Is this normal?

76standard

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I have a 2005 MIM Tele that plays and sounds wonderful however, I have an issue I am presenting to the forum for comment/recommendation. The bridge high E and B string saddle doesn't seem quite right, especially the high E string. The saddle seems to be excessively low and angled more than normal towards the high E string side. The bridge saddles are Wilkinson compensated saddles. I set the action at the 12th fret on the high E string to 0.05", and 0.06" on the low E string. Next I adjust the inner strings, B, G, D, and A, either up or down, to match a 9.5 neck radius gauge. I use this method on my Strat too with good success.

Does this seem normal? And, because of the angle of the E & B saddle does this create any problem(s). See the attached pics first before you chime in.
 

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jimmywrangles

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That doesn't look right at all but I'm no expert.
If you wait a while the people who really know guitars will help you out.
Interesting problem.
 

schmee

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No that is not normal. Your action is amazingly low but on both hi land lo E's, but I'm glad you can get away with it!
I would probably remove the neck and see if there is something in the neck pocket on the bass side tilting it. Something is amiss, that is severe.
 

kuch

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the high e saddle is way too low, or the rest of the saddles are way too high.
If you're not sure how to set up your guitar, you should take it to a professional to be set up.
It might be a neck issue too
 

jrblue

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No, it's not normal. Way off. But saddles are just part of a system of adjustable points, and without your guitar in hand, I'm not going to speculate on why that particular adjustment is as it is. It's almost certain that some adjustments elsewhere would allow you to end up with saddle heights that more closely follow the fretboard radius -- which would then be "normal."
 

dsutton24

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Well, we've gone from plays and sounds wonderful to neck problems in six easy steps. If it worries you take it to a technician. There's no guarantee that you'll like the way he set up the guitar, but at least something something something.

My advice is that you just play it and enjoy it.
 

user name

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I've never seen anything like it.
Something is screwy here, but I have no idea what.
I guess if it plays fine, it shouldn't matter, but if it were mine, I'd wanna know what's wrong.
 

Slim Chance

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It’s certainly different that mine but as @dsutton24 says, if it works leave it alone.

Now if you’re into doing your own work, take measurements of everything including relief, action & pickup heights and then follow Fender’s Telecaster setup guide to get you within factory specs. Play the guitar and then decide if it needs further adjustments to suit your style. The setup guide is on Fender’s website. You may have to do a search to find it.
 

Texicaster

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It Varies.....
Yep looks weird but probably an easy fix.

My guess as suggested above is the neck angle. I had a Telecaster similar but not as severe. The high E I had to file the saddle to get low enough.

I dialed mine in with a shim. Bought one of those exact shape of the neck pocket from StewMac. I've seen a lot of DIY ones work fine. Since yours is so severe I'd imagine, as stated above, something in the neck pocket. A tiny bit of finish could cause all sorts of issues like this. I'd have a look at that asap.
 

Fendereedo

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Recently I sanded out the neck pocket on my vintera 50s, as I was having a similar thing. It worked out fine. I used calipers to check the depth, and sanded accordingly. I've had no issue since, it wasn't amazingly bad, but enough to need it correcting.
 

76standard

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Okay everyone situation resolved. Caveat here--as best I could do to improve the situation. First of all, thanks to those who took the time to respond. So, here are some of the things I discovered, along with the steps I made to improve the Tele.

Discovery number 1: I pulled the neck and discovered the previous owner installed a Stew Mac 1 degree shim. Hum, why? Read on for the answer. Noticed someone installed the neck plate backwards (yes, one side of the neck plate has tapered screw holes). This made the screw heads stick up slightly. A little thing, but something I discovered nonetheless. From past experience, a few little things collectively can muck things up more than one might imagine. Moving on, removed the shim, and reset the neck. The action was way high even with the hex screws lowered. Now I understood why the shim was installed.

Discovery number 2: Removed the neck and shim again. Discovered Fender Mexico did a crap job routing the neck pocket. Might have been some builders first job. Laid a fret rocker in the pocket at several spots, holding a flashlight behind the rocker to check and see if the base of the pocket was level. OBTW, I discovered another use for a fret rocker. The pocket was uneven front to back and side to side. Just horrible. Also, there was lacquer and paint in the pocket. Sanded off the lacquer and paint then, went about the methodical process of leveling the pocket.

Discovery number 3: Took depth measurements of the neck pocket and discovered the low E side was almost 2/32" higher than the low E side. This was the primary reason why the high E side of the bridge saddle sat so low. Used a series of wood chisels and 220 grit sand paper wrapped around a fret eraser to bring down the pocket as close to the height of the high E side of the pocket.

Reassembly: I reset the neck with the shim in place. Installed new strings and did a setup as described in my original post. For those questioning the setup numbers I quoted for string height, they work for me as I play with a lighter attack. No, they are not Fender specs but they work for my style of playing.

Conclusion: The high E side is still lower than desired but, an improvement over what the pictures indicated in my original post. The E/B saddle angle is not as severe. Played the guitar for a couple of hours with no problems. The high E string is not resting on the hex nut adjustment hole, so I'm happy. In closing, for those of you old enough to remember a radio personality, Paul Harvey, he would have said, "and that's the rest of the story". Again, thanks everyone for taking time to share your thoughts and ideas.
 

xtrajerry

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If the guitar plays well what’s the problem? I’m thinking maybe neck is twisted or shim in the pocket moved but if you like the way the guitar plays why fix it? Are you sure your radius gauge is the correct radius for that neck?


