Strat setup problem--need help

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by stratotastic, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. stratotastic

    stratotastic Supporting Member

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    I usually do my own setups on my Strat with no problem, but I currently have an issue with fret buzz. At one point I took off the neck and noticed it had been shimmed by whoever set it up before me. Not sure why it was necessary as it has a neck tilt adjustment and the shim was right over the adjustment screw, but anyway, I took the shim out which I'm sure is probably part of the issue.

    So far I've adjusted my truss rod and raised the bridge saddle heights to a maximum tolerable level (most people would consider it high) and the guitar plays great up to about the 9th fret or so, then I get some buzz when up in the higher frets. The bottom line is it'd be nice to find a solution where I don't have to raise the action more, in fact I'd like to bring it down a bit. I started playing around with the neck tilt a little bit but didn't get very far--is that where I should be focusing? Any other ideas besides taking it to a pro?

    Thanks,
    Nate
     
  2. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

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    Sounds like the fingerboard is turned upward at the body end. Adjust the neck for a minimum amount of relief between the 1st and 15th fret and then raise the bridge saddles or use the tilt adjustment. If the it has the rise at the body end you may have to file the frets on that end but try the above first.
     
  3. stratotastic

    stratotastic Supporting Member

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    Thanks, I'll give that a try. It used to play great, so I know the sweet spot's in there somewhere...
     
  4. RockStarNick

    RockStarNick Supporting Member

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    Seriously, ditch the shim, and save yourself the time and energy, and just shell out the $$ for a fret level.

    It'll probably be around $75-100 bucks, and the guitar will be playing better than new, because each fret will be perfectly crowned, and the whole fretboard will be totally level.
     
  5. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

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    While I agree that a good fret-leveling is very important, it is probably not the solution to the problem at hand. Since the only variable mentioned in this equation is the neck shim, then I would start by assuming that the neck is not set at the optimum angle, which is why it was shimmed in the first place. This angle depends primarily on whether you float your trem or if you keep it tight against the body. If the micro tilt feature is working properly, try loosening the neck screws slightly and adding a little more angle.
     
  6. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    is the neck itself straight? that's the place to look. micro-tilts and shims only matter if you run out of travel on the saddles. (although i've found that strats and teles play more "slinky" if the saddles are down close to the plate, regardless of actual string height.)
     
  7. stratotastic

    stratotastic Supporting Member

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    Thanks guys. I'll do a little work on it this weekend based on your suggestions. If all fails, I'll just take it in. I've had the thing for 15 years and have always set it up myself w/no problems. It's long overdue and I probably need to get the frets checked since the cowboy corner is definitely showing some flattening out under the strings.
     

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