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Post subject: Advice with a new Stratocaster regarding string alignment?
Posted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:33 am
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Hello,

a few days ago I bought a new Stratocaster (American Professional HSS) and I'm really excited about it. However, I have not had an electric guitar for about 20 years, and even back then I only had a very cheap one. So I wanted to get back to playing and wanted to get things right in the first place and buy a really good guitar so I wouldn't have to worry about the hardware side and could concentrate on learning to play again.

However, I have discovered something that feels like a flaw and it's kind of bothering me. The centers of the strings are slightly shifted to the Bass side, leaving a little more space between the high E-String and the point where the frets fall off to the edge of the fretboard than between the low E-String and that point on the Bass side.

I know that pictures can be treacherous, but I have made 3 photos to illustrate what I mean. I have made them from quite far away (2-3 meters) so they appear very much like you would see it if you held the guitar in your hands.

As a consequence, you can see that the middle dots on the fretboard are not exactly in the middle between the strings (of course this is only cosmetical) and they are not aligned with the magnets of the pickups, the high E-String does not run over the magnet piece at all, missing it maybe just by one String diameter.

I tried to measure the distance between the edge of the string and the (rounded) point where the fret starts to fall off. It's 0.7mm compared to 2.6mm on the first fret (low E / high E), 1.5 / 2.8mm on 12th fret and 1.1 / 3.0 on the last fret. Of course it's hard to measure (I did it with a lens and a ruler), so there *can* be a difference of maybe 0.1 or 0.2mm. I know of course that the low E is thicker (it's maybe 0.9mm compared to maybe 0.15mm for the high E), so the distance to the middle axis of the string would be about 1.15 / 2.675 mm (1. fret, low / high), 1.95 / 2.875 mm (12. fret), 1.55 / 3.075 mm (last fret). I have calculated the shift distance that would be necessary to have the strings have the same distance from their middle axis to the falloff point: It would be 0.7625mm (1.), 0.4625 (12.) and again 0.7625mm (last). For my eyes the strings appear to be pretty parallel to the edges of the fretboard.

My may concerns are: There is a certain likeliness that I slip over the rounded edge of the frets on the low E-String, especially in the lower frets. Of course this can be also a matter of bad technique, but when the fingers are streched out, e.g. with the ring finger on fret 3 or 4 (low E-String) and the pointer finger far away on a high string it gets more likely. The other concern is with the pickups, that the high E-String isn't even running over the magnet. As i wrote before, not by much, but nevertheless. Maybe this could impact the output of the high E side of the pickup negatively? (for some reason, the distance between the magnets of the single coils does not match the distance of the strings in the first place, so some misalignment appears to be intentional).

As I said before, I am not at all experienced with setting up the guitar and I wanted everything to be "perfect" from the shop because I want to concentrate on practicing.

So I guess my question is... How bad is it? Is it inside production tolerance? Can it be fixed easily? Do I need to return the guitar? Is it a flaw at all (or even a feature)? My fear is that the nut needs to be replaced and I would hate to have to give a brand new guitar to have it repaired already (I even do not have an amplifier yet, I hope to buy one next month)... If it's a flaw, may it be covered by guarantee?

Any help and advice is very much appreciated!

Thanks a lot!

PS: I could not yet figure out how to attach the photos.
PPS: Sorry for any poor English!
PPPS: Sorry for measuring in mm!

Image
Image
Image


Last edited by woodhead on Tue Nov 12, 2019 7:04 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post subject: Re: Advice with a new Stratocaster regarding string alignmen
Posted: Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:59 pm
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Your problem is not uncommon among "modern" Stratocasters. The issue stems from Fender's development of the 'narrow-spaced' bridge which was originally intended for use on budget-conscious models imported from off-shore. The Strat's original string spacing at the bridge was 2-7/32" which, as with all guitars, was a compromise that kept the strings relatively centered above the pole pieces of the pickups but placed the low and high E strings perilously close to the edges of the fretboard. To compensate, the string spacing at the bridge was narrowed to 2-1/16" in an effort to prevent those outer strings from rolling off the fretboard edges especially during vigorous play. An unintended consequence of this alteration moved all of the strings off-center relative to the pole pieces and thus, slightly off-axis to their magnetic fields. The result is often reduced pickup gain and loss of attack. Adjusting the strings at the saddles and/or loosening the neck and realigning it to the body *may* improve the instrument's playability but at best it will only be a compromise.

