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Old 09-13-2013, 01:29 PM   #1
BoyLilikoi
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For those who adjust action themselves

I've been playing on my Seagull S6 for about a year now. I've never made any adjustments to it outside of changing the strings every so often. I've thought numerous times about lowering the action for easier play, however I'm scared of getting buzzing afterwards.

I understand the process of how to adjust the action, I've read/printed that article that gets shared all the time with instructions on what to do. My question is, for those who do it themselves, on your first attempt did you find yourself with a "garbage bin full of nuts and saddles"? The author of the instructional guide said you'll likely go through several before you get it right.....which is something I'm not interested in at all.

Have any of you lowered the action one time without any problems (ie buzzing, lowering too much)? Also maybe I need to reread it, but is there a good way to tell if you've shaved enough off the saddle and the string slots in the nut before restringing so you don't go through several sets of strings?
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Old 09-13-2013, 04:57 PM   #2
stepchildusmc
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i always loosen up the strings just enough to be able to remove the saddle. i then sand it down a bit and re-install it, tune it and try it. if there's still room for improvement, i do it again. the trick is to not over sand it rendering it useless. it's a longer process than having someone else do it but it really only takes me about 45 minutes to do it that way. i use an american quarter laying on the 12th fret for measurement. if it just starts to touch, then it's close enough without ruining it.
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Old 09-13-2013, 06:04 PM   #3
patticake
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my husband does all our setups pretty much like stepchildusmc does it. he makes tiny changes when he's not sure (sometimes we have a number in mind), and by doing the changes so small and testing after each change, he's never once had to scrap a saddle or nut, and we have had a LOT of guitars.

i'd say that patience is the key. never had one guitar that buzzed too much - to be fair, i had a guitar that did buzz, but we knew in advance it would as i wanted the action on that one extra low.
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Last edited by patticake : 09-14-2013 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 09-14-2013, 08:58 AM   #4
Bikewer
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If you go to the Frets.com page, and look under the "of interest to musicians" section, you'll find an "instrument set-up' section.
Read through it.... It will give you the standard measurements at nut and 12th fret from which you can judge if your instrument needs adjustment.
Then, in addition, you'll find precise instructions to pre-measure anything before you do any cutting or sanding or filing.

Note that in order to do a proper job, you need things like a set of nut files, and at the very least a sanding block since when one removes material from the bottom of the saddle it must be kept absolutely square.
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Old 09-14-2013, 01:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepchildusmc
i always loosen up the strings just enough to be able to remove the saddle. i then sand it down a bit and re-install it, tune it and try it. if there's still room for improvement, i do it again. the trick is to not over sand it rendering it useless. it's a longer process than having someone else do it but it really only takes me about 45 minutes to do it that way. i use an american quarter laying on the 12th fret for measurement. if it just starts to touch, then it's close enough without ruining it.
Well, all I have to say is this:

Quote:
Just some friendly advice, you should only post information on subjects that you have concrete knowledge of. Giving recommendations about action heights being in a specific range between one measurement and another is not only incorrect information but also effects the way that new players approach the guitar. Remember that everyone has their personal playing preferences when playing guirtar, to say that an action has to be between x and y discourages experimentation and a trial and error approach.


That was originally directed at me, courtesy of "DylanHendrix". And with a screen name as pretentious, "DylanHendrix", I figure he's your go to guy for topics such as this...(wait for it).....

Last edited by Captaincranky : 09-14-2013 at 01:54 PM.
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Old 09-14-2013, 02:23 PM   #6
stepchildusmc
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when was the last time you've been called an "ass" Cranky?
weeks? days? months?
i figured it better safe than sorry with that route. the OP is intent on doing it, why not the safe way. i shied the hell away from adjusting the height at the nut, only a competent luthier should do that.
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Old 09-14-2013, 04:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by stepchildusmc
when was the last time you've been called an "ass" Cranky?
Jeez, I was just being an ass for the sake of being one. I wasn't expecting any praise or the reward of being called one. I'm a team player you know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stepchildusmc
i figured it better safe than sorry with that route. the OP is intent on doing it, why not the safe way. i shied the hell away from adjusting the height at the nut, only a competent luthier should do that.
FWIW, the thickness of a quarter may not be attainable in some cases without a good fret leveling. You're used to very good instruments, an so ostensibly that's already been done at the factory.

I like to bang on big box guitars, so that setting might be a bit low for me.

But yeah, you're quite right, you don't get an easy do over if you screw up filing the top nut.

I am impressed though, I never realized you were a finesse player....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikewer
....[ ]....Note that in order to do a proper job, you need things like a set of nut files, and at the very least a sanding block since when one removes material from the bottom of the saddle it must be kept absolutely square.
A glass top table and some sticky back sandpaper provides the "best ever" sanding block.

Last edited by Captaincranky : 09-14-2013 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 09-14-2013, 06:01 PM   #8
stepchildusmc
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finesse? my last job was all about finesse ! i did my work from 2000 yards away most of the time. finesse and patience are a requirement..... goin' out drinkin' with my buddies??/.. i forget how to spell that word then... bull in a china shop.
....and yes, you should know your appreciated for what you excel in...
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:48 PM   #9
GuitarPetey
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Even if you get it wrong, if it's not too far off, you can always shim it. I've used a strip of plastic to shim a saddle and nothing more than paper to shim nuts. In fact for eliminating buzzing on un-fretted strings this trick can work quite will: work a tiny strip of paper between the notch in the nut and the string. Sometimes the paper works it's way out when you tune it, sometimes it doesn't...
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