Okay, string height at the nut ...

Jakedog

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Fender factory nuts have been cut impossibly and stupidly high in an overwhelming number of cases since the mid 00’s. It corresponds pretty much directly with when I started to notice they really weren’t leveling their frets like they used to.

It’s stuff that easily fixed. But it’s also stuff that shouldn’t have to be worried about at their price points IMO.
 

Freeman Keller

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Start over. Make sure the guitar is structurally sound and the geometry is perfect and properly hydrated. Make the frets perfect. Measure everything and write it down. Decide on your target numbers for all the setup parameters - mine are relief 0.005, first fret clearance (top of fret to bottom of string) 0.010-12 (high E) to 0.018 (low E), twelve fret clearance (top of fret to bottom of string) 0.050-60 (high E) to 0.090-95 (low E). Target values will vary with the player and how she plays - I always ask the owner to play for me so I can watch). Intonation and pickups get set last.


ps - that works for almost any steel string guitar you can think of.

pps - the setup thread has been made into a pdf which can be printed and taken into your shop. Several people have found that helpful. The spreadsheet is also available or you can create your own
 
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charlie chitlin

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I think Fender might be the ones who seeded the internet with the idea that the slots are left high to allow for individual preferences in slot height.
Hey... It's my big conspiracy theory and I'm sticking with it.
As though there are people who LIKE those chords down by the nut to be out of tune.
I've set up a LOT of guitars and I have never one asked a client if he/she has a slot height preference, and I've never gotten a request to change it.
 

68Kustom68

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I think Fender might be the ones who seeded the internet with the idea that the slots are left high to allow for individual preferences in slot height.
Hey... It's my big conspiracy theory and I'm sticking with it.
As though there are people who LIKE those chords down by the nut to be out of tune.
I've set up a LOT of guitars and I have never one asked a client if he/she has a slot height preference, and I've never gotten a request to change it.
When I saw that a capo could not get an .046" 6th string onto the first fret, something is not good. My J-200 cheapo knockoff acoustic from a MALL had an original nut lower than this US-made Pro Tele.

Fender seems to be making amazing-looking and good-sounding guitars ... but .030" between string and crown makes no sense. I don't see in the instructions that I'm to have extra work done to make the guitar right.

Anyway ... enquiry to the shop that fixed up my '08 Strat's nut and my '22 Pro II is under STORE warranty, so on my way to perfect guitars, I hope!
 

charlie chitlin

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When I saw that a capo could not get an .046" 6th string onto the first fret, something is not good. My J-200 cheapo knockoff acoustic from a MALL had an original nut lower than this US-made Pro Tele.

Fender seems to be making amazing-looking and good-sounding guitars ... but .030" between string and crown makes no sense. I don't see in the instructions that I'm to have extra work done to make the guitar right.

Anyway ... enquiry to the shop that fixed up my '08 Strat's nut and my '22 Pro II is under STORE warranty, so on my way to perfect guitars, I hope!
You may run into the "preference" thing, but IMO, .030" is an actual defect.
One should receive a proper set-up when purchasing from a real guitar store.
 

68Kustom68

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You may run into the "preference" thing, but IMO, .030" is an actual defect.
One should receive a proper set-up when purchasing from a real guitar store.
I bought this from the dealer's nation-wide online used sales division, so they're selling as-is unless you're buying (or can score) a warranty. I have an idea that this Tele's prior owner may have had it set up for slide, with a new nut, or just used it as such because it came with an excessively tall nut. I'm having it put right based on all the helpful info here. Thanks!
 

Beebe

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I've been using this gauge for a while as a reference and to set/check my nut height and I think it's pretty good standard for most guitars to fit within. Obviously, season to taste, but I like it easy and with a formula to follow. The Music Nomad stuff makes me have to think less, while learning more.


I have the one like this for setting relief. Comes in handy.
 

Brent Hutto

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Wowwww ... and my 2022 USA Pro II shows .028" where your 2022 MiM Tele is .016". My 2016 USA Tele Pro shows .030".

