#1
I bought a Fender Stratocaster (MIM) in December 2011 and it's been my main guitar ever since, but what really bothers me is that it can never stay in tune past one song. It is a Fender Classic 50s Stratocaster (Not a Classic Player). When the guitar was purchased it was brand new. Although I used to be a heavy Tremolo user, I rarely ever use the Trem now. I recently had the guitar set up in mid December 2014, however this did not help as the tuning stability became unreliable again after 2-3 weeks. The setup was basic, it included Truss Rod, Pickup Height, Bridge Height, Action, Intonation, Nut Profile, etc. The tuning issues only appeared during 2014 and I thought a setup would be the solution. I use 9 gauge Ernie Ball Slinky strings, and 0.73mm picks. I used to use 10 gauge Ernie Ball Slinky strings, however I changed to 9 gauge in June 2014. The tuning problems appeared a month or two after I switched string gauge, so I feel as if it might have something to do with that. However going up a string gauge adds 6 kilos to the neck and I fear I might have to adjust things to compensate for this. I am not really rough in my technique, however I only play guitar based music (Floyd, Hendrix) so I solo/bend a lot. I play my guitar very often, perhaps 1-2 hours a day. My band are planning to start doing gigs too, so a bad tuning stability will look/sound very unprofessional and also delay the show due to the impracticality of tuning up after ever song. I hear that changing the string guides helps with tuning stability. Furthermore, I also hear that the guides on my model aren't the greatest. If this is the case, which guides should I switch to?

I'm not sure what the problem/solution is but I'm hoping someone could use the information I have posted here to help me fix it. Please take into account the parts and components of the guitar too.
#2
How long are you going between string changes? You may only be getting 2 weeks on a set of strings.
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Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
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Fender MIM Strat

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Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#3
Improperly set tremolos and sticky plastic nuts will cause havoc on a Strat.

If you're a DIY guy, which I encourage, I'd youtube Strat 6-screw Trem setups. They can be really really solid if you do them up right.


EDIT: Just reread the OP. Take it back to the tech.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
Last edited by JustRooster at Jan 4, 2015,
#4
If you just had it set-up mid Dec 2014(2 weeks) take the guitar back to the tech.

have you adjusted the trem claw?
is the trem set up to float or is it decked?
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#5
Here is what I do to my partscaster:

Fender bullet strings. They are designed to fit the vintage tremolo for better tuning stability.

On a 6 screw bridge turn the 2 out screws to the max and let those 4 in the middle stay loose!

Change the string guide on the headstock to a US strat style one.

My tremolo is setup to do upward and down moves but I can go crazy and it just stays in tune.
#7
Here's what I do with ALL of my strats, some of this is like Anders above

1.) I use Fender Bullet Strings - I even use em on other guitars as there are a lot of good reasons, it's not just the bridge block, but the lack of wire wrapping also helps tuning stability quite a bit as well.

2.) I stretch my strings out, and rather than try and stretch them out all the way (which causes them to go sharp), I stretch them out, then do some bar dives, stretch again, do more bar dives, and it's done once bar dives don't put the guitar out of tune.

3.) #2 pencil lead in the nut, I also make sure the nut is free of burrs and that the slots are wide enough for the strings to slide through smoothly.

4.) Neatly coil the string around the tuning capstans, ie, like a winch/spool, not just wanton random. Not just does it look bad, but when the tension is released, the string shifts on the capstan pulling it sharp or dropping it flat after a bar dive.

I usually like to have the strings coiled downward to improve sustain and to allow the windings on the wound strings to act like a "lock" - stretching them out really helps this out as they "ratchet" the coils into each other locking the string in place a little better, furthermore preventing tuning issues.

5.) I've been trying out "Dave's World of Fun Stuff" method of tremolo springs lately, once I did this to my cheap little Memphis strat, that guitar stays in tune like a champ. HIs method is to have the springs in back pulling STRAIGHT rather than the two outermost cantered inward toward the center of the claw.

For six screw tremolos, if the screws are particularly bad, I'll take out the two outermost screws and replace them with 2 of a wider diameter, but I leave the smaller ones in in the center for structural integrity and fallback, effectively creating a 2 point tremolo, and reducing the "friction" that can cause binding on trem usage. I also only screw them down as far as I have to to keep the tremolo flat against the body but still get as much of a dive-bomb as possible.
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- 1996 Fender Jag-Stang with EMG Pickups
- 1998 Fender Jaguar with Cool Rails
- 1982 Hondo Paul Dean II (DiMarzio Super II X2)
- 2010 "Fender" Jazzmaster (Home built)
- 2013 Squier VM Bass VI (stock)
#8
Well one change I'll definitely be making is Fender Bullet strings the next time I take the current set off. But what are these strings like? If they're just something that Fender fancied doing just to get onto that part of the market and they aren't very good then I'll pass. Are they good for bends/Pink Floyd-y stuff?
#9
Quote by anders.jorgense
Here is what I do to my partscaster:

Fender bullet strings. They are designed to fit the vintage tremolo for better tuning stability.

On a 6 screw bridge turn the 2 out screws to the max and let those 4 in the middle stay loose!

Change the string guide on the headstock to a US strat style one.

My tremolo is setup to do upward and down moves but I can go crazy and it just stays in tune.

I'll most likely change the string guide too! Are these the right type to switch to?

http://www.gamlinsmusic.co.uk/musical-instruments/guitar-parts/string-guides/item/am-series-string-guides-8019/

And if so, are you sure they would they fit onto a Mexican Fender? (They're American series)
#10
on my strat i found the nut and setup to really be the issue. swapped out whatever nut was in there for a tusq one. (tusq's a self-lubricating synthetic so no need to 'pencil the nut' anymore - also a really cheap yet crucial part to sort out if need be). had it setup real good. also upped the gauge to compensate for when I hit the tremolo really hard (my main axe uses 11s now - and a good setup will make it feel like 10s). but strings gauge doesn't matter too much. the nut and a good setup are really the main factors i recon.

also what mad mike said about restringing i can advocate. havent tried any of the other stuff though. interesting stuff.