string change, tone change

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by archeetart, Jun 27, 2020.

  1. Reddeluxe

    Reddeluxe New Member!

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    Original Poster is new to electric guitar and as such doesn't have a lot of experience in either playing, understanding what "feel" is normal to HIM, or in making adjustments to his guitar....this is where everyone starts out. As several others have stated, there is no "universal" good set up.....it all is based on the individual's strength, attack, pick/finger technique, amp choice and settings and personal style. For instance, a very accomplished jazz player may use a .013 or even.014 first string based string set, usually flatwounds, with super low string height and very low fret height on his guitar to achieve the tone he wants and the playing style/technique he wants (very few bent notes at all, very full bass/mid oriented tone, octave playing, warm/woody tone with a very clean amp sound, while a rock/blues player may have a higher action, much lighter strings for easy string bending, taller frets and an amp tone that is much dirtier/overdriven with lots of singing sustain. Neither player would be happy with the other's preferred set up. Also, more dynamic/heavier playing technique will require higher action to be buzz free than a lighter, more controlled style, which can have considerably lower action. Point is, that each of us has to gradually figure out what works and the feel that is most comfortable. I like the suggestion of taking the guitar back to the set up tech, and demonstrating your playing style in front of him, then addressing each individual issue and position where the buzzing is occurring. It may be something as simple as adding a quarter turn more neck relief on the truss rod adjustment. As someone who makes my living playing guitar, I have used EB, GHS, D'Addario, JR, and other strings without problems.....true, there are subtle tonal differences, but 90% of the true tone is in the player's hands/technique. After the OP gets a good overall baseline on his set up, he can then begin to slowly tweak/modify it, as he gains more knowledge and playing experience. Best of luck.
     
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  2. Michael919

    Michael919 Senior Stratmaster

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    Play it for a week and break in the strings and see how much the tone darkens and how much you adjust. I often find new strings a little too bright and a little buzzy, but that doesn't last long.

    The setup may just feel "different" to you, but who knows, it might end up working for you once you adjust. Adjusting to change is more challenging for newer players who haven't had the benefit of owning/playing lots of different guitars.

    In the meantime, keep learning set-up technique. Advice from most of us will be "put away the gauges". Fine tune until you are happy. Come back for tips. Good luck.
     
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  3. Groovey

    Groovey Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    No change in gauge. So that shouldn't have affected anything.
    Different ( new ) strings will sound brighter.

    Sounds like the tech gave you the lowest possible action. This could lead to string buzz if you play aggressively ( not a bad thing.).
    I'd be tempted to take it back to the tech, and Demonstrate The Buzz By Playing In Front Of Him.

    For an easy fix I'd try raising the saddles. If they get unreasonably high before the buzz goes away, you have other adjustments to make. In which case refer to Fruda on YouTube or Fender site for set up demos.
     
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  4. Rudedawg

    Rudedawg Strat-Talker

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    Thanks for that. My EB's do the exact same thing; I've bought Super Slinky 9's in bulk and used for ages but started using their 10's on the high E because the 9's broke too easily with Vibrola equipped guitars and bending. Now their high E 10 single strings I bought are as bad about breaking and unwinding as the 9's. I've even resorted to tinning the high E string winds at the ball with a little soldier to be able to play them for any length of time. As soon as all my packs of EB's are gone will certainly give D'Add XL's a try.
     
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  5. tinkertoy

    tinkertoy Strat-Talker

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    Different brands do sound.....different?

    Duh.

    Try elixirs. They are different than just about everything out there.

    I tried them. They lasted for months without breaking,, so I got used to them.

    That was 15 years ago.
    I don't like any other strings now. I can feel and hear regular strings start to go dead after 5 days or so.

    Experiment until you find a set you like, and stuck with them.

    Run ernie's for a bit and see what you think.

    Oh, and that tech failed at the first step: asking you what type of action you wanted.
     
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  6. 3bolt79

    3bolt79 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Well, setting up a Strat to Fender spec is a good place to start, if that is indeed what the tech did. But that is a place to start only. He should have had you play the guitar to see if it worked for you, and then tweaked it as necessary. Of course he should have asked you your preferences before he started.

    When you get your little measuring tool. Take measurements of the action at the 17th fret, from the bottom of the string to the top of the fret, for all six strings. If you have a capo and some feeler gauges, capo the first fret and hold the string down at the last fret, on your 6th string, and check the clearance at the eighth fret. That would be a start for us to help you. Oh and send the radius gauge back to stew Mac. You don’t need it.

    Also, give us some pics of your guitar, different models of Strat have different radiuses, etc. And yes the fender strings will undoubtedly feel stiffer in comparison to the Ernie Ball’s.
     
