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 Post subject: String height (action) on new American Standard Strat
PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 1:13 pm 
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Aspiring Musician
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I'm a bass player buying a new guitar for the boy. After months of waiting, the new Strat I ordered arrived. It's an American Standard. I did a thorough inspection. Everything looks great. This is really a nice instrument. However, when I played it, I was getting a lot of fret buzz/rattle.

I checked the relief and it seemed pretty reasonable. IMO, that suggests that either the action is too low or there is a high fret. I could repeat the problem at various locations on the fretboard so I tend to think it is not a fret problem. That leaves action.

I looked up the Fender specification. They say 4/64" or 5/64" at the 17 fret depending on the neck radius (I'm not sure what this radius is). So I measured the action to be a hair over 4/64".

I check my boy's old guitar, an Ibanez (a Strat-like model), just to ensure that the buzz/rattle I was hearing wasn't something else in the house resonating. It played perfectly. So I measured it's action. It was a whopping 9/64" at the 17th fret!

I went ahead and adjusted the action on the new Strat. It was up to a hair over 6/64" before the buzz/rattle was completely gone.

Does this seem like a reasonable height? Is there anything I'm overlooking?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:33 pm 
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I have an american std. strat and the neck radius is 9.5". The way i set my guitar up is with the action just under 2mm (so probably lke 1.8mm-1.9mm). I use 10's on mine with the tremolo setup flush to the body (with 5 springs in the back). You will have to adjust the pickup height and do a truss rod adjustment probably. The adjustment to your truss rod will most likely take care of your fret buzz. I bought a feeler guage from an auto store. This will help a lot with your truss rod adjustment. I have .010" of relief on my guitar neck.

I hope this helps... if it is not clear just ask another question.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 8:24 pm 
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warnergt,

Your question got me to thinking. I have an Amer. Std which is about 6 mo. old and I have never bothered to measure the string height. It played to my liking right from the store (GC) without any string buzz. I have a guitar that does suffer from that problem and I can't figure it out. Adjusting the truss rod hasn't helped and it's to spec. I feel your pain.

My Strat strings measure out at .090 on the treble side and .010 on the bass. I'm playing with light .009 strings and don't feel the need to change it either.
If it is brand new , before you mess with the truss rod, why not take it back to the store and let them set it up for you. I think they owe you!!!

Also Stewart-MacDonald makes a great String Action Gauge. Check out stewmac.com


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 8:19 am 
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Edit: 17th fret is correct!

I think Fender's recommendations are:

Specifics for Fender Guitars
For relief, Fender recommends that you place a capo on at the first fret, and hold down the string at the last fret, then measure the distance between the top of the 8th fret and the bottom of the sixth string.
Neck
radius Relief (at 8th fret)
7.25" .012"
9.5" to 12" .010"
15" to 17" .008"


For Action, Specifics for Fender guitars - measurement is made at the 17th fret:
Neck
Radius Height - Bass side Height - Treble Side
7.25" 5/64" 4/64"
9.5" to 12" 4/64" 4/64"
15" to 17" 4/64" 3/64"

Cambo,

Truss Rod adjustments will help with relief, where a slight bow is usually preferred and will effect different areas of 'buzz' on the fretboard, bridge/saddle height will affect action or string height. Sometimes you run out of string tension before you run out of rod nut - my Gretsch is like that...the Fender has the trem which is likely to come up too vs. adding more bow. All this stuff has to balanced just right.


Last edited by jmg257 on Sat Jul 03, 2010 9:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 8:38 am 
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jmg257 wrote:
Not sure about the '17th fret' measurements.

I think Fender's recommendations are:

Specifics for Fender Guitars
For relief, Fender recommends that you place a capo on at the first fret, and hold down the string at the last fret, then measure the distance between the top of the 8th fret and the bottom of the sixth string.
Neck
radius Relief (at 8th fret)
7.25" .012"
9.5" to 12" .010"
15" to 17" .008"


For Action, Specifics for Fender guitars - measurement is made at the 14th fret:
Neck
Radius Height - Bass side Height - Treble Side
7.25" 5/64" 4/64"
9.5" to 12" 4/64" 4/64"
15" to 17" 4/64" 3/64"

Cambo,

Truss Rod adjustments will help with relief, where a slight bow is usually preferred and will effect different areas of 'buzz' on the fretboard, bridge/saddle height will affect action or string height. Sometimes you run out of string tension before you run out of rod nut - my Gretsch is like that...the Fender has the trem which is likely to come up too vs. adding more bow. All this stuff has to balanced just right.


