"Stiff" Strat????

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by TNJ, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. TNJ

    TNJ Gold Supporting Member

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    I just got a new handbuilt strat style guitar in on a trade.
    She's a beauty...but plays SO stiff, I cant even do my usual lead riffing.
    Other than string gauge (I think there are .10's on there), what else can I do to make this guitar more playable???

    Thanks,
    S.
    j
     
  2. GregoryL

    GregoryL Supporting Member

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    "Stiff" playing can mean different things to different players, but if you're used to .09's, then change the strings and let it sit for several hours to adjust to the lighter string tension, then work through a typical strat set-up - it's likely one or both of these...
    - check the relief in the neck and adjust the truss rod as necessary
    - check the trem tension ... is it flat to the body and do you typically have yours set to float.

    If you're not familiar with these adjustments, it would be worth the money to have it set-up by a good tech.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. TNJ

    TNJ Gold Supporting Member

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    It does help...thanks.
    I usually play .10's on my strats, but on the new one the strings have little to no play in them. Lotsa tension goin' on here, which makes me think the problem may be with the neck relief/trem tension. I also usually have the trem set to float. My guitar tech guy is gonna hopefully fix me up this friday.

    S.
    j
     
  4. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Steve -

    For me, to get one to play right, Strats are sensitive to the relief in the neck. Try adjusting the truss so the neck very close to flat, then adjust the action. If the saddles are way up high when the action is right, shim the neck back and lower the saddles.

    This is Walter's trick to make stiff Strats feel less stiff. Lower saddle height reduces the break angle over the bridge saddles, so the strings feel lees stiff.

    Try those two things, see if it helps.

    Good luck, Dana O.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2008
  5. TNJ

    TNJ Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks Dana...will do!

    :cool:

    I'll report back as well,
    S.
    j
     
  6. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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    I'd be double-checking those strings... might not be 10s at all...
     
  7. rooster

    rooster Member

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    "If it ain't stiff..."

    Ah, the wayback machine.

    rooster.
     
  8. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Experimenting with neck shims along with saddle height for the angle sharpness is where I figured it out. It really makes a difference on some strats. Strats are so tweakable. Do a search for tons of info.
     
  9. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    Some guitars are just very stiff by nature. By the time you have to start shimming them, the war is kinda lost, IMO.

    Some of these guitars end up being traded around and around like a Christmas fruit cake. It is possible this geetar is of greater value to someone else, someone who has hands of steel and who plays 12-54s. (That wouldn't be me; I come home from 3 weeks vacation and 11s are turning my left hand into hamburger.)


    Bubban0v
     

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