Join Strat-Talk Today

High & Low E strings falling off fretboard

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by vsukhum, Jan 7, 2016.

  1. vsukhum

    vsukhum Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Location:
    Thailand
    The high and low E strings on my 54 CS strat are falling off the fretboard too easily when I play. How should I go about fixing this? As you can see in the photo, the high E string had to curve up a bit to meet the nut. Could that be the problem?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Rastus

    Rastus Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    4,441
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2014
    Location:
    Australia
    Hello,

    From looking at the photo, your nut may well be split or broken for the low-E-string...I'd remove/slacken the string & see if the outer portion of the nut breaks off when fingered. - ( It's broken anyway if this happens ). And it does look a little too close to the edge too, though your high E-string appears located & nut-grooved in a reasonable spot.

    Before you try this however, fit the tremolo-arm, & depress it to take the tension off the strings, & then squeeze all of the bridge-saddles together ( centralizing the strings ), & see if your play-ability has improved enough to your satisfaction.

    I dare say however, that to fix the problem 100% to your liking, you need to take the guitar to a reputable guitar-tech, & have him fit a new top-nut, & ask to have it grooved so that your issue is addressed, so openly discuss this with him / her.

    Cheers,

    Rastus
     
  3. vsukhum

    vsukhum Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Location:
    Thailand
    Thanks for the reply Rastus. You are right about the high E string. It's not really causing me a lot of problems compared to the low E. From doing what you suggested, I can see that the nut's outer portion is solid - no signs of it cracking anytime soon. I've uploaded more photos in case anyone can spot the cause.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. tmcgee

    tmcgee Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    70
    Messages:
    786
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2015
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    You need a new nut, plain and simple.
     
  5. Hammer 4

    Hammer 4 Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    71
    Messages:
    3,846
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2013
    Location:
    So. Calif.
    I agree. Noticed your low E string is angled in the saddle, are both height adjustment screws equally tightened..? If not, it can cause the saddle to rock, or tilt and the string will sort of slide to one side if the screws aren't the same length'
     
  6. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Messages:
    8,303
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2007
    Location:
    in New Orleans' past
    Vsukhum, you're in a bit of a bind. Nut replacement will obviously reduce the value of a FCS 54 Strat. You may be better off selling this instrument to a non player or investor and buying a player's guitar.

    Remember that when George and Freddy and 'em developed this model, common string size was I would say approximately the size of a 12 or 13 set in today's terms. AND the way guitarists played was not about bending but about chording, fills, maybe a little slithering up and down the neck. If I had this guitar I would put 12s on it and see if I could adjust my technique a little. Another fairly non invasive thing is to do this "Walter W Chiropractic Neck Adjustment Trick". Use the Advanced Search function here to study it in detail - the idea is to fully rehab use of the plain E string and just don't use the big E string much, and not at all above the 14th fret.

    Another less permanent change you could try is to switch out the existing bridge for a Highway One/American Special dimensions bridge - Bill Callaham makes a gorgeous high end bridge with those specifications. When you go to sell or trade this guitar, you can include the stock bridge or reinstall it and (unlike the nut change) it won't be evident.
     
  7. Lonn

    Lonn Mod Admin Staff Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Messages:
    13,578
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2014
    Location:
    Carmel Indiana
    Admin Post
    The nut looks fine to me but I agree with Boris (that's a first) that you might try a more narrow bridge. Both E strings seem close to the edge of the fretboard at the bridge end. And as mentioned it's a totally reversible mod should you ever sell the guitar.
     
  8. PCollen

    PCollen Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    1,975
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2014
    Location:
    Florida

    You might want to look at original 54 and similar Strat's, because that just may be exactly how the strings were positioned on those guitars. Fender does an excelent job of replicating their old instruments, complete with flaws and all. The 62 re-issue had exactly the same high-E string problem as did the originals from that era...too close to the edge of the fretboard in the upper registers. Those of us who played the originals were always having to fiddle with the bridge saddles to push the high-E string saddle inward, and then when you played it it would move outward again and had to be re-adjusted.
     
