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Old 05-19-2015, 06:29 AM   #1
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Having some trouble lowering the action

Hey all I've got a Jackdon DKMG with a licenced FR which has always had a high action and I recently strung it with some heavier strings so as a result the strings are very high up around the 12th fret. I've lowered the bridge as low as it can go by the two posts and it's floating/perfectly level. I've tried to adjust it via the truss rod, first by loosening a week ago and today by tightening it, possibly to the original position, maybe more. But it's still pretty high up and the truss rod is feeling tighter.

Should I leave it to rest for a bit, try tightening it again slowly?

Or could there be another solution without having to mess with the truss rod because frankly, it terrifies me that I might warp my neck permanently.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 05-19-2015, 08:13 AM   #2
Not sorry.
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You don't sound particularly sure what the truss rod does, so please for your own sake make sure you know what you're doing before you touch it.

You could google it, but just to make things easier, here's one of many articles that will tell you how to do the same thing:

Please take the time to read that carefully, work out if your truss rod needs adjusting, and if it does, do the adjustment in small increments - no more than a quarter turn at a time. Once that's done, you can worry about the bridge. Get it parallel to the body (I keep my licensed Floyd permanently blocked, but a method I heard recommended was to block it with picks or whatever you have so it's parallel, tune the guitar, unblock it, then loosen/tighten the spring claw till it goes back in tune), then set up the action at the bridge using the posts (Loosen the strings before doing this, then tune up again to check how it's going). The latter two steps have a tendency to cancel each other out a bit, so you need to keep redoing them till everything sits right.

Don't assume that a problem you can't fix with the bridge can be fixed with the truss rod. Check everything properly, do it in the right order and if things still don't work, you should at least have a more specific idea of what the problem is.

There's a good reason there's so much written about setting up Floyds - as great as they are they can be pretty disagreeable in trying to set them up.
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Last edited by K33nbl4d3 : 05-19-2015 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 05-19-2015, 08:14 AM   #3
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Sometimes - not often, but sometimes - the problem is that beneath the locking string nut at the far end of the neck, the factory let the paint "blob up" beneath the nut. It does not take much for this to raise the nut, which in turn, raises your action. In such cases, remove the nut and sand the area carefully to fix the problem.

It may be that the high action is a result of how your guitar was constructed. If you have not been able to fix the problem by adjusting the bridge as described in your owner's manual, I would take it to a good guitar tech. he or she can make sure that everything is exactly where (and how) it should be, and can probably identify the problem quickly.
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Old 05-20-2015, 12:32 AM   #4
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You might want to check the depth of the neck pocket and the thickness of the neck heel. If you have a pocket that is too shallow, or a neck heel that is too thick, it can cause the action to be too high after the 12th fret. On my strat, which suffers this problem, I put a 1/3rd of a business card at the far end of the pocket so as to decrease the distance between the fretboard and the strings. While this helped, it's not an ideal solution and I really ought to have cut a piece of wood veneer to the right thickness and glued it into the neck pocket. Makeshift shims can permanently alter the shape of the neck heel, and, over time, exacerbate the problem of shallow neck pockets.

What gauge strings were you using before, and to what gauge strings did you switch? Keep in mind that even if you had just put new strings of the same gauge on the guitar, the set up would feel slightly different until the strings adjusted and stabilized. Any time you change gauges though, these anomalies in the set up become more noticeable. I'd say let the new strings sit on the instrument for a day or so of playing, and then try to set up the instrument.

The biggest mistake I've made over the years of learning how to maintain and setup my own guitars is that minor, measurable changes are far more desirable than large adjustments. Even if you manage to nail the perfect action and the perfect intonation on the first try with a big adjustment, you'll never know how you got there and will have a really hard time emulating it next time you're feeling like a change of gauge or brand is necessary.
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Old 05-20-2015, 12:43 AM   #5
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littledude565 - it doesn't seem like you know what you are doing. take it to a tech and watch them do the work. than you can learn and know how to do it in the future. videos are nice, but the don't allow you to get feedback. for example you can't ask 'why'? in a video and immediately get an answer and explanation.

it will be $20-$25 but you will learn. IMO its worth it.
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