How to set up a fender stratocaster

how to set up a fender stratocaster

How do I set up my Stratocaster guitar properly?

Apr 12, How to Setup a Fender Stratocaster Guitar Evaluation. The first step in the setup process is the initial evaluation of the instrument. You want to go through the Electronics. The first thing you want to do is plug in the guitar and check out all of the electronics. This includes Neck Relief. Oct 08, Heres the process: 1. With the capo still clamped on top of the 1st fret, hold down the 6th string at the last fret. 2. Using your action gauge or metal ruler, measure the greatest distance between the bottom of the 6th string and the 3. Measure the relief at the 1st datingusaforall.comted Reading Time: 6 mins.

Recently, one of my clients brought in an American-made Fender Strat hot-rodded with a custom pickguard, Fender-branded How to install a home radiator locking tuners, a set of Lindy Fralin single-coils, and ohw passive, step ToneStyler tone pot.

It was a workhorse guitarand it was in desperate need of a kp setup. Most guitars come from the store with a generic factory setup. Many players are satisfied with this, but the key to having a great guitar is to personalize the setup for your specific needs. This includes a number of details, including optimizing the instrument for your preferred string gauges, tweaking the action for your fretting and picking style, and if the guitar has a tremolo system, getting it to respond correctly to your wang-bar technique.

Strats can be tricky to set up, because many of the adjustments are interactive. In other words, when you change one element, it can affect sfratocaster. In large part, this is due to the tremolo system. Although your string gauges, action, and trem response may differ from those described here, the step-by-step process and the tools and techniques apply to virtually all Strat-style guitars equipped with a standard, nonlocking tremolo system and three single-coils.

So settle in for a good read as I take you through the process of setting up a Strat to play like a dreamyour dream. Project Overview Structurally, the Corona-built Strat on my bench was in excellent condition, but my client had several special requests. First, he wanted to tune the guitar down a whole-step. To accommodate this dropped tuning, the owner specified a hybrid string set gauged. As with a typical. He also asked for a floating tremolo, meaning he wanted to lower and raise the pitch of his strings to add gentle vibrato to chords, intervals, and single notes.

Fortunately, Srt was able to fix the problem, but it required some ingenuity. Preliminary Survey Before I grab any tools, I always ask my clients several questions about their technique. What styles of music do you play? What gauge strings do you use? How hard do you pick and strum, and do you play with hhow light, medium, or heavy fretting-hand touch?

Do you use a flatpick? If so, what size and thickness? If you play fingerstyle, do you attack the strings with your nails, fingerpicks, or fingertips? Do you use a capo? In this case, the owner had already answered the tuning and string questions, but the answers he gave to the other questions helped guide me through each stage of the setup process.

This information serves as a baseline for subsequent adjustments and also helps pinpoint any problems.

Here are the four primary measurements you want to take. Write these measurements down, so you can refer to them at any time during the setup process:. Step 1 Measure the Action. Tune the stratocasetr. Clamp a capo on top ofnot behindthe 1st fret Photo 1. Use a string action gauge available from stewmac. Before measuring action and neck relief, clamp a capo over the 1st fret. This temporarily removes the nut from the action equation. Using a string action gauge to measure the how to make flapjacks pancakes at the 12th fret.

This is very high action! Step 2 Measure Neck Relief. With the capo still clamped on top of the 1st fret, hold down the 6th string at the last fret. Using your action how to eliminate fleas from your home naturally or metal ruler, measure the greatest distance between the bottom of the 6th string and the top of the frets.

The largest gap typically occurs somewhere between the 7th and 9th fretsessentially in the middle of the neck. Step 3 Measure Action at the 1st Fret. Playability strwtocaster also affected by how high the strings sit in their nut slots. The guitar feels stiff when the strings are too high. Remove the capo and measure the distance between the bottom of the 1st string and the top of the 1st fret Photo 3.

Repeat the process for all six strings. When the guitar is set up properly, the gap should incrementally increase from the 1st to the 6th string to accommodate their progressively thicker gauges. Again, this is rather high, especially on the treble strings. Overall, this meant I needed to slightly tighten the truss rod i. While taking these preliminary measurements, I noticed that the custom pickguard butted up against the tremolo base plate. This prevented the tremolo from moving smoothly when tipping feder to slacken what is 730mm in inches strings.

