Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by AndyFender, Aug 18, 2006.
How are the strats set up from the factory?
Should I have a pro setup on a new strat?
Speaking strictly for myself, the last 2 Strats I purchased (American 57 reiss and Yngwie Strat) where set up pretty shoddy, the neck relief, intonation etc. I would suggest a pro setup personally.
The climate changes that the guitar goes through from sitting in a store or shipping from here to there can change the factory setup too.
I've bought several Strats from brick and mortar stores such as GC, Sam Ash and small mom and pop and from online stores(MF, Music 123, GearTree). They all needed to be set up to some degree. Almost every Strat needed a truss rod adjustment (usually to straighten). Many needed pickup adjustment (usually lowering) to deter "Stratitis" (weird noises, especially on low E string). About half needed a shim under the neck in the pocket to get correct neck angle and action (many stock Strats, new and vintage, have shims already). Usually there is also need to adjust bridge pieces up or down to get action to your liking and usually slight adjustments needed to adjust length of string to get proper intonation (especially if you change string guages). A few may need work done on the nut. The Fender Forum has some good set up ideas.
Sounds like a lot, but most any guitar will have to be "set up" to your liking. Strats are easy to work on and guitar techs know them well.
For me, I assume there will be some set up work needed for any guitar, especially a Strat from a store. Strats are just easy to work on and parts/upgrades are abundant.
my experience differs... i've only ran into 1 strat that had a shim in the pocket from the factory... and i've had a bunch. it's been my experience that their neck angles are pretty on from the get-go. it seems to me the cnc machine tolerances make this possible.
back to the original question though... the general factory setups nowadays aren't too bad... they vary... but in general not too bad... but that doesn't mean you couldn't benefit from a pro setup.
I went through the same thing about a year ago with a used Strat I bought. Long story short, I went to the Fender website and downloaded the setup instructions. If you follow these to the letter you should be in good shape. The only thing I can add to the instructions is when adjusting the truss rod do a quarter turn at a time and let it settle over 24 hours. This means it may take a few days to get it just right. The other thing I'll add is that different brands of strings (of the same gauge) work better than others. I found so far that Ernie Balls 10-46 worked the best for intonation and I learned long ago to stick with one brand and gauge to avoid these problems on any guitar.
I used to use GHS Boomers exclusively because others just broke in my hands because I do a lot of two-step bends, but now they all seem to be much better.