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Aug 12, 2021
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Hi all! I'm new to the MM gang. I picked up my new Dustin Kensrue Stingray last week and have been absolutely loving it. I think this guy has been on display for a while and I've noticed I need to make a few adjustments.
While I have played guitar for many years, I've only recently started getting familiar with setting them up myself.
Are there any places to find instructions for setting string height/intonation? I can't seem to find anything. I've read through the FAQ and that has helped with truss rod, but can't seem to find how to set intonation and best way to set action.

Relief - Using a feeler gauge, I couldn't even get 0.06 at 6th fet so I've been slowly adding in some relief. Now it's very close to that and I am happy although the string height is a little bit high and the intonation is sharp on all strings.

Appreciate your help here!

Thanks :)
 

DrKev

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Hi and welcome to the forum!

Let's talk neck relief first. My benchmark number for neck relief is 0.008" to 0.010" (0.20 mm to 0.25 mm). You can go any number you like that works for you but that's what works best for most of my clients and what I recommend people start with.

Then set string height, by adjusting the bridge saddles. With a string action gauge or steel engineers rule, measuring from the bottom of the strings to the top of the 12th fret, aim for something in the range of 4/64" to 5/64" (1.5 mm to 2.0 mm). Again, personal preference is allowed and some players like a lot lower or a lot higher. Compromise is necessary and even encouraged, e.g. some fret buzz is allowed provided it is not intrusive when playing real music.

Then finish with intonation. 2 mm Allen wrench for Music Man models with the newer bridge. If 12th fretted note is sharp compared to open string you want to move saddle backwards, so turn key to the right, tightening the screw. If 12th fret is flat, do the opposite. Personally, I prefer to set intonation by comparing 3rd fret to 15th fret but the adjustments are the same.
 
Joined
Aug 12, 2021
Messages
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Thank-you! Really appreciate all this info. I think I am good and confident with relief now, will start with that range and see how it feels.
With adjusting string height, I am measuring each string for that distance correct? And that will naturally set them to the radius?
I was trying my guitar tool to adjust intonation but wasn't getting any traction, looks like my tool was 1.5 or 2.5 so good to know it's a 2mm!
One last question - my bridge looks pretty straight, but it is lifted off the body just slightly tilted towards the nut - is that OK or should it be flat to the body?

Thanks!
 

Astrofreq

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Dr. Kev knows his stuff, so I'm not discounting anything he says at all. I adjust my string heights by feel and sound. I've never measured the numbers, but I know how I like it to feel.

Intonation is really easy if you get everything else figured out.

and YES, like the Dr. said, don't sweat string buzz if it isn't coming through the amp. It drives me nuts when people obsess about little sounds you'll never hear through an amp or playing a song.
 
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Joined
Aug 12, 2021
Messages
10
Dr. Kev knows his stuff, so I'm not discounting anything he says at all. I adjust my string heights by feel and sound. I've never measured the numbers, but I know how I like it to feel.

Intonation is really easy if you get everything else figured out.

and YES, like the Dr. said, don't sweat string buzz if it isn't coming through the amp. It drives me nuts when people obsess about little sounds you'll never hear through an amp or playing a song.

Interesting! That makes me feel a bit better about things not being 'correct' from a measurement pov. As you say, ultimately about what 'feels' good! I would just be worried that I am lowering strings at different heights and throw things out haha.
Agree on the buzz too - I have a few guitars that have been setup for me really really well but still have buzz here and there and doesn't come out of the amp - so who cares! My only worry is I've made adjustments that make things worse!
 

DrKev

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If you worry about adjustments that makes things worse, just keep track of what your last adjustment was. If you don't like a change, just undo it! :) And the great advantage of measuring things is that when you find something that feels good and works for you, measure it up after you've done it and you'll always know how to get any guitar right to where you want it to be. All the guess work vanishes.

The bridge can be slightly tilted forward, if you like it there. in fact that's how some of us set up our bridges to float which allows up to pull up on the bar as well as push down. That means adjusting the claw screws in the cavity. I can be an iterative process: adjust - retune - adjust - retune - until you are happy. I aim for a 1/8" (3 mm) gap at the back of the bridge. (See photo in my profile.)

Of course if you prefer it flush to the guitar top, tighten the claw screws a little. When the bridge does not move when you make a whole step bend, you can stop adjusting. Tightening any further won't change anything.

Just give a check to the string action over the 12th fret after trem claw adjustments. If the gap at the back of the bridge changes, the string height will move a little too.
 
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