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What is the process for smoothing the Strat saddles?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by RavageTheEarth, Dec 4, 2020.

  1. RavageTheEarth

    RavageTheEarth Tele-Meister

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    I picked up a HSS plus top yesterday and it is a great guitar, but I am having tuning issues when using the tremolo. I have set the guitar up and it plays great, bridge is floating, and intonation is perfect. I have applied nut sauce to the nut and saddles.

    I'm confident there is no binding in the nut so I'm guessing it's the saddles. What is the process for this? Any help would be appreciated. Picture of this beauty below. Got it for $460 with the employee discount!!

    Thanks!

     
  2. NTC

    NTC Tele-Meister

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    Beautiful!

    I have used very fine sandpaper. I am sure others know better.
     
  3. Henley

    Henley Tele-Holic

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    Don't guess...have a close look at them sans strings. Also try replacing all the trem springs with new ones,. as part of tuning stability depends on good consistent spring pressure.

    I use a Dremel tool with multiple homemade sanding disks to make quick work of it...then buff.

    If what you see means you will have to disassemble the bridge to work it...just buy a new set for $16.
    https://reverb.com/item/34335001-ge...standard-strat-bridge-saddle-set-007-5123-049
     
  4. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    I cant tell if they are stamped vintage style, but if they are, they dont need any smoothing. Also, on a Strat tremelo, the segments move with the tremelo arc, so there is really no string movement across the bridge segments to speak of.
    I dont even float my strats, they are decked, but they dont really stay in tune with much trem use. With Light use they will. People claim they can float, dive, and stay in tune, I'll believe it when I play their guitar! :lol:
     
    PhredE likes this.
  5. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Meister

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    I remove the saddles and add a chamfer to the string holes on top of the bridge plate. Chrome plated vintage saddles are smooth already; I guess that other styles of saddles could benefit from polishing. Maybe some twine and jewelers rouge?
     
    That Cal Webway likes this.
  6. RavageTheEarth

    RavageTheEarth Tele-Meister

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    Alright well these are the vintage style tuners. The guitar is brand spanking new so I wouldn't think the springs would need to be replaced. Hmm. I setup the guitar so that the tremolo is risen just enough to to pitch up a half step.

    The strings are stretched really well but I'll let them sit for a couple days and check it out again. I'm away from home now anyways.
     
  7. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau Tele-Meister

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    I am curious about your theory of the case here. Why exactly do you believe the saddles are contributing to your tuning issues? It's not clear to me how they can be the problem, but it's possible that I'm missing something.

    Tuning issues with strat trem use is usually a problem with binding at the nut. It can also be slippage at the tuner, but that's much less common. It can also be a mechanical problem with the bridge assembly being sticky and not pulling back to true. But I've never heard of it being related to sharp saddles. If it's breaking strings, sure, but not for tuning issues related to trem use.
     
    tomkatf likes this.
  8. posttoastie

    posttoastie Tele-Afflicted

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  9. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Holic

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    I have two strats and the trems do stay in tune extremely well. They will go out of tune if I dive bomb a lot to the point the strings are slack and put pressure on the trem. The low E and G string eventually will go slightly sharp but the only cure to the later problem is a locking bridge.
    Use a strobe tuner when you setup the guitar, not just for intonation but for everything. And set it up in the playing position.
    My latest partscaster’s trem is working fantastic it’s setup with 9-54 guage strings and tuned to drop B.
    I just made it a fresh bone nut.
    Honestly, the nut is where it’s at.
    210C20A4-24F2-4C79-9303-D042616E8C66.jpeg
     
  10. highwaycat

    highwaycat Tele-Holic

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    The new trend is a locking bridge but paired with a regular nut, not a locking nut.
     
  11. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    The Verhayen video (ugh, here it is again) is utter nonsense. A basic, common sense understanding of and/or instinct for mechanics tells us that. Tilting the claw does nothing for you that can't be achieved with "straight" claw adjustments. Yes, there is a "sweet spot" where the springs pull you back into tune just right...but there is no trick or gimmick for getting there (you just have to find it), and certainly not THAT one.

    The nut is usually the issue. What makes you so "confident" that it isn't poorly cut? They usually are not ideally cut from the factory. The other main culprit is how the strings are wrapped.

    What angle and height are your bridge plate at?
     
  12. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Meister

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    I only use the trem for dive bombs. Instead of setting it up decked, I set it just a hair off the deck. It is technically floating, but not enough to pull the notes sharp. It is just enough to pull the strings back into tune with a little yank after a dive bomb.

    Also, just noticed that OP just got the guitar on Friday. It will take the strings a bit of time to settle in; especially if the guitar doesn't have locking tuners. It could just be the windings around the tuner posts tightening up. Might give it a couple of days of hard playing to see if the trem issues improve before changing anything.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2020
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