#1
I've had my '13 american strat "set up" a bunch of times by a bunch of different shops, and I've tried it myself a handful of times as well. It never plays as well as i think it could, or should. Right now a bunch of notes fret out, there is fret buzz, etc. It just doesn't "feel" right. I was thinking of getting it plek'd but i was told a good luthier could do just as good if not a better job.
There's a good shop near me w/ supposedly a fender licensed luthier or whatever. I've had it "set up" there ($65 or so) but the same problems remained. I feel like the guitar needs a fret job or something--what do i ask for? Should I just find a plek machine and have it done there? I think my local sam ash has one.

I should say that I'm left-handed and i think that makes the job more difficult for a lot of techs ?
#2
"fretting out" is common on strats when bending higher notes. "fret buzz" is common on guitars with low actions.

imo i think you need to define how much of each issue you are willing to compromise on and communicate this to the shop or find a shop that has a person that is willing to sit down with you and help you figure out what needs to be done to make you a happy customer. a good luthier or tech needs to be able to listen to a client and sort out the things that are said, and through watching the client play, sort out the things that aren't said.

fwiw, most people who set up guitars do so when it is on it's back instead of in the playing position. ime regulating the guitar in the playing position has allowed me to achieve lower and more stable setups regarding action and relief.
Last edited by ad_works at Aug 31, 2015,
#3
you may need a fret level if that is indeed your problem. plek really shouldn't be necessary but if you can afford it then that's up to you. you may also want to replace the nut with a better one as that may be an issue as well. i'd have a good talk with a tech and go over the things you have an issue with. demonstrate on the guitar so there is no ? as to what you mean.
#4
Thanks, guys. I'm going to call up and schedule an "appointment", I guess, to talk to the tech about what needs to be fixed. The 14th fret buzzes badly and the note disappears when it's bent upwards on the E string from the 14th anywhere on up.
#5
Quote by RyanMW2010
Thanks, guys. I'm going to call up and schedule an "appointment", I guess, to talk to the tech about what needs to be fixed. The 14th fret buzzes badly and the note disappears when it's bent upwards on the E string from the 14th anywhere on up.


sounds like a dead fret to me.
#7
What do i say?


"Oh, Genie of the lamp, for my third and final wish..."
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#8
Wow, sounds like the techs in your area suck. There's no reason a newish Strat should have issues, especially with the micro-tilt in the heel of MIA Strats. If you're unsatisfied, you should take it back and demand they fix it.

Also, a luthier isn't a replacement for a PLEK job. Sometimes they can do some stuff to try and gloss over some imperfections, but it's just a temporary fix. If your frets are all whacked out, then you need a level.

Do none of the guys you take it to own a fret rocker or a straight edge? That's like, super basic stuff.
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#9
Quote by JustRooster
Wow, sounds like the techs in your area suck. There's no reason a newish Strat should have issues, especially with the micro-tilt in the heel of MIA Strats. If you're unsatisfied, you should take it back and demand they fix it.

Also, a luthier isn't a replacement for a PLEK job. Sometimes they can do some stuff to try and gloss over some imperfections, but it's just a temporary fix. If your frets are all whacked out, then you need a level.

Do none of the guys you take it to own a fret rocker or a straight edge? That's like, super basic stuff.



I'm really not even sure. This strat has had a multitude of issues from the time it arrived from the shop. There was a nice '11 american standard that played beautifully, but i hated the ugly sunburst and figured if i was going to pay $1000+ for a guitar, i should just order a finish I liked. Big mistake. This guitar has never played as well as that one, and when I tried to trade in this one for the '11, they would only give me $600 for mine bc it was now used. Now that guitar is gone and I'm still trying to figure out why this one has so many issues
#10
Still got your manufacturers warranty? You should, as Fender is lifetime.
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#11
Quote by Tony Done
In addition to what others have said, you might be trying to get an unrealistic compromise between low action and its attendant problems, like fretting out and fret buzz.


+1. It’s very rare to find a guitar that can do low action without some buzz. If that’s really what you want you need to find an excellent tech who can dress the frets, adjust or replace the nut, and then get the saddle heights just right. Then once you pick up the guitar there will be a thunderstorm and the guitar will need to be set up again.

