Fender Stratocaster – Service and Setup

What a lovely old Strat.  In need of a little TLC but basically sound…

The bridge is all a little manky, rather corroded, but I’m sure that can be sorted.

It’s just a case of taking it all apart and getting the wire brush in there.

That’s better, just needs setting up again.

Another thing I noticed.  The neck isn’t on straight.  At the last fret the strings are a lot closer to the treble side than the Bass.

It’s quite simple to sort. in most cases just slacken the screws and ease the neck over.  If the neck pocket it a little tight then a little more might be needed.

That’s better.

All it needs now is a 5 point setup.

  1. The neck set…

2.  The action at the 12th Fret.

Back to those saddle screws, that I cleaned and didn’t put back exactly right.  

Start with the outside “E”s and then the others, to match the fretboard radius.

3.  The action at the 1st Fret.

4.  The intonation.

Lastly the pickup heights and there it is, ready for action.

For anything else just check out http://www.guitar-george.co.uk

Fender Stratocaster – All new electrics

Here’s a nice looking Strat’.  A rather nice upgrade with a new pick-guard and a set of Iron Gear Pickups.

It’s also got a problem with one of the saddle height screws.

A new set will sort that out.

The new pickups are switchable with a Low/High output so I’m going to fit three Push-Push pots.  The holes need to be just teased out a little, for the slightly larger size pots.

That’s the pick-guard fully loaded, ready to fit.

There it is, in place.

While the strings are off it’s always a good time to give the fret-board a good clean.

And with the strings back, a standard 5 point setup.

The neck had way too much curve.

so tighten up the truss-rod.

Having fitted new saddle height screws they were never going to be right.

so bring them up a lump, starting with the outside “E” strings.

Followed by the rest, to match the fret-board radius.

The action back at the 1st fret was fine.

The intonation was about right

But the pickup heights were nowhere near, since I’ve only just fitted them.

There we are.  The middle pot in the UP position, low power.  with a standard 5 way switch giving lots of options.

So there it is.  I rather like that one.

For anything else you may need check out http://www.guitar-george.co.uk

US Fender Stratocaster – Fret Dress and Setup

Now this was a really lovely guitar.  I think a late 80s, American Built Strat’

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Considering its age there’s not much wrong with it.  A little bit of wear and tear on the frets…

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The rest of it’s lovely, a really great colour too.

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There was however one big problem that I hadn’t anticipated, the socket on the end of the truss-rod has been rounded out which made it rather difficult to adjust.  The only way to get the neck flat was to put it on the jig….

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As ever I used my calibrated beam with adhesive “sandpaper”, that way I know everything has to be at the same level.

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You can see, just as I was getting started where the high frets were and where the worn low spots were.

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High up, the 14th fret was the biggest problem.  It was set a lot lower than all the others so I had to go further tan I really wanted too.

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Once the frets are all at the same level the tops need to be re-crowned (rounded off) again.

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With the frets an even height and re-shaped they need to be polished using 4 grades of micromesh.

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Once the frets were done I cleaned and oiled the fretboard.

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With the fretwork done I put the neck back on the guitar with my fingers crossed, How much neck set is there going to be, bearing in mind the truss-rod isn’t easily adjustable.

Luckily the gods of guitar setup were smiling on me and the set was within tolerance.  A little high but within an acceptable limit.

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The rest of it is quite simple setup.  The action wasn’t far off just a little low.

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so I raised up the bridge saddles just a shade.

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The action up at the 1st fret was just fine, apart from the B string.  The nut slot was so low the open string wouldn’t play at all.  A little bone dust and superglue sorted that out.

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Next the intonation, again not too far out but in need of a little adjustment.

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Lastly the pickup heights.

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There we go, a great guitar ready for another 30 or 40 years….

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