#1
So I recently got a Jackson DK2M Pro with a fixed bridge that looks liken this:



I have never owned guitars with this type of bridge, and when I adjusted the action, I ran into the following issue:

The saddles will only lower so much, and the action isn't low enough. The thing is, when fully lowered, the saddles form an angle with the bridge and they rest on their edge (the edge that's furthest from the neck). The reason for this seems to be that the intonation screw hole in the bridge is lower that the hole in the saddle, so the intonation screw will always form an angle with the bridge. In other words, the saddle doesn't sit flush with the bridge baseplate, which is actually what I expected.
Btw, the neck is perfectly straight, if this should be an issue.

So,

1) Is this normal? Shouldn't the saddle be parallel to the bridge when fully lowered?

2) Can I somehow lower the action further? Preferably without grinding, sanding or shimming, i.e. without significant mods to the guitar? It is new after all, and I'd like to minimize any mods if possible. But nevertheless, the action is still too high.
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#2
Putting a shim in the neck pocket seems like the best solution. An easy way to determine how thick the neck shim needs to be is to set the saddle heights with the correct string radius. Then take a long straight edge and lay one end of it along the fretboard. The other end of the straight edge needs to line up with the height of the saddles. If the straight edge doesn't graze the top of the saddles then put a shim in the neck pocket, put the neck back on and see what difference it makes. It'll take some trial and error but it works.
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#3
Most new guitars need a professional setup (either by you or someone else).

I'd check the string action at the first fret. If that is not spot on then there is an issue with the nut and no other adjustments will get you super low action without string buzz.

A perfectly straight neck is unplayable. . . .you always need some bow or else the string won't vibrate and at best will buzz like shit all over the fretboard.

Steward MacDonald (and I'm guessing other places) sell a string radius guide that goes under the strings to help set your saddles properly to follow the curvature of the fretboard.

As an example, my relatively new $999 LTD EC-1001 needed to have the Floyd Rose nut lowered to get low action across the board.

Most manufacturer specs for action are way more than I want but the strings don't buzz at that height!!

Seriously, get a pro setup. It's worth every penny for a playable instrument.
Guitars:
Ibanez RG1570 Prestige
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#4
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Putting a shim in the neck pocket seems like the best solution. ( ... )


I agree that this is one possible solution, but one that I'd like to avoid.

Quote by metalmingee

I'd check the string action at the first fret. If that is not spot on then there is an issue with the nut and no other adjustments will get you super low action without string buzz.


The nut is fine, that's not the problem.

Quote by metalmingee

A perfectly straight neck is unplayable. . . .you always need some bow or else the string won't vibrate and at best will buzz like shit all over the fretboard.


I disagree, I've set up plenty of guitars with a straight neck and they play just fine. Neck bow has more to do with making the action uniform across the fretboard, not so much setting it lower or higher. In this particular case, adding relief to the neck would only make the action higher with no added benefit. I need to lower it from the saddle side before making any other adjustments.

Quote by metalmingee

Steward MacDonald (and I'm guessing other places) sell a string radius guide that goes under the strings to help set your saddles properly to follow the curvature of the fretboard.


This model has a compound radius.

Quote by metalmingee

As an example, my relatively new $999 LTD EC-1001 needed to have the Floyd Rose nut lowered to get low action across the board.

Most manufacturer specs for action are way more than I want but the strings don't buzz at that height!!

Seriously, get a pro setup. It's worth every penny for a playable instrument.


Well, consider yourself fortunate that you can have your guitars set up professionally, I unfortunately don't have that option. I do all my setups myself, until now without problems.


Looks like I'm probably going to have to slightly file the saddles to get them lower. Not sure if it's a good idea, but so far it seems to be the only feasible one.
Dear God, do you actually answer prayers?

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#5
Quote by Mad Marius
I agree that this is one possible solution, but one that I'd like to avoid.

Why? It works very effectively and is a completely reversible modification. You have nothing to lose in at least trying to see if it works.
Quote by Mad Marius

This model has a compound radius.

Yup. Not a problem though. Since a compound radius is analogous to a cone shape along the fretboard, you ideally want the string radius at the bridge to be an extension of that cone. Assume then that the radius at the bridge should be 18". But bear in mind that the larger the radius is, the far less of a difference in curvature does each increase in diameter make. The decrease in the rate of change can be represented logarithmically. So I would not worry about it being perfect. In fact Jacksons with Floyds typically have 12" radii bridges and they still play fine for this reason.
Looks like I'm probably going to have to slightly file the saddles to get them lower. Not sure if it's a good idea, but so far it seems to be the only feasible one.

Not a good idea, nor is it the most feasible.

Beyond reasonable doubt, the bridge itself is not the issue. Namely because if the saddles were actually the problem, then that would mean that every Jackson ever made with that bridge would also suffer the exact same problem. Which they don't.

Not only is it not the problem, but filing to the saddles is an irreversible modification. It's also quite inefficient once you bear in mind that you would need to remove more material from the bridge saddles to make an appreciable difference than you might first assume. To reduce the action by 1mm at the 12th fret, you need to remove a 2mm worth of material off each saddle. That amount of material removes adds up to be quite time consuming and trickier to accomplish than just shimming the neck.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Aug 26, 2016,
#6
Alright, let's give the shim thing a shot. Though I would have expected an 800 Euro guitar to be adjusted properly from the factory. Oh well...
Dear God, do you actually answer prayers?

Yes, but only in a way indistinguishable from random luck or the result of your own efforts.
#7
Mad Marius
Just trying to help man. I do all of my basic setups myself as well but that guitar was over my comfort level.

You could always just exchange the guitar for another before you start voiding the warranty.

Good luck!
Guitars:
Ibanez RG1570 Prestige
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#8
Quote by metalmingee

You could always just exchange the guitar for another before you start voiding the warranty.


That's what I was thinking. If it's brand new and you think you've got a lemon (or at least not as nice as it should be), you shouldn't have to put up with it.
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#9
+1 for trying a shim while it may seem extreme it is a great solution none of the guitars in my current collection have had to be shimmed but I have done it to many guitars in the past, some guitars even have a place/hole in the neck plate to adjust the neck angle with a hex key 80'e Peavey Tracer models had it and I do believe some Fender Stratocasters do as well.

FWIW I have used Fender thin ordinary celluloid picks for shims before and they worked great.
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