Hey guys

Is shitty playability limited to only the neck? I've got an old old starter kit stratocaster. It's got quite a heavy body and sounds thick but the action is off the planet and there are bum notes everywhere.

I can't intonate it perfectly because the bridge sliders don't go far enough

I can't lower the action more because I'll get even more bum notes

I'm thinking it hasn't even been measured properly but the body is so nice. It's a really heavy wood with a little bit of figure.. not sure what it is though.

I want to salvage this thing because it was my first and I'm GASing hard hard hard for a new strat. If I can salvage this body I'd probably be saving myself a lot of money.

What are you thoughts?
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If you run out of adjustment room while intonating, quit trying. You cannot use the "twelfth fret method" using a cheapo tuner or with improper action. That's why people charge money, those tuners are expensive. Don't try it with a free download tuner either. If you keep fretting out notes, your neck is out of adjustment, or mounted improperly, plenty of threads here on how to fix that. Lastly, without proper tools, quit adjusting the damn thing. I don't care how cheap or expensive your guitar is, without proper knowledge and tools it will never play well. You can make a 5K$ les paul play like shit. If you have a local music store take it there. Ask them if you can watch them work on your guitar, maybe get a few pointers. You'd be surprised what you can do to a guitar, regardless of the price.
I love all 5 (sold a couple) of my Carvin X-100b's.
Zeek... you seem to be making quite a few assumptions about this guys tools and abilities. There are cheap guitars that literally won't intonate without modification regardless of the tools and abilities of the user. I happen to also own a guitar like that.

Anyway, on topic. The fretting out/high action is likely a crappy fret job right out of the kit. There are guides in this forum as well as all over the internet on how to do that. Doing this yourself will likely rewrite the purchasing of some tools.

The intonation could be any number of things. If the frets are incorrectly spaced, then you will need a new neck. But first you should check that the bridge is also in the right place. If it's not,a new neck wouldn't do you any good.

Another possibility could be if the nut is cut improperly. This is the case with my guitar. In that case you would need to either fix the nut if possible, or get a new one.

I guess the point is, it is possible that it could be salvaged if you really think that the body is worth keeping and if you can determine where the problems originate. But, you will probably have to invest a lot of money and/or time to get it playable.

Hope that helps
Depending on how the frets are, a level & crown could potentially fix everything.

Level frets will allow you to lower your action, possibly compensating for the lack of intonation adjustment available.