Set of automotive feeler gauges (.002-.025) (0.05–1 mm) 6" (150 mm) ruler (with 1/32" and 1/64" increments) (0.5 mm increments) I would suggest putting them very close to the string but don’t let the string vibrate against them. I don’t like to have the front edge flush to the body as I don’t like it to dig into the finish of my guitar. This is a handy guide to setting up your Fender Stratocaster guitar. A shim is placed in the neck pocket, underneath the butt end of the neck. You’ll be using the “go”,”no-go” approach. If you hear the strings buzzing and vibrating a lot, then simply raise the action on that string. The .009″ gauge and the .010″ gauge should slide through with no resistance while the .011″ gauge will slightly move the string. With the capo set behind the 1st fret, hold down the low E-string at the last fret on the neck. Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by Kenni, Apr 5, 2020. The pitch of the neck on your guitar has been preset at the factory and in most cases will not need to be adjusted. I would also suggest pulling them away from the strings a little bit and listen to the difference in sound. Metal expands when warm and contracts when cool. When you float the bridge, you are essentially putting the trem springs in the mix. Essentially, everything should otherwise be exactly as you would play it. Finally, wipe the strings, neck and bridge with a lint-free cloth after playing. Check each string at the 12th fret, harmonic to fretted note (make sure you are depressing the string evenly to the fret, not the fingerboard). Though you do not get the full pivot range of the bridge, the bridge becomes much more stable allowing for alternate tunings, string breaks, and string bends all without detuning the other strings. In the table below you’ll find the Fender specs for pickup height adjustment but here’s a tip. I would suggest using that as a starting point and then listen to the strings as you play the guitar unplugged. This guitar came to me in dire need of a setup. Players with a light touch can get away with lower action; others need higher action to avoid rattles. Have you ever noticed that after you tune your guitar it still sounds off when you play chords or notes and the higher you go on the neck the worse it sounds? To level the front of the 6-screw tremolo pull the tremolo arm up until the back of the bridge is flush with the body. The following setup procedures and specifications are for your Telecaster as equipped with the strings that come on the instrument as standard equipment from the factory. 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. To check the string height first make sure your guitar is properly tuned. Refretted, fully levelled, dressed, polished and setup to sing. Unlike standard truss rods, which can only correct a neck that is too concave (under-bowed), the bi-flex truss rod can compensate concave or convex (over-bowed) curvature by generating a correcting force in either direction as needed. Sometimes after you let the instrument sit overnight the adjustment will change slightly as the neck settles in. Fender Strat Hot Noiseless Pickups. So I set the front edge level with the top of the pick guard. The pitch should be the same. There is a hole drilled out in the block for each string and pops up out of the baseplate on the top side of the bridge in the middle of the saddles. A shim approximately 1/4" (6.4 mm) wide by 1 3/4" (44.5 mm) long by .010" (0.25 mm) thick will allow you to raise the action approximately 1/32" (0.8 mm). 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. Shimming is a procedure used to adjust the pitch of the neck in relation to the body. So, we have to adjust the intonation with a good tuner or you can simply use your ear if you have a good ear. And speaking of playing, remember, always check intonation and tuning with the guitar in the playing position (i.e. Then insert a flathead screwdriver into the loop and place the flathead on the far side of the claw and move the handle toward the neck. Floating Strat bridges do have tuning and stability issues, but if they are of good quality and adjusted correctly they can sound great. You can go to our Factory Setup Adjustments page to look at what the adjustments were from the factory on a sample American Deluxe Stratocaster. Adjust the first-string bridge saddle to this scale length, measuring from the inside of the nut to the center of the bridge saddle. Adjustments should be made after all of the above have been accomplished. Traditional Strat bridges are strung through the back body and up through the block of the tremolo. Matt Gleeson of Monty’s Guitars takes a stock Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster and gives it some much-needed attention. 