ok i found the solution.. ended up being the monitor, it has a setting to stretch the image or not.
hopefully this helps someone in the future.
I'm trying to set 4:3 on a wide screen monitor for the menus NOT emulators (they do that already). I have followed the guides available and searched and read every thread on this I could find.
Although i get ths right resolution now... it just stretches the image across the 16:9 widescreen monitor... how can i get black or blackout edges on the sides? I was able to do this with windows when running hyperspin.. so obviously the monitor is capable of doing this.
Also tried overscan on and off although im not sure exactly what it does.