Saddle height running out

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by WarBeer, Mar 5, 2020.

  1. WarBeer

    WarBeer TDPRI Member

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    I've got two tele's (one a parts caster and one a road-worn) that I've had to all but MAX the saddle height to get the action to "medium" height. Besides the pocket depth potentially being off? ...what else could be causing this? Is it a bridge plate thickness issue? Are some thicker than others? I've got these two so high that the intonation-screws are sticking above the strings. Any suggestions as to a remedy for guitars like this? My Nashville Tele and my Danocaster don't have this issue.
     
  2. medownsouth

    medownsouth Tele-Meister

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    If the truss rods are adjusted correctly, I'm going to say prob need a neck shim
     
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  3. Switchy

    Switchy Tele-Holic

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    It's weird that a tele does this, since it's a flat body. Have you checked your neck relief?
    shimming is an option, but normally your last out.
     
  4. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Afflicted

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    Pictures would help. You do see this with parts casters, bridge plate could be slightly thinner along with lower profile saddles or as the previous poster mentioned you may need to shim. You have to make sure the neck is seated and fits properly and screws are snug.
     
  5. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Assuming the guitar has been setup properly, truss rod in particular, then the solution to a saddle travel issue is to shim the neck. Not a bad thing, but neither should it be seen as a way to adjust action. The shim brings the neck back into alignment with the body, so that the sweet spot for saddle height lies somewhere between the two extremes of travel.

    In this case, you'll want to shim the front of the pocket, closer to the headstock. This brings the headstock up, and the heel down. To keep the same action you have now, you'll need to lower the saddles (basically follow the heel down).

    If you want a fancy StewMac full-pocket shim, be aware that they're not meant to be used for shimming in this direction. You can do it, but you'll need to carve them up a bit.

    Personally, I think it's just fine to add a 1/2" wide strip of sticky-back 220 sandpaper across the front of the pocket, and call it done. Unless you're sure the neck is somehow messed up, always best to shim the pocket, not the neck, in case you ever want to swap necks.
     
  6. eallen

    eallen Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    As said, you can't adjust anything until your neck releif is set.

    Eric
     
  7. WarBeer

    WarBeer TDPRI Member

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    A lot got changed on this guitar...so as far as set-up goes...let's call it a "new partscaster" for all intentional purposes. #1 - New nut (string height is still high)...so, that's probably a big part. #2 - Neck is straight with just a hint of relief. #3 - New saddles...but still 3-saddle. So, which order should I start tweaking?...Get the string height down and THEN the neck relief? ...and see where I'm at then...and if the saddles are still too high...then start shimming?
     
  8. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Or...

    (if I'm reading this correctly, that you have raised the saddles nearly as much as you can and the strings sit lower on the neck than you would like...
    that sound about right?)

    ...You could shim the bridge. A piece of thin veneer - I use maple when I've done what I'm suggesting - cut to the shape of the bridge, drilled to accommodate strings and mounting screws...

    Bingo, saddle height issues become a distant memory without any affect upon the tonality of the instrument.
     
  9. Matthias

    Matthias Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Buy longer saddle screws and shorter intonation screws. Look at general screw retailers if you need to.
     
  10. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    No. Fender lays out most of it here:
    https://support.fender.com/hc/en-us...ow-do-I-set-up-my-Telecaster-guitar-properly-

    They don't talk about the nut. This should be at least got pretty close, before anything else. If it's just a little bit high, you can proceed, and come back to it. It won't affect your saddles, unless it's REAL high.

    Essentially, IN ORDER, and using the old strings:

    Nut - tuned to pitch, fret each string at the third fret. Tap the string over the first fret. You should have the tiniest bit of clearance there, just enough to hear a little 'ping' when you tap. No clearance, it's too low. Way too much, and you might want to address it before going further.

    Relief (truss rod) - target .005" to .010". More if you're very heavy-handed (think SRV). Less relief is required to dial in very low action. (But like the shim, the truss rod is not the mechanism to set the action. It just sets up the environment...)

    Action (string height, saddles) - Adjust the saddles so you measure 5/64 at the 12th fret, between bottom of string and top of fret. You can get lower, ideally, but 5/64 is very playable for any style, and will have a lot of clarity.

    If at this point, you run out of travel on the saddle height screws, shim the neck and then re-do the saddle heights.

    Pickups - Target 6/64 from top of magnet to bottom of string - with the string fretted at the last fret. That's a starting point, and you can adjust by ear from there. I usually dial in the pickup I use most, and then adjust the other one so the volumes match.

    At this point, change the strings.

    Stretch them.

    Adjust intonation. I use the 12th harmonic vs the fretted 12th, but everyone has their preference. Use a digital tuner, and be as accurate as possible. On three-barrel saddles, one string will measure sharp, the other flat. Yep. Split the difference and you're good.

    Done.
     
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