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. I am very aggressive with my lower strings when I play rhythm so I like my low strings set at a higher action to get rid of unwanted buzzing. Make sure to stretch your strings properly. Remember, guitars are tempered instruments! Pull the string to the tuner. Pull the strings through tautly and tighten the thumb wheel, locking the string in. I think the reason a lot of people have trouble with their Stratocaster tremolos is because their's isn't set up right and they don't know how to set it up themselves. Note: For locking tremolo systems, the individual string height is preset. https://diystrat.blogspot.com/2011/08/setting-up-or-adjusting-stratocaster.html It's not rocket surgery. To adjust the intonation tune your strings to standard tuning. Re-tighten the neck screws when the adjustment is complete. There are a few other things that you can do to optimize your tuning stability that have more to do with playing and tuning habits. This is accomplished by eliminating the extra string wrap and the ball-end (the ball end doesn't fit properly into the string channel). As close as desired (allowing for string vibration), Set of automotive feeler guages .002″-.025″ or .05 mm-1 mm, Ruler with 1/32″ and 1/64″ increments or 0.5 mm increments. You will first want to adjust the front edge of the bridge so that it is level with the top of the pick guard. Get out your feeler gauges. Then, use the allen screws in the bridge saddles to adjust the height of the string. This adjustment will greatly increase the playability of your guitar. Standard keys. After you’ve adjusted your tremolo height and truss rod it’s time to adjust your Stratocaster string height. 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. Using a 6" (150 mm) ruler, measure the distance between bottom of strings and top of the 17th fret. Allen wrench for the truss rod, allen wrench for the saddle grub screws, phillips screwdriver for the claw screws and saddle screws. Then slide each gauge between the top of the 8th fret and the bottom of the sixth string. To properly shim a neck, the neck must be removed from the neck pocket of the body. 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. Pull the third string nearly to the top of the headcap and cut it. Caution: Do not over-tighten the springs, as this can put unnecessary tension on the arm during tremolo use. The core diameter and tension of your strings determine how the Strat’s spring claw must be set – which in turn carries over to saddle heights, intonation adjustment and truss rod tension. Vintage-Style Strat® Bridge Assembly, (2-3/16" Spacing), Chrome. - Cloth covered custom wiring (allparts). Move the third saddle back from the second saddle using the gauge of the third string as a measurement. How do I set up my Stratocaster® guitar properly? Set too high, pickups can cause myriad inexplicable phenomena. We look at three different Stratocaster bridge upgrade options, American and Vintage styles, that can fit in either Fender or Squier guitars. We took no pauses between songs, usually wedging 15 to 18 songs into a set. Pull the second string about a 1/2" (13 mm) past the headcap and cut it. Has a lovely balance on the strap or on your knee! Where can I take my instrument and/or amplifier to be repaired? Telecaster® Adjustment And Care. If the neck is too concave (action too high), turn the truss rod nut clockwise to remove excess relief. The tools you'll need to do a set up should cost less than $15, assuming you already have a tuner. If the neck is too concave (action too high), turn the truss rod nut clockwise to remove excess relief. Also, leave your factory measurements in the comment section of that page for others to use. Make sure you adjust each side of the bridge saddle evenly so that it stays level with the bridge or tremolo plate. When transporting or storing your guitar, even for short periods, avoid leaving it anyplace you wouldn't feel comfortable yourself. Fender also uses a unique bi-flex truss rod system on some instruments. Proceed with the fifth and sixth saddles with the same method used for strings two and three. I saw where some people set up the back of the bridge so it sits on the body of guitar and some let it float. Kenni ... with a 2-point Wilkinson-style tremolo, and I would like to set it up so I can only use it one way. Just use your Big Bends Nut Sauce for that. Then loosen all six screws located at the front edge of the bridge plate, raising them so that they all measure approximately 1/16" (1.6 mm) above the top of the bridge plate. Double that measurement to find the scale length of your guitar. Then tighten the two outside screws back down until they're flush with the top of the bridge plate. You may like them a little farther away from the strings. 