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My Strat is SOOOO finicky - little rant

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rparker
(@rparker)
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I don't know what it is about this thing. Everything is at specs. Nut height, string height, truss-rod nice, strings in good shape, etc, etc, I play it and I get some weird reberveration like the strings were slapping and echoing on the neck or something. I've go the bridge claw tension fairly even taking stings into consideration. The 10's I put on there just were not doing it for me. I though it might be a bad fret or something, but could not see the culprit. I did have the D and G strings both actually getting some rattle or buzz.

So then I'm looking at the bridge mounting screws. Only the two outer ones were snug. The four middle ones were loose by at least a thread. I tightened those up and tried it. Well, doing it changed the whole bridge's angle and everything. It was tilted up quite a bit, all my strings were too high, etc. I messed with it for a couple of hours and killed a relatvely new set of strings by going loose then tight a million times over. I went up to 11's (with the setup having been done for 10's) and called it a night.

Next morning I give it a try. I tune it up, take my measurements, etc. Decided I wanted the bridge a bit lower than it was. It's still a little high I think, but I do want vibrato (two ways). I think I had to lower 5 of the 6 strings. Did that, gave everything a final measure while in tune and it sets up fine again. Except this time, I get almost none of that slapping sound I was getting. I do still need to intonate and will probably do so tomorrow.

Now on to the finicky part (aside form having to mess with this thing every time the weather changes). The slightest push or pull for some vibrato style knocks 'er out of tune. And speaking of being in or out of tune, this has to be the worst guitar for being slightly out of tune and sounding like crap that I have. Even when it was new, if the strings even had a bit of cleaning that needed to be done, it's sound awful. That, and those Fender Bullet strings would go from good to awful during a lunch break.

Well, if anyone has any suggestions or think they might know omething I'm not doing properly, do pipe up or chime in. When all the stars aligh, she is a fun and good sounding guitar. Oh, and I thought I liked 11s on my Epis. Man, these things are great on the Strat. I am pleased with that part.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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gnease
(@gnease)
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all the bridge screws should be set to the same height: 1. tight if you are going to block the trem to make it a hard-tail 2. "loose" if you will use the trem. whether or not you decide to set the trem for vintage (down only) trem action or floating (up and down bending) determines the angle to set the bridge plate: a. flat to body for down-only (tighten the springs to achieve this) or b. angled to allow up- and down-bending.

if you went up a couple gauges, then the nut probably need filing to keep strings from binding during trem actuation. a tight nut will "grab" the strings and cause pretty nasty tuning issues when tremming or even bending notes on a floating trem guitar.

to set up your Strat 1. determine trem mode desired and set up bridge plate angle to accommodate. 2. temporarily block the trem, preserving this bridge angle. 3. adjust saddle heights, tune, intonate, retune, and make sure everything works right while blocked. 4. adjust spring tension to keep bridge at desired angle -- blocks should be easy to remove. 5. tweak tuning and springs slightly -- if you do it (or have to do it) a lot, you will need to start over at step (2).

good luck

-=tension & release=-


   
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chalkoutline
(@chalkoutline)
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When I first got my Strat seemed a little finicky like that. Barely touch the tremolo arm and it goes out of tune. You are right as well. If it is just barely out of tune it sounds terrible.

But the strange thing is the more I played it, it seems to have settled in. I'm not sure if that is a valid observation or not, just a feeling. It seems to stay in tune very well now. I can play and practice on it for one to two hours and it does great. Typically after setting overnight all the strings go a little sharp. But thats not a big deal. I always tune it before I play anyway.

I currently use 10's in my strat and I am planning on trying 11's. If I like the feel and the tone I think I am going to bite the bullet and have a pro setup done on it.

Interview guy: What is the source of your feedback?
Neil Young: Volume.


   
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rparker
(@rparker)
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all the bridge screws should be set to the same height: ...........
I did learn that tight meant no movement. I had them "snug" and had very little movement, so I backed each on off slightly. It did not take much. Maybe like 1/2 a turn? that gave me the movement I wanted. I do like the up and down bending. I don't do a whole lot of it, but since learning a thing or two with a Bigsby equipped guitar, I decided I liked it and put the arms back in my strat and my P-90 junker.
if you went up a couple gauges, then the nut probably need filing to keep strings from binding during trem actuation. a tight nut will "grab" the strings and cause pretty nasty tuning issues when tremming or even bending notes on a floating trem guitar.
Good point. In fact, I even forgot to lube the nut when I changed them out now that I think about it. :evil:
to set up your Strat ..........
I never block the trems, successfully, but I misunderstood how to do it until yesterday when I saw a picture of it being done. I will do that on them from now on. You've told me before, but I didn't do it right.

