first try at own setup

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by emann, Jan 21, 2020.

  1. emann

    emann Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

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    Hello,

    having my american professional strat for about a year and reading all information on this forum, I want to try my own setup.

    I took the readings of relief and action in these ways with the current set of 9-42 strings:

    As per fender instructions - Capo on first fret: Action at 17th fret for E:2.25mm/0.09" and for e:1.25mm/0.05". Relief at 8th fret 0.25mm/0.01"

    As per PremierGuitar article - Capo on first fret: Action at 12th fret for E:1.75mm/0.07" and for e:1.25mm/0.05" (article link https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/DIY_How_to_Set_Up_a_Fender_Stratocaster?page=1)

    So first question is are both above methods correct or is one preferred over the other.

    I plan to change the strings now and trying the hybrid 9-46gauge. So once I change and tune the strings I will go through:

    1. setting up of neck relief or if it remains the same at 0.25mm I will leave as is.
    2. check string action and set 1st and 6th strings from the saddles to 1.66mm/0.0625" (fender specs)
    3. with a radius gauge setup remainder inner strings 2 to 5 following the radius of the gauge from adjusting the saddle height.
    4. pick up height - do you generally modify this parameter at all

    thank you for any pointers and hope all goes well in learning my first setp.
     
  2. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar Silver Member

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    Both are starting points only. Play the guitar and decide how high you like to have the strings. I would have trouble playing one with the strings that low because bending a string would result in a bundle of strings slipping under my finger.

    Even the fender instructions say the their string height spec requires a light touch and heavier handed players will need it higher. I think they spec them as low as they can to impress prospective buyers. After all, if Gibson specified 1.5mm and Fender specified 2 mm, all the kids would be talking about how much better the action was on Gibsons.

    Yes, pickup height is a matter of what you like the sound of. Also, on a strat, low for the neck and at least somewhat low for the middle reduces "Strat-itis".
     
  3. Heavyriff

    Heavyriff Senior Stratmaster

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    Without getting too far into the weeds you are off to a good start. You forgot intonation. Do this last.
     
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  4. jaxjaxon

    jaxjaxon Strat-O-Master

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    you might need to raise the saddles on the string going up 2 gauges or more and you might need to widen the nut slots for a large string gauge change.
     
  5. emann

    emann Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

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    Hello and thanks for the input.

    i am planning to do the setup on the current strings that I have in order to get the hand of it and then be better prepared for when I change the strings.

    what is stratitis please?
     
  6. Groovey

    Groovey Dr. Stratster

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    Stratitis is a sitar like sound. Occurs, inho, from a bad nut slot, a string not seated properly in the ferrule, or not enough down angle above the nut.
     
  7. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar Silver Member

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    The Strat-itis I've heard about and experienced is a warbling off-key sound caused by the magnetic pull of pickups on the strings. It's usually worst when fingering low strings above the 12th fret.
     
  8. Groovey

    Groovey Dr. Stratster

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    Ah, yes. Of course. My bad. Mixing of terms.
     
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  9. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Most Honored Senior Member

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    Going with heavier gauge strings, step number one I think should be adjusting the springs for the floating trem to get it back to where it should be. The increased tension of the heavier strings will lift the bridge up higher than it was.
     
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  10. swamptrash

    swamptrash Strat-Talk Member

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    I would take Fender's specs with a grain of salt and as a starting point. For example I am a heavier player on the low E and A strings than the others so I have them a little bit higher. So if I were to set the height to match the radius (look up radius gauge) it would not work for me. So I would raise the low E and A strings.

    For truss rod, follow Fender's recommendedation reasonably, BUT there is still a degree of personal preference.

    Intonation is intonation, simple enough. Intonation is the FINAL step and LAST thing you do.

    Regarding stratitus be observational of your pick up height. Higher is rarely better. Experiment if needed and just for the sake of learning.

    Also when you put heavier strings on, you may need another spring or two. EVERYTHING will need to be tweaked with heavier strings. Literally everything. Also be prepared to widen the nut slots. If you go past .060 be prepared to bore out the thick E string tuner hole.

    Good luck!

    (I accidentally prematurely submitted)
     
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  11. emann

    emann Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

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    Hello,

    so thanks for the input everyone and from what I have read I decided that it is best if I maintain same gauge strings and carry a setup for the first time with 9-42 to ensure I am getting the hang of it...even since I can feel changes in the guitar and never took it to the shop for a luthier setup.

    So strings changed, relief checked and is 0.25mm/0.01" at 8th fret with capo on first fret and depressing last fret.

    I then set E and e strings as per fender specs, grabbed the radius gauge and tried to get the other four strings to form the radius of the gauge. This had basically buzzing on all strings especially from the 7th fret and higher. So I worked each string and tried to untune, set saddle height, retune and fret the string on each fret until I could arrive to no buzzing. Finally I grabbed the radius gauge again to see where I am and tried to set each string accordingly again nearer to the gauge. The G is the real one that gives buzzing and it sort of remained buzzing until the action was increased as per below.

