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Annoying problem with my mustang


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Hey everybody,

I have a Fender Mustang 65' Reissue, it took me 6 months of hard work to get the amount of money needed to pay it.. BUT IT WAS WORTH IT!!

I was playing guitar for almost a year when i bought it, so i tried it at one of the only shops that sold them in my area, i wasn't really noticing any small out-of-tunes thingy's.

But after several years of more music intrest i became more familiar with perfection of sound.

In the middle of all these years this baby build up character, it witnessed my big downs and ups in my life, i would almost call her my girlfriend.

I did some stupid things with my stang, one day i smashed it into my (back then) fairly new Fender Amplifier after some personal issues, the top of the neck was splitted. I got it repaired by a proffesional guitar-smith and he fixed it up very nicely. I must admit that i am lucky to have him as a friend lol. (Just telling this so everyone here knows why i mistreated her)

I still f*ing love my mustang it has a custom dimarzio humbucker in it making it sound more thick and rough.

Okay, so now if you still haven't been bored by my Guitar-life-story then maybe you could help me out.

So now that i have turned into a 'perfectionist' when it comes to music i notice that when im fretting anything on the b-string it sounds slightly out of tune. When im playing Hurricane by Bob Dylan (which uses the b-string 99% of the whole song) i notice that its not in tune. So i thought hey maybe it's the intonation, so i followed the guide here, and the intonation on the b-string was still completely fine. However the E A & D strings i just can not get a perfect intonation on that, in the guide it says that when the 12th fret is overtuned that you should move the saddle to the butt, but im at the max @ saddle-to-the-butt, and it is still a bit over-tuned, i tried repositioning my bridge more to the butt, but it did not help.

So to make a too long story short, i have 2 problems:

My B-string sounds (slightly) out of tune when holding down a fret (I.E holding the Am chord)

And i can't intonate the top 3 strings properly (E A & D strings) cause i can't get the saddle anymore further to the butt, it's maxed out.

Greetings,

Me

And i really hope to get some tips.

Otherwise i have to bring it to my friend again and it'll probably cost me 40 bucks for a full set up. (I know that the big guitar companies ask more than 40 bucks but still, i'd rather fix my baby myself, it has so #### much character!)

Excuse me for any typo's or wrong grammar but i havent slept in 31 hours so it's kinda hard to write all this without errors since english is not my foreign language.

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welcome aboard! a fellow insomniac eh? or do you work in a nike factory or something?

sounds to me like your mustang has nut issues (dont we all), ie, the string should 'take off' from the very front edge of the nut.

i think yours doesnt. and it sounds like its affecting the E n G too.

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First... when was the last time the strings were changed? Could be a bad B string and you are setting the rest to it.

Next... $40 is WAY cheap!

Yea i first thought that it might just be the strings too, but i have changed them with different brands such as Dean Markley (My most used one) and Ernie Ball, also tried titanium (coated) strings, i haven't tried a different gauge yet, since i prefer 10-52. But i didn't think that the gauge could cause any problems except for the intonation on the top 3 strings which i have little problems with as i mentioned before.

welcome aboard! a fellow insomniac eh? or do you work in a nike factory or something?

sounds to me like your mustang has nut issues (dont we all), ie, the string should 'take off' from the very front edge of the nut.

i think yours doesnt. and it sounds like its affecting the E n G too.

Not sure if i could call myself an insomniac, but without my med's i can hardly sleep before 24 hours of awakeness :P

But besides that, how do you exactly mean 'take off' ? I am pretty inexperienced with the nut.

Oh and i forgot to mention that when the top of my neck splitted my tuners were also broken down. So i had them replaced, (Still fender) but i don't think thats the root of the problem, i'm just saying it just in case :P

Greetings,

Me

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the very very very front edge of the nut (the edge nearest the bridge) MUST be the last point that the string touches, before goin to the bridge. if the 'take off' point is further back (almost always thru damage, or sometimes just age) then this throws the whole intonation out, because the distance from the nut to the first fret is no longer exactly correct. and consequently, tuning the string open, to a tuner, will leave all fretted notes off-kilter. this is the kind of thing thats easy enough to see if you look closely.

the solution? either replace the nut entirely, or clean the slot up, but this may leave the slot too low, and will require you to 'shim' (heighten, with a thin layer of wood or something) the nut. my advice is to just replace the nut. cant remember exactly (i havent slept), but i think you said its quite an old guitar, and most guitars have pretty cheap plastic nuts on when they leave the factory, so be sure to get a nut thats better than the current one.

