NGD - my first strat (plus a trem question)

Discussion in 'Fender' started by ktj, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. ktj

    ktj Senior Member

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    The local/national music shop here in Canada had an inventory blow out sale.
    So I went by about 30 min before they opened, only to realize people had been waiting since 8 am!
    I'd seen a used 2011 (I believe) MIM Candy Apple Red Strat on the list for $329 CAD. Always been a Les Paul/two hum buckers person, but figured at this point, I needed a Strat to round out my collection. I managed to get in quite quickly, saw this on the used guitar rack. It was basically brand new. Not a nick on it. Just some fingerprint smudges. I plugged it in and it sounded good though the strings were dead. I showed it to the place I get my guitars set up and was confirmed, I did pretty well on this. Fret ends are out a bit, so going to try to humidify and see where that gets me. I now, definitely know what the strat sound is.
    Told my wife...wait til she sees the Valentines gift she got me!
    Question for the strat folks regarding the trem - I changed the strings and think this got a bit higher. Does the bridge look right? Should it be this high? I understand floating the bridge, but is this a bit much? I'm actually contemplating having it tightened so the bridge is flat. IMG_1271.JPG IMG_1272.JPG IMG_1273.JPG IMG_1274.JPG
     
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  2. Chakalawaka

    Chakalawaka Senior Member

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    This Doesn't look right, the bridge should be parallel to the body... It throws of the action. If you don't feel confident doing the set up yourself, I suggest you get your setup guy to do it (I've done it numerous times and it is extremely tedious as you keep going back and forth between the springs and the tuners...).
    This happens because you probably went for thicker strings, which adds more tension, therefore the balance between the springs and strings are uneven...
    Personally when I had a Strat, I got it completely flush to the body, it adds sustain and I don't have much use for a vibrato :D
    Hope this helps!
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
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  3. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! -NPM Premium Member

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    First of all, that is a stunning looker! I'm a big fan of Candy Apple myself as you can see in my avatar....

    Your questions are very easy to fix and not a big deal at all. Very common to Strat owners.

    The bridge height is easily fixed by removing the plastic cover on the back and taking a large phillips (crosshead) screwdriver and turning the 2 large screws that hold the spring claw into the wood some more.

    [​IMG]

    Simply tighten them evenly to keep the claw straight until the bridge comes down to where you want it. You will need to re-tune often as you go, and give the bar sevral good wiggles as you go.

    As you tighten it, the strings will tighten and raise in pitch. As you loosen the strings back down to pitch, the trem will lower itself due to the lower string tension.

    Rinse repeat often till you get it to settle level with the strings tuned at pitch.

    Could take a bit, don't give up.

    IMHO as an owner of one they are built like tanks and there is little to no chance of hurting the neck or truss rod in these.

    Most Strats are built strong enough to get you through a bar fight and maybe need a slight re-tuning when you done!

    When you get it set and level, you should check your intonation, if you know how.

    Different string gauges and moving the bridge position can affect it.

    Mines not as pretty, but still a MIM workhorse!

    Oh, and I did my own fret end dressing with just a big ol flat file held at an angle>

    Came out great! That's what's cool about these MIM's they are easy to work on.

     
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  4. tzd

    tzd Senior Member

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    There are 3 ways to set up the Strat bridge:

    1. Trem half-a-step down (at rest). This will look similar to your picture/current setup. Take a tuner and check your B string when you pull the tremolo all the way up. Does it go exactly up half a step to the C note? If so, the bridge is set correct for this setup (see the following video for how to do it)


    2. Parallel to the body - tighten the trem claw screws until the bridge is parallel when strings are in tune.

    3. Decked to the body - tighten the trem claw even more, so that the bridge is still in contact with the body when the strings are in tune.

    Whichever way you choose to set it up, I suggest taking off the trem cover on the back, and treat the two trem claw screws as part of your tuning process. In addition to the 6 tuning keys, you should understand that you need to also adjust the two screws to get everything in tune and in balance.
     