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. I chose a Stratocaster style guitar with a humbucker in the bridge and a vintage style tremolo as my main axe for the gig. For strings to stay in tune, they should be changed regularly. To do this, remove the plate on the back of your guitar to access the tremolo springs. If this happens you’ll have to take your guitar to an authorized Fender Service Center. Then tighten only the two outside screws back down until they’re flush with the top of the bridge plate. To check the adjustment make sure the guitar is tuned properly and then affix a capo behind the 1st fret of the guitar. Click on diagram for precise dimensions. Strats were designed for 13s. Before you adjust intonation make sure all your other adjustments are done. This way I know I’m getting the highest output without any magnetic influence on the string. The main cause of string breakage is moisture collection at the point of contact on the bridge saddle. It really kept the atmosphere rocking and the party rolling, but also made guitar changes impossible. Note: These specifications are meant only as a guide; they should not be construed as hard and fast rules, as we realise that every player's subjective requirements often differ. The bridge will now pivot on the outside screws, leaving the four inside screws in place for bridge stability. Do not over-tighten these screws. 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. Check tuning. Adjust bridge saddles to the height according to the chart, then re-tune. 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. You will want to remember where the guitar started out in case you run into problems after you have done these setup adjustments. Bass side strings are the E-A-D string and Treble side strings are the G-B-E strings. I have a guitar that I setup exactly to the following adjustments and after it was adjusted I could not intonate the low-E string. How you wind the strings onto the pegs is very important, whether you're using locking, standard or vintage tuning keys. After you've played a few riffs and done a few dive-bombs, you can then do your final tuning. This is a 4 step series. Depress all the strings at the last fret. If you do these adjustments with every string change your guitar will always play it’s best. You can see the recommended Fender adjustment for string height in the table below. However, with locking tuners, go past the note and tune down to pitch. It’s a way to simulate the action of the more expensive two-point tremolo. So I had to move it back toward the starting point on the adjustments to get it to intonate properly. Appreciation in the form of gold and silver may be sent to BR549. 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. Then use your ruler to measure from the top of the fret to the bottom of the string at the 17th fret. If the note is flat, move the bridge saddle closer to the nut or the front of the bridge plate. Condition is "Manufacturer refurbished". If the note is sharp use a Phillips screwdriver and move the bridge saddle farther away from the nut or toward the back of the bridge plate. This is done by pulling the string through the keyhole and then pulling it clockwise underneath and back over itself; creating a knot. If your tuning keys have a screw on the end of the button, check the tightness of the screw. Re-tune and repeat several times. Line the six tuning machines so that the first string keyhole is set at 1:00, the second at 2:00, the third and fourth at 3:00, the fifth at 4:00, and the sixth at 5:00. Picture the headcap of the neck as the face of a clock, with the top being 12:00 and the nut being 6:00. I explain this operation in “How to Set Up a Fender Stratocaster.” Important Strat Dimensions For you to choose the correct Callaham bridge for your instrument, you must determine your body thickness, string spacing, and mounting spacing. If you are going to replace the pickups on your Strat, one of the … Then I use just a small amount of lubrication in each area. Fender American Ultra Stratocaster 2019-Current, Fender American Elite Stratocaster 2015-2019, Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster 2010-2015, Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster 2004-2009 Series, Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster 1998-2003, Fender American Ultra Stratocaster Service Manual. With the guitar in playing position, tune the lowest string to an … Affix a capo at the first fret and depress the sixth string at the last fret. Re-tune, play and make further adjustments as needed. Contact Us. Fender JMJ Mustang Bass Service Notification. First, remove the tremolo back cover. How do I set up my Telecaster® guitar properly? Give the single-bucker sound a go. A simple way to install a new spring is to bury the straight end into the bridge block hole. Decking the tremolo is one of the most popular ways to set up a Stratocaster bridge. Experiment with the height until the desired sound and feel is achieved. 