#1
Hi guys i am a beginner and have just bought an esp ltd ec 256. The guitar plays fine but i would like to lower the action a little bit. It measures 4mm on the 12th fret.
So is there a way to lower the action without touching the truss rod?
#2
Action height is not set with the truss rod, but the truss rod must be adjusted to get the correct neck relief as a preliminary to adjusting action height. Or you could think of it as the first step.

If you have 4mm at the 12th fret it is possible that the neck relief needs adjusting. Once that is correct, you set the action height by lowering or raising the two bridge posts.
#3
Quote by Tony Done
Action height is not set with the truss rod, but the truss rod must be adjusted to get the correct neck relief as a preliminary to adjusting action height. Or you could think of it as the first step.

If you have 4mm at the 12th fret it is possible that the neck relief needs adjusting. Once that is correct, you set the action height by lowering or raising the two bridge posts.

Is adjusting the truss rod a risky job for a beginner like me?
I would love to take my guitar to an expert but we dont have any of them in our town,
#4
i got some heck from this a while ago (with just cause) action isn't the best word to use. it may be misunderstood.

"string height" and "neck relief" are better terms to use for setups.

you don't have to be a veteran player to set the truss rod or change the string height. check up the setup thread on the top of the stickies (top threads), and check out some youtube videos.
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#5
I always have to disagree with the check the neck relief first idea. Set the action where you like it, (bridge height) and if it needs a truss rod adjustment you'll probably know it when it starts buzzing. I've done tons of setups in the past 30 years, I never worry about neck relief unless I set the action and then start hearing fret buzz. I usually go ahead and look at it, but if I don't hear fret buzz and I play hard, it's probably ok.

Always do a setup with new strings. Chances are you'll also have to set intonation, so go ahead and use new strings. Setting intonation with old strings is wasting time, dead strings will cause intonation problems. So setting intonation with old strings is a bit like putting on a condom after you have sex...

4mm sounds pretty high, I don't have my calipers with me, but 2mm is probably a lot closer to a good starting point. I start at 1/8 inch, at the octave fret, and go from there, which is close to 2mm.

Set intonation last, everything else you do can affect it. If you have a strat style floating bridge, try to make sure the saddles follow the radius of the neck when adjusting saddle height. Tune O Matic bridges don't have this issue, they stay put, the bridge is already made with a radius..
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#6
^^^^ I go with Dan Erlewine's recommendations. That is to get the neck as straight as possible 1st then lower the action to the desired height. Then you can add relief if needed. Necks seem to fall into relief easier and faster than they straighten up. Probably because when adding relief the string tension helps vs when trying to remove relief the string tension fights the process to a degree. I straighter necks feel better to me.
On the TOM issue I an tell you that many of Gibson's TOMs do not match the fretboard (it seems to be 14 in vs the fretboard's 12 in) so I had to notch the saddles a bit on my R7 & R8 to match the radius. Good advice though on your part to check this.
Moving on.....
#7
Quote by Paleo Pete
I always have to disagree with the check the neck relief first idea. Set the action where you like it, (bridge height) and if it needs a truss rod adjustment you'll probably know it when it starts buzzing. I've done tons of setups in the past 30 years, I never worry about neck relief unless I set the action and then start hearing fret buzz. I usually go ahead and look at it, but if I don't hear fret buzz and I play hard, it's probably ok.

I definitely second this. No point messing around with the truss rod if you don't know how it actually plays with decent action.
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#8
+1 Truss rod is always last resort adjustment, especially for a newbie, or even someone who knows what they're doing.
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#9
Quote by crackerjack123
+1 Truss rod is always last resort adjustment, especially for a newbie, or even someone who knows what they're doing.


There's some confusion over this. You do not adjust the action be altering the truss rod, but you make sure that the neck relief is right before you start messing with the bridge. However, it might well be that the action of a well-set-up guitar has deteriorated because the neck relief has increased. In that case, correcting the neck relief will automatically get get the action height right.

I can see an argument for just "try it and see"with the bridge, but I prefer a more systematic approach ala Dan Erlewine. After all, it only takes a couple of seconds, literally, to check neck relief, and if it is clearly wrong I can't see any sense in altering the bridge. When you get to the fine print, you can adjust relief to get different kinds of action to favour playing on different parts of the fretboard. Eg getting the action lower at the highest fret than it is at, say, the heel fret if you play mostly on the high frets.
#10
Quote by Tony Done
There's some confusion over this. You do not adjust the action be altering the truss rod, but you make sure that the neck relief is right before you start messing with the bridge. However, it might well be that the action of a well-set-up guitar has deteriorated because the neck relief has increased. In that case, correcting the neck relief will automatically get get the action height right.

I can see an argument for just "try it and see"with the bridge, but I prefer a more systematic approach ala Dan Erlewine. After all, it only takes a couple of seconds, literally, to check neck relief, and if it is clearly wrong I can't see any sense in altering the bridge. When you get to the fine print, you can adjust relief to get different kinds of action to favour playing on different parts of the fretboard. Eg getting the action lower at the highest fret than it is at, say, the heel fret if you play mostly on the high frets.


You've obviously read one of his books and understood where he's coming from. For me it was the best $27 I ever spent for guitar setup and maintenance.
Moving on.....
#11
For what my opinion is worth here, I've always set up my and others' guitars by first adjusting the truss rod/relief to be able to slide a paper business card through the 7th and 8th frets while there is a capo on the 1st fret and I'm barring the 17th or 18th fret (usually the first fret into the neck joint/body), and then adjust the action to be the lowest where there is no fret buzz that is transferred into the amp (having my roots as an acoustic guitarist, I heard just a tad bit of acoustic fret buzz even on the two custom shop ESPs I've had the chance to play). I don't know if I do it right, but so far it's worked not only for me but for others too.
The above post is in terms of 'YMMV' and 'IMO', etc...

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#12
Firstly, no one explained to him how to check neck relief to start with. Secondly no mention made of cuts in nut etc. Look on you tube buddy and see what suits you.
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#13
Action and relief are two different things that can be modified independently from each other. Granted that increasing relief gives the impression that action is higher. And if you are working on the truss rod you may want to modify the action. But if you want to make changes to the action you don't have to work on the truss rod.

This business that truss rod adjustment is the first vs. the last thing to consider doesn't help. It depends on what you're starting with. If you've got a a guitar with playability problems or fret buzz then the first thing you want to look at is how straight your neck is. It's also worth doing when you start with a brand new guitar that may or may not have been setup properly. And of course it's essential if you're changing tunings and/or string gauge.

On the other hand, if you have a guitar with no issues and you want to tinker with the action then there's no reason to worry about truss rod adjustments.
#14
Guys i am really confused now, the action on the guitar is pretty high but there is a slight fret buzz on the thicker e string. The neck seems to be quite staright too.
#15
Quote by crackerjack123
+1 Truss rod is always last resort adjustment, especially for a newbie, or even someone who knows what they're doing.


ts not a big deal at all. i don't see what is so hard.

OP go to the setup thread at the top of the forum and read what you can there, and you will be fine.
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nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
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2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#16
Quote by cyruseternity
Guys i am really confused now, the action on the guitar is pretty high but there is a slight fret buzz on the thicker e string. The neck seems to be quite staright too.


The neck might be too straight, or it might be warped, or there could a problem with one or more specific frets, or the nut slot might be too deep. Does it just rattle on the open string only, on a particular fret, just on the high frets, or just on the low frets?