Fender says 17th fret.

http://www.fender.com/support/stratocas ... _guide.php

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 Post subject: Re: String height (action) on new American Standard Strat
PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 8:42 am 
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warnergt wrote:
I'm a bass player buying a new guitar for the boy. After months of waiting, the new Strat I ordered arrived. It's an American Standard. I did a thorough inspection. Everything looks great. This is really a nice instrument. However, when I played it, I was getting a lot of fret buzz/rattle.

I checked the relief and it seemed pretty reasonable. IMO, that suggests that either the action is too low or there is a high fret. I could repeat the problem at various locations on the fretboard so I tend to think it is not a fret problem. That leaves action.

I looked up the Fender specification. They say 4/64" or 5/64" at the 17 fret depending on the neck radius (I'm not sure what this radius is). So I measured the action to be a hair over 4/64".

I check my boy's old guitar, an Ibanez (a Strat-like model), just to ensure that the buzz/rattle I was hearing wasn't something else in the house resonating. It played perfectly. So I measured it's action. It was a whopping 9/64" at the 17th fret!

I went ahead and adjusted the action on the new Strat. It was up to a hair over 6/64" before the buzz/rattle was completely gone.

Does this seem like a reasonable height? Is there anything I'm overlooking?


It could be that the nut is cut too low. Take it to a Tech and have it checked.

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 Post subject: Re: String height (action) on new American Standard Strat
PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 9:34 am 
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CAFeathers wrote:
It could be that the nut is cut too low. Take it to a Tech and have it checked.


If I am fretting the string, the nut is not longer a variable; it's height no longer matters.
I get the buzz when I fret the strings.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 9:48 am 
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Is the buzzing in the lower or higher registers?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 9:50 am 
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Quote:
Fender says 17th fret.


Cool - thanks! I'll take note!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 9:59 am 
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gldfshkpr wrote:
Is the buzzing in the lower or higher registers?


I noticed it most in the lower registers.
I'm a bass player; not a guitar player so I didn't really exercise the higher registers much.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 10:19 am 
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warnergt wrote:
gldfshkpr wrote:
Is the buzzing in the lower or higher registers?


I noticed it most in the lower registers.
I'm a bass player; not a guitar player so I didn't really exercise the higher registers much.


Try fretting up around the 15-17 frets. If there is no buzzing then the neck relief needs to be adjusted.
Also double check for a high fret. I have a 36 in ruler cut down to neck length, or you can capo at the 1st fret then hold down each string at the last fret.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 10:36 am 
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If your string height is good as you say and you're getting buzzing at the lower registers, then you need more relief in the neck. Sighting down the neck toward the body, turn the truss rod counter clockwise a quarter turn or so at a time. Check each succession of turns with the strings tuned back up each time. The guitar might need to sit overnight to fully appreciate your adjustments. Re-tune the next day and check for buzzing.

As somebody commented, a feeler guage from the hardware or auto parts store works well for determining distance. Get the flat kind. Fender specs are a guideline. That specific instrument, depending on string guage, player style, etc. will all affect your final action.

What style of music does your son play? Does he have a light touch or heavy hand?

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-Kirk

GUITARS
'12 Sonoran Acoustic - black (dated 10/31/12)
'13 Standard Strat
AMP
Vox ac4c1-bl
PEDALS
Compressor
Big Muff
Vox Stomplab 1G
Carbon Copy Delay


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 10:45 am 
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...and to be clear. There are a few measurements in this post. Fender specs are

"First, check your tuning. Affix a capo at the first fret and depress the sixth string at the last fret. With a feeler gauge, check the gap between the bottom of the string and the top of the 8th fret"

Your measurement for a 91/2 inch neck radius is .010

_________________
-Kirk

GUITARS
'12 Sonoran Acoustic - black (dated 10/31/12)
'13 Standard Strat
AMP
Vox ac4c1-bl
PEDALS
Compressor
Big Muff
Vox Stomplab 1G
Carbon Copy Delay


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 3:30 pm 
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Thank you all for the great info. I have actually set up several Ibanez's I own but I have been reluctant to mess with my "sacred" Strat. I have a new set of pure nickel strings, so it is time to "get off the pot" and really get to know my baby.

It is great to have such a wealth of knowledge and experience to fall back on.


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