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First stratocaster, problems and disappointment

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Gfuzz, Sep 8, 2018.

  1. Gfuzz

    Gfuzz Strat-Talk Member

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    Thanks for all the response again, im totally lost without feedback from you guys.

    And thanks a bunch for that setup link! Seems like good information, and will use it when im doing my old ibanez :)

    Ok I think you are right, seems like stuff just isnt right from the start. Ive done superb setup last night, took several hours but I was very picky with my work. Its now all setup at fender specs, even a little higher than normal on the action, but.. still buzz!! Loads of buzz.

    Im going to call the dealer now and tell them whats wrong and that I want to return it. It really bums me out...

    Ill post some more pictures of the fret and nut if you can see for sure.
    Fixed the saddles thp, looks better? Not angled either, and string seperation is closer to 10mm each now.

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  2. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Senior Stratmaster

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    Hi Gfuzz. Just very few small things to add:
    - Glad you sorted out the saddles. What caused the misalignment?
    - "Fender setup specs" never worked well for me. They are, at best, a starting point. You eventually have to find what you like yourself esp. in regard of string and pickup height.
    - In case you’d rather keep the guitar, if you ID the problem it might not be too pricey or difficult to fix. Replacing a nut (with a bone nut cut express for you) can cost as little as 30€ where I live. Polishing and crowning the frets should also be a small thing (≠ refretting). But you need to have someone GOOD diagnosing the problem first hand. Even though the strat-lore concentrated in this forum is astronomical and there are world-class builders like Ron Kirn around, pics and internet knowledge are a poor substitute at this point. Of course the shop would have to accept to pay for it 100%. So – if you’d rather keep your lovely white strat – you could give them a choice: to take you guitar back, or else cover your expenses for having a good tech of YOUR choice (read: a luthier) look it over and do the job.

    Good luck!
     
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  3. Cerb

    Cerb Anti conformist reformist Strat-Talk Supporter

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    This.

    Fender specs only work if you have a really light touch IME. If you're a bit more heavy handed you need higher action.
     
  4. Gfuzz

    Gfuzz Strat-Talk Member

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    Hi, and cheers for your input radioFM74.
    I have no idea what caused the misalignment, I loosen up the strings and align the saddle to be leveled with the body, and pushed them to standard position, and that did it.

    I figured the setup spec is a standard but it was a great starting point, as of neck relief and intonation etc. And you're right, im a pretty heavy hitting player and cant have both low action and hit hard. But fender setup is at 1.6mm on 17 fret, and I even raised it over that to 1.7-1.8mm. Still good amount of buzz. I could try 2mm but that is just too big for my taste, ive played 9.5" boards before with lower action and no buzz, so something is not right.

    I would love to take it to a very skilled luthier, but last time I did that the guy butchered my LP and did a terrible refret. So im a bit paranoid now, haha. I will certainly bring up the option when I talk to the shop again though.

    Regarding the nut, so it is carved too deep from the factory? I might aswell measure the distance there too. And how can you notice a fret is crowned or not? Mine are not?

    When I talked to the shop today they told me it might be possible to order in a new one I can trade it for. But he was going to check that up first. So you guys think either take a new one or suggest taking it to a skilled luthier and let the shop pay for the job?
    Im just afraid they wont allow neither..
     
  5. jpmist

    jpmist Strat-O-Master

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    Been evesdropping on this thread a few days, forgive me if my points are covered.

    What gauge strings are you using? It's possible that if they're 9s that you'd have buzzing that would disappear if you used a heavier gauge.

    Is the buzzing on the open notes or the fretted notes? Where on the neck are you playing when you hear the buzz? If the buzz is on the open strings, check your nut slot height via this site: http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/GenSetup/NutAction/nutaction.html If the buzz is on fretting the middle of the neck you need to increase the relief/bow of your neck. If on the higher frets the saddles have to come up.

    The beauty of the Strat is that it's adjustable to each individual's style of play, from Stevie Ray Vaughn to Malmsteen to Eric Johnson and everyone in between. None of their guitars are going to be even remotely set up the same way so try to get past the recommended settings because as others mentioned, they're just starting points.

    I've read on this site similar stories of guitars that didn't quite meet expectations. Some of what you're experiencing is simply a bit of buyers remorse. Happens to us all. Finally having your dream guitar has been tainted by an average factory setup and an incompetent dealer.

