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Author Topic: Strats annoys me like h... on repairs  (Read 4185 times)

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van Sinn

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So, had a problem with the neck pup producing no sound.
Loosen all strings, lift and lock whammy with a piece of wood under it.
And then godzf...ingdammit attempt getting the damned faceplate off the neck hangout lock and pup screws being too long.. :hair-out:
A bit busy, though I had it fixed, all slabbed together. Oh no, repeat and rinse.
Man, is this just a most taxing experience..

I'm now going to trim the plastic going in-under the fretboard overhang, trim the pup screws shorter, and, using a rat-tail file, add guide slots to allow actually getting the faceplate sideways out without the need for either ritalin, anti-depressants or the proverbial tranqualizer gun.
Plus I'll insert a snap connector on the jack wire.
I'll also hot-glue the pup wires centered under the faceplate, to avoid the hazzle of making them fall in place.

Anything else I also ought to do while at it?


Some says guitarists only plays Strats because it's so difficult - which is of course rubbish - and I do like Strat Cats.
However, regarding electrical repairs, for me it's sortof the same as this:
You're not a real sysadmin until you've tried setting up sendmail - but you're an idiot if you do it again :lol:
« Last Edit: Time Format by van Sinn »
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rnolan

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Re: Strats annoys me like h... on repairs
« Reply #1 on: Time Format »

Hey, lots of empathy LoL, but your solution is a lot to do for something you access once in a very blue moon  :dunno: .
The only reason I'd access it like you did (and I've been there a few times  :facepalm: ) is:
1. I wanted to save the strings (cause they were only just put on), other wise chop them off and put on a new set after you've done whatever...
2. I had taken out the 6 bridge screws a few too many times, otherwise just loosen strings, remove screws (and springs) and take the bridge off, but too many times will strip (to some extent) the screw holes.
If you are going to do a jack wire snap connector (good idea BTW), you probably need to do the bridge earth wire as well.

The other variable in the possibilities here is how many string turns you have on the machine heads, if you have (as I would recommend for good string break (15deg or more) over the nut at least 3 turns (seems modern trend is 1 turn  :dunno: , bad for string break on a strat (particularly low E and A (if you have 2 string trees)))).  Anyway, if you have plenty of turns you can loosen them off and pull the strings out of the way more easily for pickguard removal.  And if you are struggling to afford to buy strings, you can repair broken strings (if they break at the saddle, which is the most common phenomena..) I did this for many years in the early days.
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van Sinn

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Re: Strats annoys me like h... on repairs
« Reply #2 on: Time Format »

Hehe, and, no no no no no, I'd never remove the bridge to do this; it's quite a delicate setup to allow drop-D without changing the tuning.
Secondly - I experiment with tone controls - why the heck else would them pots be there ;).
Say what? Turns around the shaft? I give strings a sharp bend, and then half to a full shaft turn does it.
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Harley Hexxe

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Re: Strats annoys me like h... on repairs
« Reply #3 on: Time Format »

Say what? Turns around the shaft? I give strings a sharp bend, and then half to a full shaft turn does it.

   That's the best way to do it on stock "F" tuners, it works just like locking tuners :thumb-up:
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van Sinn

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Re: Strats annoys me like h... on repairs
« Reply #4 on: Time Format »

Yup, although 009 strings can be prone to 'unbend' this sharp angled lock.
Due to this, and that the sometimes not fully polished rim of the hole through the shaft on some tuners can cut 009's, I reinforce those thin gauge strings where they enter the hole.
Simple way of doing it: I cut the excess string and wind it in a lazy twist around the string on the part that's going through the shaft.
Since moving to 0095, I hardly ever break that high string anyways, so oh well..

Adding a thought on tuners: I never could understand why manufacturers cannot see that they should drill smaller holes on the high side tuners.
(as well as make tuners with a 085 hole for dem 8- and 9-stringers)
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rnolan

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Re: Strats annoys me like h... on repairs
« Reply #5 on: Time Format »

You can get away with half to one turn on angled peg heads (albeit with modern machine heads) and also to some extent, the strings that have string trees on a strat but unless you use more turns on the E and A you'll have much less than optimal string break over the nut and thus loose sustain (which is the reason for string trees).  Also on les pauls if you want better sustain screw the tail piece down as far as you can to improve the string break over the saddles. You'll also loose sustain if you have more than half the string in the nut slot, thus why you file the top of the nut down so only half the string is in the slot. As per previous post, string break needs to be 15 degrees or more over the nut and saddles.

Personally I find 009s too light, no body and I bend them off the board and chords go out of tune when you play them nice and hard.  I've settled on 010s for strat scale lengths and 011 for the shorted Gibson scale lengths. (Gosh I remember using 007s when I started playing  :facepalm: in the early 70s).

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Harley Hexxe

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Re: Strats annoys me like h... on repairs
« Reply #6 on: Time Format »

Hey Sinn,

     I use 010s on all my single coil pups, and 009s on all my humbuckers, this is so I get a more consistent signal level to the input of my amps. As far as string trees go, if I use them, I use the Fender Ezy Glide type, which help stabilize tuning issues. I don't use any trees if I have staggered tuning machines because they actually mess with the tuning.