Stratocazter 4 Adjust the Truss Rod. Adjust the truss rod. Turn the wrench clockwise to tighten the rod and reduce forward bowing, or counterclockwise to loosen the rod and reduce back bow. Check the results each time you move the rodand be patient. By tightening the truss rod, I reduced relief from.

Any less relief and the strings would be likely to rattle against the frets. Earlier, I mentioned that the custom pickguard was obstructing the tremolo Photo 5. To allow the trem to tilt forward, there needs to be a small space between the trem base plate and pickguard. The process involved removing the pickguard Photo 6examining the plastic to see where it was contacting the trem Photo straotcasterusing a mechanical pencil to mark the material I wanted to remove Photo 8and carefully scraping away the unwanted plastic with a precision tool Photo 9.

For this type of job, I use stainless-steel scraper blades available from stewmac. Scraping takes time and a lot of patience. Even with more than 25 fenddr of experience, it still took me three tries to get it right.

Ultimately, I was satisfied that how to set up a fender stratocaster was sufficient space between the base plate and guard to allow the trem to tilt forward freely Photo When tightening or loosening the truss rod to control neck relief, go slowly and make very small adjustments. To prevent a screwdriver from slipping out of the screw head and scratching the finish, use your free hand to guide and secure its tip. Scraping the pickguard to create a space between it and the trem assembly.

Now the trem can tilt forward without hitting the pickguard. Step 5 Yo the Tremolo Spring Tension. I noticed the tremolo claw held five springs, and strratocaster tension was holding the bridge base flush to the body. Before going any further, I needed to adjust the springs and claw to allow the trem assembly to float. Turn the guitar over and rest it on a soft surface, such as a towel.

Remove the trem cavity cover. Using a medium Phillips screwdriver, equally adjust the two screws holding the claw to the guitar body Photo Tighten the screws to pull the tremolo closer to the body. Always retune after every adjustment and check your progress frequently. This process is very painstaking and will require at least several attempts to get the trem adjusted parallel to the body with the tension the way you like it.

I removed two springs from the claw and re-aligned the two outside springs to attach toward the center of the claw. After adjusting the claw several timesand always retuning whenever I tightened or loosened the springsI finally got the tremolo floating parallel to the body with just enough clearance to pull the tremolo up a bit and raise the pitch slightly, as the owner requested Photo Adjusting the spring tension to allow the tremolo to float parallel to the body.

A floating trem has sufficient clearance from the body to both lower and slightly raise string pitch. Step 6 Adjust Basic Bridge Height.

Once the trem base plate was parallel to the body, my next task was to adjust the overall bridge height by raising or lowering the two screws located on either side of the bridge Photo Note: Vintage Strats or vintage-style reissues use six screws, rather than the modern two-post system, but the principle of adjusting the bridge height remains the same.

Tune the guitar to pitch. Then using the appropriate fendr this will be a Phillips or flathead, how to set up a fender stratocaster on the modeladjust the bridge plate to provide enough clearance to operate the tremolo.

The trick is to find the sweet spot that allows a floating trem and gives you ample room to raise or lower the saddles to get the action the way you like it. After adjusting the bridge height, retune the guitar and inspect the tremolo to determine if it needs more adjustmentit probably will.

Again, the goal is to keep the trem parallel to the body. Tightening the springs pulls the trem tail down toward the body, loosening them allows the tail to lift up. Step 7 Adjust Saddle Height. Next, set the action by adjusting the height of the saddles.

Saddle screws can vary, so use the wrench femder came with your guitar. For this Strat, I used a. Measure the action at the 12th fret using an action gauge or precision metal ruler as described in Step 1. Beginning with the 1st string, turn the height adjustment screws located on either side of the saddle to raise or lower the string to your preferred height Photo For a seh Strat fretboard with a radius of 9.

However, string height is personal, so this measurement will vary according to your technique and string gauge. How to download full discographies this process for each string until you have the action where you want it. The goal is to keep an even arc across all six strings that matches the radius of your particular fretboard.

