#1
I recently bought a Fender stratocaster MiM and was struggling with (fine) tuning it. I also own a PRS SE Custom 24. I was exploring upgrading the guitar and posted a query earlier here.

I am an engineer and product designer by profession and while that gives me some understanding of the mechanics of a guitar, I cannot claim any expertise so feel free to trash my views. To begin with, I had some hypotheses about what might be the issues with an entry level guitar such as Fender Strat MiM -- namely economies of scale may affect quality of materials, error rates, tolerances etc.

So, I decided to explore how I might extract more value from my guitar through various means. At first I considered replacing the pick ups, tuning keys and bridge --which would cost considerably (nearly the cost of the instrument). Then, after talking to some experienced forum members here, I decided to go for a set up by a top notch luthier.

On taking possession of the guitar after the set up, I did not find any significant improvement -- either in the tuning stability or in the intonation. I came to realise that the guitar was actually quite well set up from the factory and my anxiety (and the fact that I was aware I did not buy an American Strat) had a placebo effect on my perception of the MiM strat. The intonation, action, and tuning was good enough as set up in the factory.

My advise to anyone buying a budget instrument would be that they are generally speaking great value for money (at least I can say that about strats), unless they are lemons. So, here's a tip -- try the guitar out well in the shop, have it set up if required and you will be good to go.

Oh also, having tried out graphite and reflected a bit on the physics of it, I can hazard a guess that it is a waste of time as well. For the amount of pressure generated on the nut and bridge, graphite powder would make a very marginal difference. Having tried it out on my takamine and PRS, I am convinced that they offer very little for all the effort.

The reason I am posting this here is that anxiety can make us seek miracle cures. There is no other option but to buy a premium guitar than wasting time trying to mod a budget guitar. Some forum members may be angered by my post but I mean no disrespect.
Last edited by kbspam at Aug 26, 2014,
#2
Glad your happy now with what ever reasons.

The Graphite trick is used when the nut slot is almost too small for the strings to fit in. Then you'd notice a bigger impact
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate