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Setting correct pickup height is very important...
String action is a very personal thing, and although we will go into...
You can preset the basic intonation of your guitar by taking a tape...
Setting neck relief is crucial for nice playability of any guitar.
Remember how beautiful your guitar fretboard...
Whether going to a live performance, recording music videos...
Guitar strings can last a few months with regular playing if you take...
Lubricating all of the contact points of a string's travel may be one...
After some time with regular playing or just by being tucked away, the strings...
Take your string and slide it through the tuning peg, then loop it around itself...
Anybody complaining about tuning stability on their guitar, I guarantee...
Setting neck relief is crucial for nice playability of any guitar. This must be done before any other action setup is done. Lowering the bridge cannot solve high action or fret buzz if relief is not setup correctly.
The truss rod is usualy located near the nut on the headstock, and sometimes is behind a truss rod cover. On some models the truss rod is on the opposite end of the neck, and the neck needs to be removed from the guitar to access it. On some acoustic guitars the truss rod is accessed through the soundhole, as the neck cannot be
detached from the body on acoustics.
To adjust the truss rod, you'll need to turn the nut a quarter turn at a time, enabling the neck to adjust after each turn. (You can play during the adjustment time.) The necessary truss-rod adjustment depends on which way the neck bows:
If your neck bows outward between the seventh and twelfth frets, creating a large gap that makes pressing down the strings difficult, tighten the truss rod by turning the nut clockwise (as you face the nut straight on).
9.5" to 12"
15" to 17"
.012" (0.3 mm)
.010" (0.25 mm)
.008" (0.2 mm)
If your neck bows inward between the seventh and twelfth frets, causing the strings to buzz and fret out (that is, come in contact with frets they’re not supposed to as you press down the strings), loosen the truss rod by turning it counterclockwise.
All guitars come with their own particular truss-rod wrench, so if you don’t have a truss rod wrench for your guitar, try to find a replacement immediately.
First, check your tuning. Affix a capo at the first fret and depress the sixth string at the last fret. With a feeler gauge, check the gap between the bottom of the string and the top of the 8th fret.
Here are some reference values:
Setting correct pickup height is very important to set the loudness of the pickup, to balance the high and low string output, but setting too close to the strings causes problems with sustain with magnetic pickups.
Set too high, pickups can cause myriad inexplicable phenomena. Depress all the strings at the last fret. Using a 6" (150 mm) ruler, measure the distance from the bottom of the first and sixth strings to the top of the pole piece. A good rule of thumb is that the distance should be greatest at the sixth-string neck pickup position, and closest at the first-string bridge pickup position. Follow the measurement guidelines in the chart below as starting points. The distance will vary according to the amount of magnetic pull from the pickup.
Bass Side Treble Side
Texas Specials 8/64" (3.2 mm) 6/64" (2.4 mm)
Vintage style 6/64" (2.4 mm) 5/64" (2 mm)
Noiseless™ Series 8/64" (3.2 mm) 6/64" (2.4 mm)
Standard Single-Coil 5/64" (2 mm) 4/64" (1.6 mm)
Humbuckers 4/64" (1.6 mm) 4/64" (1.6 mm)
Lace Sensors As close as desired (allowing for string vibration)
String action is a very personal thing, and although I will go into detail on setting the action properly according to factory specs, the actual action should be set based on the players feel, style of playing and style of music to be played (finger picking, strong strumming, shreding etc.
Players with a light touch can get away with lower action; others need higher action to avoid rattles. First, check tuning. Using a 6" (150 mm) ruler, measure the distance between bottom of strings and top of the 17th fret. Adjust bridge saddles to the height according to the chart, then re-tune. Experiment with the height until the desired sound and feel is achieved.
Note: For locking tremolo systems, the individual string height is preset. Use the two pivot adjustment screws to achieve the desired overall string height.