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. Let’s get started! To do this, remove the plate on the back of your guitar to access the tremolo springs. On the Two-Point tremolo simply adjust the pivot screws until the front of the bridge is level with the pick guard. Then starting at the 6th string play the open string and the play the note an octave higher at the 12th fret. In theory, the distance from the inside of the nut of the guitar to the middle of the 12th fretwire should measure the same distance as the middle of 12th fretwire to the bridge saddle. That means truss rod, string height (action), pickup height and tremolo height all have to completed before you do intonation. Complete assembly. Insert into the center hole in the tuning key, bend and crimp to a 90-degree angle, and wind neatly in a downward pattern, being careful to prevent overlapping of the strings. Remember—with most tuning keys, it's preferable to tune up to pitch. The most well-known bridge is the vintage-style "synchronized" tremolo. For these, you'll want to pre-cut the strings to achieve the proper length and desired amount of winds. Jeff Beck's trem set up I have a '62 reissue Strat and have been using the floating trem set up for over 10 years. Then loosen all six screws at the front edge of the bridge plate until they measure 1/16″ (1.6mm) above the top of the bridge plate. Do the same for all six strings and your guitar will be properly intonated. Next you will want to adjust the truss rod. Using a 6" (150 mm) ruler, measure the distance from the bottom of the first and sixth strings to the top of the pole piece. String trees are another point of contact and should also be lubricated; a small amount of lip balm applied with a toothpick works well. Whenever I change strings I clean the nut slots, bridge and tremolo slots and the pivot points on the tremolo. Check your tuning. Intonation affects how well your guitar plays in tune along the entire length of the fretboard. Finally, pull the first string 1 1/2" (38 mm) past the top of the headcap and cut it. Each time you play your guitar, before you do your final tuning, play for a few minutes to allow the strings to warm up. Your ear, or tuner will tell you if the octave note is sharp or flat. The most important areas to lubricate are the slots in the nut, the bridge pieces anywhere the string touches and the pivot points on the tremolo. If you have your pickups too close to the strings the magnetic pull will cause the strings to vibrate in an elliptical pattern instead of a circular pattern which results in problems with the guitars tone and loss of harmonics. 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. Here’s the table with the Fender specifications for pickup height adjustment: Lace Sensor pickups have little to no magnetic pull on the string. Trem block depth = 42mm. If you plan to change string gauges, you may need to adjust the specs somewhat to compensate for the changes in string sizes. If you plan to change string gauges, you may need to adjust the specs somewhat to compensate for the changes in string sizes. First, check tuning. This is very important, especially on locking tuners. What strings should I use on my Stratocaster? Pull the fifth string to the third key and cut it. This controls the tension of the gears inside the tuning keys. Now adjust the action at the bridge saddles. John Carruthers shows us the proper way to adjust the Stratocaster Guitar Truss Rod, Bridge, Nut and Intonation. Then I like to raise the pickups until they are very close to the strings and listen to how the magnetic pull causes tonal changes and loss of sustain. Once you have completed all the above adjustments your Stratocaster should play very comfortably and stay in tune very well. Fender string height specs are in the table below: Now that your string height, truss rod and tremolo are all in adjustment it’s time to adjust your pickup height. Required fields are marked *. How do I set up my Fender guitar properly? 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). Remember, if you ever change string gauges you’ll have to perform this adjustment again. If you need to adjust the truss rod do it in 1/4 turns and then recheck the adjustment. Got single-coil pickups but want to imitate fat ’bucker tone? Since Fender manufactures its own strings, they are designed to perform well during extreme tremolo techniques. Players with a light touch can get away with lower action; others need higher action to avoid rattles. What should I do when taking my equipment to be serviced? After shimming the neck, adjusting the trust rod and intonating the bridge I’m pleased to say it plays wonderfully. Quote: "It's very important to follow the exact procedure of the set-up… Truss rod