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Mar 21, Useful tips from Kip Bradford on how to set up properly your Stratocaster. Strings, tremolo, intonation, truss rod and much more details covered in this vide. Fender Stratocaster explained and setup guide. The volume pot, tone pot and tone cap will all affect the tone. They will determine how much of the original pickup signal is leaked either to ground Higher volume pot resistance -> brighter tone. Single coil guitars often have K volume pots. Mar 06, To do this, remove the plate on the back of your guitar to access the tremolo springs. Then adjust the screws that secure the tremolo claw to the body tighter or looser to change the gap at the back of the tremolo. Fender recommends a 1/8? ( mm) gap between the body of the guitar and bottom of the bridge.

The following setup procedures and specifications are for your Fender guitar as equipped with the strings that come on the instrument as standard equipment from the factory. If you plan to change string gauges, you may need to adjust the specs somewhat to compensate for the changes in string sizes.

Modifications of the specs may also be made within limited parameters to adjust for your individual playing style or application i. Note: These are minimum specifications that are meant as a guide; they should not be construed as hard and fast rules, as we realize that every player's subjective requirements often differ. For strings to stay in tune, they should be changed regularly. Strings that have lost their integrity worn where pressed against the fret or have become oxidized, rusty and dirty will not return to pitch properly.

To check if your strings need changing, run a finger underneath the string and feel for dirt, rust or flat spots. If you find any of these, you should change your strings.

No matter what gauge of strings you use, we recommend using Fender strings, which are designed to provide superior performance. The patented bullet-end is specifically designed for all styles of tremolo use, from extreme dives to smooth vibrato passages.

The design allows the string to travel freely in the bridge block channel during tremolo use and return afterwards to its original position, seated snugly in the bridge block. This is accomplished by eliminating the extra string wrap and the ball end the ball end doesn't fit properly into the string channel.

The bullet end has been shaped and sized to match the design of the bridge block channel. For other bridges, Fender also offers ball-end strings that provide all of the necessary elements needed to provide optimum performance.

Make sure to stretch your strings properly. After you've installed and tuned a new set, hold the strings at the first fret and hook your fingers under each string, one at a time, and tug lightly, moving your hand from the bridge to the neck. Re-tune and repeat several times. How you wind the strings onto the pegs is very important, whether you're using standard or vintage tuning keys.

Start by loading all the strings through the bridge and then loading them onto the keys as follows:. Standard keys. To reduce string slippage at the tuning key, we recommend using a tie technique. This is done by pulling the string through the keyhole and then pulling it clockwise underneath and back over itself; creating a knot. You'll need to leave a bit of slack for the first string so you have at least two or three winds around the post.

As you progress to the sixth string, you'll reduce the amount of slack and the number of winds around the keys. Vintage keys. For these, you'll want to pre-cut the strings to achieve the proper length and desired amount of winds. Pull the sixth string tautly, remember to the fourth key and cut it. Pull the fifth string to the third key and cut it. Pull the fourth string between the second and first keys and cut it.

Pull the third string nearly to the top of the headcap and cut it. Insert into the center hole in the tuning key, bend and crimp to a degree angle, and wind neatly in a downward pattern, being careful to prevent overlapping of the strings. If your tuning keys have a screw on the end of the button, check the tightness of the screw. This controls the tension of the gears inside the tuning keys. Do not over-tighten these screws. They should be "finger-tight. Vintage-style tremolo bridge.

First, remove the tremolo back cover. Check your tuning. A great way to enhance the performance of this bridge is to pull the bridge back flush with the body using the tremolo arm. Then tighten the two outside screws back down until they're flush with the top of the bridge plate. The bridge will now pivot on the outside screws, leaving the four inside screws in place for bridge stability.

You'll need to retune periodically to get the right balance between the strings and the springs. Caution: Do not over-tighten the springs, as this can put unnecessary tension on the arm during tremolo use. This is a simple adjustment. Slide the tremolo lock button back into the "locked" position. Tune the guitar if you use an alternative tuning, you'll need to use it for this process. Slide the tremolo lock button into the "unlocked" position.

Using the tremolo tension adjustment screw, tighten or loosen the screw to return the tuning back to pitch. The end result should be that whether the tremolo lock button is locked or unlocked, the tuning remains constant.

You can preset the basic intonation of your guitar by taking a tape measure and measuring from the inside of the nut to the center of the 12th fret the fret wire itself; not the fingerboard. Double that measurement to find the scale length of your guitar. Adjust the first-string bridge saddle to this scale length, measuring from the inside of the nut to the center of the bridge saddle. Now adjust the distance of the second-string saddle back from the first saddle, using the gauge of the second string as a measurement.

