#1
My Fender 6 string steel acoustic guitar DG205 desperately needs the action lowered and I'm hoping to get it lowered like the Washburn D10S I tried last week.

I have some questions please...

1) Is it possible to get the same fast almost electric guitar-ish action that comes on a stock Washburn D10S on my Fender DG20S without buzzing strings, etc?

2) I was a cabinetmaker for many years so I'm good with tools. Is this something I could do myself?

3) If so, should I start by filing a little off the bottom of the saddle? How much would you start with? Maybe 1/16"+?

4) Do you file the same amount all the way across the bottom of the saddle?

5) If I F it up, like maybe I file off too much and the strings buzz, can I buy the exact same saddle at a guitar store and start over?

Thanks very much!
Last edited by magentawave at Sep 22, 2014,
#2
Assuming the fretboard is OK on both - no humps, no excessive rise on the fretboard extension - it should be possible to get the same action on both.

The steps are:

Adjust the neck relief. When the bass string is pressed down at the 1st and body frets, there should be a small gap, about the thickness of a business card, under the 6th fret. More than zero, less than credit card thickness.

Check the action height at the body fret. I aim for 1.6mm on the treble side and about 2.4mm on the bass side, but you could use the Washburn as a guide if you like the way it is set up.

You need to remove twice as much from the saddle as you want to lower the action on each side. So if the action is currently 2.0mm treble, 3.0mm bass, I would have to take (2.0-1.6)*2= 0.8mm off the treble side, and (3.0-2.4)*2 = 1.2 mm off the bass side for my setup. I take it off the bottom of the saddle, using the vise jaws as a stop. I finish on a flat file, making sure that the bottom stays at right angles to the sides.

Then do the nut. If you press the string down between the 2nd and third frets, it should barely clear the 1st fret. On mine, I often can't see the gap, but I can hear the click if I tap the string over the fret. Adjusting nut slots isn't easy and requires somewhat specialised tools. I make slotting files by cuttind teeth in cheap feeler gauges, but the thick strings can be done with small needle files.

If you have any problems with string rattles and the like when the set up is done, I probaly means that the frets need levelling a crowning, but that's another story.