There seems an ... error in Fender shipping and selling USA-made 'Pro' guitars with nut so high as to make the guitar a lemon.

I note too that Fender (or the dealer?) cranks its Strat bridges very far forward by loosening the springs. This will keep action artificially low and slinky.

I did not pay a huge amount for my used 2016 Tele, so I'll have the nut WELL adjusted ... but I'm dismayed how Fender ships domestic guitars with these defects.
When I referred to my measurements as being "presumably as set by the factory" that may have been a wrong presumption.

The dealer where I bought it may well have fine-tuned things before putting the guitar on display. I know about 9 out of 10 times I've demo'd a guitar at that store the setup and playability has been spot-on (unlike at Guitar Center or most other places I've ever shopped). I know I went in there one time and saw a little portable workbench near the Strats and Teles with gauges and setup tools so somebody had been working on something.
 

68Kustom68

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When I referred to my measurements as being "presumably as set by the factory" that may have been a wrong presumption.

The dealer where I bought it may well have fine-tuned things before putting the guitar on display. I know about 9 out of 10 times I've demo'd a guitar at that store the setup and playability has been spot-on (unlike at Guitar Center or most other places I've ever shopped). I know I went in there one time and saw a little portable workbench near the Strats and Teles with gauges and setup tools so somebody had been working on something.
You have a superb shop there!

I took my Pro II in for warranty work just now--store warranty as I bought the '22 slightly used through single rental. So, made sure to get a year on it thrown in given the high(er) used price. While there I looked at used and new Pro IIs. First-fret action looks like a treetop walk!

I notice my '08 Strat has low low low action. Nut is like a stripe. What happened, Fender? Anyway, Tele going to another shop for adjustment.
 

Freeman Keller

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Dan Erlewine's book on guitar setup and repair give the Fender factory specs for all of their guitars as 0.020 +/- 0.002. That would be high in my shop, particularly on the treble side, but it won't buzz and most people don't play cowboy chords on an electric. Interestingly StewMac on their little string action gauge gives electric guitar first fret clearance at 0.010 high E to 0.024 low. Pick a number.....
 

Brent Hutto

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Dan Erlewine's book on guitar setup and repair give the Fender factory specs for all of their guitars as 0.020 +/- 0.002. That would be high in my shop, particularly on the treble side, but it won't buzz and most people don't play cowboy chords on an electric. Interestingly StewMac on their little string action gauge gives electric guitar first fret clearance at 0.010 high E to 0.024 low. Pick a number.....
In that case, assuming I measured correctly with my feeler gauges, the dealer probably did whittle down some of the strings on mine before I got it. Unless Fender just happened to file mine down well under spec.
 

Freeman Keller

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In that case, assuming I measured correctly with my feeler gauges, the dealer probably did whittle down some of the strings on mine before I got it. Unless Fender just happened to file mine down well under spec.
I have no idea. Synthetic nuts are pretty consistent in their measurements and I honestly doubt that Fender has a bunch of techs sitting at benches with feeler gauges and nut files. I'd like to believe that they do but...

I know for a long time Martin shipped guitar with slight high action expecting a Martin authorized dealer to set the guitar up for the person buying it and it is always easier and safer to bring action down that to take it back up. I don't have a clue what Fender does except when one is brought to me for a setup. Then I do exactly what I suggested in a previous post, measure everything before I touch anything.

(ps - when someone brings me a guitar I measure it and watch them play and we decide together what to do. My target values are just starting points but they do work for many players)
 

MickM

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Dan Erlewine's book on guitar setup and repair give the Fender factory specs for all of their guitars as 0.020 +/- 0.002. That would be high in my shop, particularly on the treble side, but it won't buzz and most people don't play cowboy chords on an electric. Interestingly StewMac on their little string action gauge gives electric guitar first fret clearance at 0.010 high E to 0.024 low. Pick a number.....
I must beg to differ regarding most people don't play "cowboy chords on an electric". A Twin, a Tele, Buck and Don is just a tiny example not to mention a cowboy e,a and d on a Tele through a greasy cranked tweed Champ.
 

