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MIM Strat question

Pat Healy

Senior Member
Messages
10,949
Like many players, I've been intrigued by all the buzz about MIM Strats. I've wandered into a couple of local shops to try them out, and yep, some of them are pretty nice. One concern is that every single one of them I've played has a TERRIBLE time staying in tune, to the point that I'm tuning almost constantly as I play the guitar.

So my question for all you MIM Strat owners is - have you had tuning problems with your guitar, and if so, how did you address them? I'm assuming some upgraded tuners, a set of decent .010 or heavier strings, and a good setup would help a lot. Is that the case, or do you just have to stop the band every minute or so to tune up? :messedup
 

rainmaker

Member
Messages
243
I've had mine for one week and to me, it's the best playing guitar I've ever owned in twenty years of playing. Next week I'm having some vintage style tuners and a new bridge put in. Other than that, I love the way it feels.
 

Doodad

Member
Messages
7,759
I love the one I found. It is my every day guitar now. I did block the trem and get a good setup. Stays in tune like a rock except on wild weather swings, but that is not often.
 

Mike9

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,971
It's all in the setup - I routinely do setups on these types (and expensive USA) Fenders to make them play better and stay in tune - you are not alone.

The QC of most guitars leaving a factory today is abysmal. Manufacturers AND especially box stores like GC should be ashamed of themselves for making these their representative offerings to the public.
 

cvansickle

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,342
No tuning problems with mine either. I think it's an excellent guitar. I converted mine into my Iron Maiden Dave Murray tribute guitar!
 

Birddog

Member
Messages
3,114
I gig regularly with my two MIM Strats and they are two of the best stay-in-tune guitars that I own. And I bend like CRAZY.

Most ship with 3 tremolo springs. There are spots for 5. Try 5. They're cheap.
 

flyingvees

Member
Messages
1,986
For someone like me who bends alot of strings and has a strong attack they dont work for me in the stock configuration...Upgrade with some callaham stuff and you will be set:AOK
 

dave s

Member
Messages
6,434
My advice would be to replace the nut first. Moreso than the tuners.

For close to 5 years, my #1 player at live shows was an MIM Wayne's World strat. It was picked from a wall of about 25 MIM strats. It played great, stayed in tune perfectly even when using the trem bar. No dives, but it came back to tune when used.

Took it to my usual tech who installed a bone nut and a set of Rio Grand Vintage Tallboy pickups. What a smokin' strat! It had a really raw, woody tone to it. Poplar body may have contributed to that raw tone.

Played the bejeesus out of the guitar for 5 years and sold it to somebody who used it as their #1 for a number of years after that.

For those who don't want to take true vintage or CS fenders to gigs, I'd recommend an MIM strat when strat tones are a necessity.

dave
 

dk123123dk

Member
Messages
3,890
I had a powerhouse strat (mim deluxe series) that stayed in tune pretty nice. I sold it because I didn't like the route for the mid boost.

dk
 

hyde

Member
Messages
168
I would agree with dave that the nut is probably the culprit. I have an early MIM strat with a bone nut and it holds tune as good as any strat I've played.

I would also recommend blocking down the bridge...if you don't need the bar. As birddog mentioned, adding a few spring can make a big difference. Another technique that I have used on a number of strats is to wedge an eraser behind the block. This keeps it very stable but still allows some bridge motion. Again, this is not for everybody but I love the feel that you get by doing this.

Cheers!
Hyde
 
Messages
12,083
MIM Fenders(I have a Tele and a Strat)are the biggest bang for the buck out there.They require a great deal of care in the set-up and mods involved in their use.
 

stringgears

Member
Messages
116
I paid $399 for a brand new MIM (new version w/bigger block/frets etc). I love it. Plays and sounds great........NO tuning problems at all.
I also own a Fender 60 time machine custom shop in which I feel the MIM is very compariable with in playability and tone.
SG
 

Ray Gianelli

Member
Messages
1,343
My advice would be to replace the nut first. Moreso than the tuners.


dave
Good advice from Dave S here. Perhaps even just a little lube in the nut, or running a bit of emery paper through the nut slots will help.

Do you hear and "pinging" sounds when tuning or bending/using the trem? That's a dead giveaway that you have string binding, usually at the nut.
 

padavis

Member
Messages
2,349
I love my MIM Strat it was my first electric guitar. I changed the tuners to some grover lockers a long time ago but I since have found out they are not quite what they used to be management-wise so they might get changed to something else. However they work fine so maybe I should get passed the whole China/Korea thing. Mine stays in tune pretty dang well with a good set of strings it can sit in its case for a week or a little more. I have 4 springs and its tightened down to where there is little movement. Thats what I think works the best, I am planning on changing the nut eventually. I would like to have someone good put on the LSR nut but might settle with a Graph Tech.
 

Gasp100

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
24,225
I might be selling mine off very soon... too many good guitars and more coming (old schoole early 90's G&L Legacy). The one I bought is sweet, too sweet actually. I wanted to treat is as a partscaster, but I can't bring myself to do anything to it
:nono
Upgraded with Fender noiseless pups, no tuning issues setup for 10's. If I only had ONE guitar, this would probably be it. But, I can't live with just one guitar ;)
I think if you tend to hear "pinching" that the nut may have a problem. I could see upgrading the bridge and tuners possibly, that's about it.
Mine is a 1999 MIM.
 

defaultoprime

Member
Messages
233
I've got two... a '93 and a '94... great guitars... no trouble keeping them in tune and I too, like the rollercoaster bendy thing... course, I didn't like the stock pickups, so they've both had mid-level upgrades to GFS pickups... now they don't bug me anymore...
 




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