Lowering the action on a Strat

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Jess 1971, May 27, 2016.

  1. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Member

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    This will probably get asked, so I'm going to throw it out there. G&Ls come with 0.010" - 0.046" strings on them.

    People commonly call them a set of "tens".

    G&L also uses D'Addario:

    [​IMG]

    You don't have to buy this particular brand or gauge, but know that if you change string gauge, you'll also need to adjust the spring tension in the back of the guitar so that the bridge floats level again.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2016
  2. critter74

    critter74 Supporting Member

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    Also the only way to know how "you" like your guitar setup is by doing it yourself. As someone else said.... Baby steps and small adjustments. Nothing to major at first until you know what your doing.

    I can set up a guitar out of the box to how I want it in about 10 minutes. Then it gets fine tuned over the next week as it a climates to the environment, the adjustments, etc.

    I like very low action, but I also play with a very light touch. It took me years to break bad habits of how I used to play (too hard and fretting to hard). My post I. This is that I have friends who play my guitars and say "Hey, this has a lot of buzz on some frets.". At which point I pick it up and play it and show them it doesn't. Because it's set up for me, not them.

    So in time after lots of adjustments and setups, you'll learn to dial a guitar in just how you like. And when it's not set up for your preference you can pretty much know if it's due to the truss Rod, saddle heights, etc before even measuring.

    OP- learn to set up your guitar. You'll be so happy you did and will be much happy with your gear as it will be setup how you want it.... Not how someone else thinks it's should be.
     
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  3. kiwicanuck

    kiwicanuck Member

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    Yes, of course they do. I've done more set-ups than I can remember. The first step is usually to back the truss rod off to reverse the "action adjustments" that have been made. I use factory settings for relief and tweak from there.

    My comment was directed at someone whose first approach to lowering the action was to have a go at the truss rod. That's why I assumed the factory setting would at least be based on neck relief rather than having him arbitrarily cranking it.
     
  4. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

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    Experiment freely.
    These are user adjustments.
    Move it around until you hit your happy spot.
    Try them all and you will know.
    Don't like it? Move it back.
     
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  5. Jason_77

    Jason_77 Member

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    I assume you're referring to my post. I never said to "have a go at the truss rod"; that's just stupid. I said to check the relief, which is what should be done first before adjusting the action.
     
  6. daacrusher2001

    daacrusher2001 Silver Supporting Member

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    I generally eyeball the relief - however, it's probably worth measuring it if you think you're going to tweak the truss rod.

    I'd probably start with the saddles. Make sure the radius is correct, and then lower them a bit and see it goes. You can measure and measure but over time I've developed a feel for what I like in terms of action and can usually just tweak without getting out the rulers

    Now, that said, I have had some that just didn't feel right after tweaking and then went through a complete setup, measuring everything.

    btw - I concur with those who said the truss rod should/could be adjusted if needed. I'd definitely measure the relief if I thought it was out.
     
  7. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    Absolutely. I found this out first hand recently when I changed string brands to a brand with more tension. More tension = more relief (bow), therefore the rod needed tightening.
     
  8. kiwicanuck

    kiwicanuck Member

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    Of course the relief should be set first. Every new guitar I've bought has been adjusted with a tiny bit of relief and just needed the height tweaked. You've missed my intent, which was to stop the OP from using the truss rod to lower the action on a new guitar. Yes, I KNOW that adjusting the truss rod also affects the string height.
     
  9. kiwicanuck

    kiwicanuck Member

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    Yes - you did the right thing! The change in gauge requires a tighter truss rod to maintain the shape of the neck. Good example of the right way to use it.
     
  10. SgtThump

    SgtThump Supporting Member

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    Hopefully, while people are on here pointing out how accepted industry terms like "tremolo" are wrong and contemplating the importance of a truss rod adjustment, the OP actually got some tools in his hands and has started adjusting. This isn't rocket science, although I do admit it takes a lot of tweaking to really learn the differences all the adjustments can make.

    Go at it and learn how to do this yourself!
     
  11. Jess 1971

    Jess 1971 Supporting Member

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    I do know how to do setups and repairs on all of my guitars, as I've been doing it myself for many years. I've just never owned a guitar with a floating trem, so I wanted to know if I should approach it any differently than I would my Teles, for instance, before I broke out the tools and got to work.

    I genuinely appreciate that some of you offered some solid advice, so thanks! Most appreciated.

    To the guys that told me to "get educated" or some other condescending stuff about how I need to take it to a professional because I obviously don't know what I'm doing, I don't know how to respond to that. I think you're trying to be helpful, but no, not really.
     
  12. scolfax

    scolfax Supporting Member

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    This came with my new PRS SE. I thought the shipping comment was interesting:

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Bogner

    Bogner Member

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    Clearly you didn't take it to a professional. You took it to a hack. Sadly, there are a lot of hacks out there but a proper professional is worth their weight in gold for many a thing. True, you may not always know who to deal with or who you are dealing with but that is what referrals and relationships are for. I agree, there are folks out there doing tech work who have absolutely no business doing so. I wouldn't call them professionals though.
     
  14. BluesForDan

    BluesForDan Member

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    ah, yes, very good point. The take away is, just because they work in a store, doesn't always mean they know more.

    it is so nice, though, once you know how to set up your guitar to be able to tweak it right when it needs it. Not when you can finally get it to a repair shop and wait however long it may be until you get your guitar back. Not to mention saving 50-75 dollars (a guitar) twice a year if you live in a climate like mine.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2016
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  15. Bogner

    Bogner Member

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    Agreed....but if you are not sure what to do it is wise to have somebody knowledgeable do it or have a friend take the time over the long haul to teach you things etc over time so you can learn correctly. I have had to fix some guitars that people worked on that messed them up. Even worse when they get worked on improperly and then are neglected....throw some climate change on top of it and you have major issues.
     
  16. BluesForDan

    BluesForDan Member

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    I was lucky I guess then. And I have to state up front that it was way over 30 years after I started playing that I learned how to do setups. I had the good fortune to work in a guitar store about 10 years ago, and under the tutelage of somebody who really knew their **** watch them adjust many guitars. I never worked on the customers' guitars, just my own.

    It is immeasurably helpful to have somebody who knows what they are doing show you. The internet videos are great but there's little substitute for being able to ask questions in real time. I gathered some tools and pooled my knowledge and now feel comfortable adjusting my guitars.
     
  17. Paleolith54

    Paleolith54 Member

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    OP, you couldn't have asked for a better answer than this.
     
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