  7. Biddlin

    Biddlin Senior Stratmaster

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    Measurements? I don't take no stinking measurements!
    @archeetart :
    Assuming no twisted neck or proud frets and a properly cut nut, with the guitar tuned to playing pitch (so if you play in standard tuning set up in EADGBE, if you play in drop D then setup in drop D etc.), begin by setting the saddle height for frets 17-21(2) so that the strings play buzz free at the lowest possible height. (Lower the saddle until it buzzes, raise until clear.) Retune between each adjustment When all strings are clean go to the lower frets and neck relief. Play the strings from fret 1 to fret 16, increasing relief (loosening trussrod) to relieve buzz or decreasing relief(tightening trussrod) to lower the string height, so tighten, by fractional turns(1/16 of a turn), until it buzzes and back off until it doesn't. Retune between each adjustment Once you have acceptable relief, i.e. no buzz and easy action, set your intonation and you're done.
    This is the opposite order of Fender's setup directions. It is based on performance and not measurements, hence, I don't take any. It works because the neck is immobile between frets 17 and 22. The trussrod only affects lower frets. By setting the upper end first, you know any buzzes are coming from too little relief. This method works for most guitars, with trussrods. Yeah, all you traditionalists can rant and wail now, but try it it works.
     
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  8. StummerJoe

    StummerJoe Strat-O-Master

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    I have always tried to have customers play their guitar when picking it up so we can take care of minor adjustments on the spot. That's ideal, but when not possible I don't mind subtle tweeks a week later.
     
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  9. Biddlin

    Biddlin Senior Stratmaster

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    I had a sign posted behind the counter of my little consignment and repair shop that read: The customer is always more important than the sale. 20 years later when I was the head of Customer Service for a big city Public Works department that still served me and my 120k customers well.
     
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  10. archeetart

    archeetart New Member!

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    following up on a few items on this thread

    - i was not asked to play when i dropped it off. when i picked up, it was "here it is friend". additionally, there were no chairs or stools and my strap was at home, so difficult to play, but now i know that is what i should do.

    - here is a video of my playing


    [​IMG]
    The video is without an amp. i start with all open strings and then play each string at an inlay. i follow up with a G chord in typical strumming and then a light strum. i move to an Em. last i play the power chord for the intro to cherub rock.

    Again, youtube and the internet are dangerous, but i'm starting to question if some of the noise i hear is the springs for the tremolo.

    In regards to playing style. i would agree to the heavy side. i'm gen x. early 90's alternative and grunge are my musical genre.
     
  11. Michael919

    Michael919 Senior Stratmaster

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    It appears that it may be ok with a player with a light touch, who doesn't mind some buzz. You have a pretty heavy picking style and you need higher action to settle the buzz down.

    Simple adjustment to make, as described above.
     
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  12. 33db

    33db Senior Stratmaster

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    You might never be truly satisfied until you do your own set ups, also super slinky are good strings, they just don't last long enough for me.
     
  13. archeetart

    archeetart New Member!

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    i tinkered today. i raised all the saddles a full turn. with the exception of lite buzzing in the low E, the buzz was gone. i then gradually lowered the saddles. i got down a half turn on all before any buzzing on any other strings, but low E was more buzzing so came up 1/4 turn. everything seems to be good now. i did not play with the tremolo, but the back of the tremolo seems to be sitting higher now.

    all in all, i'm happy. still need to get use to the different strings. hopefully can focus on learning to play instead of tinkering (except for pulling the trigger on some locking tuners and for when i pull the plug to change the humbucker pickup out with a splitable humbucker and the tone know with a push/pull for that like the american performer version
     
  14. Michael919

    Michael919 Senior Stratmaster

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    Excellent! Don’t worry about the strings. Just play. I used Super Slinky’s for 30 years before switching to something else for my own reasons.

    What your fingers are doing are FAR more important than your strings.
     
  15. Jayhawkcsg

    Jayhawkcsg Strat-Talk Member

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    Sigh, i just ran into this. My older Strat needed a good tuneup. I didn't know any techs in my area other than guitar center, so i took it to a local guy who looked like he'd been in business a long time. Sadly it took weeks longer to finish, and when i got it back it was a buzzing, fret bending disaster. Can't believe i paid him money to return a guitar to me that buzzed just about everywhere. He had the guts to tell me that all i had to do was turn the screws a bit to get the action where i liked it. I'm like...WTF???? I just paid you to do that!

    I even have strings that go completely silent when bending notes past the 11th fret. insane.

    And, now the tremolo bridge vibrates with a low note. shakes the entire guitar. I am not pleased.