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Well the strings do only touch the nut, not touching the fretboard at all, hmm..

EDIT:

PICTURES OF NUT & BRIDGE

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/687/s1160048.jpg/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/560/s1160053.jpg/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/805/s1160055.jpg/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/35/s1160066.jpg/

Also, is this thing suppose to be loose ?

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/163/s1160067.jpg/

Im not sure if it was stuck or loose when i bought my guitar

Youtube video of my sound, since im not sure if it really is out of tune since i spend this whole day adjusting the tremolo piece (Some say that if you don't change it, that it might sound out of tune or goes out of tune faster) But i must say that it sounds better now, it wasn't as bad as before, but i still notice something.. off.

at 0:15 i start holding down the b string 1st fret

at 0:20 i start playing the intro of Bob Dylan's Hurricane, where in my ears you can really hear the b string clearly and it just does not sound right to me

at 0:30 i started playing About a girl (which did not require me to hold down a fret on the b string, which is the reason why i played it)

Then at 1:15 i start playing around with the Am Chord & b string & at the end somewhere i played something random which uses de e b & g strings

I know a demo of the sound might not be such a great idea but im just really starting to doubt if its maybe just me.

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yea i think you need a new nut. for clarity tho - i didnt mean to suggest anything about your fretboard itself. i meant that if theres any damage to the very front edge of the nut (the edge nearest the bridge) then the string will be 'taking off' from further back on the nut (nearer the tuners) which will mean that all the distances between the fretted notes and the open notes will be off-kilter, and it will never sound in tune.

there is another possibility. if your nut slots are not cut low enough, you will have to apply so much pressure at the first few frets that it will sound sharp (like yours does) when playing fretted notes. however, if this is your problem, i would have expected you to complain about how it feels too. and i think you said its a few years old, so its likely that its just worn out. i suggest you slacken your treble strings, and inspect the nut slots - it isnt always obvious if the front edge is damaged, but usually it is obvious. and if you have a very narrow file (with a sharp edge, preferably) you mite be able to neaten the slot up a bit. however, the nut slots might already be as low as theyl realisticly go. the nut slots should always angle downward slightly towards the tuners, to ensure a clean take-off point.

as for your string tree, it shouldnt be loose. try tightening it down (dont over-do it!). that might, just might sort your nut out too, if the slot is only slightly imperfect. but tbh, i think you need a new nut.

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yea i think you need a new nut. for clarity tho - i didnt mean to suggest anything about your fretboard itself. i meant that if theres any damage to the very front edge of the nut (the edge nearest the bridge) then the string will be 'taking off' from further back on the nut (nearer the tuners) which will mean that all the distances between the fretted notes and the open notes will be off-kilter, and it will never sound in tune.

there is another possibility. if your nut slots are not cut low enough, you will have to apply so much pressure at the first few frets that it will sound sharp (like yours does) when playing fretted notes. however, if this is your problem, i would have expected you to complain about how it feels too. and i think you said its a few years old, so its likely that its just worn out. i suggest you slacken your treble strings, and inspect the nut slots - it isnt always obvious if the front edge is damaged, but usually it is obvious. and if you have a very narrow file (with a sharp edge, preferably) you mite be able to neaten the slot up a bit. however, the nut slots might already be as low as theyl realisticly go. the nut slots should always angle downward slightly towards the tuners, to ensure a clean take-off point.

as for your string tree, it shouldnt be loose. try tightening it down (dont over-do it!). that might, just might sort your nut out too, if the slot is only slightly imperfect. but tbh, i think you need a new nut.

Ah now it seems more clear to me, thanks alot mate i'll just buy a new nut, cause even if i manage to clean it, it clearly seems like it's worn out.

Thanks man!

Do you have any recommendations of any specific nuts i should get ?

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not really, just as long as its better quality, which like i said earlier, it almost certainly will be. the man-made stuff like graphtech, and tusq etc are good, as is brass, apparently. bone is the traditional option. i read somewhere that moose-chin bone is the best, but i wouldnt ever endorse killing a moose just for its chinbone.

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doubt it, but maybe. i expect moose fur is worth a lot. i think the chinbone nut thing is just a byproduct of the fur industry. its like that thing with vegetarians n vegans not wearing leather. no-one kills a cow for its skin do they! but still, putting money into an industry you find reprehensible is a bit crap innit. anyways, you had a look at your nut slots?