For example, If the second string is. Move the third saddle back from the second saddle using the gauge of the third string as a measurement. The fourth-string saddle should be set parallel with the second-string saddle. Proceed with the fifth and sixth saddles with the same method used for strings two and three. Lubricating all of the contact points of a string's travel may be one of the most important elements in ensuring tuning stability during tremolo use and in reducing string breakage.

The main cause of string breakage is moisture collection at the point of contact on the bridge saddle. This can be attributed to the moisture and acidity that transfers from your hands, or it can be a direct effect of humidity in the air. Another factor is metal-to-metal friction and fatigue. Metal components react to each other over time because of their differences and help break down string integrity. A stronger metal will always attack a softer metal this is why a stainless-steel string will wear a groove or burr in a vintage-style saddle.

You'll also find that different string brands break at different points of tension because of the metal makeup and string manufacturing techniques. Since Fender manufactures its own strings, they are designed to perform well during extreme tremolo techniques.

The oil insulates against moisture and reduces friction and metal fatigue. String trees are another point of contact and should also be lubricated; a small amount of lip balm applied with a toothpick works well. These Fender guitars are all equipped with a "standard" truss rod of which there are two types: one that adjusts at the neck heel and one that adjusts at the headstock; both operate on the same principle.

The standard truss rod can counteract concave curvature in a neck that has too much relief, for example, by generating a force in the neck opposite to that caused by excessive string tension. First, check your tuning. Affix a capo at the first fret and depress the sixth string at the last fret. With a feeler gauge, check the gap between the bottom of the string and the top of the 8th fret see the spec chart below for the proper gap. Adjustment at headstock allen wrench : Sight down the edge of the fingerboard from behind the headstock, looking toward the body of the instrument.

If the neck is too concave action too high , turn the truss rod nut clockwise to remove excess relief. If the neck is too convex strings too close to the fingerboard , turn the truss rod nut counter-clockwise to allow the string tension to pull more relief into the neck. Check your tuning, then re-check the gap with the feeler gauge and re-adjust as needed. Adjustment at neck joint phillips screwdriver : Sight down the edge of the fingerboard from behind the body, looking up toward the headstock of the instrument.

Note: In either case, if you meet excessive resistance when adjusting the truss rod, if your instrument needs constant adjustment, if adjusting the truss rod has no effect on the neck, or if you're simply not comfortable making this type of adjustment yourself, take your instrument to your local Fender Authorized Dealer.

Players with a light touch can get away with lower action; others need higher action to avoid rattles. First, check tuning. Using a 6" mm ruler, measure the distance between bottom of strings and top of the 17th fret. Adjust bridge saddles to the height according to the chart, then re-tune. Experiment with the height until the desired sound and feel is achieved. Use the two outside adjustment screws to achieve the rough overall string height.

Shimming is a procedure used to adjust the pitch of the neck in relation to the body. A shim is placed in the neck pocket, underneath the butt end of the neck.

On many American series guitars, a Micro-Tilt adjustment is offered. It replaces the need for a shim by using a hex screw against a plate installed in the butt end of the neck. The need to adjust the pitch raising the butt end of the neck in the pocket, thereby pitching the neck back of the neck occurs in situations where the string height is high and the action adjustment is as low as the adjustment will allow. To properly shim a neck, the neck must be removed from the neck pocket of the body.

For guitars with the Micro-Tilt adjustment, loosen the two neck screws on both sides of the adjustment access hole on the neckplate by at least four full turns. Re-tighten the neck screws when the adjustment is complete. The pitch of the neck on your guitar has been preset at the factory and in most cases will not need to be adjusted. Note : If you feel that this adjustment needs to be made and you're not comfortable doing it yourself, take your guitar to your local Fender Authorized Dealer.

Set too high, pickups can cause myriad inexplicable phenomena. Depress all the strings at the last fret. Using a 6" mm ruler, measure the distance from the bottom of the first and sixth strings to the top of the pole piece. A good rule of thumb is that the distance should be greatest at the sixth-string neck pickup position, and closest at the first-string bridge pickup position.

Follow the measurement guidelines in the chart below as starting points.

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