    I wouldn't give up on the guitar unless the neck relief can't be adjusted (I suspect this is your main problem) or the nut is clearly defective. You've put a lot of work into this one already and you seem like you're close. If you get a replacement, you're simply going to have to go thru the same process all over.

    Just my 2¢ It's a beautiful guitar, good luck with it!
     
    Chuck Conner, BallisticSquid and Cerb like this.
  6. Athanasios

    Athanasios Strat-O-Master

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    I found a straight neck and 1.5 mm action on thr 17th (a slight gap when sliding a jazz pick) works wonders with minimal acoustic buzz on the A string.Also the bridge gap from the body almost the thickness of a 2 euro coin.
    Oh and perfectly streched strings.
    And here is the the strange thing...4 wraps on the low and as many as i can on the high string posts works great for tuning stability( thats how it came strung up)
     
  7. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Senior Stratmaster

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    @Gfuzz

    First off...welcome to the forum...and congrats on your purchase.

    I feel for you because I've been just where you are...in my case it was a Gibson LP Trad Pro. It arrived new in the box with a HORRIBLE setup. The neck was adjusted with far too much relief and was like a ski jump. One of the push-push switches also broke almost immediately.

    I was completely bummed with major buyer's remorse, but like the folks here are saying, I was told not to give up on it so quickly since it seemed like a setup was needed.

    The setup was bad enough that my local authorized Gibson service guy got Gibson to agree to paying for the setup as a warranty repair. The switch was also fixed under warranty. When I got it back, it was a different guitar and played like a dream. Kudos to Gibson for making things right at no cost to me.

    I just got a Gibson LP Special that had a horrible setup. In 5 minutes I had it to my liking. In the past I would have stressed out over it thinking the guitar was defective. Now I know better.


    The best thing I think you can do is take it to an authorized Fender tech that knows what they are doing. This usually means and independent guy, not somebody doing 500 setups a day in some chain store. A reputable guy will work with you and make changes to the setup based on your feedback. He should also be able to tell you if the nut isn't right or if the bridge has issues...and take care of them under warranty repair for you. A brand new guitar should not need a new nut!

    I suspect you will doubt the quality of this guitar until you have somebody reputable that you trust evaluate the guitar and address any issues.
     
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  8. Dick Blackmore

    Dick Blackmore Senior Stratmaster

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    What?!?! Blasphemy. Bridge pickups rule on Strats. Only there for the in between positions my ass. Pfft.
     
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  9. Chuck Conner

    Chuck Conner Strat-Talk Member

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    Now what I can see from these different pictures, nothing looks like it has been fouled up or improperly done. The frets, nut and bridge look OK. I can't see how level the frets are or the neck relief. BUT, I think the action is still set too low. I know it's a personal choice but on my strat, with 9 thru 42 Ernie Ball strings, at the 12th fret, having the 1st string centered on 2mm and the 6th centered on 3mm is good low enough action. With the 25.5 scale length and the light strings, any lower action seems to buzz. On my shorter scale guitars I use 10,s and could go a little lower but I still like the action at those same settings.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
  10. tstone2

    tstone2 Strat-Talker

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    A lot of good info here. 3 out of 4 of mine are HSS so I can use the bridge pickup for the style of music I play most of the time. Coil splitter for it is cool to so I can get a variety of sounds.

    Welcome to the Forum.
     
  11. RaySachs

    RaySachs Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    My ass, your ass. As they say, opinions are like a-holes, everybody's got one. I damn sure have one. Evidently you do to. I guess they're not the same. We're both just gonna have to be OK with that...
     
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  12. Bellingjam

    Bellingjam Strat-Talk Member

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    So, based on what I have read until now, op seems to be in the Netherlands? If that is the case, I would suggest taking a look at German music stores, most notably of course Thomann in Bavaria or, very close to the Netherlands, the Music Store in Cologne- they got the exact model OP wants and ship internationally, their return policy is pretty customer- friendly as well. Just an idea from a German neighbour :)
     
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  13. Dougeryb

    Dougeryb Strat-O-Master

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    One thing to keep in mind is that its the time of year we go through some pretty drastic weather changes. Temp and humidity changes can impact your setup.

    One day it will be fine then the next time you pick up your guitar your action is lower or higher.
     
    byrall likes this.
  14. jpmist

    jpmist Strat-O-Master

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    I wouldn't give up on the guitar unless the neck relief can't be adjusted (I suspect this is your main problem) or the nut is clearly defective. You've put a lot of work into this one already and you seem like you're close. If you get a replacement, you're simply going to have to go thru the same process all over.