  9. Lonn

    Lonn Mod Admin Staff Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Messages:
    13,578
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2014
    Location:
    Carmel Indiana
    Admin Post
    The question wasn't whether it was period correct, the question was how to fix it.
     
  10. davidjon_99

    davidjon_99 Strat-Talker

    Messages:
    231
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2015
    Location:
    Houston
    I think that might be an optical illusion. It seems the camera was angled a bit in that close up picture. Looking at the wider angle picture of the body I don't see the low e-string angled like that. But I do see a little bit of an angle in the high e-string. So I think it is just the angle of the camera.

    Looking at the nut though it seems the low e-string slot was cut in a way that has that string unusually close to the edge of the fretboard. Perhaps a luthier could fill that slot and cut another one in the same nut.
     
  11. PCollen

    PCollen Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    1,975
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2014
    Location:
    Florida

    $165.00 Callaham V/N Model Strat Bridge
    (2 7/32 mounting spacing with 2 1/16 string spacing)


    $ 40.00 Upcharge fee for Distressed
     
    WilseyFanPDX, clydethecat and Ruscio like this.
  12. guitarman1984

    guitarman1984 Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    2,198
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Location:
    Italy
    Perhaps you could try to push the outer saddles towards the centre of the bridge, as already suggested, and mis-center the two outer strings in their saddles, in order to let the strings sit not exactly in the middle of the saddle but slightly more towards the centre of the bridge....
    Few tents of a millimetre might be enough to do the trick!
    Do you have more troubles close to the nut or higher in the neck?
     
  13. Paully

    Paully Strat-O-Master

    Messages:
    852
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2014
    Location:
    Maine, USA
    Sell to collector OR replace the nut.
     
    CB91710 likes this.
  14. vsukhum

    vsukhum Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Location:
    Thailand
    Thanks for the replies guys!
    I'm hesitant about replacing the nut because of the value reduction as some of you mentioned. I'll wrestle between selling it to a collector or replacing the bridge. Or maybe I'll just keep it for doing chord work or lighter solos. Some great input here as always. Thanks!
     
  15. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Let's Boogie Strat-Talk Supporter

    Messages:
    13,317
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2014
    Location:
    Lewisville, TX
    We're talking about a Custom Shop Strat here, right? I'm not understanding why the advice to sell the guitar rather than replace a nut is being given.
     
    Shreve, StratPlus97 and Stratkins 51 like this.
  16. Hammer 4

    Hammer 4 Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    71
    Messages:
    3,846
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2013
    Location:
    So. Calif.
    O.k..wasn't aware of that..thanks.
     
  17. stratocarlster

    stratocarlster Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Messages:
    7,896
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
    Location:
    Telephone Road
    Nothing wrong with the nut. As others have noted, a Highway 1 or Callaham V/N bridge will fix the issue.
     
    Ruscio and Paperback Rocker like this.
  18. echoes71

    echoes71 Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    2,943
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2013
    Location:
    USA
    Its a CS, contact Fender and they can have you take it to an authorized repair person to have the nut replaced with the proper one. Simple and no value lost.
     
  19. fumbler

    fumbler PhD-Stratology

    Age:
    54
    Messages:
    5,652
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2009
    Location:
    New Joisey!
    Stop the insanity! A REAL 54 strat with that much wear would likely have had the nut replaced more than once. So replacing the nut makes it MORE authentic. See? :)

    Anyway, it depends where the problem is. Is it worse at low frets? Then have a nice new bone nut made with narrower spacing. Is it worse at upper frets? Then definitely work on squeezing your saddles tighter together and consider a narrower bridge (which is completely reversible if you keep the old bridge). If it's bad all over the neck then consider both.
     
    Ruscio likes this.
  20. nadzab

    nadzab Peace & Love, my Brothers & Sisters... Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    52
    Messages:
    3,442
    Joined:
    May 15, 2009
    Location:
    The Great State of Maine
    Were it me, I'd install a Callaham distressed V/N bridge (retain the stock bridge) and cut a new bone nut to get the spacing precisely how I want it. That guitar would be a sweet baby then.
     
    WilseyFanPDX and Ruscio like this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.