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guitar setup/action

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coreyb
(@coreyb)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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Topic starter  

well today I sent my guitar away with my grandpa to get it restrung since I can't seem to figure it out myself. Then a couple hours later I received a call from him saying that my strings were too high from the fretboard and it had been strung improperly or something to that effect....so by Friday I will supposedly have a "whole new guitar".

Now this bothers me because I really can't say I was having any problems with my guitar. And to boot, one of my good guitar player friends commented how much he liked my guitar and how it had good action.

what do you guys think I should do? I'm a new guitar player and need advice!


   
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Bennett
(@bennett)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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I never thought I had an issue with my guitar for the first nine months of playing. :)

Then I began looking at some aspects of my guitar's setup with the help of information provided on Nils' webpage. I found that the action was extraordinarily high although the neck relief was okay. So I began sanding down the saddle and ended up with better action.

I then broke the saddle during a restring so bought a new (plastic) saddle and sanded it down even further. Better action achieved again. However, I ended up with a funny issue on the low E string with it being sharp around the middle frets.

Needless to say, I finally decided to get a professional setup done including the addition of a bone nut and saddle. Now despite this not being particularly cheap, the money was well worth it. It is like a new guitar and my playing has improved accordingly. Barre chords are now a joy to play as well! :D

Anyhoo, it may not be a bad idea to have it setup. If it doesn't work out you can always change it back, albeit at some cost no doubt. Thing is, with my guitar I think it was an advantage having the high action early on since it improved my strength somewhat, and the change post-setup was extremely noticeable. :)

From little things big things grow - Paul Kelly


   
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AKFlyingV
(@akflyingv)
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You should just let him change it and see if you like it. It might even be better than before.


   
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coreyb
(@coreyb)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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Topic starter  

I was leaning towards just letting it go, I could use something new in my guitar playing life :D

What is this "bone nut and saddle" thing you mentioned Bennett? I believe he's just adjusting the action and switching my strings to elixirs.

anything else I could add to my guitar to improve it?


   
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Bennett
(@bennett)
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What is this "bone nut and saddle" thing you mentioned Bennett? I believe he's just adjusting the action and switching my strings to elixirs.

anything else I could add to my guitar to improve it?
I should mention that my particular situation was for an acoustic too. Though when I get some money to spare I might get the same fella to setup my electric as well. :)

Check out Nils' Guitar Setup site for some good info.

Personally, I wouldn't rush into changing out your current nut or saddle unless they're problematic. I believe the bone (rather than plastic) adds a different quality to the sound but I can't really describe how, at least in the correct terms. :)

Imo, you're probably better off just changing a couple of things (eg. strings and action) first, that way you can better appreciate the effect of these changes on the overall setup. If you get too many things done at once you won't necessarily be sure which particular change did what.

Good luck.

From little things big things grow - Paul Kelly


   
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rparker
(@rparker)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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If I was in your shoes, I'd be very eager to get it back and play it. New strings, action set......can't be beat.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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coreyb
(@coreyb)
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Topic starter  

I am excited now! I actually had a dream last night revolving around guitars somehow :lol:


   
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coreyb
(@coreyb)
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Topic starter  

so today I went and got my guitar back! It's really nice to play now, a lot easier and the strings sound amazing. However, I am concerned about the action on the guitar now, it's like 2x closer to the fretboard then it was before. What are the pros and cons of this ?


   
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corbind
(@corbind)
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Pro: It's easier to play (less distance to push the strings.

Con: I don't see any as long as there's no fret buzz.

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


   
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rparker
(@rparker)
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Sounds like you made out like a bandit.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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coreyb
(@coreyb)
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Topic starter  

damn right! I'm loving the new setup. It just feels weird when I put the capo on because the strings are almost right against the frets.


   
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corbind
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That's how it's supposed to be. I'm teaching two friends how to play guitar and one has a crazy acoustic. It's a $1,00) Martin but the action is nuts. I have a hard time even playing it. So I suggested he have a luthier do a setup on it (including lighter strings). My other buddy at work thought it wasn't so hard to play but he said the action on his acoustic is like twice as high! I about fell over... :shock:

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


   
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Bennett
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However, I am concerned about the action on the guitar now, it's like 2x closer to the fretboard then it was before. What are the pros and cons of this ?
About the only con I can think of is if you were planning on using this guitar predominantly for slide. :)

Anyhoo, sounds like it was a success! Enjoy it. :)

From little things big things grow - Paul Kelly


   
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corbind
(@corbind)
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A guitar used for slide should have high action, so low action on a guitar for that purpose would be suspect. Why? If the guitar has low action you run the risk of accidentally pressing the slide on the strings to accidentally touch the frets then it sounds bad. Then again, I don't own a slide nor play that way.

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


   
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Ignar Hillström
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A minor pro about high action is that you can bend further, even though it takes more strength.


   
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