how to lear to set up a stratocaster


3donkey
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Joined: 12/21/10
Posts: 105
I recently bought a fender stratocaster a few months ago. I just took it to the store to low the action and redo the set up of the guitar.
I m really willing to learn these things by myself, so I was wondering how I can learn this stuff.. should I ask to guitar store if they can teach me how to that? or there is another place where I can learn?
Thank you for your help
# 1
compart1
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Joined: 06/27/09
Posts: 1,410
Hi 3donkey..
You might want to ask Steve in the "guitar tech" forum for some tips or advice on literature for Strat set-ups.
Maybe try Fenders web site..
One book I know of is "The Guitar Handbook" by Ralph Denyer.. It has lots of guitar info.. It doesn't specify a Strat set up..
good luck in your guitar quest..
# 2
3donkey
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Joined: 12/21/10
Posts: 105
hi compart1, thanks for your reply. I just went to the fender website and yes, they do have a downloadable manual on how to set up the guitar. I havent read it but look very helpful
# 3
TheElectricSnep
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Joined: 03/06/02
Posts: 316
Hi 3donkey,

Okay it's been a long time since I posted here but thanks for this thread because (1) I'm a Strat player right down to the bone and (2) this is something I might as well have posted myself had I been active at the time it was relevant to me. So here's my 2 cents on setting up a Strat:

This probably isn't quite what you want to hear, but I find a Strat sounds better when you use a medium action leaning towards slightly high, that's how I find I get the best tone out of mine. I spent ages trying to set mine up with the lowest action possible to make it easier to play but I found I just got fretbuzz and intonation problems from it that way, so in the end I gave up and decided this wasn't the guitar to use when I wanted to practice picking scales up and down fast or legatoing up and down scales the same way. But I still loved the tone of a Strat, especially on the clean sound, and I liked the feel of both the body and neck better than any other guitar I'd found, so my compromise was it became the guitar I'd pick up when I felt like being a little more traditional and wasn't so hung up on trying to play fast or wanting the guitar that could accommodate every lick I know. A Strat also sounds rather nice with thicker strings and tuned down half a step (at the moment mine isn't set up for this but I've done it before and it's quite rewarding in terms of tone.)

Another setup issue I had with my Strat was the tremolo, to begin with when I bought it 9 years ago I wanted to have a really stiff tremolo so I went out and got 2 more springs so I had 5 loaded in there in total, but a few months ago I decided to try taking two of them out and seeing if my playing style would adapt to a lighter touch on the bar, and I found it so much better that I kept it that way. Of course I had to adjust the spring claw and the saddles to get the intonation right again but it was worth it. How you set up your tremolo (assuming your Strat has one) will affect how it plays, whether you have it floating or set up for bending down only (I prefer the latter.)

To sum up, keep in mind that what you're playing (and to some extent what you can't do yet that you're aspiring to learn) will affect how you want the Strat set up. As you haven't specified what you're into it's hard for me to advise.
'There's no such thing as bad weather, there's only the wrong clothes...'
# 4
3donkey
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Joined: 12/21/10
Posts: 105
hi Chacron,

thanks for your opinion. I m a strat guy up to the bone too. Actually I already took my guitar to the store to low the action because I found that when I was playing more close to the body it was a little unconfortable to me.
Nobody never told that doing that I would affect the tone of guitar in a bad way.. I know guitars can be different from each other, even if they re both strat.. so I hope this is the case.
I m trying to learn things in the mark knopfler style since I also love the clean sound of the strat, but I m hungry lo learn anything.. from blues to rock to country.. I ll have the guitar back tomorrow, I ll let you know how it sounds if I ll be able to notice any difference
# 5
W Johnny Johns
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Joined: 05/05/10
Posts: 2
Hi glad to hear some strat players. Fender style guitars are always harder to play than a Gibson type because of the scale length. But I have found that I can get a fairly low action & a good sound by adjusting the bridge saddles & truss rod until I find a happy medium. Light gauge strings help too.

W.Johnny Johns.
# 6
3donkey
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Joined: 12/21/10
Posts: 105
hello srat guys,

just brought my fender back home from the store. Luckily for me guitar tech lowed the action just a little bit, but not too much, since he also was mentioning that if he would had low the action too much.. then the guitar would play like ****. I think now my strat is more comfortable to play and I don't notice a big change in the tone, actually I can't hear much difference, at least for now. So that s a good compromise to me.
Johnny Johns, I think the gibson might be more comfortable to play , and maybe it could have a warmer sound, but the stratocaster is more versatile and it's just perfect to play anything. I just have the strat in my heart.. watching old videos of mark knopfler and steve ray vaughan.. well, time to go, I m gonna play all night ;)
# 7
compart1
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Joined: 06/27/09
Posts: 1,410
hit a lick for me.. good luck
# 8