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FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / Low E on Strat will not intonate



Thou Shalt Gas !
Oct 16th, 2016 06:10 AM   Edit   Profile  

Hi guys setting up a Mex strat today and the low E will just not intonate and is a bit sharp, I've even take the spring off to get it as far back as possible nearly to the end of the bridge.

any ideas ? other strings are fine. using 10 guage Ernie Balls



Why do I keep fixing things that work?
Oct 16th, 2016 06:32 AM   Edit   Profile  

It could be that the nut needs to be recut or just a bad string.
I've had a few batches that were wonky due to some poor windings or inconsistency to the string core. Try a different brand if you believe the nut is cut properly.

Contributing Member

Eat. Sleep. Guitar.

Oct 16th, 2016 08:34 AM   Edit   Profile  

Spot on.

Try a new string. Seems odd to have to do this, but I've seen this problem several times over the many years I've been messing with guitars.

Contributing Member

Irishman in Paris

It's just a guitar, not rocket science.
Oct 16th, 2016 09:17 AM   Edit   Profile  

Check list...

Change string (no need to change twice, it's usually not the string)
Action not too high
Pickups not too high
Nut slot not too high with an appropriate slope back toward the tuner

But some guitars just don't. My MIJ strat never properly intonated on the low E-string no matter what I did, short of moving the neck forward in the neck pocket.

I suspect it's a tolerance thing - we happily accept that neck pocket width and neck width can vary from guitar to guitar (which is why some neck pocket fits are tight and some are loose), but never think about tolerance in length of neck or horizontal depth of pocket. If the pocket is a little too long, and the butt of the neck is a little short relative to the frets the neck will be positioned too close to the bridge.

Of course they could also just make the damn bridge a little longer, or the saddles shorter, and allow us some extra room, eh?

(This message was last edited by DrKev at 11:19 AM, Oct 16th, 2016)



Thou Shalt Gas !
Oct 16th, 2016 10:24 AM   Edit   Profile  

thanks guys will give those a go though I suspect it may a case of thats what it is !

Contributing Member

USA/Taos, NM

Oct 16th, 2016 10:27 AM   Edit   Profile  

Had the same problem years ago with my #1 American Strat. It was the string. Had problems there for a while with the DR Pure Blues sets I was using. Somehow they internally came unglued and defied any intonation efforts. Changed string brands after that and have never had the problem since.



Thou Shalt Gas !
Oct 16th, 2016 10:50 AM   Edit   Profile  

I'm using ddario exl10s might try Ernie ball then

cheers guys


Yorkshire, England

Oct 16th, 2016 10:54 AM   Edit   Profile  

Sometimes the pickguard can prevent the neck from fully seating in the body.

Worth a try taking all the pickguard screws out, slackening the neck bolts under string tension and retightening. If the pickguard was causing a problem then it might need a little trim before replacing.



Oct 16th, 2016 11:17 AM   Edit   Profile  

Pickup too high can do this, though a 0.01 is fairly thick and less likely to get pulled down by the poles. When you fret the string on the 12th fret, the gap between the string and one or more of the poles decreases a lot, and the poles can pull it sharp. Which sounds like bad intonation, that you try to fix by moving the saddle back.

Action too high will drive the saddle back too, but it's hard to imagine it being so high that you run out of adjustment on the high E.

Assuming you meant high E, not low E. If you mean the thick wound low E (which isn't a 0.01), then pickups are less likely and a bad string is relatively more likely. But I had to cut the spring on my low-E saddle long ago to get that saddle back far enough, because I use heavy gauge bottom strings and because I like higher action. There isn't a lot of room on that saddle to go back.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member


American-made in Oz!!
Oct 16th, 2016 04:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

You haven't mentioned what kind of saddles you have on that guitar.
If they're stamped steel ones, then the following info is not going to help, but if they're block type (steel or otherwise) then keep reading.

This may help someone else another day anyway.

I had a '95 Squier strat which had the low E intonation issue like above. I removed the spring and the saddle (and height adjustment screws) then slowly and carefully filed back the far end of the "block" about 1 mm.
(place block in wooden jaw vise, or equal, and keep the file nice and square & flat).
I reinstalled the saddle without the spring and the intonation was spot on ever since.

Worth noting I was using .052 (some times .056) strings on this one. Both gauges intonated perfectly.

block saddle intonation fix

(This message was last edited by Mick Reid at 06:15 PM, Oct 16th, 2016)



Thou Shalt Gas !
Oct 17th, 2016 05:51 AM   Edit   Profile  

they are stamped steel but thanks for the info might be useful to know for another occasion !



Thou Shalt Gas !
Oct 17th, 2016 10:22 AM   Edit   Profile  

Well I lowered the action tweaking the truss rod, lowered the pickups, and adjusted the radius and its near perfect now .. so thats good enough for me !



Why do I keep fixing things that work?
Oct 18th, 2016 05:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

Did you change your strings? I bought a box set of EB's (12 sets) and the A strings were all bad! This was probably around 7 years ago or more. So, it can happen to us and then the next thing I did was: went through a lot of setup exercises and couldn't figure it out. I posted here and the idea offered was a batch of bad strings. True enough, put on a different brand string and problem cured.
I made new nuts, ground the backside off some solid block saddles, bought some shorter length bent steel saddles, just to find out that the string quality had failed from the factory.
I learned a lot about my guitar and setups but for the life of me,I didn't t that something so stringently controlled as string manufacturing would have been my problem!
Well, not to dwell more on this issue, I do hope that when you come upon something like this again, maybe a quicker solution is found.
Best regards, Woody

FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / Low E on Strat will not intonate

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