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Bridge saddles too high, action too low

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by BBK7, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. BBK7

    BBK7 Strat-Talk Member

    38
    Dec 29, 2014
    Chicago
    Hi,

    Kinda new to this site... Don't know if this is the right place to post. :confused:

    ...This past christmas I ordered myself an American Standard Strat. Looks great, sounds great, plays great... I absolutely love it. The only issue I have about it right now is that the saddle heights on the bridge are at their peak pretty much. (If I screw any further the saddles will come loose and the screws will fall out)(I assume)

    The string action seems a bit too low for my taste. I have big fingers and when I bend the strings, the one above the one of which I am bending will slide under my fingers. (I prefer the strings above the one I am bending to stay sort of locked of the tips of my finger pads like they should.)

    So how do I fix this issue? Can I adjust the two bridge plate screws so that the bridge sits higher? Is it designed for that purpose? Can it be raised that way?... I suppose I could sand the heel but that is not professional. I will most definitely run into issues along the way if I do that. Its too young to do that. Whats the proper way to solve this issue?

    Much appreciated
    Thank you
     

  2. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Squier-a-holic Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    41
    Apr 19, 2014
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    Welcome to the Forum!

    Some photos would really help us identify what is going on....your neck might be angled backward with the microtilt device.......adjusting the tilt can help a setup in situations like this....

    Other members I'm sure have more advice too...

    If you guitar is a real American Standard, it has this hole in the neck plate for this purpose :)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

  3. bluejazzoid

    bluejazzoid Strats Amore Strat-Talk Supporter

    Aug 14, 2009
    Southeast USA
    Yes - that is the way to do it. Just keep the bridge level as you adjust the screws (you don't want it tilted), and turn them maybe a quarter turn at a time at most —then adjusting your saddles— until you get the result you want.

    Good luck!
     

  4. Vindibona1

    Vindibona1 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Welcome to the forum BBK!

    It appears that the neck angle needs to be adjusted. For the moment I'm going to assume that the neck is straight and the relief is ok and that your bridge is decked.

    As Ryan pointed out SOME Strats have a microtilt adjustment. Many do not. However, many if not most Strats come with some sort of shim in the neck pocket. If you do not have a microtilt adjustment you will have to remove the neck and shim the neck yourself. It can be a hit or miss process, time consuming an occasionally frustrating. But sometimes you can just guess and hit it the first time.

    If the saddles are too high and action too low then the neck is angled back too far. You'll need to correct that. Possibly it has a shim in the neck that needs to be removed. If not you want to install a very thin shim at away from the bottom of the neck pocket. You are trying to bring the nut a touch higher than the body so you can lower the saddles.

    I am attaching a photo of one of my shimming projects. PLEASE NOTE that your shim would probably need to be on the HIGH part of the neck pocket rather deep in the neck pocked at shown. I used a thin copper sheet to minimize potential compression, though others use heavy cardboard stock or other materials.

    Good luck.
     

    Attached Files:


  5. JABSolstice

    JABSolstice Senior Stratmaster

    May 8, 2014
    California
    If you go this route instead of a shim, be sure to loosen the strings a bit first. (Experience in broken strings talking)
     
    opcode likes this.

  6. BBK7

    BBK7 Strat-Talk Member

    38
    Dec 29, 2014
    Chicago

    Just to be clear.. you guys are talking about the two screws on top of the guitar in contact with the bridge, not the two screws in the back cavity that hold the spring claw right??
     

  7. fumbler

    fumbler PhD-Stratology

    Age:
    52
    Oct 22, 2009
    New Joisey!
    This can be adjusted with either the micro-tilt (small hole in the neck plate) or the height of the 2 bridge posts (your new-ish american standard has both). Definitely loosen the strings before adjusting either one.

    So which one to use? It depends. If the two bridge posts are currently set very low then I'd raise them. If you choose to use the microtilt: loosen the strings, loosen the 4 neck screws 1/2 turn each, the microtilt bolt needs to be retracted in order to raise the string action (turn the allen wrench counter-clockwise). Only a 1/4 to 1/2 turn at a time; a tiny adjustment makes a big difference.
     

  8. Vindibona1

    Vindibona1 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    BBK- Why don't you take a shot of the backplate of your guitar. It will be easier to advise you.
     

  9. BBK7

    BBK7 Strat-Talk Member

    38
    Dec 29, 2014
    Chicago
    Hey guys I'm back,

    Thanks for the warm welcomes :)

    All right, so I've taken all of your advice. My strats neck relief is fine. The neck is "straight". It does have a micro tilt adjustment. However, the hex screw to adjust the heel is fully flush with the body in the neck socket so I'm thinking I'll have to increase the height of the bridge with the two screws on top. I just hope it was designed for that purpose in mind :? . Any last thoughts before I attempt??
     