Neck Radius String Height
Bass Side Treble Side
7.25" 5/64" (2 mm) 4/64" (1.6 mm)
9.5" to 12" 4/64" (1.6 mm) 4/64" (1.6 mm)
15" to 17" 4/64" (1.6 mm) 3/64" (1.2 mm)
Adjustments should be made after all of the above have been accomplished. Set the pickup selector switch in the middle position, and turn the volume and tone controls to their maximum settings. Check tuning. Check each string at the 12th fret, harmonic to fretted note (make sure you are depressing the string evenly to the fret, not the fingerboard). If sharp, lengthen the string by adjusting the saddle back. If flat, shorten the string by moving the saddle forward. Remember, guitars are tempered instruments! Re-tune, play and make further adjustments as needed.
Remember how beautiful your guitar fretboard was when it was new? You can easily restore it by hidrating and cleaning the fretboard with products like Dunlop lemon oil.
Maple fretboard have lacquer finish and they don't need to be oiled, only cleaned occasionally. Use the time when you change the strings to do this because you have easy access with the strings off.
Rosewood and other dark wood fretboards are not finished and have open pores so the wood dries out over time. Make it a habit to oil the fretboard once a year to keep it hidrated and looking healthy. Apply the lemon oil with the built in applier evenly to cover the entire fretboard. Leave it 5 minutes to half an hour depending on the dryness of your guitar, then rub it in with a lint free cloth untill dry.
If your fretboard has been neglected for several years, you may need to repeat the proces.
Whether going to a live performance, recording music videos, or just during regular maintenance, you want your guitar looking and performing it's best.
As it's made mostly of wood and metal, you never want to use too much water when cleaning your guitar. Make sure you have a lint free cloth too, as the lints get stuck in a lot of places on a guitar. For regular cleaning, a good rubdown is all your guitar needs, and you can also use a brush to get the dust out of those hard to reach places like under your strings.
There are good cleaning products like the Dunlop 65 Formula for example in all good guitar stores, so make sure you get some when you purchase strings the next time.
Be very careful with wax or other buffing products and don't use them too often as they take away a small portion of your guitar finish each time to make it shine more.
Guitar strings can last a few months with regular playing if you take good care of them. They can also last as short as a week, depending on the acidity of sweat, dirty fingers, and humid environment.
We recommend Fast fret after every session, when you finish playing a guitar. If you put it on and then play, it's a little too slippery. Also, this product seems to really improve the lifetime of strings as it conserves them as well as cleans them.
For cleaning under the strings, we recommend a liquid string cleaner like the Dunlop 65 string cleaner and a lint free cloth. Pur a generous amount of cleaner on the clothi, pull it under the string and run it down the length of the strings one by one untill clean. If you run your finger under the string and you can feel rust or grime, it's still dirty. If after cleaning the string is still not smooth, it's time for a string change.
Lubricating all of the contact points of a string's travel may be one of the most important elements in ensuring tuning stability during tremolo use and in reducing string breakage.
The main cause of string breakage is moisture collection at the point of contact on the bridge saddle. This can be attributed to the moisture and acidity that transfers from your hands, or it can be a direct effect of humidity in the air. Another factor is metal-to-metal friction and fatigue. Metal components react to each other over time because of their differences and help break down string integrity. A stronger metal will always attack a softer metal (this is why a stainless-steel string will wear a groove or burr in a vintage-style saddle). You'll also find that different string brands break at different points of tension because of the metal makeup and string manufacturing techniques.
Since Fender manufactures its own strings, they are designed to perform well during extreme tremolo techniques.
One of the best ways to reduce string breakage is to lubricate the string/saddle contact point with a light machine oil (we prefer 3-in-1 oil because it contains anti-rust and anti-corrosive properties) every time you change strings. The oil insulates against moisture and reduces friction and metal fatigue. String trees are another point of contact and should also be lubricated; a small amount of lip balm applied with a toothpick works well.
After some time with regular playing or just stored away, the strings need to be changed. Even if they don't corrode, they lose their brightnes in sound, and start to sound dull.
