PDA

View Full Version : TO SHAVE OR NOT TO SHAVE


bretthunter
11-18-2004, 01:29 AM
Hey people :)
im wondering how to get the action around the 9th to 15th frets down lower,
ive adjusted the truss rod, shaved the saddle, but still its to high.
SHOULD i have the bridge shaved?
or does anyone have any other ideas?
im getting right into laurence jubers stuff and i need a closer action,
cheers
brett

Jim Tozier
11-18-2004, 04:31 AM
Bridges are replaceable, so you really don't have anything to lose (other than perhaps a few bucks) by giving it a shot.

[edit: Oops! After reading Bill's post (below), I realized I wasn't awake yet, either--I was definitely thinking of the saddle, not the bridge!]

It may be easier in the long run to put your guitar in the hands of a really good luthier/repair person who can set it up perfectly for you.

Bill Nichols (CaptBill)
11-18-2004, 04:58 AM
Hi Brett...please clarify what you are talking about.

you state that you have shaved the saddle and now you want to shave the bridge? I must not be awake yet...or I just don't understand.

Jake
11-18-2004, 06:07 AM
The only reason to shave the bridge would be to maintain the string break angle as you lower the saddle even more. Is this what you're talking about?

I don't know your skills or who's doing the work, so forgive the question, but have you had a real professional look at the neck and see if it's not an issue with how it's set? You don't want to start shaving stuff only to fix the problem in one place and have the strings sitting against the frets somewhere else.

DeadHead
11-18-2004, 08:00 AM
Dude, take it to your local shop and get a set up. . .

Don't start 'shaving' the bridge!

You should be able to get a super low action on a Taylor if you want. It will take some truss rod adjustment, along with lowering your saddle.

If you are asking these questions, then you should take it to an authorized Taylor repair person and get the work done. . .

Regards,
DeadHead

cpmusic
11-18-2004, 10:03 AM
If the neck relief is correct (slight forward bow, almost flat) and the saddle can't be sanded down any further without losing contact with the strings, take the guitar to a qualified professional. It may be possible to effect a repair by shaving the bridge and/or ramping the string holes, but if that's not the source of trouble, it will only be a band-aid solution that could cause problems later. It might be that the guitar is too wet or too dry (I forget which raises the action), which would mean a very simple fix. OTOH, it may be that the neck angle is off, and if so, it should be reset unless the guitar is too inexpensive to warrant that kind of repair.

D. Ramsey
11-18-2004, 11:58 AM
Hmmm, Shaving......

As far as a bridge on my guitar I'd definitly seek professional help if it went beyond shaving a few dollar saddle. Those professionals are amazing at what they can accomplish :)

I used wake up every morning asking myself if I should shave or not.....
finally, with the help of a professional I decided I'd shave a least once every week or 2. :D

Scotto
11-18-2004, 01:43 PM
I dont understand how shaving the bridge would really do anything for the action unless you did one of two things (or both):

1. Removed the old bridge and replace with a shorter one
or
2. Rout the saddle slot deeper so you can lower the saddle assuming that it's as low as it can go already.

Just shaving off the top will accomplish nothing except make the saddle slot shallow.

I think choice #1 should only be done by a qualified luthier. I'd say the same holds true for #2 for the most part, although I've toyed with the idea of routing my saddle slot deeper on my classical to lower the action. But the bridge on my classical has alot of meat on it and the string tensions are nothing as compared to a steel string.

Jeff M
11-18-2004, 02:00 PM
I dont understand how shaving the bridge would really do anything for the action unless you did one of two things (or both):

1. Removed the old bridge and replace with a shorter one
or
2. Rout the saddle slot deeper so you can lower the saddle assuming that it's as low as it can go already.

Just shaving off the top will accomplish nothing except make the saddle slot shallow.

I think choice #1 should only be done by a qualified luthier. I'd say the same holds true for #2 for the most part, although I've toyed with the idea of routing my saddle slot deeper on my classical to lower the action. But the bridge on my classical has alot of meat on it and the string tensions are nothing as compared to a steel string.

Shaving the bridge is one way to achieve a lower action in a guitar where the saddle is already lowered as much as possible-ie you can't lower it any further because it is almost even level with the top of the bridge already. By shaving the top of bridge down you expose more of the saddle, allowing you to then lower the saddle some more.
Some bridges are very thick-much thicker than is actually needed to support the saddle (ie you can thin the bridge and not risk it's splitting becasue of the strain the saddle puts on it being torqued by the strings). Thinning the bridge can 1) allow you to acheive a lower action than you otherwise might be able to without shaving it and 2) decreases the weight of the bridge-decreasing the "damping" effect of the bridge on the top of the guitar, improving the amount of energy that the strings can transfer to the top. (theoretical).

I've had the bridge on one of my Martins shaved down a bit by a very very knowledgeable luthier, at the same time he ramped the bridge slots to optimize the string angle. The amount he shaved the bridge was approx. 3/128 of an inch (between 1/64 and 1/8") and not noticeable at all when looking at the guitar. The action is absolutely perfect-plays like butter and sounds wonderful.
If you are thinking about having bridge work done be sure to take it to somebody who knows what they are doing.

Some info on bridges and saddles from Frets.Com;
http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Musician/Guitar/Setup/Saddle/saddle01.html

albertshaw
11-19-2004, 06:04 AM
If the saddle is as low as it can go, you have to reset the neck. I thought that on a Taylor, it is a 5 minute operation to reset the neck. Of course, you have to go to an authorized repair shop. Isn't it part of the benefit of buying a Taylor?

Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

GaryD
11-19-2004, 06:34 AM
Brett,

Do you have any current measurements for string height at the twelfth fret as it is now ? . Also, with a capo across the first fret and holding down the 15th fret, can you slide a credit card under the 7th fret ?
This may be helpful in terms of being able to evaluate what needs to happen to get the guitar playing just the way you want it.

Gary

cpmusic
11-19-2004, 09:06 AM
If the saddle is as low as it can go, you have to reset the neck. I thought that on a Taylor, it is a 5 minute operation to reset the neck. Of course, you have to go to an authorized repair shop. Isn't it part of the benefit of buying a Taylor?

Someone please correct me if I am wrong.
You're correct for NT Taylors, but Brett didn't note what guitar he owns. Even an older Taylor needs more time than that for a neck reset.

albertshaw
11-19-2004, 09:40 AM
Thanks. I couldn't see it but I understand now.

wthurman
11-19-2004, 03:26 PM
I only shave bridges when they develop a five o'clock shadow.

:D

GaryD
11-19-2004, 04:54 PM
I only shave bridges when they develop a five o'clock shadow.

:D

Could this saddle be wooly Mammoth Ivory ? It may need a shave in that case.

bretthunter
11-19-2004, 09:11 PM
THANKS so much guys,
i shouldve told you, its not for my taylor, its for am OM thats handmade over hear by a guy in south australia.
i think id better find a good luthier in my area.
jeff m... i think ill get my martin shaved as well, after reading your post.
thanks a lot.
brett

rick-slo
11-19-2004, 11:39 PM
You probably ought to take it to a qualified repair person. On the other hand I shaved down the bridge on a guitar I have and it improved the sound a little (less mass on the top). Having built a few guitars I have some experience. Over do it though and you have a bridge that will split so in general it is not a good idea.