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Unread 02-11-2014, 03:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

So I'm following Fender's official instructions on setting intonation on a 25.5" scale-length strat. What does "center of bridge saddle" mean exactly? I thought it meant the very center of the saddle where the string would feed through. Is that not the center? Because measuring from the inside of the nut 25.5" leaves me hovering right behind one of the bridge-plate screws, there's no way the bridge saddle can move forward enough for the center of it to reach exactly 25.5" from the inside-edge of the nut.



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INTONATION (ROUGHING IT OUT)
You can preset the basic intonation of your guitar by taking a tape measure and measuring from the inside of the nut to the center of the 12th fret (the fret wire itself; not the fingerboard). Double that measurement to find the scale length of your guitar. Adjust the first-string bridge saddle to this scale length, measuring from the inside of the nut to the center of the bridge saddle. Now adjust the distance of the second-string saddle back from the first saddle, using the gauge of the second string as a measurement. For example, If the second string is .011" (0.3 mm), you would move the second-string saddle back .011" (0.3 mm) from the first saddle. Move the third saddle back from the second saddle using the gauge of the third string as a measurement. The fourth-string saddle should be set parallel with the second-string saddle. Proceed with the fifth and sixth saddles with the same method used for strings two and three.
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Unread 02-11-2014, 03:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

the center of the saddles travel...within its adjustment range.

thats how i would interpret it anyway.

edit: at 25.5, it looks like you need to slide your saddle forward, so that where the string actually makes contact with the saddle is 25.5. it appears you have room to get there in the pic. right now your at 25 and 5/8. see what i mean?

ps, your definitely measuring from the neck side of the nut, correct? not the headstock side?
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Unread 02-11-2014, 03:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

What does that mean exactly?
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Unread 02-11-2014, 03:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

I think they mean the hump of the saddle that the string rests on.

Edit, scat edited while I posted, lol.
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Unread 02-11-2014, 03:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

To be honest I have never once used a ruler to preset the saddles. Yours look close enough to get out your tuner and start fine tuning. There is a basic three-three pattern (which I have no idea how to describe in typing) that I start with...but it all just comes down to making fine adjusments later...even if that first fine adjustment is a BIG one.

Just make sure you get the action th way you want it first.
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Unread 02-11-2014, 03:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

sorry i keep editing, read it again.
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Unread 02-11-2014, 03:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

Oh, and like Poeman said, that is kind of a ballpark. Use your tuner to get it right.
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Unread 02-11-2014, 03:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

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Originally Posted by scat7s View Post
the center of the saddles travel...within its adjustment range.

thats how i would interpret it anyway.

edit: at 25.5, it looks like you need to slide your saddle forward, so that where the string actually makes contact with the saddle is 25.5. it appears you have room to get there in the pic. right now your at 25 and 5/8. see what i mean?

ps, your definitely measuring from the neck side of the nut, correct? not the headstock side?
Ok, so "center of saddle" should have read "center of saddle where string rests". Yes, I'm measuring from inside the nut.
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Unread 02-11-2014, 03:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

once you get it all strung up and at proper tension, that dimension may shrink on you slightly as the neck gets pulled "in" AND your bridge potentially lifts, though i dont know how much. keep that in mind.
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Unread 02-11-2014, 03:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

I always thought that where the string rests is the saddle...not the whole part.
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Unread 02-11-2014, 03:57 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

Where the string rests. I usually just eyeball it and then adjust with my Korg tuner in "strobe" mode, you can get pretty close with a little practice.
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Unread 02-11-2014, 04:07 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

Thanks everyone. I guess either I'm dumb or it was a poor choice of words on Fenders part, probably both.

All is good... i can't believe how amazing this Fender Blacktop Strat sounds. So beefy...
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Unread 02-11-2014, 04:09 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

the wording confused me too.

as soon as you posted the pic, it all made more sense.
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Unread 02-11-2014, 04:58 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

Here's a video that might help a member with the most succulent and most flavourful avatar ever on this fine forum.

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Unread 02-11-2014, 06:06 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

Don't bother measuring. Just use a good tuner and make sure the open, harmonic and fretted 12 are on pitch.
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Unread 02-11-2014, 06:16 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

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Originally Posted by 66 galaxie View Post
i think they mean the hump of the saddle that the string rests on.

Edit, scat edited while i posted, lol.
this!
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Unread 02-11-2014, 06:26 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

I agree with the guys that say use your tuner. If you get your open, fretted (12th) and 5th and 12th fret harmonics nailed then you can't do any better.

One thing I have always owned is a top notched tuner.
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Unread 02-11-2014, 06:40 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

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this!
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Unread 02-11-2014, 09:48 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

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I agree with the guys that say use your tuner. If you get your open, fretted (12th) and 5th and 12th fret harmonics nailed then you can't do any better.

One thing I have always owned is a top notched tuner.
5th fret harmonics only if you have a 24 fret guitar IIRC. I might be very wrong though.
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Unread 02-11-2014, 10:35 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

Measuring from the nut to 12th fret and repeating that measurement from the 12th to the center of the allen screws has always gotten the first string nearly dead on for me. One way to do it. Tweak the others from there of course. A 24' Machinist rule comes in handy.
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Unread 02-11-2014, 11:02 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Setting Intonation on a Fender Stratocaster

I think a tuner is best for setting intonation.
I like to ride the notes up the fretboard while watching the tuner and find a happy median for saddle setting with all notes within a few cents of center.
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