    To answer your question about why they don't drill the holes wider or narrower, you have to remember that this style of tuning machine was designed in the early 50s for bass guitars, and was adapted for Fender electrics when the Telecaster styled guitar was invented. Back then, they didn't have 7,8, or 9 string guitars, and Leo Fender's common idea with all his solid body guitar designs was that they has to be completely utility, meaning that every component had to be replaceable if it went bad. Back then, you could go to your local music store and buy just one replacement tuning machine if you bent or broke one, you didn't have to buy a whole set. This is why Leo Fender designed his guitars with bolt on necks, and pick guards with the electronic assembly attached to it, etc. Every component of the guitar was designed to be easily accessible and replaceable if necessary.

   I have to agree with Richard though, when I'm going to remove the pick guard off my Strats, I replace the strings. They always sound good with a fresh set of strings.
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van Sinn

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Re: Strats annoys me like h... on repairs
« Reply #7 on: Time Format »

Well, you can say what you want, but this is why I need a BJ when working on StratCats:

Got it assembled after fixing a bad solder on the neck pup - and now need to open it again, because I've never had any other axe with so much hum when playing heavy distortions!
No hum worth mentioning on my clean or crispy presets; only when doing serious distortions.

Anyways, while having it open, I added copper foil to the pup routes. made sure it's touching the alu foil on the face plate over the electronics cavity.
However, the electronics cavity itself was factory coated with a thin layer of conductive paint, and it's entirely possible this ain't making contact to the faceplate alu foil, and maybe likewise too thin a layer.
Wires from the pups aren't shielded, so another maybe.

Should be mentioned that while I've had this axe for a few years, it was bought on a why-not-whim offer, but never really used it, so hum never noticed before, hence I didn't consider giving it the full-thread shielding..

Sheez kebab, I seriously dislike those faceplaters and string-throughs.
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Harley Hexxe

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Re: Strats annoys me like h... on repairs
« Reply #8 on: Time Format »

Sinn,

    All of my Strats hum with extra high gain overdrives and distortions, that's just the nature of the beast.
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van Sinn

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Re: Strats annoys me like h... on repairs
« Reply #9 on: Time Format »

Oh dear, I seriously thought it was just mine going nuts. I have another axe with split-coils that hums a touch, but nothing like the StratCat.
Now, I'm pretty sure I've created a ground loop or ground-level differentials when installing the copper foil, so I'll go do some sanity checking and bug fixing.
I'll be back with info on what I did to resolve the hum - or forever hold my silence! -as if I even could [sic] :amaze:

There is of course one totally working solution: Arrange everything to be floating off ground, and install an opamp with differential inputs, letting the CMRR take care of the rest ;)
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rnolan

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Re: Strats annoys me like h... on repairs
« Reply #10 on: Time Format »

Hey Van, or you could install a hum canceling coil ? may be an easier option  :dunno: .
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Harley Hexxe

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Re: Strats annoys me like h... on repairs
« Reply #11 on: Time Format »

Hey Sinn,


     You might want to give this a go, it works pretty well on standard single coils, but not so well on over wound single coils.
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van Sinn

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Re: Strats annoys me like h... on repairs
« Reply #12 on: Time Format »

Ahh! Danke! Good info, much appreciated (although I really ought to know).
Will fix that Filmore StratCat asap; just can't shop new strings with closed shops.

BTW, I've gotten the sounds out of it under quite decent control; turning into a real cutie.
Pretty fun with those old-school fairly bright Wilkinson pups; requires much more use of the tone knobs than I'm used to.
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Harley Hexxe

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Re: Strats annoys me like h... on repairs
« Reply #13 on: Time Format »

One mod I like to do to my Strats is to take the tone control off the middle pickup and put it on the bridge pickup. I find myself rolling that tone control back to about 6-7 for solos, and it really smooths out that over-the-top high end to a much more pleasing level.
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van Sinn

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Re: Strats annoys me like h... on repairs
« Reply #14 on: Time Format »

Yeah, that's one of the cool things about those StratCats: Fairly easy modding the controls.

Mine off factory has one tone control for the neck pup,; the other hooked to the bridge pup.
As such, I can have separate tone from either end-point, i.e.e neck or bridge, and, when using neck+mid or bridge+mid, can have yet different sounds.

If I dime down a tone control too much, both the pup it directly controls, and the parallel connection with the mid pup, will be subjected to almost the same soundscape; however, if I díme it down just right, that pup standalone will have it's tone, and the parallel connection will end up different.

As such, I can have the five pup switch positions going from, say, a slightly softened neck, a fairly crisp/open neck+mid, a fully natural sounding mid pup, a slightly subdued and yet open but also slightly more hard sounding mid+bridge tone, ending at a bridge rolled off just enough to not be too aggressive and still cutting enough for solo works.

I know others hook one tone pot to the mid pup to be used simply as a separate volume, so that they can sortof define the balance between bridge+mid or neck+mid.

I need to work out how to obtain the classic 'milky white' sound, like I remember it from old Pink Floyd songs.
If I do get it, I'll want to hook this tpone control to neck and bridge, so I can flip the switch fast to have sortof the same color, just with different hues, like bridgy milk or neckish milk expressions, or the more classic open treble-peaking tone.
And then hook a Bill Lawrence Q-filter style tone control to the mid pup for a whole slew of more rock-like options.
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