Arjay

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Post subject: Re: Advice with a new Stratocaster regarding string alignmen
Posted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:14 am
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" The centers of the strings are slightly shifted to the Bass side, leaving a little more space between the high E-String and the point where the frets fall off to the edge of the fretboard than between the low E-String and that point on the Bass side. "

Look to me, neck need only some light adjustment. Put it parallel to the body.
A very easy job.

https://forums.fender.com/viewtopic.php?t=47832

How to Fix a Misaligned Neck;
https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/ ... -bolt-neck


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Post subject: Re: Advice with a new Stratocaster regarding string alignmen
Posted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:14 am
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stratele52 wrote:
" The centers of the strings are slightly shifted to the Bass side, leaving a little more space between the high E-String and the point where the frets fall off to the edge of the fretboard than between the low E-String and that point on the Bass side. "
-woodhead

That is fairly common, and it's also an easy fix. just loosen the neck bolts a bit, shift the neck into alignment, and retighten the bolts.
A very easy job.

https://forums.fender.com/viewtopic.php?t=47832

How to Fix a Misaligned Neck;
https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/ ... -bolt-neck


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Post subject: Re: Advice with a new Stratocaster regarding string alignmen
Posted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:49 am
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One note here, many players adjust their guitar so that the bassE string is closer to the neck edge than the trebleE. That's because the trebleE tends to fall off the fretboard easier with bends, finger vibratos, flutters & such.
So it's up to "how much closer", "personal preferences" etc. if there is a problem.

And for pic posting:
Quote:
First you need to upload your pics to the internet. Use a pic hosting site (imgur, imgbb or such - avoid photobucket) or some common web framework like e.g. facebook, googlephotos - whatever you're familiar with.
The important thing is that the web site provides you with a pic address - that's the one starting with 'http' or 'https' and ending in '.jpg' .

Copy the pic address, and use the IMG-command (visible when you write a message) on the forum.

Preview your post so everything is OK.


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Post subject: Re: Advice with a new Stratocaster regarding string alignmen
Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 7:18 am
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Hello all,

thank you so much for your input! I have now managed to upload the photos (thanks @jmattis) where you can see the difference.

I had also read that it may be caused by a slightly misaligned neck, but I didn't dare to loosen the bolts. Not yet, at least. ;-) But since I think that the strings are mostly parallel to the neck edges, I guess the main "problem" are the positions of the string slots in the nut?

I understand that it's good to have *a little* bit more space on the trebleE side, but how much is "a little"? In my case, the bassE just felt a bit too close...

But I had also noticed a possible second issue: On the second picture you can see that around the first fret there is kind of a dent (?) on the bass side. It looks as if there is a bit of wood "missing", so to speak. I have rotated the image so that the string is almost parallel to the edge of the photo, so if you pan the edge of the neck to the edge of the photo you can see it. I think it just adds to the issue with the strings being a bit on the bassE side because it effectively makes the first fret another bit shorter, maybe something around the thickness of the A string.

How common and/or acceptable are these 2 things in your experience? I guess I will try to return the guitar anyway.

Thanks for your advice!


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Post subject: Re: Advice with a new Stratocaster regarding string alignmen
Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 7:55 am
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woodhead wrote:
Hello all,

thank you so much for your input! I have now managed to upload the photos (thanks @jmattis) where you can see the difference.

I had also read that it may be caused by a slightly misaligned neck, but I didn't dare to loosen the bolts. Not yet, at least. ;-) But since I think that the strings are mostly parallel to the neck edges, I guess the main "problem" are the positions of the string slots in the nut?

I understand that it's good to have *a little* bit more space on the trebleE side, but how much is "a little"? In my case, the bassE just felt a bit too close...

But I had also noticed a possible second issue: On the second picture you can see that around the first fret there is kind of a dent (?) on the bass side. It looks as if there is a bit of wood "missing", so to speak. I have rotated the image so that the string is almost parallel to the edge of the photo, so if you pan the edge of the neck to the edge of the photo you can see it. I think it just adds to the issue with the strings being a bit on the bassE side because it effectively makes the first fret another bit shorter, maybe something around the thickness of the A string.

How common and/or acceptable are these 2 things in your experience? I guess I will try to return the guitar anyway.

Thanks for your advice!
Your guitar's strings look like my 2014 American Standard. There's nothing wrong with it. Play and enjoy.

Edit: If you are having trouble with the low E slipping off, I suppose you could try and realign the neck as others have suggested. If it were my guitar, I would leave it alone.


Last edited by LawFlow on Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post subject: Re: Advice with a new Stratocaster regarding string alignmen
Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:00 am
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LawFlow wrote:
woodhead wrote:
Hello all,

thank you so much for your input! I have now managed to upload the photos (thanks @jmattis) where you can see the difference.

I had also read that it may be caused by a slightly misaligned neck, but I didn't dare to loosen the bolts. Not yet, at least. ;-) But since I think that the strings are mostly parallel to the neck edges, I guess the main "problem" are the positions of the string slots in the nut?

I understand that it's good to have *a little* bit more space on the trebleE side, but how much is "a little"? In my case, the bassE just felt a bit too close...

