#1
Hiya all

Well, I was given a freebie guitar today. It's a pretty cheap one, a strat copy.

I fixed up the basic issues on it; the loose tuning pegs and action/saddle but the strings are still REALLY high from the fretboard.

Most strings I play at the 12th fret I'm almost getting a note a semitone higher than the note it should be, and this is with the saddles as far back as they'll go and the action as low as the screws will allow it.

I've been looking up whether it might be the truss rod but I don't have an eye for whether the neck is bowed incorrectly and most previous posts say that the truss rod should never be adjusted for string height issues, but it's the only thing I haven't tried.

Any help is appreciated, thanks.
I'd rather be happy than right any day

And are you?

Eer no.. haha.. that's where it all falls down you see
#2
If it's that high you probably do need to adjust the truss rod. There's an easy truss rod adjustment tutorial in the setup thread.

If the neck is bowed too much you can't possibly adjust the string height properly by any other means. It's an integral part of getting a good setup, but I think people suggest not using it because you definitely don't want to be cranking on it thinking it's just a higher/lower action lever.
#3
Alright thanks a lot, I know what to do I just didn't want to do it unnecessarily but it looks like the only option. I'll see how that goes on.
I'd rather be happy than right any day

And are you?

Eer no.. haha.. that's where it all falls down you see
#4
Don't be afraid of it. Measuring/adjusting the truss rod is part of a complete setup, it's not a last resort. People are often hesitant to suggest it because if you're a total gorilla you can mess up the neck permanently.
#6
I had a little go with the truss rod but after looking at the neck in detail it definitely seems like it's a neck angle issue so shimming seems like a better bet. I'll have to break out the power sander when I have time, for now I'll just have to play everything past the 12th fret lower than usual.

Thanks all
I'd rather be happy than right any day

And are you?

Eer no.. haha.. that's where it all falls down you see
#7
Quote by sm3llyd3c
I had a little go with the truss rod but after looking at the neck in detail it definitely seems like it's a neck angle issue so shimming seems like a better bet. I'll have to break out the power sander when I have time, for now I'll just have to play everything past the 12th fret lower than usual.

Thanks all


If you are a semi-tone out at the 12th you're gonna have to move the bridge, no amount of shimming will sort it.
#8
Whoah. You need to explain in detail;
1) what is the height of the high & low E strings at the 14th fret?
2) what is the neck relief? i.e. if you fret the low E at the first and last fret, what is the distance between the string and the 12th fret?
3) how are you checking intonation?
4) what gauge of strings and what tuning?
Various Strats
PRS SC245 (2007)
Fessenden SD-10 pedal steel
Koch Studiotone XL
Mesa Boogie Express 5:25+
1958 National lap steel
Eastman El Rey 1
Last edited by Vulcan at Aug 4, 2014,
#9
I am a guitar tech with my own shop. Doing set-ups is one of my bread and butter services. Here are the steps to do a very basic set-up.

1. Check neck relief (curvature). With strings tuned to pitch. fret the string at the first and last fret (a capo is handy). There should be space about the thickness of a business card between the string and 8th fret. If more than that, you have too much relief, and you will want to tighten (turn clockwise) your truss rod. If the string is touching the fret, loosen the rod. Turn 1/4 turn at a time, re-check and repeat as necessary.

2. Measure your action at the 12th fret. Average action should be about 3mm - 4mm (4/64" - 5/64") on the bass side and slightly less on the treble side. Adjust saddles as necessary. If you have the saddles as low as they can go and your action is still too high, shim the neck by placing a thin strip of something at the very end of the neck cavity (next to the body). It doesn't need to be very thick.... usually no more than the thickness of a credit card.

Note: On strat-style guitars with 2-point trems, the two trem anchors/screws can often be raised/lowered.

3. Measure action at the nut end. A thin pick(.46mm) should fit snugly between the string and first fret without raising the string. If the pick isn't held in place by the pressure of the sting, cut the nut slots deeper. If your action is too low, you will get buzzing when open strings are played, and you will have to raise the nut action by shimming, filling in the slots with super glue and re-cutting, or get a new nut.

4. Re-check action at 12th fret and adjust as necessary.
Last edited by stormin1155 at Aug 5, 2014,