  10. AlexJCRandall

    AlexJCRandall Strat-O-Master

    980
    Sep 11, 2012
    Melbourne
    Depende on how you set up the bridge. If you want it decked (no pull back) then you cant do anything to raise the front. You'd then need to put a shim in the neck pocket, on the headstock end. This will angle the neck at the bridge end down so it faces the body more, and allow you to have the action higher without touching the saddles.

    Some pics would be nice.
     

  11. DuFunkeDr

    DuFunkeDr Strat-Talk Member

    45
    Nov 12, 2014
    Denver Co,
    some pics FIRST would be best, any wrong "GUESSES" as to what your saying could lead to some frustration, I think I know what your talking about but hesitant to give the wrong advice based only on what I "think" your talking about. My theory "be right" first time:)
     

  12. Vindibona1

    Vindibona1 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter


    Where specifically do you live in Chicago? Do you have Skype?
     

  13. BBK7

    BBK7 Strat-Talk Member

    38
    Dec 29, 2014
    Chicago
    Okay, so, micro neck tilt adjust = no go. It's set at ground level...

    I raised the bridge up a few mm's to raise the action which works but now all the sustain has vanished most likely because the bridge plate isn't flush with the body. The back of the plate has contact while the front does not... I don't like my tremolo floating (I never use the arm of wham). I prefer it decked tight with 5 springs for more sustain in my opinion. I might have to suffer some loss of tone. hmm...

    I don't want to grind the frets down, level, and then re-crown etc. That's too much work and it doesn't need it.

    I could sand the neck heel, but that would degrade the value. (Don't plan on selling it ever however.)...


    I suppose I could shim the top part of the neck socket a tad. That will most likely be the next thing I do.

    I'll send some pictures in my next post for all who want to get an idea of whats going on.


    I live 20min in the northern suburbs. I don't have skype.
     

  14. BBK7

    BBK7 Strat-Talk Member

    38
    Dec 29, 2014
    Chicago

  15. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Squier-a-holic Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    41
    Apr 19, 2014
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    Those did not work correctly....when I click them it says invalid....

    You might want to try posting to a site like imgur.com and then putting the link in your messages here....
     

  16. BBK7

    BBK7 Strat-Talk Member

    38
    Dec 29, 2014
    Chicago
    Im on it sry
     

  17. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Squier-a-holic Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    41
    Apr 19, 2014
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    No problem take your time, we're here to help! :) I'm excited to see if we can crack the case from your photos!
     

  18. Vindibona1

    Vindibona1 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter


  19. BBK7

    BBK7 Strat-Talk Member

    38
    Dec 29, 2014
    Chicago

  20. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Squier-a-holic Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    41
    Apr 19, 2014
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    Yes, I'm looking at them :)

    To me, it doesn't seem like your action is low at ALL, if anything it's higher than mine by about 50%...

    Your bridge isn't set up right, unfortunately - but that's ok you can fix it. You have the back end of it decked against the body, but the front edge where the bridge pivots set higher. You should have the bridge set lower using the 2 mounting screws, and it should be about 1/8 to 1/4" off the body at the back, for a typical floating setup. If you look at the photo of your tremolo cavity and claw, you will see your tremolo block is snug against the inside of the cavity meaning you can't pull any notes sharp with your tremolo arm. There should be room in the cavity for it to move in both directions, assuming you want a typical floating bridge setup.

    I would loosen your strings completely, and if possible remove them from the tremolo block. Then I would loosen the tremolo claw about 1/4" from the body. I would then screw in the bridge mount posts so that the angled knife-edge of the front of the bridge has some room to move but is a lot more snug to the body. Then put your strings back on and re-tune. If you find it's coming off the body at the back of the bridge too much, you'll want to tighten your tremolo claw. The opposite if it's not floating high enough for you....

    I hope that helps.

    If after all of that you get the tremolo floating properly with enough space, and the knife-edge of the front of the bridge sitting down tight enough but not too tight....if your action is still too high then, you must like it really high from what I can tell. Do you have other Strats?

    This video can help too, he's setting up a vintage style 6-screw mount bridge, but the principles are all the same...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUkKZy8U_gA

    There's also this link on the Fender website to help guide you a bit through a typical Strat setup..

    http://www2.fender.com/support/articles/stratocaster-setup-guide/