But I had also noticed a possible second issue: On the second picture you can see that around the first fret there is kind of a dent (?) on the bass side. It looks as if there is a bit of wood "missing", so to speak. I have rotated the image so that the string is almost parallel to the edge of the photo, so if you pan the edge of the neck to the edge of the photo you can see it. I think it just adds to the issue with the strings being a bit on the bassE side because it effectively makes the first fret another bit shorter, maybe something around the thickness of the A string.

How common and/or acceptable are these 2 things in your experience? I guess I will try to return the guitar anyway.

Thanks for your advice!
Your guitar's strings look like my 2014 American Standard. There's nothing wrong with it. Play and enjoy.


Ok for the stings alingnement, look at the missing wood


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Post subject: Re: Advice with a new Stratocaster regarding string alignmen
Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:07 am
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stratele52 wrote:
LawFlow wrote:
woodhead wrote:
Hello all,

thank you so much for your input! I have now managed to upload the photos (thanks @jmattis) where you can see the difference.

I had also read that it may be caused by a slightly misaligned neck, but I didn't dare to loosen the bolts. Not yet, at least. ;-) But since I think that the strings are mostly parallel to the neck edges, I guess the main "problem" are the positions of the string slots in the nut?

I understand that it's good to have *a little* bit more space on the trebleE side, but how much is "a little"? In my case, the bassE just felt a bit too close...

But I had also noticed a possible second issue: On the second picture you can see that around the first fret there is kind of a dent (?) on the bass side. It looks as if there is a bit of wood "missing", so to speak. I have rotated the image so that the string is almost parallel to the edge of the photo, so if you pan the edge of the neck to the edge of the photo you can see it. I think it just adds to the issue with the strings being a bit on the bassE side because it effectively makes the first fret another bit shorter, maybe something around the thickness of the A string.

How common and/or acceptable are these 2 things in your experience? I guess I will try to return the guitar anyway.

Thanks for your advice!
Your guitar's strings look like my 2014 American Standard. There's nothing wrong with it. Play and enjoy.


Ok for the stings alingnement, look at the missing wood
Missing wood? I guess it's too early in the morning for me. I don't see missing wood.


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Post subject: Re: Advice with a new Stratocaster regarding string alignmen
Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:23 am
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String spacing is all about the NUT, eyeballing/measuring the nut will determine the spacing along the neck length.
Sure a tweek to the neck will help if the whole neck is outta square with the pocket. While using the fret-markers as a general straightness guide, they could also be slightly off position also, is the wrong approach to being precise.

IMO its better to be bass biased a little, not many players bend a whole step on the fat strings.
If it really bothers you that much, replace the nut.


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Post subject: Re: Advice with a new Stratocaster regarding string alignmen
Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:53 am
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LawFlow wrote:
[

. I don't see missing wood.


Early in the morning at 10 O'clock or you are living in the west.

Easy to see at fist fret, bass side.


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Post subject: Re: Advice with a new Stratocaster regarding string alignmen
Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:54 am
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It gets easy to get caught up in the micro details after purchasing ur new Strat but trust me just focus on your techniques, vocab, and positions at first the rest of the gear concerns/issues will work themselves out. Sometimes you may get down the road of advancement and realize how insignificant the small details are.

Great looking new axe btw


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Post subject: Re: Advice with a new Stratocaster regarding string alignmen
Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:23 am
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stratele52 wrote:
LawFlow wrote:
[

. I don't see missing wood.


Early in the morning at 10 O'clock or you are living in the west.

Easy to see at fist fret, bass side.
Wasn't 10:00 here and early is relative. If I study very hard, there appears to be a slight curve in towards the 1st fret. Then again, it could be the camera playing tricks. I dunno. Maybe I'm not seeing the same thing. If that's what the OP is referring to, then maybe return the guitar if it's bothersome.


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Post subject: Re: Advice with a new Stratocaster regarding string alignmen
Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:36 am
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For what it's worth, I think the string alignment is just fine. Judging by the nut slots placement, it was done intentionally and it is by no means the first Fender factory nut like that. BTW, it looks the same way on the product page commercial pic.

On the 'missing wood', I do see the curve but a) could be optical, and b) even if physical, I wouldn't pay any attention to it if the guitar otherwise is as expected.
One be-e-autiful instrument you got there.


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Post subject: Re: Advice with a new Stratocaster regarding string alignmen
Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:02 pm
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jmattis wrote:
For what it's worth, I think the string alignment is just fine. Judging by the nut slots placement, it was done intentionally and it is by no means the first Fender factory nut like that. BTW, it looks the same way on the product page commercial pic.

On the 'missing wood', I do see the curve but a) could be optical, and b) even if physical, I wouldn't pay any attention to it if the guitar otherwise is as expected.
One be-e-autiful instrument you got there.


I tend to agree. However a minor tweak or two by an authorized (and competent) service-center tech may be of some benefit as regards to improving the guitar's overall playability.

Arjay

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