    Oh, one more thing... I just took another look at your bridge picture and noticed that several of your saddles are pretty high up to the top of the saddle screw. Not sure it's been mentioned, but that is an indication that your neck angle is less than ideal, which could contribute to your strings buzzing.

    Having done quite a few neck swaps on my partscasters I quickly learned the importance of a proper neck angle. When the neck is properly aligned, the saddles ought to be in the middle of their screw range. When the saddles are high it's because the nut is too low relative to the plane of the body. The saddles will have to be adjusted higher than normal to keep the strings off the frets even if your neck relief is perfect.

    All of this has to do with the geometry of the neck to the body and the neck relief allowing for the vibration of the strings. The nut should be high enough so the strings don't rattle the frets when plucked, but low enough for proper action. When the nut is too low, the whole geometry of the vibrating string relative to the fretboard gets screwed up and you have buzzing.

    You have a microtilt adjustment in the neck plate. It's very likely that a few turns counterclockwise will drop the heel end of the neck and raise the nut. (Someone confirm this for us? my necks don't have 'em - thinking also you have to loosen all the neck screws a half turn first . . .) This might make all the difference and solve your buzzing problem. Once the nut is higher up you'll be able to drop the saddles and the strings will align with the neck relief better than before and your buzzes should be gone.

    Good luck!

     
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  15. Groovey

    Groovey Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Welcome to the forum! I too had played only Les Pauls, before I started tinkering with Strats. I never imagined Strats would be so delicate. It took me 6 weeks of on and off adjustments to get mine where it needed to be. I had to walk away numerous times throughout the process.

    For "relief," I like to see a slight bow. As far as the "action " or sting hieght, I settled in the neighborhood of 2mm on the 1st string. A bit higher on the 6 the string. I too enjoy a heavy hand at times.
     
    Chuck Conner likes this.
  16. Neil.C

    Neil.C Most Honored Senior Member

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    OP, Compared to Les Pauls Strats are buzzy.

    You need a much lighter touch.
     
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  17. maqcatt

    maqcatt Strat-O-Master

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    There is truth to this statement to a degree.
    A little bit of buzz is normal as long as you don't get an annoying amount while playing through an amp.
    Don't make the mistake of expecting a perfect prestine buzz free result playing unplugged.

    Buzz while playing open strings is caused by the nut slots being cut to low.
    Excessive buzz with fretted notes can be caused by either too much or too little relief.
    Ideal relief is .010" or less. (the width of your little e string)
    Your frets must be reasonably level to achieve a nice low action. (That is 4/64" to 5/64" action at the 12th fret. Some recommend checking at the 17th fret. (Whatever that measurement is in mm you'll have to check)

    I don't actually measure action but have enough experience to just set my string height where it feels right for me. I don't follow the radius of the neck exactly. For instance, I very slightly raise my g and b strings a little above the radius to facilitate easier bending.
    It helps me get a good bend without my finger slipping off or sliding under the adjacent strings.
    This is a personal preference and other players will set action to their own preference.

    S Mac
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
  18. guitartwonk

    guitartwonk Senior Stratmaster

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    You're right!

    I think playing a Les Paul is like using an iPhone: more or less, everything just works and there isn't really much to configure.

    Playing a Strat is like using an Android phone - the config options are much more varied. You can stick with the standard options and it will work OK, but to really get the most out of it you need to get under the hood.

    I'm sure there will be LP players who disagree, but this is how it seems to me.

    :)
     
  19. musicalmartin

    musicalmartin Strat-Talker

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    I normally shim the neck as well on any Fender whatever its price and name .I use old bits of wood ply veneer falling of a 100 year old sewing machine table in the garden .That slight angle up helps the set up no end
     
  20. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Senior Stratmaster

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    Interesting how everybody's experiences are different.

    Once I got my strat setup the way I like it 8 or 10 years ago, I haven't had to touch it since. It's stable as a rock.

    My LPs on the other hand require a truss rod tweak about 2 times a year when the weather changes.

    My PRS CE24 I didn't even have to adjust when it came out of the box 2 years ago.


    What I think makes strats unique is that it's a tweaker's delight. You can adjust the height of each string individually, you can adjust the neck angle, you have 3 pickups to adjust.

    I'm not a tweaker. Once I get things dialed in to my liking (both guitar and amps), I leave 'em that way.
     
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