#1
Hi -

One of the reasons I chose a Masterbilt guitar is cause it seems to be sorta known for having good action. Nice and low without buzzing. When I took the guitar in the other day to have a little knob thingie on it (so I can have a strap), he played it a bit (I asked him to, for fun) and he thought that while it wasn't bed, he suggests lowering the strings a bit cause the action could be better. He doesn't need the work (his shop has a long line people/wait list as they're a very good shop) so he wasn't saying this just to earn a buck.

I'm inclined to do it cause I'm a sucker for strings that are low low low on the fretboard if it feels better and is easier to play...but I don't want to do this if it's going to buzz badly. I know every guitar's a little different from the next, but can anyone w/ experience tell me what my chances are of getting better action w/o buzz?

Thanks!
#2
It depends entirely on the luthier. His job is to adjust the action lower without causing buzz. There's no in-between, here. He'll either do his job well or not at all.
Sincerely, Chad.
Quote by LP Addict
LP doesnt have to stand for les paul.. it can stand for.... lesbian porn.
#3
If you are satisfied with it, leave it alone. If not, have him lower the action. Sight unseen or sound unheard, your chances are 50-50, but since he has played the guitar and seems reputable, his odds will be more informed, and more reliable than any definite response here.
#4
Thank you both. I guess if I can afford it I'll give it a shot. The money's really more of a factor these days than anything else.
#5
Quote by Theresse
Thank you both. I guess if I can afford it I'll give it a shot. The money's really more of a factor these days than anything else.

Then why not do it yourself? It's fairly simple and would be a good learning process.
Sincerely, Chad.
Quote by LP Addict
LP doesnt have to stand for les paul.. it can stand for.... lesbian porn.
#6
Quote by Chad48309
Then why not do it yourself? It's fairly simple and would be a good learning process.


ACK! Hey now my guitar and I have only gone to first base so far. I'm not sure I'm ready for that kind of commitment!
#7
Quote by Theresse
ACK! Hey now my guitar and I have only gone to first base so far. I'm not sure I'm ready for that kind of commitment!

At least study up on it. I believe the Masterbilt series uses bone for their saddles, but I'm not sure. I've since forgotten. If it is not bone, then you could always just use the current saddle to practice adjusting the action yourself and have a bone replacement put in by your luthier, regardless. If he does this, he will adjust the action anyways.
Sincerely, Chad.
Quote by LP Addict
LP doesnt have to stand for les paul.. it can stand for.... lesbian porn.
#8
Getting the action lowered is a piece of cake. You might as well have a set up done on it. If it's been purchased in the last year take it to your guitar store and tell them you want a set up on it. Most places do it free for a year. Tell them you want the action to be low. They will check that and be sure the frets are level etc. If it's been over a year you will spend $45.00 plus the cost of a new set of strings. I've had it done. Well worth the dough.
#10
Quote by milagroso
You got such a great deal on the guitar, why not splurge on a pro setup?


Thanks all...

Yeah I guess I could just go for it and i'm pretty sure I will. Chad, if I had someone here showing me how to do it, I'd do it myself/learn how but I don't have the mental energy to take on the task myself without having my hand held at this point...I've been putting a lot of energy into my 10" dobsonian telescope and just want to PLAY the guitar.

The woman I bought the guitar from bought it last September so my thoughts on that are shouldn't it already be set up? And if not, I don't think I could get it done for free at that store she bought it at cause I'm not the original owner. $50.00 isn't bad (again, I'm 90% sure I'm going to do it...although there's a 3-week wait), but it just hurts since -- as I've complained about on here before -- my husband's getting laid off June 1st and so far doesn't have another job lined up. But he's trying! I have the twin babies or I'd go to wokr myself! (and may have to anyway, if it means not losing our house!)
#11
Theresse, you can answer for yourself if you need an action adjustment or not very simply. Ask yourself what sort of music to play on the guitar the most? If you play such that you need a light touch, strumming chords and so on, then you could get away with lowering it a bit. If, however, you fingerpick hard, do any sort of slaps, taps, or any of that sort of stuff that requires you to really manipulate the strings hard, then I'd leave the action alone. Higher is better for that sort of thing.
Also remember, every guitar is capable of buzzing, and will depending on how hard you twang on a string. Do it lighter and no buzz. Get the point? And it's easy to remember which way to go too. L's and H's. Light=Low, Hard=High.
#12
Thanks Dave - I appreciate that info! I do tend to strum lighter than a lot probably do (classical background, and I don't use a pick no matter what the style), though the other night I was playing Neil Young's "Old Man" just for kicks and I noticed I was strumming harder than I usually do (probably a sign I like this new-to-me guitar...or, maybe the kids were just being loud! Last time I played the guitar a lot, I didn't have kids!).

Q: is it a bit deal to have the action raised again once i've had it lowered? Same price and all do you think? If I might want to raise it again in the future is there some piece I should be saving (obviously I don't know how it's done)?

I think I'll play a few songs harder and with a pick to see what it feels like before I make my final decision...
#13
Have a look at the bridge of the guitar. There'll be a white piece of material there that the strings are resting on. That is called the bridge saddle. That is the piece that is usually altered when adjusting action. If the action needs to be lowered, the saddle will need to be sanded down along it's bottom edge. If the action needs to be raised, one of two things need to be done. First is to shim the saddle back up to the height needed. The second is to replace it with a new one fashioned to the proper dimensions. I'm not a fan of shimming as it's not the correct way of doing it. By placing shims under the saddle, you lose some contact surface area and in turn lose tone and sustain. That saddle piece is most critical to the tone of a guitar as that's where the strings vibrations get transferred to the soundboard of the guitar. A shim piece just means that there is another part that the vibrations need to go through in order to get to where they are going.
Another action item is the nut. That is up at the headstock and has the 6 slots in it where all the strings rest. The nut could need to be raised or lowered also depending on where along the neck the action needs attention.
If you decide that you need the action lowered, then it's a simple matter of sanding down the existing saddle and/or nut. If you need it raised, then new parts is the way to go. They are inexpensive and redily available. As an added bonus to installing new higher ones, you will also have the originals with which to lower the action again in the future if you so desire.
#14
I get the feeling that you're a guitar player not a guitar tech. If you decide to have the action lowered, I would recommend you let your guy do the work...ESPECIALLY (and rightly) if you are worried about it being TOO low later. If you do it yourself, the guitar will be out of commission until you get it right, and you'll never know if it's right until you put the strings on again. It's fairly simple but never easy (like most music!). I know this is your new joy (next to your kids/telescope), so now's prolly not the time to experiment with it. At least wait till a string breaks! If it's not too bad now, just run the bottom of the saddle over some sandpaper a couple of times whenever you change your strings. The difference might be slight, but it will be an improvement and eventually it will become perfect.
#15
Wow - excellent information Dave and Wildyyoda - thanks so much. Yes it's true that it's best for me to let the shop do it but it's also good to know that getting new parts in the future should I need higher action again, isn't a big deal or expense.

There's a local guy who placed a Craigslist ad saying he'll do this exact job (lowering) for $35.00 but it's out of his home and I don't know what his level of expertise is. I guess I'm a little hesitant because of the part about doing it out of his home, though I'm not usually the paranoid type. I'd only be saving $15.00 so I guess I might as well just pay the shop since they're the ones with the good reputation.