EDIT just read that you resolved the problem. Congrats
 

76standard

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keizer oregon
Okay everyone situation resolved. Caveat here--as best I could do to improve the situation. First of all, thanks to those who took the time to respond. So, here are some of the things I discovered, along with the steps I made to improve the Tele.

Discovery number 1: I pulled the neck and discovered the previous owner installed a Stew Mac 1 degree shim. Hum, why? Read on for the answer. Noticed someone installed the neck plate backwards (yes, one side of the neck plate has tapered screw holes). This made the screw heads stick up slightly. A little thing, but something I discovered nonetheless. From past experience, a few little things collectively can muck things up more than one might imagine. Moving on, removed the shim, and reset the neck. The action was way high even with the hex screws lowered. Now I understood why the shim was installed.

Discovery number 2: Removed the neck and shim again. Discovered Fender Mexico did a crap job routing the neck pocket. Might have been some builders first job. Laid a fret rocker in the pocket at several spots, holding a flashlight behind the rocker to check and see if the base of the pocket was level. OBTW, I discovered another use for a fret rocker. The pocket was uneven front to back and side to side. Just horrible. Also, there was lacquer and paint in the pocket. Sanded off the lacquer and paint then, went about the methodical process of leveling the pocket.

Discovery number 3: Took depth measurements of the neck pocket and discovered the low E side was almost 2/32" higher than the low E side. This was the primary reason why the high E side of the bridge saddle sat so low. Used a series of wood chisels and 220 grit sand paper wrapped around a fret eraser to bring down the pocket as close to the height of the high E side of the pocket.

Reassembly: I reset the neck with the shim in place. Installed new strings and did a setup as described in my original post. For those questioning the setup numbers I quoted for string height, they work for me as I play with a lighter attack. No, they are not Fender specs but they work for my style of playing.

Conclusion: The high E side is still lower than desired but, an improvement over what the pictures indicated in my original post. The E/B saddle angle is not as severe. Played the guitar for a couple of hours with no problems. The high E string is not resting on the hex nut adjustment hole, so I'm happy. In closing, for those of you old enough to remember a radio personality, Paul Harvey, he would have said, "and that's the rest of the story". Again, thanks everyone for taking time to share your thoughts and ideas.
First let me say that this is not a promo for an online seller. It is just my experience, and a positive one at that. With that out of the way, and you want to know the final chapter of this saga, read on. If not, I'm sure many of you have better things to do, like play guitar.

So, I have more to add to this story. Sadly the stock MIM Fender body had some obvious flaws based on my follow up post (see above) describing the problems I discovered after removing the neck from the body. Ultimately, I made the decision to replace the body.

I did my research and found a cost effective upgrade that I have been thoroughly pleased with. But first, I checked several online sellers to see if they could provide a comparable body. There were numerous recommendations by several on the forum, all would have been more than adequate. I balked at most because the vast majority of prices were $275 or greater. Some were unfinished and I did not want to learn on an expensive piece of wood, let alone spend another $75-$100 in finishing supplies. Call me cheap, or call me practical.

So plan two. What about an affordable option from a reputable seller? Eventually I stumbled across The Stratosphere on eBay. Over 17,000 sales with a feedback rating of 99.4%. They were offering a new, two-tone, Sunburst, Alder body for around $165 with shipping. Same price on their website, too. Turns out the alder body is made of two pieces. The poly finish was very nice. I had to sand a small amount (1/8") of overspray from the edges of the neck pocket. Weight was 4 pounds 6 ounces. Quick delivery by UPS in four days from the east coast to me in Oregon. The neck fit snugly in the pocket and set up just great. Tone wise, I couldn't be happier.

I have purchased other items from The Stratosphere in the past and had a similar purchase experience. So, if you are looking for a guitar body for your next Tele project consider one of their offerings. They offer different woods, ash and alder being the two most common for a build or replacement. The price is hard to beat offering a nice product for your buck. They do offer Fender manufactured/authorized parts on their website or on eBay. The overwhelming majority of buyers have been satisfied with their experience. Now for the pictures.
 

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kuch

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You didn't mention if you bought the guitar new or used. It seems to me that you bought it used.

You put the responsibility of the neck pocket issues on Fender. If you bought it used, my feeling is that the previous owner(s) messed up the neck pocket and tried to remedy it with the shim and neck plate.

New or used?
 

76standard

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Posts
148
Location
keizer oregon
You didn't mention if you bought the guitar new or used. It seems to me that you bought it used.

You put the responsibility of the neck pocket issues on Fender. If you bought it used, my feeling is that the previous owner(s) messed up the neck pocket and tried to remedy it with the shim and neck plate.

New or used?
It was used. I bought it from someone hard up for cash to make bills. True, I assumed Fender botched the neck pocket. Maybe, but most likely not. The shim in the neck pocket should have been a warning sign. It was my first Tele and not quite sure if the guy I bought it from was the original owner. So, yah this one is on me. Bottom line, I now have a really nice Tele that plays great. No regrets though. It was playable before installing the new body. It's just better now.
 




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