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Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by tacomamc, Mar 22, 2013.
I'm having a difficult time getting my new used Thinline '69 Classic Series Tele to set up well. I have done my setups for years with excellent success every time. But they've always been on medium jumbo or jumbo frets on 9.5" radius Strats. This is my first 7.25" neck. I like the feel of the radius, but I'm having a tough time getting it dialed in without any buzz. I've got the action raised, and the saddles are at max height. But they seem like they're too high, as the screws are almost all the way down. I'm not sure the pics will help, but they're below. Any tips would be appreciated.
What's the relief like and do you know if the neck is shimmed?
The neck is not shimmed, and the relief is totally flat. The buzz is in the higher registers, specifically on the G & B strings. When I got it, there was a Bigsby on it, but I replaced the bridge with the vintage style. The saddles that came with it though seem smaller than the brass barrel saddles I've seen. These are steel bullet saddle, as described by the guy I got them from.
Maybe a shim to bring up the headstock?
Or perhaps a nickel under the saddle height screws?
If the relief is flat you need to back off the truss a hair (1/4 turn or so).
7.25 normally needs to be set up a bit higher than a flatter radius, but it's my favorite radius. I just set it up with a hair of relief. I don't measure, just put a capo on the first fret on hold down at the 15th, and when I get a very slight bit of room to push down at the fifth, it's good.
Then I adjust the saddle height so the strings follow the curve of the neck, but usually let the bass strings level out more. Then I play it, adjust if necessary, then bend strings at the high frets, and lower the G-B-E until they either fret out, or get to low for *my* fingertips to grab (roll under), and fine tune them back up a hair. Then I just play chords and some lead all over the neck, and if I'm "tripping" over a string, I lower it, or raise the adjacent ones a bit. Get them so they feel right, to *me*. Then I check intonation, and adjust if necessary.
If you give it a bit of relief but still get buzzing on the high frets with saddles very high, you may have to shim the neck up (very thin shim under the HS end of the heel... a 1/4" strip of medium grade sanding belt works well).
BTW, I'm not a guitar tech, that's just how I do it, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn last night ;o)
Awesome, thanks. I'll try it when I get back in town this week. I too am a "shade tree" guitar tech, and generally start with Dan Erlwine's book, or here, and just fiddle till it comes out right. My strats have always been very easy to dial in quickly. It's ok though, I really like this tele, and don't regret getting rid of my strat to get it. Thanks again, I'll report back later in the week once it's sorted out.
Have you checked for any proud frets? Have you figured out what/where the buzz is coming from? It may be the saddles.. If you bring them up to high you may have troubled intimating because the screwdriver won't fit. Bring the saddles back down and work on the neck..I also have a rule about doing setups on a guitar as soon as o get it home., you would be surprised how some issues just work themselves out.
Without a straight edge, how do I check for proud frets? Get a marble threshold from home depo?
I read somewhere to use a 15 inch aluminum ruler.
My 68 started doing the same thing last year --- 3 years after a few frets were replaced plus I had the frets filed but will use a different tech this time.
I've set it up with a shim, no shim, different thickness shims, 6 saddle bridge, 3 saddle original bridge, lots of relief, minimal relief...makes no real difference regarding the buzz unless I put the bridge saddles really high.
Must be frets but doesn't show when I put a straight edge on it plus I have a heavy touch and also make my Gibsons buzz.
Doesn't come through the amp on gigs so not sure if I really care.
You can even use a credit card. Run it up and down the neck, and if it seems that a fret is high, use the short end of the card to narrow it down.
Again -- I only stayed in a Holiday Inn, I'm not not a tech -- but if one is a bit high, support the neck well with a firm, but non-marring support, and tap the fret down, across it's span, with a small hardwood block and small hammer (being very careful not to ding the fretboard), and see if that helps.
tacomamc has the right idea with a nickel (or any other appropriately thick/thin coin)
to make the screws work as they should, without digging into your hand.
Shim the neck and give it .008" relief.
All mfrs spec relief for good reasons.
You get the lowest action all over.
You can fix her in 1/2 hour!
Well, I was out of town for the past few days and didn't get to play it until tonight. It played beautifully! Granted, I can't bend like I could on my strat (9.5" radius with jumbo frets), but it plays well and sounds great. I even like the stock pu's. I did some measuring and the is some relief, but not much, and the string height at the 17th fret is 4/64 on he bass side and 3/64 on the treble side. That's actually lower than Fender recommends, so I'll leave it for now and play it a bit more before making any other changes. Thanks to you all for your input... This place is great!
You don't have to set the action at a 7 1/4" radius.
The inside D &G can be sat lower since they are at the top of the arc.
I set the hi E a little higher since on bends it needs to go over that arc.
Well, it's still rattling more than I'd like it to, and more than I think it should. It certainly rattles more than any of my strats did, so I think it should be better than it is now. The rattles are most pronounced on the G, B, E strings and are pretty high.up (15th fret maybe -ish). There is relief in the neck, and I out a shim under the neck on the end closest to the headstock... I used a business card doubled over and there is still rattle after the required setup (string height at the bridge). So, it seems I need a fret level and crown..... Sooooo after reviewing Mr. Kirns tutorial on how to do so, I'm almost ready, just need some sand paper and a crowning tool... I think I remember some suggestions on making one ( wood or eraser with grove cut to match a fret and lined with 400 grit paper?). So, that's where I'm at now..... Still glad I got the tele though, definitely prefer the to e to my strats, just need to get the playability up to snuff.
Well, straightened the relief a little by tightening the truss rod and it felt better. Then I evened out the string height so they're all at about the same height (4-5/64th"). I actually like the thin E as high as the others because it gives me something to hang on to. I'll put some fresh strings on this weekend and see how that works... These are pretty stale. I probably should have started with that huh?
I did the set-up on mine at least 5 or 6 times till it worked - after going back to the original bridge.
Beats losing it to a tech for 4 weeks plus the $$$, gas & time on the road both ways.
Sorry I missed this.. Try a credit card.. Place over 3 frets and try to rock it.. Go to stewmac and look up fret rocker.. They have a video.. The CC. Will work instead of the tool they are selling..
Are you sure it's not the saddles buzzing? When you have them jacked up like that they do buzz.