first try at own setup

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

  1. HJB1432

    HJB1432 Strat-Talker

    Messages:
    256
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2014
    Location:
    Amsterdam Holland
    For someone who has no experience all above correct and well meant advice is extremely difficult to digest and execute. I propose you go and see “set up guides” at Youtube. Sure those examples will help you to understand the process better. After that all above will make more sense.
     
  2. Stonetone

    Stonetone Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    53
    Messages:
    3,702
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2019
    Location:
    Mean Streets
    Also I understand I’ll require some tools special rulers and some other thing to adjust the saddles for height also a strobe tuner and such and I’m sure the process will be somewhat lengthy but I do want to learn how to set up my own guitars as there are no good techs in my area and besides I think doing it yourself will get you what you want out of your guitar
     
  3. HJB1432

    HJB1432 Strat-Talker

    Messages:
    256
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2014
    Location:
    Amsterdam Holland
    Absolutely... the more familiar you get with the process, the better... it will in the end allow you to tailor your strat to your wishes... It’s no rocket science after all...
     
  4. Tuner Sandwich

    Tuner Sandwich Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    46
    Messages:
    671
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2019
    Location:
    SC, US

    All you need is a phillips head screwdriver and a set of Allen wrenches. A ruler that measures in 1/64s or mm is useful, but not necessary. Any tuner with a tight tolerance is good enough.
     
    Bob the builder likes this.
  5. Biddlin

    Biddlin Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    2,047
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2013
    Location:
    USA
    I start from where it's at. If the the strings buzz on the high frets raise the saddle After I have adjusted the saddle height for string 1 and string 6, I approximate the curve of the saddles to match the frets. Then I check the inside four strings and make minor adjustments as needed. I did this setup on my MiM when I first got it and didn't need to do any major adjustments until I changed from .009-.042 to .007-.036 gauge strings.
     
    Stonetone likes this.
  6. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,114
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2019
    Location:
    SoCal
    You don't really need any special tools, any more than you need a string winder. They can make things easier, but they are not required.
    It's only been the last 4 or 5 years that I've actually bought specialty tools. All you really need is your eyes, ears, a capo, and if you'd like, a set of feeler gauges from the auto parts store, and that's all I used for 40 years.

    Step 1 - Capo the 1st fret and hold the strings down at the last fret, holding in playing position.
    Pluck the string between the capo and your finger... does a note ring clearly? If not, the neck may be too straight. If it does, can you barely slip a business card between the string and 7th fret? That's about right.
    If not, adjust the truss rod to obtain that condition. Tighten to straighten the neck and reduce clearance, loosen to open up clearance. Give the neck a little time to settle in and re-check step-1 as needed.
    For fun, "play" the neck backwards and see if you get a clear note all the way to the top (with the capo still in place). This can reveal high frets without a fret rocker.

    Step 2 - Lower your saddles until the strings start to buzz, then bring them back up until the buzzing clears. Adjust the saddles to a smooth curve that has all of the strings about the same height above the neck. "Book value" is 4/64"... but some prefer higher, some prefer lower, some guitars won't go lower. If you play with a lot of bends, you'll need to go a little higher or you'll fret out on bends.

    Step 3 -Adjust pickup height. Book value is ~ 1/8" down from the strings... Strats tend to "like" a little more on the bass side. Too close and it can cause problems with intonation.

    Step 4 - Intonation. A strobe tuner is very helpful, but not needed. Got $10 and an Android/iPhone? Peterson tuners has a strobe tuner app that uses the phone's mic.
    So for intonation, tune to pitch, check the 12th fret harmonic (should also be in tune), and fret the 12th fret. If the note is sharp, tighten the screw to pull the saddle back away from the nut. If the note is flat, loosen the screw to move the saddle closer to the nut.
    Repeat until the open string and 12th fret are both at pitch. Repeat for the remaining 5 strings.

    Intonation is always the last step, because steps 1-3 will impact intonation. Likewise, the truss rod adjustment will impact string height.


    There ya' go
    Unless the neck needs to be shimmed, or there is a problem with the nut height, you've just completed a basic setup with nothing that you can't find in virtually any home.
    The Stew-Mac radius gauges are the biggest ripoff on the planet. For one, you can't change the string radius with a Gibson style bridge. Just adjust all of the strings so they are the same height above the neck, and that will establish the radius properly.

    Here's a couple of screenshots from the Peterson app with a 440 tone played on my PC...

    Screenshot_20200126-221114_iStroboSoft.jpg Screenshot_20200126-221147_iStroboSoft.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
    Stonetone likes this.
  7. Bob the builder

    Bob the builder Most Honored Senior Member

    Age:
    60
    Messages:
    7,434
    Joined:
    May 2, 2016
    Location:
    Cranston, Rhode Island
    Just a added note
    Loosen your strings before you move the saddles & re-tune after....every time
     
    CB91710 likes this.
  8. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

    Age:
    62
    Messages:
    40,105
    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Absolute rubbish, you don't need any of that stuff. Just the right sizes of screwdrivers and allen keys. A tuner is useful, but people managed without them until relatively recently. Follow @Biddlin's method. It's the way I was shown many years before YouTube.
     