For strings to stay in tune, they should be changed regularly. Strings that have lost their integrity (worn where pressed against the fret) or have become oxidized, rusty and dirty will not return to pitch properly. To check if your strings need changing, run a finger underneath the string and feel for dirt, rust or flat spots. If you find any of these, you should change your strings.
No matter what gauge of strings you use, for the best tuning stability we recommend using Fender Bullet® strings. The patented bullet-end is specifically designed for all styles of tremolo use, from extreme dives to smooth vibrato passages. The design allows the string to travel freely in the bridge block channel during tremolo use and return afterwards to its original position, seated snugly in the bridge block. This is accomplished by eliminating the extra string wrap and the ball-end (the ball end doesn't fit properly into the string channel). The bullet end has been shaped and sized to match the design of the bridge block channel.
Make sure to stretch your strings properly. After you've installed and tuned a new set, hold the strings at the first fret and hook your fingers under each string, one at a time, and tug lightly, moving your hand from the bridge to the neck. Re-tune and repeat several times.
Take your string and slide it through the tuning peg, then loop it around itself, so that when you tighten the tuning peg the string will be holding itself back. The trick is for this first half turn, to go the opposite direction than the one the string would naturally wind when you tighten the tuner. No unnecessary turns should be added for best tuning stability.
How you wind the strings onto the pegs is very important, whether you're using locking, standard or vintage tuning keys. Start by loading all the strings through the bridge and then loading them onto the keys as follows:
Locking tuning keys. Picture the headcap of the neck as the face of a clock, with the top being 12:00 and the nut being 6:00. Line the six tuning machines so that the first string keyhole is set at 1:00, the second at 2:00, the third and fourth at 3:00, the fifth at 4:00, and the sixth at 5:00. Pull the strings through tautly and tighten the thumb wheel, locking the string in. Now tune to pitch.
Standard keys. To reduce string slippage at the tuning key, we recommend using a tie technique. This is done by pulling the string through the keyhole and then pulling it clockwise underneath and back over itself; creating a knot. You'll need to leave a bit of slack for the first string so you have at least two or three winds around the post. As you progress to the sixth string, you'll reduce the amount of slack and the number of winds around the keys.
Vintage keys. For these, you'll want to pre-cut the strings to achieve the proper length and desired amount of winds. Pull the sixth string (tautly, remember) to the fourth key and cut it. Pull the fifth string to the third key and cut it. Pull the fourth string between the second and first keys and cut it. Pull the third string nearly to the top of the headcap and cut it. Pull the second string about a 1/2" (13 mm) past the headcap and cut it. Finally, pull the first string 1 1/2" (38 mm) past the top of the headcap and cut it. Insert into the center hole in the tuning key, bend and crimp to a 90-degree angle, and wind neatly in a downward pattern, being carefull to prevent overlapping of the strings.
If your tuning keys have a screw on the end of the button, check the tightness of the screw. This controls the tension of the gears inside the tuning keys. Do not over-tighten these screws. They should be "finger-tight." This is very important, especially on locking tuners.
Anybody complaining about tuning stability on their guitar, I guarantee they did not do this step when changing strings. There is absolutely no reason for new strings to constantly go out of tune if you do this.
Every time you change strings, they need to be streched. Tune them up to pitch, take each string with your fingers as shown in the image on the left, and strech it by pressing with your thumb the wqhole length of the string, from the nut to the bridge. Repeat for all six strings. Retune - repeat - retune. After this your strings will stay in tune a lot better.
There are even tools designed for this purpose, but in my opinion there is no need to buy them as you can do this with your hands only. This one is called the Strecha :-).
*Parts of the text on this page are from Stratocaster® Setup Guide on fender.com
All repair and setup articles on this website are provided 'as is' without warranty of any kind.. The entire risk as to the results and the performance of the information is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Bluesmannus be liable for any consequential, incidental or direct damages suffered in the course of using the information on this site. If you are not sure you can do this you are safer leaving the process to a professional. - Bluesmannus Team