#1
I have a couple of issues with the setup of my MIM Strat. Specifically, the action is too high for my liking, the bridge floats, and there is a slight bowing in the neck.

From what I've read, there seems to be a "chain reaction" happening: the high action is causing the bridge to float, which is causing the neck to bow. Will simply lowering the action address all of these issues, or do I need to fix them individually?

Also, I recently switched from .09 to .10 gauge strings. Could this be the cause of all of these issues? Does every slight change I make to the guitar (even changing string gauge) require a new setup?

Thanks for any help that you can offer.
#2
You're correct that it's a chain reaction that's happening, but your understanding of that chain reaction is a little mixed up:

To put it simply - when you changed from 9 gauge to 10 gauge strings, you increased the overall string tension, which has caused the bridge to lift and the neck to bow forward a little, and both of these factors have contributed to the higher action.

adjusting the action by lowering the saddles will not solve the problem because the extra tension will still be there - the saddle height will more than likely be the last thing you need to adjust if you were happy with the action before you changed the string gauge. It's the bridge and the neck that have moved, and therefore those are the things that will most likely need to be adjusted to get the guitar closer to how it was set up before.

You can stop the tremolo from floating by tightening the 2 screws attached to the metal claw that holds the springs inside the back of the guitar (under the rectangular plate) until the bridge is flat against the body of the guitar again - or alternatively, you can add more springs. Once you've done this, you might find you don't need to make any more changes - if the action still feels high, then you might need to tighten the truss rod, but bare in mind that a small amount of forward bow is normal.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#3
Thanks for the reply, man! There's a lot that I need to learn about the guitar, but I'm willing to put in the effort!
#4
Make sure to let the neck and strings settle in before you start adjusting the truss rod (if you do at all). Sometimes it can take a few hours after a string change or a truss rod adjustment for everything to stop moving, and if you're continually adjusting during that time it can be confusing and frustrating trying to hit a moving target.
#5
Quote by Blompcube
You're correct that it's a chain reaction that's happening, but your understanding of that chain reaction is a little mixed up:

To put it simply - when you changed from 9 gauge to 10 gauge strings, you increased the overall string tension, which has caused the bridge to lift and the neck to bow forward a little, and both of these factors have contributed to the higher action.

adjusting the action by lowering the saddles will not solve the problem because the extra tension will still be there - the saddle height will more than likely be the last thing you need to adjust if you were happy with the action before you changed the string gauge. It's the bridge and the neck that have moved, and therefore those are the things that will most likely need to be adjusted to get the guitar closer to how it was set up before.

You can stop the tremolo from floating by tightening the 2 screws attached to the metal claw that holds the springs inside the back of the guitar (under the rectangular plate) until the bridge is flat against the body of the guitar again - or alternatively, you can add more springs. Once you've done this, you might find you don't need to make any more changes - if the action still feels high, then you might need to tighten the truss rod, but bare in mind that a small amount of forward bow is normal.


Alright... I tried tightening the 2 screws, but I could only tighten them very slightly. Also, when I went to tune back up, the bridge floated up again. I'm probably overlooking something really simple, but I definitely feel closer to solving the issue!
Last edited by Jake P at Jan 26, 2015,
#6
Quote by Jake P
Alright... I tried tightening the 2 screws, but I could only tighten them very slightly. Also, when I went to tune back up, the bridge floated up again. I'm probably overlooking something really simple, but I definitely feel closer to solving the issue!



If the screws are that tight (or more likely you have a crappy screwdriver that can't hold on to the screw) you'll have to detune the guitar, at least a little to let the bridge settle back to the deck and maybe pull a spring or two off to get the tension lower so you can screw in the claw.

The bridge should be firmly planted enough to do full bends without it moving.
#7
After changing string gauges the first thing you need to do is tighten the spring claw in back of the guitar. It has two long screws that go into the body, toward the neck. Those adjust the spring tension. That should throw the tuning out of whack, tune it back to standard pitch and check. Might have to do it 2 or 3 times, each affects the other. .010 strings have more tension tunes to standard pitch than .009, so the springs aren't pulling the bridge back down to where it was. You might also have to add a 3rd spring if it only has 2. I use 3 on my .009 strings. Before tightening the spring claw I usually tune the guitar down a note then retune completely after each adjustment.

Once you get spring tension and strings to even out and have the bridge parallel as it should be, check the action. If it's too high for you, lower the saddles a little. Remember to try and follow the radius of the neck, you don't want a radius neck and flat strings.

Once you get the action about where you want it, check neck relief. Put a capo on the 1st fret, fret at the 14th, check at about the 7th or 8th fret, you should have .010" to .015" clearance between the top or bottom string and the top of the fret.

Then check and reset intonation. Strings need to be new to set intonation, dead strings can cause it to go out.

If you want the bridge to be not moveable, the best way to go is to put a wood block between the bridge block in back and the guitar body so it can't move. If you can't tighten the two bridge screws on the face of the guitar body, you probably need a better screwdriver. Always use the right size, a #2 for those, and in good condition. A worn out screwdriver is good for only one thing...destroying screws. Tightening the two screws that hold the bridge to the body can also mostly lock it down, but not as well as the wood block.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...