#1
i have a taylor 214 that i love to death. it sounds beautiful and plays very well..except..i can't bend the G string, A or E string more than a half step to save my life. I just recently found out that acoustic guitar action could be lowered by sanding the saddle, but will it affect the sound? this sounds like something a lot of people do themselves at home..but i really don't want to hurt my baby.
#2
sanding the saddle isn't that difficult. you just need to be sure to sand it evenly. just loosen the strings enoough to remove the saddle, it's a very snug fit. sand a little off and re-install and re-tune it. if it's not low enough, repeat. just remember that it's easy to remove too much and then your screwed until a new saddle is ordered(again obscenely high, so you have to start all over) so take your time.
i would try a set of extra-light strings first if your concern is bending though. i'm not a fan of x-lights on a 214. they tend to make them a bit shrill sounding.
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
#3
Quote by RyanMW2010
i have a taylor 214 that i love to death. it sounds beautiful and plays very well..except..i can't bend the G string, A or E string more than a half step to save my life. I just recently found out that acoustic guitar action could be lowered by sanding the saddle, but will it affect the sound? this sounds like something a lot of people do themselves at home..but i really don't want to hurt my baby.
Do you other acoustics that you can bend more? IMHO, acoustic technique really doesn't attach well to string bending. In any case, if you're coming from an electric background, you can eventually build up the strength needed over a period of time.

Using too low an action, or too light of a string set, is quite detrimental to the sound of a large body acoustic. What you tend to get sound wise, is thin, tinny, and sort of empty.

Using a "custom light set" (*), .011 to .052, is about as thin as is worthwhile on a large body acoustic. (Again IMHO).

With those things said, normally the action of an acoustic can successfully be lowered to about 1/8" to 1/10" without tonal harm being done.

It's best to learn the process thoroughly before you attempt it, particularly because you're using quite an expensive guitar as your "guinea pig".

To that end here is a guide to acoustic setup: http://thbecker.net/guitar_playing/guitars_and_setup/setup_page_01.html Again IMO, it's as good as any. However, you can also get a ton of info a "frets.com" : http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/Guitar/Setup/LowerAction/loweraction01.html

And their home page: http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/pagelist.html
Last edited by Captaincranky at Aug 27, 2013,
#4
Quote by Captaincranky
Do you other acoustics that you can bend more? IMHO, acoustic technique really doesn't attach well to string bending. In any case, if you're coming from an electric background, you can eventually build up the strength needed over a period of time.

Using too low an action, or too light of a string set, is quite detrimental to the sound of a large body acoustic. What you tend to get sound wise, is thin, tinny, and sort of empty.

Using a "custom light set" (*), .011 to .052, is about as thin as is worthwhile on a large body acoustic. (Again IMHO).

With those things said, normally the action of an acoustic can successfully be lowered to about 1/8" to 1/10" without tonal harm being done.

It's best to learn the process thoroughly before you attempt it, particularly because you're using quite an expensive guitar as your "guinea pig".

To that end here is a guide to acoustic setup: http://thbecker.net/guitar_playing/guitars_and_setup/setup_page_01.html Again IMO, it's as good as any. However, you can also get a ton of info a "frets.com" : http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/Guitar/Setup/LowerAction/loweraction01.html

And their home page: http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/pagelist.html



i have an old washburn oscar schmidt acoustic that's barely alive, and can bend on that. when i say i can't bend more than a half step on my 214, i mean to say that it *isn't possible* to bend more than a half step. i have reasonably strong fingers and it just won't happen. the action is that high. the guitar, otherwise, plays and sounds absolutely beautiful. admittedly, i use it for almost exclusively rhythm playing, and don't need to bend much, but i would also prefer it not be such a struggle to play single note runs cleanly.

wait--the saddle comes off? that little white faux bone piece holding the strings, attached to the bridge? that's news to me. i guess i could bring it to a tech but i don't have one around here that i trust. i'll check the links, thanks.
#5
I sent my Tanglewood to a local luthier to get set up (action lowered, front strap pin added, wire for soundhole pup out through the rear strap button which has to be replaced etc.) Guy is doing the lot for £40 - £50. Picking it up tomorrow so hopefully money well spent. I thought about having a go myself but got scared at the thought of trashing a really lovely all solid wood guitar. He said the nut needed sanding as well to make sure everything stayed even.
"I didn't mean to kill nobody ... I just meant to shoot the sonofabitch in the head. Him dying was between him and the Lord." RL Burnside.

"I won't waste my love on a nation" BRMC
#6
Quote by RubberSoul54321
...[ ]....I thought about having a go myself but got scared at the thought of trashing a really lovely all solid wood guitar. He said the nut needed sanding as well to make sure everything stayed even.
Oftentimes, you can get away with just sanding the saddle down, then calling it a day. With that operation, you indeed get a "do-over", although it may cost you only the price of a replacement saddle.

The 1st operation in the process, setting the "relief" with the truss rod, is seldom necessary.

The issue with the nut is, sometimes the grooves are not deep enough. That has to be set LAST, and is the most aggravation and expense if you botch the job.

However, if you can comfortably barre your guitar at the first fret, you can just leave it go. It's often a beginner's complaint, because correct slot height or not, the guitar is harder to barre at the 1st fret, than anywhere else.

So, you should probably visit the sites I linked for the TS, if only to give yourself a better understanding of the process.

The ONLY really critical part of sanding the saddle, is to maintain a flat surface, at a dead right angle to vertical of the saddle and a straight edge across its length . This assures full contact with the bridge, and more importantly, if there's a piezo under the saddle, the contact must be also uniform, to insure each string will activate the pickup correctly.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Aug 27, 2013,
#7
In my case the string height at the nut is the real problem...
"I didn't mean to kill nobody ... I just meant to shoot the sonofabitch in the head. Him dying was between him and the Lord." RL Burnside.

"I won't waste my love on a nation" BRMC
#8
Quote by RubberSoul54321
In my case the string height at the nut is the real problem...
OK, I have a typo above which I'll correct after this post. This line:
The ONLY really critical part of sanding the nut.
Should read:
The ONLY really critical part of sanding the saddle


Adjusting the nut groove depth, is better described as "filing".

Miniature files are probably only available in most areas in a better hobby shop, and you do have to do all the other operations first, before you tackle the nut grooves.

A set of automotive feelers gauges is also required, and tolerances are critical to a couple of thousandths of ans inch.

If you're good at doing fine work and have a good deal of patience, then tackle the job.

If not, it's off to the shop with it....

New guitars in particular, tend to "settle in a bit", due to constant string tension. The only drawback of relying on a tech for the setup work, is you may have to pay again after a year or ....? (some other length of time).
Last edited by Captaincranky at Aug 27, 2013,
#9
Just picked up my guitar from the luthier today. What a difference! Plays like butter with no loss of tone. Money well spent. Action lowered, heel button installed, frets dressed and new soundhole pickup (DiMarzio) properly installed (end pin / jack etc.) Really pleased and can't wait to gig it on Saturday.
"I didn't mean to kill nobody ... I just meant to shoot the sonofabitch in the head. Him dying was between him and the Lord." RL Burnside.

"I won't waste my love on a nation" BRMC
#10
Glad to hear that worked out for you. Best of luck at your gig. Let us know how that works out, won't cha?
#11
Will do
"I didn't mean to kill nobody ... I just meant to shoot the sonofabitch in the head. Him dying was between him and the Lord." RL Burnside.

"I won't waste my love on a nation" BRMC