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Revitalising Cheapness

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Hi guys, this is the problem im facing, basically, my cousin had a cheap strat copy laying around in her garage. She gave it to me as im the "big" guitar player in the family, and i've discovered I may have a little gem on my hands if I can correct some small manufacturing errors. The earth wire is soldered onto one of the "fingers" of the trem claw, easily fixed, I know, biggest thing is, there seem to be a few issues which im wondering may be causing the tuning issues it has? Number one, you can clearly see the end of the strings protruding through the saddles, im thinking the trem block is too small, or is this completely normal? and Number 2, the machine heads are really stiff, even when tuning really low, which ive tried to remedy with a little lube etc. I just swapped out the nut for a graphite replacement, which works REALLY well, so again, I'm just wondering if these issues (minus the trem claw) would cause the guitar to not hold its tuning for very long, if i should leave them to settle again after installing the new nut?

Any opinions much appreciated.


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Stratocaster guitars can have four distinctive types of bridges. The most well-known bridge is the vintage-style "synchronized" tremolo. The other three are the American Series bridge, which is a modern-day two-pivot bridge; the non-tremolo hardtail bridge; and a locking tremolo, such as the American Deluxe or Floyd Rose® locking tremolos. If you have a non-tremolo "hardtail" bridge, proceed to "Intonation (Roughing it out)." If you have a locking tremolo bridge, click here.

First, remove the tremolo back cover. Check your tuning. For a vintage-style tremolo bridge, a great way to enhance its performance is to pull the bridge back flush with the body using the tremolo arm. Then loosen all six screws located at the front edge of the bridge plate, raising them so that they all measure approximately 1/16" (1.6 mm) above the top of the bridge plate. Then tighten the two outside screws back down until they're flush with the top of the bridge plate. The bridge will now pivot on the outside screws, leaving the four inside screws in place for bridge stability. For a two-pivot model such as the American Series bridge, use your tremolo arm to pull the bridge back flush with the body and adjust the two pivot screws to the point where the tremolo plate sits entirely flush at the body (not lifted at the front or back of the plate).

Allowing the bridge to float freely (no tension on the tremolo arm) using the claw screws in the tremolo cavity, adjust the bridge to your desired angle—Fender spec is a 1/8" (3.2 mm) gap at rear of bridge. You'll need to retune periodically to get the right balance between the strings and the springs. If you prefer a bridge flush to the body, adjust spring tension to equal string tension, while the bridge rests on the body (you may want to put an extra 1/2 turn to each claw screw to ensure that the bridge remains flush to the body during string bends). Caution: Do not over-tighten the springs, as this can put unnecessary tension on the arm during tremolo use. Finally, you may wish to apply a small dab of Chapstick® or Vaseline® at the pivot contact points of the bridge for very smooth operation.

thats straight off fenders website.

first off your gonna need a decent trem and tuners i know that mim fender stuff is good enough because my mim strat works great with this methods. you can pick up a fairly inexpensice bridge from any online retailer if you think yours needs replaced. i like fender tuners they work good and there cheap on ebay i have baught several sets in the 30 dollar range. btw after buying one american set i realized there the same as mim tuners (or the guy mislabled his listing) any way i also like a 5 spring set up in the trem.

after setting up my mim strat and using the tuing methods shown in the video it ususaly takes a bit for the strings to get stretched in but after they are it seems like i can do any thing to my strat and it stays in tune.

post some pics lets see what you got and maybe we can throw soem more advise out there.

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