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FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / Stratocaster Elite neck alignment question


Kansas, USA

Jul 26th, 2016 01:15 PM   Edit   Profile  

Please take a look at the attached link and let me know whether you have seen a neck this misaligned with the strings before.

The strings start out fine at the nut, but veer off center toward the body. Note the high E's alignment with the pole piece.

Is there a way to adjust alignment? The guitar is brand new.

Stratocaster Elite neck alignment

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Jul 26th, 2016 02:38 PM   Edit   Profile  

Well, that's not the way Fender intended their production flagship Strat to leave the factory. Maybe it didn't and took a shot during shipping. Drop the carton on its side and this can happen. The neck keeps moving after the case and body stop.

Unless you are comfortable loosening the neck screws and moving the headstock down toward the cutaway side of the body, take it to a decent tech or Fender repair center to have it adjusted. This is not a difficult adjustment but finish can be cracked if you apply to much pressure.

The other possibility is the neck pocket is not routed correctly. That being the case I'd be seeking warranty repair or simply return the guitar and have it replaced/exchanged by the seller.


Kansas, USA

Jul 26th, 2016 02:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thank you for that.

I don't have any experience with guitar adjustments. But I am glad to hear there is a possibility it can be adjusted.

In view of that, I'll take it to a nearby guitar store and have them tell me what the charge would be adjust it and how long the process would take.

Since it is brand new, I don't want to mess with a more extensive repair. The guitar is perfect other than the alignment issue.

Contributing Member

USA/Taos, NM

Jul 26th, 2016 05:45 PM   Edit   Profile  

Hmmmm...it appears from your photo that the image was taken at a slight angle from the high-E side; exacerbating the perceived problem.

On most guitars, you won't get all strings perfectly centered over all pole pieces. That said, yes...you can adjust the neck (in most cases) to favor centering over the treble strings--or at least in a more balanced fashion. If you bought this guitar at a Fender dealer, they should adjust this for minimal cost. It really is an easy (and quick--no time involved, really) adjustment. If you watch the tech do it, you'll realize you have the skills to do this yourself in the future.

Best of success...


Kansas, USA

Jul 26th, 2016 07:18 PM   Edit   Profile  

I tried to take the picture as close to the center as I could. And truly, looking at it straight on, the edge of high E lines up with the edge of the pole piece.

I just got back from a guitar shop I have dealt with over the years. Three guys came over to offer support and said they hadn't seen anything like that before. Then the repair technician came out. He looked at it and said that if he could repair problems like that he'd be a miracle worker.

The neck is inserted perfectly into the slot in the body. There is no gap on either side.


Contributing Member


too many guitars and not enough hands
Jul 27th, 2016 02:39 AM   Edit   Profile  

If he didn't loosen the screws and try adjusting it . It doesn't need to move much


They should hire a new tech.

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Jul 27th, 2016 12:59 PM   Edit   Profile  

Agreed, the neck moves much easier in the direction needed in this case due to the cutaway. I think this one could be tweaked easily.

I've adjusted many just like this one most with good success and not having to work on the neck pocket. This tech doesn't understand the process or was just being lazy.

I did a '78-9 three bolt Strat for a friend a few weeks back that needed this treatment. Trickier with a 70s three bolt system. It came out great.


Kansas, USA

Jul 27th, 2016 03:27 PM   Edit   Profile  

So it seems I should take the guitar to someone more qualified. No screws were loosened. No attempt was made to fix it.

Contributing Member

United States

Jul 27th, 2016 04:58 PM   Edit   Profile  

I prefer mine to favor more room on the high E, but that's even a lot for my taste! The adjustment is only hard if it has a really tight neck pocket (which many seem to favor, but it does prevent fixes like this).

Don't be afraid to try it, but if it bothers you then there's no shame in returning the guitar for one that fits better.

Moderator Emeritus
(with many stars)

NW Pennsylvania

Jul 27th, 2016 09:49 PM   Edit   Profile  

Loosen the four screws and whack the neck with your hand.

It's easy, and you're gonna feel like a genius when you're done.

Leo made these things to be simple.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member


American-made in Oz!!
Jul 28th, 2016 04:22 PM   Edit   Profile  

Further to what Pinetree said, you just have to *loosen* the 4 screws. Don't back them out too far. Just enough that you feel the neck "give" a little bit.

And as for "whack", I would describe it more as a "more than gentle tap" with palm of your hand.

Or you can "pull" it in the desired direction with one hand on the neck and the other on one of the horns (depending on which way you want to go).

Don't whack it like your Bruce Lee!

Contributing Member

United States

Jul 28th, 2016 10:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

The first time I did it the dealer told me how over the phone. He said to loosen the neck screws, then set the body of the guitar on the floor and the neck on the front edge of the couch so the cushions will have some give and protect the finish. Put the guitar in the orientation it would be if you're playing it (or, in your case, if you were playing it upside down like Jimi). Remember, you're moving the neck side to side, not front to back.

Put gentle weight on the top horn until the neck aligns the way you want, then while holding it with one hand use the other hand to tighten the screws back.

I had a picture with an arrow on another computer. If I can dig it up I'll post it.


Land Of 1000 Dances

Do you know how to Pony?
Jul 29th, 2016 12:34 AM   Edit   Profile  

"Then the repair technician came out. He looked at it and said that if he could repair problems like that he'd be a miracle worker."

Totaly ignorant boob.Show him this video!

Fixing String Alignment on a Bolt-On Neck Guitar


Kansas, USA

Jul 29th, 2016 08:07 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks everyone for the advice. After watching spud's video, it is painfully apparent that the technician should have given that a shot. Actually, now I would not hesitate to just go ahead and fix it myself.

I did send the guitar back and ordered a replacement Elite. I am now kicking myself for not attempting to fix it myself. And I am hoping the replacement is as perfect as the original was. But truth is, I am no longer concerned with making the neck re-alignment myself if called for.

Moderator Emeritus
(with many stars)

NW Pennsylvania

Jul 29th, 2016 10:25 AM   Edit   Profile  

Yeah, it's not rocket surgery.

Good luck.

FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / Stratocaster Elite neck alignment question

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