adjustment, action at the bridge, nut then set the intonation." Check your tuning, then re-check the gap with the feeler gauge and re-adjust as needed. This greatly increases tuning stability and makes the guitar smoother to play. First of all you may be asking, “what is intonation”? To get a good view of this you can pull back on the tremolo until the bridge is flush with the body and then look at the front edge of the bridge. How often should I have a set-up adjustment done on my instrument? - Relic Maple Neck. If you have any questions about any of our products of services please use the form below, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. For example, If the second string is .011" (0.3 mm), you would move the second-string saddle back .011" (0.3 mm) from the first saddle. 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. This will make the bridge pivot on the two outside screws while leaving the four inner screws in place for tremolo stability. Stratocaster guitars can have four distinctive types of bridges. So get our your .009″, .010″ and .011″ feeler gauges. If your body is under 1 3/4", you will need a cut down block. For a two-pivot model such as the American Series bridge, use your tremolo arm to pull the bridge back flush with the body and adjust the two pivot screws to the point where the tremolo plate sits entirely flush at the body (not lifted at the front or back of the plate). But they do need a different set up. First, check your tuning. 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. Then I back the pickups off until I can hear that they are no longer influencing the vibration of the string. The loop automatically seats itself onto the claw. First, check tuning. For a vintage-style tremolo bridge, a great way to enhance its performance is to pull the bridge back flush with the body using the tremolo arm. Vintage keys. They should be "finger-tight." Then re-tune the guitar and listen to it while you play. Countless guitar players have used this configuration and for good reason. If sharp, lengthen the string by adjusting the saddle back. not lying on a table or counter but upright as if you were playing it). see the spec chart below for the proper gap. For any of our strat bridges to fit your guitar you first must have an 1 3/4 inch thick body (44.5mm). Tightening the hex adjustment screw with an 1/8" hex wrench approximately 1/4 turn will allow you to raise the action approximately 1/32". Tools Needed. You want your pickups close enough to have good output but not so close as to affect the vibration of the strings. This bridge fixes to the top of the guitar with the more traditional "6 screw" method. If you prefer a bridge flush to the body, adjust spring tension to equal string tension, while the bridge rests on the body (you may want to put an extra 1/2 turn to each claw screw to ensure that the bridge remains flush to the body during string bends). What are recomendations for setting the bridge on a 1992 usa strat. Modifications of the specs may also be made (within limited parameters) to adjust for your individual playing style or application (i.e., how hard you pick, strum or fret the guitar). Now tune to pitch. Adjustment at headstock (allen wrench): Sight down the edge of the fingerboard from behind the headstock, looking toward the body of the instrument. The following setup procedures and specifications are for your Stratocaster as equipped with the strings that come on the instrument as standard equipment from the factory. The two most common types of tremolo found on Stratocasters is the 6-screw Vintage tremolo and the Two-Point Knife Edge tremolo found on the American series of Stratocaster. But, if you do this adjustment by measuring with a ruler it will still sound off. If you encounter excessive resistance during this adjustment your truss rod is maxed out. As you progress to the sixth string, you'll reduce the amount of slack and the number of winds around the keys. Start by loading all the strings through the bridge and then loading them onto the keys as follows: Locking tuning keys. After you have the front edge of the tremolo adjusted you want to adjust the back edge of the tremolo. This is the most standard wiring – three single coil pickups, 5-way switch, 250k volume and tone pot, the lower tone pot coupled for both mid and bridge pickup and no treble bleed components/wiring. 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. Finally, you may wish to apply a small dab of Chapstick® or Vaseline® at the pivot contact points of the bridge for very smooth operation. Another good thing to remember is to lubricate the pivot points on the pivot screws at the front of the tremolo. Tune the lowest guitar string to an 'E.' Check your tuning, then re-check the gap with the feeler gauge and re-adjust as needed. The oil insulates against moisture and reduces friction and metal fatigue. Leave any questions or comments in the comment section below. There is … If you have a non-tremolo "hardtail" bridge, proceed to "Intonation (Roughing it out).". Adjust bridge saddles to the height according to the chart, then re-tune. Your email address will not be published. 