Fender MiM "String Tree" height and tuning problems

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by RedStratMaster, Jul 14, 2019.

  1. RedStratMaster

    RedStratMaster TDPRI Member

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    Hello folks. I have a new MiM Strat, Blacktop series, which means HH pickups, but thats not much important...

    I wanna ask some question about String Trees and guitar tuning... The problem is, I find out that high E and B strings goes out of tune very often, (B goes more than E ), and its very hard even to tune E and B so they sound properly as it should have when you play those 2 strings simultaneously in some chords or 2 note chords and licks. I don't know why is that happening, cause I am not even using tremolo bar. The rest of the strings are ok. And then I find out something... Maybe its string tree - famous MiM "buterfly" which makes a problem? Cause just those 2 strings are very tighten up and with angle because of those MiM buterfly string tree, and other strings are not.
    I have also American Special USA Strat, and it has 2 string trees, but of course its not "MiM butterfly", its 2 "roler tree" string trees. And of course all the strings sound ok and I have no those tuning issues on those 2 strings as I have on MiM Strat, almost after half minute of playing. But those USA roller string trees are put higher on guitar headstock than those one butterfly string tree on a MiM headstock, which was put very, very low, and makes a bigger string angle.

    Is all that an issue maybe, or is it something else? The tremolo bridge is not 100% ducked to the body of MiM, its floating a little bit, but also on my other USA Fender Special, tremolo bridge is floating much more, and its not ducked to the body, but I don't have those problems.

    Here is pic, and see yourself those butterfly string tree. Is that ok, is this string tree setup ok, or it should be put higher somehow? Is height making those problems, and strings goes out of tune very fast, and can't be tuned up & set up to sound good when you press simultaneously in some 2tone chords and licks when you play?

    Please help. Thats the only "problem" I have, the rest is very good, guitar plays very very good, and looks like a much much expensive instrument, it looks gorgeous. Neck feels good also, and the edges of the frets are good. I just don't prefer too much all those lacquer high gloss on a neck, it feels sticky in your hand, I prefer much more the feel of USA Fender Special neck - is somehow "low satin finish" almost you feel is pure natural wood without lacquer, and there is no "sticky thing".
     

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  2. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    Unless you're trying to keep the thing all original, I recommend replacing the nut and string tree with Graphtech Tusc XL, it's teflon impregnated and self lubricating. I replaced them on both my Teles and they in tune, and tuning is literally like butta.
     
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  3. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Maybe you need your nut filed/setup, too tight on those strings? Your string tree is not supposed to be down like that against the headstock. It should have a little spacer under the tree. I can't tell...is it on top of the tree or missing? That screw head seems too big for the "valley " in the tree...? But try just backing off that screw until the tree is maybe 1/8" off the headstock.
     
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  4. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

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    Are those strings in the tuner properly ? Not enough turns causes those effects.
     
  5. RedStratMaster

    RedStratMaster TDPRI Member

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    I thing it has enough turns.

    Now those "spacer" thing bugs me... Is it possible that my guitar comes without that spacer, and they forgot to install it ...OMG.. And somebody says "Mexican guitars are just like USA ones, just Mexican works in Mexican factory Vs Mexican works in USA factory".
     
  6. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I've seen guitars across Fender's ranges (and non-Fenders, as well) come both with and without the spacer under the string tree, so while I can't explain why, I wouldn't assume it's cheap-guitar-itis.

    Anyway, you can stop by Guitar Center and drop ~$5 on a new string tree set, which comes with two spacers, a thinner one and a thicker one. Just use whichever gives you a roughly similar break angle to that of the strings without trees.

    Your tuning problems are probably more to do with the nut than the string tree, but I imagine the great break angle - and therefore greater pressure on the nut - would only exacerbate that problem.
     
  7. RedStratMaster

    RedStratMaster TDPRI Member

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    Well, you dont have to imagine, I put here picture of my guitar, so you could see exactly how big angle is, and if that is ok or not okay...

    Some people said long ago that we could "oil the nut string holes", or put there a little touch of a graphite pencil, so the strings could "be smoother", and intonation and tune problems would be gone...
     
  8. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I concur with the info and advice already given, i.e.:

    Firstly, stretch the E and B strings, so they're not stretching while you're playing!

    Secondly, check the E and B nut slots to assure that the strings are resting in the bottom of the slots, and not hanging up on the sides of the slots.

    Thirdly, the shape of a string tree, and whether it's mounted on a spacer or directly onto the headstock face, has a negligible effect on tuning.
     
  9. fasteddie42

    fasteddie42 Tele-Holic

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    I don't think the string tree is supposed to be down tight to the headstock.
     
  10. kris ford

    kris ford TDPRI Member

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    They were in the 50's, up til mid 1959 when a spacer first appears, then MIM Standards, MIMs other than the Classic series as well, have them off and on, mostly OFF it seems..
     
  11. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    It's not as black-and-white as "this angle is bad and that angle is good", or "it has to be this angle". What I'm saying is that if there is already something wrong with your nut that is causing your tuning issues, then a greater break angle may make that problem worse.

    A little oil or graphite in the nut slot can be helpful, but depending on what exactly is wrong with the nut (assuming that's even the issue), it may not fix your problem. WD-40 can help a squeaky door hinge not squeak, but it can't fix a broken one.
     
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  12. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    My MIM Standard Tele came without a spacer. It didn't seem to be a problem, but I installed one of the smaller ones just to make string changes easier.
     
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  13. RedStratMaster

    RedStratMaster TDPRI Member

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    "and whether it's mounted on a spacer or directly onto the headstock face, has a negligible effect on tuning. "

    Hm, are you sure? Then what about this :

    https://guitar.com/guides/diy-workshop/25-ways-to-upgrade-your-fender-stratocaster/

    "In lieu of an angled headstock, Fender uses string trees to achieve the necessary break angle over the nut. But we’ve seen plenty of Strats with string trees screwed flat to the front of the headstock, making the break angle greater than it needs to be and increasing friction under the tree itself. Put a spacer under the string tree to reduce the angle and straighten the string path between the nut and the tuners – it should improve your tuning stability. "
     
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  14. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's simply an opinion. Break angle and friction has less to do with tuning stability and more to do with string wear.
     
  15. igor5

    igor5 Tele-Meister

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    IMO 90% of tuning problems are caused by the bad NUT. Think about it.
     
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  16. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    I think the string tree height and break angle are secondary to how the nut slots are cut.
    But , the screw holding down the tree looks wrong too.
    Probably not that important
     
  17. jimilee

    jimilee Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Sounds like the strings are slipping and the intonation may be off.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  18. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Holic

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    I certainly agree with this reply & am wondering how a new Fender is both missing the spacer & has the wrong screw.

    I currently have 8 Strats (mostly parts Strats). The 2 with US necks have the American trees. On one of those I pop out the D string for tuning issues. The rest of the Strats have butterfly style trees. All but one of those have spacers. Somehow the one without the spacer has no tuning issues even with mild trem use.

    But that being said I think the spacer is a good idea. You really only need the tree to put enough pressure on the to keep it in the nut on bends & heavy attack, so less is more in this case.
     
  19. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Holic

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    Try a spacer under the tree, then try a little lip balm on the bottom of the tree & in the strings slots. I like Nivea for men because there's no dye or scent. You can also put it on your lips if you so choose. If the balm helps, you likely have to file the slots smoother or replace with a higher quality nut.
     
  20. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I guess being a "new" (I thought it was just new to him) Strat, take the damn thing back if possible and get them to make it right!
     
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