drying out his vocal processing center and replacing two severely damaged pots, cleaning up the evidence in the process that would confirm my assessment of the true nature of the second weapon utilized in the assault, the liquid chemical agent in question.

When SS did not respond to the emergency procedure administered by his well-meaning, but only semi-skilled owner, SS was brought to me with the hope that I could administer an adequate healing touch.

After my initial History and Physical that included a thorough question and answer session to assess what aid had been rendered and SS’s owner’s own impressions of the damage, I physically examined SS and made a list of the parts that would need to be acquired in order to make SS whole again.

SS’s owner explained to me that he did not have the money to purchase the new parts that would be required to make SS whole again. I explained that as this was the first Sunday in September, the clinic had a charitable fund that could be used to purchase the necessary parts to heal SS from the most disagreeable, as well as trivial injuries.

I also explained that my fees were also covered by the fund. Additionally, I explained that perhaps we could engage in some elective surgery and enhance SS’s outward appearance as well as acquire some better parts to enhance SS’s voice for the style of music that SS and his owner made together.

After assessing the desired nature of SS’s post-surgical appearance, I began acquiring the parts that would be needed to heal this faithful music making companion to his owner. The list is as follows:

-Hot Rail single coil sized humbucking pickups x3
-Black Pearlesque Pickguard x1
-Push-pull pots for coil splitting as well as volume and tone control x3
-Replacement bridge plate x1
-Output Jack Plate x1
-Output Jack x1
-5-way switch x1
-Setscrew style knobs for pots to allow for secure push-pull function x3
-Trem arm x1
-Locking Tuning Machines x6
-Tusq Nut x1
-Strap Locks x 1 pair
-Missing Pickguard screws xqs
-All outwardly visible parts will be black, unless otherwise noted

Fortunately SS was built with a hardy design and robust materials that his head, neck and body structure were not damaged in the attack. Aside from most of the components that are responsible his voicing capabilities, aka his electronics, tuning machines, nut and bridge plate, the rest of his structures were remarkably intact and undamaged. Most of the damage is internal and the external injuries are difficult to see unless viewed upon a close and thorough examination.

Once the surgery is performed, not only will SS have a more robust voice, but his ability to stay true to singing at a true and tuned pitch will be improved. A thorough set-up, including intonation, truss rod and string height adjustment will be performed.

Also, the nut will be filed properly and the vibrato tension will be set appropriately, all to the end of accommodating the preferred down-tuned style with baritone gauge strings affixed. Photos will be posted of his initial presentation at clinic, various stages of the surgery and set-up and then finally, SS made whole again.

-Kirk Bolas - MU Columnist
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