Another mistake I was making was not having tension set to "fit" the strings. Moving my trem arm did not result in uniformed movement from one side to the other. Not even sure if that's necessary or important, but I did loosen the high-E Springs some to even it out. Funny how it would sit level, but not move like that.
When I first got my Strat seemed a little finicky like that. Barely touch the tremolo arm and it goes out of tune. You are right as well. If it is just barely out of tune it sounds terrible.
I always thought it was because if one string goes out of tune, the other 5 automatically do a tiny bit to maintain tension. Maybe that is the case, but then you'd think the same would occur with two other guitars that I have that don't sound as horrible when one gets out of tune.
But the strange thing is the more I played it, it seems to have settled in.....
Could be. I know the new strings take a while to settle in too, and stop going flat every 30 seconds of playing. Perhaps it's a subconscious thing going on? Maybe you hear something slightly off and your fingers loosen or tighten depending on what you're hearing?
I currently use 10's in my strat and I am planning on trying 11's......
I didn't like the feel of them on this at first like I did with other guitars I have, but I did like the reduced unwanted noise I was getting. I did re-measure and adjust the pickup heights (slightly) as well, so I don't know how much was that and how much was the strings, but my guitar sounds more alive. I did end up easing my pick attack a bit in addition to trying a lighter fretting touch that was talked about in another thread. Both worked, but the lighter pick attack really helped these new strings sing.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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Moonrider
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Tsk.

Leave the dark side, Roy. Telecaster is the light and the way. :mrgreen: :twisted:

Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

Moondawgs on Reverbnation


   
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rparker
(@rparker)
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Tsk.

Leave the dark side, Roy. Telecaster is the light and the way. :mrgreen: :twisted:
Well, I do have one more Tele than I do Strat. Isn't there some sort of law or violation of rules of proper ettiquette that states something about anyone with more than three electrics must have at least one Strat-like object? I would not want to make such a bad faux paus. :?

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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Cat
 Cat
(@cat)
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G'day, Parker...back to the Land Of The Living and so checked in to GN after a hiatus of sorts. Some insight into your finicky geeter:

The best racers drive quite close to the edge...cars, bikes, power & sailboats, horsies...whatever. One false move and...catastrophe. Great guitars are like that, as well. They are "balanced" at a knife edge of precision. Heck, they ARE precision machines, after all. Some people get a great guitar and expect to play better...but end up with even more head-scratching.

It's all in the touch, matey!

Cat

"Feel what you play...play what you feel!"


   
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TRGuitar
(@trguitar)
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Ummm ... define Strat-Like instrument. :lol: Nah, I got a Fender Strat, 2 SX Strat knockoffs. My Jackson is certainly Strat inspired but it has a slant headstock and 3 humbuckers, not Strat-Like at all. I suppose I do at least qualify though Roy. :lol:

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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Moonrider
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Tsk.

Leave the dark side, Roy. Telecaster is the light and the way. :mrgreen: :twisted:
Well, I do have one more Tele than I do Strat. Isn't there some sort of law or violation of rules of proper ettiquette that states something about anyone with more than three electrics must have at least one Strat-like object? I would not want to make such a bad faux paus. :?

My favorite "Strat" is my G&L Tribute Series Invader, which is basically a hardtail double fat Strat with the humbuckers coil tapped.

Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

Moondawgs on Reverbnation


   
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fibaz
(@fibaz)
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Tsk.

Leave the dark side, Roy. Telecaster is the light and the way. :mrgreen: :twisted:
Well, I do have one more Tele than I do Strat. Isn't there some sort of law or violation of rules of proper ettiquette that states something about anyone with more than three electrics must have at least one Strat-like object? I would not want to make such a bad faux paus. :?

I thought that rule was anyone with more than three electrics must have one Les Paul type guitar? :D


   
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gnease
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nope - not everyone loves LPs.

-=tension & release=-


   
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fibaz
(@fibaz)
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So true.


   
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rparker
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Topic starter  

This is sounding like a job for the Greater Guitar Ettiquette Counsil of Elder Ettiquette Guitar Counselors (the GGECEEGC ) to discuss.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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fibaz
(@fibaz)
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Yeah Roy, you should bring that up at your next meeting.


   
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U2Bono269
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this is exactly why i blocked my strat trem. i had a similar issue with my MIM, with all kinds of weird buzzing and noise and such, and I actually determined that I've been picking way too hard. I've been reading a book on how to play the blues, and they devoted a section to the "hard tone," where you pluck the string as hard as possible. I realized that I do this ALL THE TIME. Every note I play is a hard tone. So I've been forcing myself to chill out and play lighter and I realized the Strat really reacted to it well, and suddenly the noises and issues went away...I still dig in when I want to, but by relaxing I made the strat put out a better tone. I don't know why I have a tendency to do that.

Fenders do tend to be a little finicky though, don't they? i've found they tend to fight back a little, which I enjoy.

now, I know you've since gotten rid of the MIM, but I figured I'd still share my experience.

http://www.brianbetteridge.com


   
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