#1
The action on my guitar is really high towards the bottom of the fretboard. I was just wondering if anyone could tell me what the best course of action would be to set it up as properly as I can and whether I need to adjust the truss rod at all before taking any off the saddle etc. I don't want to overdo anything and end up lowering the action too much unintentionally. I feel as though the truss rod needs adjusting as when I do the relief test there's quite a big gap as pictured and it seems to not look straight upon looking at it. I tried to get the best pictures. Cheers
#2
You need to check and adjust the truss rod if necessary before altering the saddle. Press the bass string down at the 1st and 14th frets, and look at the gap between the crown of the 6th fret and the string. It should be about the thickness of a business card, not much more or less.

I set my acoustics with an action height of 1.6 to 1.8 mm (4/64) on the treble side, at the 14th fret, and 2.2 to 2.4 mm (6/64) on the bass side. Remember that you have to take twice as much off the saddle as you want to lower the action. - So to lower it by 0.2 mm you need to take 2 * 0.2 mm off the saddle.

Is that a Martin? There have been a few reports recently of the need for neck resets or a new lower bridge on not-very-old Martins. Hopefully yours has enough saddle left to get a reasonably low action. Just out of interest, what is the distance between the top of the guitar and the bottom of the 6th string at the bridge?
Last edited by Tony Done at Apr 4, 2017,
#3
Tony Done Thanks for the reply. It's the Little Martin LX1, I only recently got it about a week ago so I haven't touched anything to do with setting up other than restringing so the saddle has a decent amount of height that could be taken off. A business card perfectly fits in the gap when I check for any neck bend, is this a good foundation for starting to alter the saddle height?

There seems to be around 5mm in between the Low E string and the bridge and around 13mm between the same string and the surface of the guitar, though I can't accurately measure it that well.

I would take it to a shop for setting up but I feel I could use it as a learning experience and be able to make adjustments in the future if need be.
#4
Given that it is a short scale, the relief could be a tiny bit less, but not much. 13mm is a generous gap between the string and the top of the guitar, the ideal is said to be 12.5mm. You mean that you have 5mm of saddle showing above the bridge? That's a lot, and it would allow you to comfortably lower the action by about 2mm - that is, about 4mm off the saddle.

What is the action height, that is the gap between the string and the crown of the 14th (body) fret at the bass and treble sides? Again, because of the  short scale, it could be set less than my 1.6/2.4 mm standards
Last edited by Tony Done at Apr 4, 2017,
#5
Tony Done I did micro adjust the truss rod earlier on after researching it some but it started to become stiff after not even an 1/8th of a tighten turn and since I have never done it before I stopped as I didn't know what that fully meant and I didn't want to break it.

There seems to be around 3.5mm action on the low E and 3mm on the high E, though again not incredibly accurate.

Would the best thing to do be first off tighten the truss rod a slightly bit more due to the short scale length as you said and then sort out the saddle to my preferences? Thanks
#6
You could try the truss rod again, but go carefully. I had a D-16 years ago that was very stiff, so I took the truss rod nut off and lubricated and polished the end of it to reduce friction. I'm not sure if you can do that on the Little Martin. - You could ask on UMGF.

By my standards, you would have to take about 2 mm off the saddle on the bass side, and 3 mm off the treble side. If you take too much off the saddle, you can always use a shim to raise it a little.
#7
Tony Done Okay, thanks. Just another quick question if you don't mind. How much resistance should I feel when tightening the truss rod? It seemed to go from loose to kind of tight really fast. Is this something I should be concerned about?
#10
Looks like too much relief and high saddle.  I'm always concerned about nut height as most of my playing is done in that area.  I never had an acoustic with good nut height OOTB, had to adjust them all by removing the nut, sand the bottom a little bit, refit, repeat.
You should set your relief first, changing nut or saddle height will have no effect on relief.  As Tony says lubricate the truss rod nut and look to see if there's enough thread on the truss - sometimes the threads end and you can't tighten any more.  This can occur when the truss rod crushes the wood at the slot end cavity.
Don't go too far on lowering the saddle if you are going to adjust the nut also, they will affect each other.
#11
Tony Done thanks for your help.

I was just wondering if this truss rod looks normal to you?
I took a photo with the flash on out of curiosity and it doesn't seem in very good shape. Or maybe I was just expecting a perfect nut. I haven't touched the truss rod much at all. Did it come from the factory like that? It makes me not want to attempt adjusting any further in case of stripping although I do have the perfect size tool to do so.

Again thanks for your help and sorry for taking up so much of your time.

#13
Tony Done I think I'm just being overly concerned for it's wellbeing.
I think it's a duel action truss rod and I ain't sure how you unscrew those ones.
I tried to post on the UMGF through your suggestion, though the whole application process seems a little complex.
#15
Tony Done I think the rod is indeed stripped as when I try to loosen it seems to spin freely, even though I am using the correct 5mm hex wrench. I think the resistence I felt yesterday would've just been damaging it more had I continued. I know for sure I didn't do this as I researched a lot and was very, very cautious. It must've either come from the factory this way or someone returned it to the retailer after attempting to mess with it themselves. Looks like I'll need to return it.
#18
Just a guess, but your neck relief has very little to do at the fret you mentioned. Look at your bridge settings.
#19
dicotomy01 I think there was a slight bit too much relief, though the picture didn't pick it up that well. I would've only adjusted it a small amount.
Thanks for your input.
#20
Quote by AaronnJay
Tony Done I did micro adjust the truss rod earlier on after researching it some but it started to become stiff after not even an 1/8th of a tighten turn and since I have never done it before I stopped as I didn't know what that fully meant and I didn't want to break it.
There seems to be around 3.5mm action on the low E and 3mm on the high E, though again not incredibly accurate.
Thanks

OK, to take "relief" out of the neck. (make it straighter), tune the guitar DOWN before you do it. Remember, you're pulling against the full tension of the string set, while you're turning the truss rod adjuster clockwise. Now, to put relief in, (add clearance between the string and 6th fret) leave the guitar tuned up, as the string tension helps.

Remember, you measure string height from the TOP of the 12th fret to the BOTTOM of the E string.

Here's an excellent guide to acoustic setup procedure: http://thbecker.net/guitar_playing/guitars_and_setup/setup_page_01.html

Assuming you've measured correctly, 3.5 mm does seem like an awfully high action for a brand new guitar.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 10, 2017,