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doubt it, but maybe. i expect moose fur is worth a lot. i think the chinbone nut thing is just a byproduct of the fur industry. its like that thing with vegetarians n vegans not wearing leather. no-one kills a cow for its skin do they! but still, putting money into an industry you find reprehensible is a bit crap innit. anyways, you had a look at your nut slots?

Yea i checked them, found some dirt in them, i had nothing thin enough to fit between it, so i took out my trustworthy dagger and very very gently cleaned the slots, but it didnt make a single difference :(

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why hasnt anyone suggest that possibly the intonation is off on this guitar because the action is WAY too high, if youre maxing out the saddles and its still out of tune, youre action is way too high and you need to correct that, odds are you use heavier strings than stock set up, or you raised the action too much. seems like its been awhile since you bought the guitar and id bet you put different size strings on it since new.

i always had issues with the B string on the mustang but this honestly sounds like an intonation/set up issue.

this is really easy fix if you know what youre doing.

but for the most part, tune the guitar to standard pitch, hook up a tuner and hit your B string on the 12th fret, if its not showing up in tune then youre out of whack and need to adjust it, depending on if your sharp or flat you simple take a screw driver and move the saddle on the bridge where the B is resting on either up or down. retune then recheck, see if your issue is resolved.

also, check the neck relief, i can do this by eye but look at the guitar from the bottom up and see if the neck is concave or vise versa, if its bowed down then you have to take off the neck and tighten the truss rod a little bit, if the neck is bowed up then slacken it. this should be done once a year anyway and everytime you get different size strings. id stick with 10's on a mustang personally.

hope this helps.

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why hasnt anyone suggest that possibly the intonation is off on this guitar because the action is WAY too high, if youre maxing out the saddles and its still out of tune, youre action is way too high and you need to correct that, odds are you use heavier strings than stock set up, or you raised the action too much. seems like its been awhile since you bought the guitar and id bet you put different size strings on it since new.

i always had issues with the B string on the mustang but this honestly sounds like an intonation/set up issue.

this is really easy fix if you know what youre doing.

but for the most part, tune the guitar to standard pitch, hook up a tuner and hit your B string on the 12th fret, if its not showing up in tune then youre out of whack and need to adjust it, depending on if your sharp or flat you simple take a screw driver and move the saddle on the bridge where the B is resting on either up or down. retune then recheck, see if your issue is resolved.

also, check the neck relief, i can do this by eye but look at the guitar from the bottom up and see if the neck is concave or vise versa, if its bowed down then you have to take off the neck and tighten the truss rod a little bit, if the neck is bowed up then slacken it. this should be done once a year anyway and everytime you get different size strings. id stick with 10's on a mustang personally.

hope this helps.

Yea i tried to fix the intonation with the saddles but the 'e b d g' are maxed out and still a little too flat. the saddle at the B string is almost maxed about but its perfectly intonated. the same goes for the high-pitched E

So i guessed i had to check my neck, and so i did

Neck.png

Im not sure which one it is, it looks dead straight but the strings are closer to the fretboard on the first fret than on the last fret. (Which is not shown in the the dead-straight picture only on the back bowed one, so im not sure which one it is..)

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if the strings are still flat and the saddles are maxed, your action is way too high and more than likely the neck is not adjusted correctly. and from what you described about the strings being closer to the fretboard on the first fret and how it gets higher going down, action is too high.

do not go replacing the nut on a fairly new guitar. this can be a costly "fix" and is more than likely not even the problem.

just bring the guitar to a good guitar repair store, one that has a fender dealership.

IF they say its the nut have them replace it but honestly i think you just need a pro set up, thats all.

what size strings are you using by the way?

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  • 2 months later...

if the strings are still flat and the saddles are maxed, your action is way too high and more than likely the neck is not adjusted correctly. and from what you described about the strings being closer to the fretboard on the first fret and how it gets higher going down, action is too high.

do not go replacing the nut on a fairly new guitar. this can be a costly "fix" and is more than likely not even the problem.

just bring the guitar to a good guitar repair store, one that has a fender dealership.

IF they say its the nut have them replace it but honestly i think you just need a pro set up, thats all.

what size strings are you using by the way?

Smallclone's got it nailed. You need a really experienced luthier who knows Fenders to diagnose this problem...the discussion's been very good here but ya gotta have a luthier hands-on at this point.

And your string size could be one small part of the problem...but there may be another issue. You did fine saving cash for your axe...it's worth it to save up for a once and for all good fix. :wink:

Cheers,

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