  9. Stonetone

    Stonetone Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    53
    Messages:
    3,702
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2019
    Location:
    Mean Streets
    Wow guys that's Some great Information thanks all Will be a great help for sure :)
     
  10. emann

    emann Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

    Age:
    48
    Messages:
    94
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2018
    Location:
    malta
    indeed Heavyriff you are of great help and after this weekend I am quite satisfied that with a feeler gauge, screwdriver and allen key I managed the first setup...mostly thanks to your step by step instructions.

    My question maybe was not clear..in the sense that this setup was with the same gauge of strings and my main aim is to replace them with a hybrid 9-46 gauge so effectively I had a learning curve to when I come to do this gauge.

    So I was thinking if when doing this with a different guage, you would start from some common starting point that is all...I reckon that the answer is no and basically you would replace the strings and proceed with the same procedure of relief, action, intonation and pick up height.

    Once more may I thank you for your time and interest in this post.
     
    3bolt79 likes this.
  11. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

    Age:
    62
    Messages:
    40,105
    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Change the strings and run through the setup checks routine again. You may not have to adjust anything, except maybe the intonation on some strings.
     
    3bolt79, CB91710 and Tuner Sandwich like this.
  12. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,114
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2019
    Location:
    SoCal
    9-42 to 9-46, or 10-46 to 9-46, you will most like have to do nothing more than a slight intonation adjustment on the specific strings that changed gauge.
    Heavier strings generally need the saddles pulled back a bit more... but the difference is miniscule, literally.
    The theory is that the saddle is behind the nominal scale length by a distance equal to the diameter of the string. In reality, the height of the action may need it to be back a bit further, but in either event, the difference between .042 and .046 is only .004, meaning you would be moving the saddle by less than half the thickness of the high-E.
     
  13. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,114
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2019
    Location:
    SoCal
    I wonder how many people on the forum tuned their first guitar(s) using a pitch pipe?
    I bought my first tuner after I'd been playing around 5 years.
    It was also the first time ever I felt ripped off....
    Guitar Center ran a radio ad for a "quartz tuner" for $19.95
    Problem is, it sounded like they said "Korg Tuner"
    So after driving my 10mpg Buick 25 miles each way, I was pretty bummed.
    Ya, I bought it. Still have it somewhere on my original board that I made from an old kitchen cabinet door.
     
  14. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

    Age:
    62
    Messages:
    40,105
    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    I started off with a tuning fork.
     
    dirocyn, CB91710 and Birdsong like this.
  15. Wound_Up

    Wound_Up Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    1,447
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2020
    Location:
    NA
    Mine are currently residing at a mere .008"(0.2mm) at the first fret. I could only laugh at that. 12th is right at .060"(1.5mm). I haven't really addressed them with the nut being so low, except at the saddles when I measured string height at the pickups.

    So yea, I've got to address that soon. Honestly, though, it doesn't really fret buzz unless I'm really laying into the low E and I don't really do that, being as new to this as I am. I've owned this Strat-style guitar, my first guitar, for 8 days now.

    I set the pickups by sound at first and they were surprisingly close to what Fender recommends for classic singles, except for the neck and I had it pretty low. It may go back there depending on how it sounds at their spec.

    Other than that, I found it quite easy to set up my guitar. Once I fix the nut, I'll reset the action and reset the intonation. I plan on replacing the nut with a pre-cut piece whenever I get to it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
  16. emann

    emann Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

    Age:
    48
    Messages:
    94
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2018
    Location:
    malta
    Hello - reviving this thread again as I now changed to the original hybrid strings i had in mind i.e. 9-46 gauge.

    I went through the setup steps as per your recommendation above now and all is working well. I have one nagging thing however with the g string...i am finding myself each day since tuesday having to set a higher action and or increasing relief that tiny bit as I am still getting a buzzing string...and it is now coming to a point of quite a high action. Any assistance on what can be done please?
     
  17. Violeiro

    Violeiro Strat-Talker Silver Member

    Messages:
    422
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2019
    Location:
    USA
    Congratulations on doing the work...nothing more satisfying IMO.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
     
    Olly White likes this.
  18. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    45
    Messages:
    4,371
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2018
    Location:
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Me too.
     
  19. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    45
    Messages:
    4,371
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2018
    Location:
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Buzz is relative, and depends on how hard you hit the strings as well as how sensitive you are to it. You can make any string buzz if you hit it hard enough. So set the strings at a height where the amount of fret buzz is acceptable, for your own playing style.
     
    Violeiro likes this.
  20. Violeiro

    Violeiro Strat-Talker Silver Member

    Messages:
    422
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2019
    Location:
    USA
    Right on!