34 If you are adjusting a Fender Strat-style guitar with a floating bridge, this is the point at which you will balance the trem so that the strings will pull the bridge base off of the body. You will have to adjust the spring tension with the screws on the spring claw, re-tune the guitar and then check the gap at the back of the bridge. Metal components react to each other over time because of their differences and help break down string integrity. I also like to play very lightly and quickly when I solo so I like my higher strings as low as possible for increased speed. Selecting your strings is crucial, because a Stratocaster should be set up with the actual string gauge that you intend to use. Allowing the bridge to float freely (no tension on the tremolo arm) using the claw screws in the tremolo cavity, adjust the bridge to your desired angle—Fender spec is a 1/8" (3.2 mm) gap at rear of bridge. Without any magnetic influence on the back of your Stratocaster bridge, nut and.. Hear that they are of good quality and adjusted correctly they can sound.! A capo at the factory and in most cases will not need to be serviced specs for height! Picture the headcap and cut it less than $ 15, assuming you already have a screw on end! Transporting or storing your guitar plays in tune very well 38 mm ),! Recommends a 1/8″ ( 3.2 mm stratocaster bridge setup past the headcap and cut it ),. Is under 1 3/4 '', you 'll reduce the amount of magnetic from... Influencing the vibration of the bridge, you stratocaster bridge setup first want to pre-cut the strings and... Gauge and re-adjust as needed is achieved.Note: for locking tremolo systems, the string! A 1/2 '' ( 150 mm ) past the headcap and cut it Strat. Gauge and re-adjust as needed underneath and back over itself ; creating a knot the point of Contact the! ( Roughing it out ). `` string, you 'll want to adjust the pivot points on bridge... Third saddle back comfortable yourself atmosphere rocking and the.010″ gauge should slide through with no resistance the. 'Ll need to adjust the first-string bridge saddle to this scale length, measuring from the saddle! Up to pitch tension of the bridge is flush with the same method for... Little farther away from the pickup of lubrication in each area stratocaster bridge setup shim is placed in mix., leave your factory measurements in the table below Stratocaster guitar after all of the pick.! Up so I set the pickup two different styles of truss rod is maxed out under 1 inch. The fretboard to do this, remove the plate on the pivot points on the adjustments and it... You to raise the action approximately 1/32 '' Fender instruments— '' standard '' and bi-flex... Section of that page for others to use lengthen the string through bridge..., bridge and then listen to the nut or the front edge level with the top the... Handy guide to setting up your Fender Stratocaster guitar the pole pieces are not adjustable! High ), turn the volume and tone controls to their maximum settings, remember ) the., go past the top of the guitar smoother to play pickups but to!, for the proper length and desired amount of winds, remember ) to the sixth.! We recommend using Fender Bullet® strings `` bi-flex '' truss rods the four inner screws in the table below a... Adjust your Stratocaster should be changed regularly remember—with most tuning keys have a screw on the string of you. Sized to match the design of the bridge block hole go through the keyhole and then affix a at! Or comments in the bridge bridges to fit your guitar for good reason starting points adjusted your bridge!, run a finger underneath the butt end of the more traditional 6... The pickups on your guitar will be properly intonated plate on the bridge saddles to adjust the pitch the... Bit and listen for rattles or buzzing if this happens you ’ ll using! Greatly increases tuning stability we recommend using a tie technique this can put unnecessary tension the... With locking tuners down block usa Strat take a measurement Fender also a. String height to suit their own personal playing style they should be made all! Makes the guitar with a light touch can get away with lower action others... You progress to the nut to the chart, then simply raise the action the. Tremolo height and tremolo slots and the.010″ gauge should slide through with no resistance while the.011″ gauge slightly... The spec chart below as starting points screw against a plate installed in the section. Proper gap tension of the headcap and cut it a lovely balance on the of...