Jazzman2511

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Not sure if it also applies to electric guitars but for classical guitars a luthier told me that when you press the string at the 3rd fret, the string should be just barely touching the first fret.

RomanS also alludes to this in page 1...
 
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Freeman Keller

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Not sure if it also applies to electric guitars but for classical guitars a luthier told me that when you press the string at the 3rd fret, the string should be just barely touching the first fret.

RomanS also alludes to this in page 1...
That is a good test, I like to see a tiny gap of 2 or 3 thousands. But that would also be low for a classical, typical first fret clearance on one is 0.024 to - 0.030.
 

Brent Hutto

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Now that I'm curious, I realized I have always just eyeball checked the 1st fret clearance while fretted at the 3rd fret. So just now on my main guitar (the Telecaster) I got out the feeler gauges and check the actual clearance dimension.

When fretted at the 3rd, my G string's 1st fret clearance is almost too small to measure. The .002" feeler is snug fit. But the other five strings are all right around .004" which seems to be good in terms of barre chord effort as well as staying well intonated at the 1st fret.

For me the intonation check at the 1st fret is the real criterion. I use 9-42 gauge strings and have medium jumbo frets so if the nut slots are low enough to not go sharp at the 1st fret then the effort required for those light strings is not going to be a problem.

On acoustic guitar I use 12's and it's a bit trickier to get really light fretting effort, good intonation but not so low as to cause buzzing or back-buzzing. I love electric guitars because everything about setting them up is easier so I can afford to be more finicky about the results!
 

unfamous

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I set my nut slots up for the following clearances between the bottom of the string and the 1st fret: Low E - 0.020", A - 0.018", D - 0.016", G - 0.014", B - 0.012", High E - 0.010". I set the relief around 0.005" at the 9th fret. I set the string action for 5/64" on the low E and 4/64" on the high E at the 17th fret (the strings in between I set to match the fretboard radius). These are numbers I got from Dan Erlewine's setup book. YMMV.
Close to what my mentor taught...
 

68Kustom68

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Now that I'm curious, I realized I have always just eyeball checked the 1st fret clearance while fretted at the 3rd fret. So just now on my main guitar (the Telecaster) I got out the feeler gauges and check the actual clearance dimension.

When fretted at the 3rd, my G string's 1st fret clearance is almost too small to measure. The .002" feeler is snug fit. But the other five strings are all right around .004" which seems to be good in terms of barre chord effort as well as staying well intonated at the 1st fret.
My Tele shows .010" where you are measuring ~.0015". A factor of 6!

Neither my thumb nor a capo at the 1st position mashing right on the .046 low E can get it to touch the fretboard.

If Fender is shipping a nut cut so conservatively, why? I'm really thinking the prior owner of this Tele set it up for slide ... but the nut looks factory. Anyway, it's going to the shop tomorrow to have that nut corrected and HOW.
 
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Brent Hutto

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My Tele shows .010" where you are measuring ~.0015". A factor of 6!

Neither my thumb nor a capo at the 1st position mashing right on the .046 low E cannot get it to touch the fretboard.

If Fender is shipping a nut cut so conservatively, why? I'm really thinking the prior owner of this Tele set it up for slide ... but the nut looks factory. Anyway, it's going to the shop tomorrow to have that nut corrected and HOW.
What you're describing, if I'm picturing correctly, has to be a slide thing or something like that. Like you say, it's orders of magnitude off. No way Fender ever ships one like that (OK, admittedly "ever" is a long time but it isn't likely).
 

68Kustom68

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What you're describing, if I'm picturing correctly, has to be a slide thing or something like that. Like you say, it's orders of magnitude off. No way Fender ever ships one like that (OK, admittedly "ever" is a long time but it isn't likely).
And yet I looked at 2022 Pro IIs new-on-the-hanger yesterday ... all of them same height nut as my 2016 used Tele. It appears indeed that Fender is cutting slots this high and shipping them out.
 
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