    The action is as follows:

    E 2.5
    A 2..25
    D 2
    G 2.25
    B 1.75
    e 1.5

    Can you kindly indicate if this is normal action please at 17th fret. And should I experiment by trying seperate action without following the radius gauge at all or perhaps is it better that I check again the relief of the neck...it seems like the action is higher on all strings than before and I am thinking if I can get the neck a bit lowered from the tuners side I would say the action will be lowered right..and what direction should I turn the allen key to achieve this...or else some other advise please.

    If of help I am also attaching a shot of the saddles at the moment.

    Thanks.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Heavyriff

    Heavyriff Senior Stratmaster

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    i would drop all those saddles down to match the high E. It is important to keep each individual saddle even. Use the head of the allen wrench as a reference point, then put the radius gauge in a draw. Then check for buzz and raise each saddle a quarter turn at a time until there is no buzz. And don't forget to set intonation last.
     
  13. rgbedard

    rgbedard non-compliant Silver Member

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    It looks like your saddles aren't level, sometimes, that can cause a buzzing sound. If you make the saddles level by having the 2 adjusting screws the same height, you can probably rule that kind of buzz out.

    For action less than 2mm, I like less than .010" relief. If you want to reduce the relief, tighten the truss rod (clockwise); do it in tiny increments, 1/8 to 1/4 turn at a time.
     
  14. emann

    emann Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

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    @Heavyriff; Thanks...what do you mean by put radius gauge in a draw?

    and intonation is set from just the tuners or also from the saddles pls.


    @rgbedard: for action 2mm what is the relief you prefer to use please?
     
  15. Heavyriff

    Heavyriff Senior Stratmaster

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    What I mean is do not use the radius gauge. Just drop all the strings and raise a quarter turn at a time until no buzz. As far as relief just capo 1st fret and fret say 17th fret and tap on 9th. If there is a little movement of the string and a buzz you are good to go. Intonation is set from the spring loaded screws on the saddles. If sharp move back. If flat move forward. Reduce tension on string when adjusting intonation then tune back up to pitch and check.

    Edit: I think we should dive a little deeper on intonation. After you have all your other stuff set up, including stretching your strings properly so they keep in tune. Using a tuner tune your low E to pitch, then fret the 12th and see if it is in tune, if it is sharp release the tension on the string and move the saddle back(farther away from the nut) tune open low E back to pitch and check again. Repeat on all strings.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
  16. jaxjaxon

    jaxjaxon Strat-O-Master

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    radius leveling block it is use to match the neck radius so you can level frets all at the same time as opposed to a leveling beam which you have to go over the frets one spot at a time and move the beam over to the next section of the frets. I like to get my strings as low as possible .50 mm at the first fret and .90 mm at the last fret, this usually means I have to sand some of the nuts bottom down to get it that low. I don't want my F on the first fret to be sharp because the sting is too high. intonation is set buy the saddles.
     
  17. jaxjaxon

    jaxjaxon Strat-O-Master

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    this video shows how to fret lvl using a leveling beam at 11:23 he shows how to do a fall away using a beam
     
  18. rockon1

    rockon1 Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    I prefer less relief-about .005 but your in spec at .010. I generally measure the action at the 12th fret. The radius will be followed automatically as you set each strings height. I shoot for 2/32 on the low E and taper down very slightly to just a little under that to the high E. If the neck tolerates this low action great. My final settings are done by feel though. Sometimes it feels better if a particular string or two sit a tad higher than the rest- personal preference and may have to do with the fact that measured at the bottom the tops of the strings are actually different heights depending on the thickness -but this is "fine tuning" so to speak.

    As mentioned you need to maintain your saddles levelness. Yours are crooked. HTH
     
  19. jaxjaxon

    jaxjaxon Strat-O-Master

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    here is what a radius block looks like they come in diffrent radius sizes and leingths.[​IMG]
     
  20. emann

    emann Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

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    so went ahead and dropped all strings down. then started coming up bit by bit on each string until i am not hearing any buzzing sound (almost). I did not touch the relief per se but checked it with capo and depressing 17th fret leaves a bit of movement at the 9th on the low E. Action seems a bit lower now and I also took care of the levelness of the saddles. Have a look at the attached hoping I got a better result now. I still get some buzzing on the G..should i increase more the saddle height?

    So as regards intonation, I have brought it to tune via the neck tuners. When I play the 12 fret I am finding notes that are a tad flat or sharp...is it for this that I use the screws at the saddles. Also is this the correct way for intonation sort of roughly from neck tuners and fine tuning from the saddle screws.
     

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