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Old 04-06-2017, 09:53 PM
Jabberwocky Jabberwocky is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2010
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Crossing my fingers that I am not misunderstood.

When shopping for a vintage archtop guitar, when the saddle is cranked down "too low" for good playing action on a bridge base of standard thickness it is indication of a neck reset. If the bridge base is sufficiently "thick", you may thin it down to postpone getting the neck reset. But a good healthy neck angle is essential to getting a good tone. A Gibson archtop has a 4 degree neck angle, if I am not wrong.

When a saddle is cranked up "too high" for good playing action, this is an indication of a sinking arch. Another tell is to look at the f--holes to see if the inner edge is not on a plane with the outer edge.

A "healthy" bridge usually measures about 1" from the highest point of the saddle to the arch of the top, give or take a little.

On new Eastmen, if some are cranked down too low, see if you could lie them down side by side and check the neck angles. Check the bridge bases to see if some are way thinner than others. They should all look and measure the same give or take a few hundreds of an inch. If there is only one, it is difficult to eyeball the neck angle.

When a base is thin from the factory, a lot more bridge post is going to be exposed. This makes it look "high" or "low"as the case may be.

On those you see with little or no travel, how thick is the bridge base? If it looks unhealthily thin, you got to inspect the neck angle next. Of course, the guitar could have an unnaturally high arch but that is unusual and it would be rather obvious. A healthy bridge base is about 3/8" thick at its thickest section. A wooden saddle is about 3/8". That leaves about 1/4" post showing.

A luthier can shed more light on this. I stand to be corrected.

PS An acoustic archtop guitar requires higher playing action to sound its best. Electric players may require very low action outside of the adjustment range of a standard bridge. This could result in the saddle "bottoming out" for preferred playing action. Nothing wrong with neck angle in that case.

Last edited by Jabberwocky; 04-06-2017 at 10:05 PM.
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