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 Post subject: strat intonation problem!
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:56 pm 
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I just got a early 80's MIJ strat that has the 6 screw vintage trem on it, not the 2 post modern, also has the 70's large block saddles. I disassembled all parts due to rusting used wd40 and steel wool got everything shiny again but my dog ran through the loose saddles so I mixed them up from their original location. I put them back in a random order. Now I cannot intonate the low E, any notes on it sounds wobbly, and I have the saddle as far towards the neck as I can (adjuster screw has no more thread left) and it is still when fretting the 12th fret it is still flat compared to the 12th fret harmonic.......is their any way to tell the original location of the saddles? they do have different length height adjuster screws, longer screws low E shorter to High E? Any other ideas?!?!?!? thanks

pic of similar guitar so you can see the trem/saddles I am dealing with

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:11 pm 
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The saddles are identical to each other mixing them up shouldnt cause a problem. Have you adjusted the string height correctly? Did you put the trem in too far back?

You can buy longer screws at most hardware shops.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:35 pm 
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Also when moving the saddle froward it hits one of the 6 screws the trem to the body, so even with a longer adjuster it wouldn't go father anyhow..... I set the truss rod, string height all to fender specs for a 7.25" neck, everything else is clear as a bell weird................


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 5:32 pm 
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The saddles are all the same - but the screws and sometimes the saddle springs are often not.

Take 'em all off and start again. Often the outer saddles have shorter height adjustment screws, so that's a start. Whether they are actually shorter or not, the saddles that came from the middle will have those screws set sticking furthest out the bottom of the saddle to raise them the highest, the A and B strings next and the outer E strings next. The bottom E will be set higher than the top one, which will assist you in distinguishing between the two. That should help a lot in figuring out which came from where.

Sometimes the bottom E and A strings and perhaps the G have shorter intonation screws because they go nearer the back plate, so that is the next step. And often the saddles that are furthest back also have shorter saddle springs. Fender sell two sizes of saddle springs for that reason: with a regular length spring it can sometimes be difficult to get the bottom E saddle close enough to the back plate, so you need a smaller spring.

All of this should help you get those saddles back in their original order - unless you've already changed the height screw settings irretrievably.

On the other hand, if you happen to have saddles where all the screws and springs are the same size as one another then none of this matters: just set up your bridge from scratch.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 4:14 pm 
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I have found that when intoning strings, it is best to do the intonation first playing the open string and then the 12th fret. Try to use a good tuner for this. I recommend the Boss TU12 or TU12H. It is the work horse of the small tuners and I have found it to be the best in accuracy.

Once the open string is intoned to the 12th fret and all strings are tuned to A440 and adjusted to height, the harmonic at the 12th fret and the depressed string at the 12th fret should be identical.

Starting with the open sting is important as this is the note that needs intonation to the octave. If the open and 12th are not dead on, this can cause the harmonic to give a false tone.

Once all 6 strings are intoned open, 12th, then harmonically, you will notice that when playing a chord the guitar will sing to you.

Try this method and see how it works.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 4:19 pm 
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Try looking at the marks made by the strings on the tops of the saddles, I mixed mine up once upon a time and that helped to get them back where they were.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:53 pm 
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As I read your first post, I noticed that you used the word 'wobbly', and that made me think that you were suffering from 'Stratitis'. This is the result of a pickup(or all pups) being to close to the strings. Then in your second post I read that you adjusted string hieght to Fender spec. If you did so without adjusting string hieght, there is a good chance that you may very well be experiencing the effect of the pup being to close to the string. This causes the 'wobbly' effect you spoke of and the impossibility of propper intonation. Try lowering the bass side of all your pups a turn or two and see if the wobbling goes away, then try setting your intonation. HTH.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 10:44 am 
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try slacking the strings and line the saddles up so they are level and at the same height then tuning it up check the intonation, check if it is closser than it was before if so try intonating it. i had kinda the same prolem with my les paul when i had to replace the tune o' matic it came in pieces

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 11:04 am 
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M. Brown wrote:
As I read your first post, I noticed that you used the word 'wobbly', and that made me think that you were suffering from 'Stratitis'. This is the result of a pickup (or all pups) being to close to the strings.


+1 I thought the same thing: your pickups are too close to the strings.

You might also want to check how high your bridge is floating. If you changed string gauge, you will have to adjust the screws at the trem spring claw.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 12:43 pm 
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Another thing you can try is a tip from Dan Erlwine from Sew-Mac. Tighten all the saddles back to the rear, so that as your doing the intonation you have to loosen them instead of tightening them. Makes it a little easier to deal with.

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