#1
I know I know, this has been asked a million times, I've searched but cant find the freaken threads on it. There really needs to be a sticky on how to set up an acoustic guitar for low action. I've done it a million times on my electric, but never on a acoustic guitar.

Anyway, I'm getting pissed off at my action on my Takamine G series EG334SC, I dont think its set right, and I dont have the money to get it professionaly set up. First, the hight of the strings at the nut is very low, and gives alot of fret buzz, it measuers about 1 mm. The string hight at the 12th fret is about 6-7 mm. To me this is a much too drastic change in hight. I will supply some pictures to explain myself better. There not that great of pictures, but it might help.

What should be the proper steps for adjusting the action on this guitar so it is low and level?

Hight of the strings at the nut:



Hight of strings at the 12th fret:



Hight of the bridge:

#5
Well for starters, try not to bump your own threads. Keeps the mods off your ass.
As for your action.
I don't think that you're aware that the string height along the neck is out of necessity at an angle. Meaning it's always going to be lower at the first fret than it will be at the 12th. It has to be this way, or else you'd have a fairly unplayable guitar because you would be fretting out everywhere on the neck.
Now then, on to your measurements. First off, I'm going to assume that you are measuring from the bottom of each string to the crown, or highest point, of the fret. Yes? To check action, you need 4 measurements. Low and high E at the first fret, then low and high E at the 12th fret. The high E will be closer to the fret board then the thicker low E string will. Low E needs more room to vibrate freely.
So, you said you have 1mm between the strings and the 1st fret. That's about 1/32" which is pretty low already, but could be lower still. But where did you take that measurement? Under the low E or the high E? They should be different.
6-7mm at the 12th fret is high, but under which string again?
Then there's the matter of neck relief. To check, place a capo on the first fret, then press the low E string down onto the 14th fret. The string creates a straight edge with which to gauge neck relief. You should just barely be able to slip a business card under the string at the 7th fret if it's ok.
BTW, here's a little guide to get you in the ballpark for setup numbers:

Steel-string acoustic guitar Bass E Treble E

Action at the 1st fret .023" .013"
Action at the 12th fret .090" .070"
Relief: .002" at the 8th fret

As you can see, you're very close and actually above your 1mm reading at the first fret. That 6-7mm at the 12th fret is sky high tho. Converted to inches, that comes out to .236". Quite a bit more than .090.

Ok, you have a bit more work ahead of you. Get those 4 accurate numbers, plus the neck relief reading and get back to me.
Last edited by LeftyDave at Oct 17, 2009,
#6
I did all my measurments from the low E to the top of the fret, and its going to be worse on the high E. But I bought the guitar from guitar center off the rack, so I dont think it was even set up. When I look at it, it looks to me like the bridge nut is much too high, because the neck looks like it is straighter than a ruler. But you tell me.

I dont know how to get you those accurate of measurments, I can only ballpark it in mm.

But the action at the 1st fret is less than 1mm(related as to nothing being freted, open E)
Action at the 12 fret is 6-7 mm(open E)
Relief at the 8th fret is about half a mm(freted at 8th)
Action with capo first fret is about half a mm agian.

I think its going to be a combination of adjusting the truss rod and sanding the bridge nut.
Hell, I played a 30 year old Ventura V-20 acoustic guitar that had been sitting in a addict for 30 years and it had 100 times better action than my guitar.

I'm not looking for a perfect action, just low enough to fret and to eliminate fret buzz, like mabey 3-4 mm at the 12 fret instead of 6-7 mm.

But thanks for you help.
#7
Quote by ethan_hanus
I did all my measurments from the low E to the top of the fret, and its going to be worse on the high E. But I bought the guitar from guitar center off the rack, so I dont think it was even set up. When I look at it, it looks to me like the bridge nut is much too high, because the neck looks like it is straighter than a ruler. But you tell me.

I dont know how to get you those accurate of measurments, I can only ballpark it in mm.

But the action at the 1st fret is less than 1mm(related as to nothing being freted, open E)
Action at the 12 fret is 6-7 mm(open E)
Relief at the 8th fret is about half a mm(freted at 8th)
Action with capo first fret is about half a mm agian.

I think its going to be a combination of adjusting the truss rod and sanding the bridge nut.
Hell, I played a 30 year old Ventura V-20 acoustic guitar that had been sitting in a addict for 30 years and it had 100 times better action than my guitar.

I'm not looking for a perfect action, just low enough to fret and to eliminate fret buzz, like mabey 3-4 mm at the 12 fret instead of 6-7 mm.

But thanks for you help.


Only adjust the truss rod if it truly needs adjusting. As for the other, the piece is called the saddle. The nut is up at the headstock end of the neck.
To lower the action of the 12th fret by say, 1 mm, you would need to remove 2mm from the bottom of the bridge saddle piece. It's always doubled because the 12th fret is the exact centerpoint of the scale length of the string(on a standard guitar that is). If you want to lower the action by 2mm, then remove 4mm from the bottom of the saddle. Read through the following linked page to learn how to do it:

http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Musician/Guitar/Setup/LowerAction/loweraction01.html
#8
I read through the link, and I understand how to do it now, but I'm worried that there is not enough material left on the saddle to bring the action down that far. I can try it though, saddles are like $3 at my music store. Thanks for your help. I hope a guide similar to this can be stickied somewhere for futher reference.