Sometimes a saddle will be adjusted as far forward or backwards as it can be and the intonation will still be off.
Putting on a set of GHS Nickle Rockers on my Trad Pro was a huge improvement. One common problem you will find is that the factory bridges will start to collapse or bow in the middle due to the soft metal they are made out of and tension of the strings pushing down on it over the years.
The pickup height is measured by fretting the outer two E strings at the last fret and measuring from the top of the pole piece directly under that string to the bottom of the depressed string. It is also important to cut the nut slot in a slight downward angle. Doing this will help flush out any fret or nut issues that can be taken care of now before the new strings are put on and the setup started. That way I can have both ends secure in my hand when I cut it and keep the strings from flying around causing damage. I can’t tell you how many times we have gotten Les Pauls straight from the factory where the nut slots were cut soo low that multiple strings were resting on the first fret when the neck relief was adjusted straight. You can use 0000 steel wool or a 320 grit Klingspor pad to polish the frets and break up any dirt that might be on the fingerboard. We then will use the proper nut files for the string gauges used to cut each slot in the nut to the desired depth. A good place to start is at the factory heights which are 2/64″ for the Low E and A, 1.5/64″ for the D and G, and 1/64″ for the B and high E strings. This is how you get the string action measurement. The first step in any setting up of an instrument is the initial evaluation. But before we put on the new strings, there are two options involving the tailpiece that we need to discuss.
The “string” ground (yellow arrow in the picture above) usually runs from the treble side post of the bridge or tailpiece and into the electronics cavity where it will be soldered to ground on the back of one of the potentiometers. To straighten the neck you want to check how much relief there is first. Put on all the strings and tune up to pitch.
I like to polish up the frets and clean and oil the fretboard first.
After everything is secure and cleaned up we can put the bridge and tailpiece back on and throw on the new strings! So if you find the saddle radius to be extremely out of spec or you’ll cut into the intonation screw if you try to lower the string notch any further, then you will most likely need to replace the bridge on your guitar.
Gibson Brands, Inc. respects your right to privacy. Then with the thumb of your right hand, fret the low E string down around the 17th fret.
The Fender St r atocaster factory string gauge, as well as all other Fender guitars, will be listed in the Specs section of the respective guitar’s page on the Fender website.
Less winds the better since the angle of the headstock is already at 17-degrees and the break angle of the string behind the nut is achieved with only a couple of winds on the tuning post.
Both my brand new LP came with the factory inspection sheet clearly written on the bottom was "D'addario 10-46". I also like to tighten up any loose screws or nuts at this point, especially on the tuning pegs which can cause tuning issues if they are not secure. Using a ruler or a string action gauge card and holding the guitar in playing position, measure from the top of the 12th fret to the bottom of the string. You rotate one of the thumbwheels clockwise to lower that side of the bridge or counter-clockwise to raise it. This will make the notes below and above the 12th fret as in tune as they can be with each other. This is usually ok unless the high E string is resting on top of the frets. I love those strings. After each slot is cut to the desired height, clean up any dust or debris from the area and apply a nut sauce or lubricant to each of them to help keep the strings moving freely and prevent any binding in the nut. For these style pickups, a special shim is used which can be found online, in order to raise the pickup and cover up off of the body and look pleasing to the eye. You want to do this through your amp with both volumes up and wide open.
You want this much relief in the neck. Now with the old strings off and the bridge and tailpiece off to the side you want to clean up the guitar before we put the new strings on.
Each saddle can be taken out of the bridge, the screw taken out, and then flipped around and reinstalled in the bridge in order to squeeze out a little more room for adjustment.
At this point, it is a good idea to straighten out the neck of your guitar. For humbuckers , the screws are located on either side of the pickup on the pickup ring. When cutting the saddles, make sure to cut at a slightly downward angle towards the tailpiece to insure the string sits properly in the notch.
This usually can be done without any problems, but be aware that your strings might be prone to breaking at the saddle prematurely if there is too much string break behind the bridge and causing too much stress on the string at this point. If the fretted note is lower or flatter, then the saddle needs to move forward.
These two strings can go down slightly further and still play and ring out normally. This is the best time to plug in the instrument and check out all of your pots, pickups, jack, and switches to make sure everything is working properly.
With the new strings on and stretched we can adjust the neck. If the neck has a back bow, the ruler will rock back and forth at the ends because the neck is bowed up in the middle.
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