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Shimming A Fender Strat


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I have an american fender stratocaster deluxe.

I decided alter the guitar setup to see if i could improve it over the terrible factory setup.

Ive put a capo on the 1st fret, held down the 6th string at the last fret and measured the string height at the 8th fret, to check the neck bow.

Fender recommend 0.25mm of a gap between the fret and 6th string, for a 9.5 radius neck, which is whats on my Am strat deluxe.

mine is currently at 0.5mm. I adjusted the truss to lower this but i get terrible string buzz then on the 5th and 6th strings, so this is the min i can get away with.

This string buzz made me check the string height, at the 17th fret as recommended by fender.

fender recommends 1.6mm +- .4mm.

both the 5th and 6th string are a whisker over 2.5mm above the 17 fret. there is still fret buzz though, when i fret above the 12th fret on these strings.

I really dont want to raise them any further. what can i do, seeing that the neck bow and string height are within fender recommended tolerances?

all recommended measurements obtained here:

http://www.fender.com/support/stratocaster.php

The guitar has the microtilt system so i can alter the neck angle with that. would altering the neck angle at the butt of the neck , thus raising the end of the neck nearer the strings make a difference?

Is the microtilt any good or should i shim? This really makes me question fenders quality control, if a top of the line guitar cant be set up with decent action and no fret buzz.

thanks for any help.

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I have no experience shimming a fender neck but have done so with some success on a P Bass copy. I would check that the frets are level first though.

il give that a look, although on a fender deluxe, which is pretty darn expensive, if the frets are not level, its going to be sold on. if their Quality control is that bad that on the top of the range guitars, then they need to be abandoned.

thanks for the advice.

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Try holding the string down at the 15th fret or so, and measuring (and setting) the relief at the 6th or 7th fret. 0.25 mm is just a guideline--some people like more, some less.

After the relief is sorted out, you can set your string height, measured at the 12th fret. You might want to check the height of the nut slots -- but you'll need the proper tools for that.

Although with an expensive guitar like that, why not pay a tech the 30 bucks or so to set the guitar up for you?

And if the guitar already needs a shim, then it wasn't built properly, and should be returned.

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Try holding the string down at the 15th fret or so, and measuring (and setting) the relief at the 6th or 7th fret. 0.25 mm is just a guideline--some people like more, some less.

After the relief is sorted out, you can set your string height, measured at the 12th fret. You might want to check the height of the nut slots -- but you'll need the proper tools for that.

Although with an expensive guitar like that, why not pay a tech the 30 bucks or so to set the guitar up for you?

And if the guitar already needs a shim, then it wasn't built properly, and should be returned.

The problem with taking it to a tech is this. I live in Ireland, so there are very few folks who I would count qualified to do this. sure there are a few music stores, but I know more about guitars than they do.

There is only 1 guy in ireland that anyone with sense will trust with their guitar. he actually sets up and has made guitars for U2. Derek Nelson is his name, but he is very expensive. a setup is gona be anywhere from 150 - 200 euros (150 - 260 dollars) , with a waiting list of 2-4 months. That amount of money is not to be sneezed away lightly on a setup so id rather get it sorted myself before parting with that much cash.

Edited by fguihen
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There is only 1 guy in ireland that anyone with sense will trust with their guitar. he actually sets up and has made guitars for U2. Derek Nelson is his name, but he is very expensive. a setup is gona be anywhere from 150 - 200 euros (150 - 260 dollars) , with a waiting list of 2-4 months. That amount of money is not to be sneezed away lightly on a setup so id rather get it sorted myself before parting with that much cash.

Ouch. That better be one magical setup. For that price, you can take a holiday to France, and get a setup for 40 euros (includes a new set of strings at least). And you can say you took the strat on a world tour.

Anyway, try redoing the setup as I suggested -- I think the thing you were doing wrong was holding down the string at the end of the neck -- which doesn't allow you to measure the relief properly. So you ended up flattening the board too much. Which led to buzzing.

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Fender Corona pumped out 100,000 units in 2006- Yeah the QC isnt exactly sparkling.

Generally, the tight radius fender uses, and poor fret levelling, means the frets should be levelled again, then "ramp" the upper frets- say 16 up-

This means adjust the truss rod to get the neck as straight as possible, then level the frets, *then* sand/file or stone frets 16+ quite a bit more.

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