Life is a lot easier if you can just accept a little fret buzz. I just mean a little buzz, though. If notes are completely fretting out when you aren’t bending then the guitar needs a fret job.
#12
Quote by JustRooster
Still got your manufacturers warranty? You should, as Fender is lifetime.


probably? I think I've kept everything that came with the guitar either in the original case or in a drawer. That means I could get a full refund at any time? Or would something need to be "officially" wrong with it, or something?
#13
Quote by jpnyc
+1. It’s very rare to find a guitar that can do low action without some buzz. If that’s really what you want you need to find an excellent tech who can dress the frets, adjust or replace the nut, and then get the saddle heights just right. Then once you pick up the guitar there will be a thunderstorm and the guitar will need to be set up again.

Life is a lot easier if you can just accept a little fret buzz. I just mean a little buzz, though. If notes are completely fretting out when you aren’t bending then the guitar needs a fret job.


14th fret completely frets out on the highest 3 strings without being bent, and the E string when being bent.
#14
If the guitar frets out with the action set up per the specifications on Fender.com, you might be able to get them to fix that. Because that shit is unacceptable on a $200 Squier, and absurd on an MIA Fender.
#15
Quote by RyanMW2010
This strat has had a multitude of issues from the time it arrived from the shop.


Is there anything else we should know in order to advise you with the current problem? Did you try to fix any of the 'multitudes of issues'?
#16
Quote by SpiderM
Is there anything else we should know in order to advise you with the current problem? Did you try to fix any of the 'multitudes of issues'?


Oh man. I've tried to and have fixed most of the problems I've had with the guitar, but usually when fixing one, another would pop up.

-- D string would buzz heavily when played open when I first got the guitar. Apparently nut carving was too shallow?

-- low E string would make absurd "Warbling" type noise when played on the higher frets. Lowering pickups pretty low fixed this.

--14th fret notes on G, B, e all dead, high E frets out when bent.

-- Tone pot does little more than on/off but I've heard this is just how a lot of lefty guitars are
#17
Quote by RyanMW2010
probably? I think I've kept everything that came with the guitar either in the original case or in a drawer. That means I could get a full refund at any time? Or would something need to be "officially" wrong with it, or something?



No, it means you could get any factory faults fixed for free, and if it's irreparable from the factory they'd replace it. However, there's almost never anything wrong with a guitar that warrants replacement.

Just take it in, let your fender authorized dealer know it was unleveled from the factory as it's still pretty new and have them send it to whoever does fret levels.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#18
Quote by RyanMW2010
I've had my '13 american strat "set up" a bunch of times by a bunch of different shops, and I've tried it myself a handful of times as well. It never plays as well as i think it could, or should. Right now a bunch of notes fret out, there is fret buzz, etc. It just doesn't "feel" right. I was thinking of getting it plek'd but i was told a good luthier could do just as good if not a better job.

I should say that I'm left-handed and i think that makes the job more difficult for a lot of techs ?


Left-handed shouldn't make any difference.
If you have a vintage radius (7.25"), you're going to have notes fretting out on bends. Get a different guitar.
Other than that, however, I will usually recommend a Good Initial Setup with PLEK for guitars that are new to me. I'll also recommend that you have the frets superglued.

The fret superglue helps to assure that frets won't be "popping" in dry weather, and it eliminates dead frets.

I also recommend a PLEK job if you're having fret issues. A "good luthier" can't do the same job. Period. The PLEK removes the minimum amount of fret material. A manual fret level removes material from ALL frets. The PLEK job measures the frets *under string tension" before doing the fret mill. A manual fret job levels the frets and then will frequently find that the neck comes up *not quite evenly* when the strings are put back on. And so there will be individual frets that need more attention. Back and forth. A manual fret job will approximate the radius needed, a PLEK will do it exactly. And so on. Usually a PLEK job can be completed in a few hours and the tech is doing other things (other customers' work) while it's actually processing. A manual tech job requires a tech's full attention and can take considerably longer, and will need to be sandwiched into a schedule. The PLEK machine can save a copy of the original analysis and the final measurements so that you can compare a later analysis to see how much the neck moves over time. And so on.

Someone who tells you that a manual fret level is better than a PLEK level has never had a real PLEK fret level done (or is erroneously thinking that whatever Gibson does with its PLEK machines is the same thing).

I use a tech named Gary Brawer in San Francisco. Gary is on his second PLEK machine and has been doing the PLEK process for about as long as the machines have been available. He also does the fret superglue process (here's a look at how it's done: http://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Online_Resources/Neck_Building_and_Repair_and_Setup/Super_glue_your_frets_for_better_tone.html ).

I tend to stay away from "techs" who work in the big box stores like Sam Ash and Guitar Denter.