  5. ktj

    ktj Senior Member

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    Chakalawaka/DarrellV/TZD - thanks for the feedback! I'm not too keen on the float but will likely go for "decked" to the body. I need to get a whammy bar and will look to make those adjustments. I also see this guitar as an opportunity to learn a bit more on how to maintain a guitar.
    Darrell - that Les Paul colour is killer! I didn't realize this strat would be in such great shape. I'd hoped it'd have some chips etc and would have tried self-relicing, but it's in superb condition, will just enjoy it as is for now.
     
  6. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! -NPM Premium Member

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    First of all, thank you! :cheers:
    It really is a killer color!

    That's the ticket! Enjoy it as it is! That's the lesson my MIM Strat taught me a while back...

    I was always obsessed with perfect guitars, in great shape, and made in America.

    This one just called out to me for some reason and it was fugly at the time. Had an All-Parts black pick guard 2 black singles and an aged nickle silver hummer :wtf:.

    It was also scuffed and modified by the last owner.. a real mutt!

    But boy, what a player! :run:

    It played better than my expensive American Deluxe MIA!

    This is the original config minus the black pick guard...

    This was my American Deluxe at the time. It's been modded too!

    Same reasons as you. They are great guitars to learn and experiment on. Very hard to kill or hurt something that can't be fixed on these..
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
  7. ktj

    ktj Senior Member

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    I managed to turn in the screws and get the bridge sitting lower. a bit of a float for now, when I change strings to 10s eventually I'll perhaps have it set up and closer to the body.
    another question - the three springs, on the 'moveable' part are in on every other slot (two outside and one middle) however the springs are attached at the fix part on the three centre hooks (unlike the pic in DarellV's post where each is inline). Does that matter?
    I must say, I'm enjoying the strat. definitely a different sound and feel from my other guitars.
     
  8. I Break Things

    I Break Things Senior Member

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    Looks like how mine is set up, and it stays in tune great. The vintage bridges can't really float flush to the body if you want it to have a wide range. A neat thing to do is set up the bridge with enough float that pulling it back flush with the body raises the G to A#. This will also pull the B string to C# and the high E to F. You can get creative with it, and it's a lot of fun. For reference, 1/8" from the bottom of the bridge plate (at the rear of the bridge) to the top of the body gets me those intervals.
     
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  9. The Birdman

    The Birdman Senior Member

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    I also use 1/8" from the bottom of the bridge plate to the top of the body. It seems to work well for me! :)
     
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  10. ktj

    ktj Senior Member

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    thanks...will get out the ruler this weekend! and get a trem bar too!
     
  11. Bend'n'Slide

    Bend'n'Slide Senior Member

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    That’s a lovely looking Strat — a great catch. Nice work!!


    Tremolo...?

    I never got on with them on my Strats and really wasn’t bothered — so they’ve both been wedged and blocked-off for 25 years, much like the Clapton Strats (this being a fourth option that tzd didn’t mention!)

    Admittedly one of mine was deliberately set up for slide / open tuning, with heavier strings, higher action, slight neck relief, etc; so a mobile bridge would have been pointless and would have been a pain to tune. I do have moments of thinking that I should un-block the other one and try for a floating set-up but I’ve never gotten around to it! Thanks for starting the thread and asking the questions — useful info for me if I try this myself in the near future!

    I’ve not seen anyone mention it yet but as well as finding the right balance-point for the trem between string tension and spring tension (in your preferred option of bridge position), a well-cut and well-lubed nut is also an important factor in preventing the strings binding when the trem arm is used (unless the guitar has some other feature to facilitate this, like a locking nut or a roller nut). This allows the strings to slide freely back to their starting positions after the subtle string movements that go with the change in string tension when the trem used (up or down), and should (hopefully!) give you much more stable tuning.

    Now that I’ve finally assuaged my GAS for a good ol’ 52 Tele, it might well take over the open-tuned duties but I’m still getting a feel for how it plays and what it will do.
     

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