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Old 04-09-2013, 08:33 AM
callouses callouses is offline
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Default question about neck adjustments

I recently picked up an alvarez for about 75 bucks. Cant do too much to it that would especially hurt my feelings, but still I would like to be able to keep it around for a beater. The strings are set way high off the fingerboard, but the tension is loose enough that it's relatively easy to play. I gave it about two 1/4 turns, and all it did was increase the tension, not the action, so I turned it back the way it was. Could shaving down the bridge take care of it? where is the stopping point on doing something like that? You can see an underbow on it, but I don't want to mess with it anymore than I have, coz I'm not a repairman. Any suggestions?
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:56 AM
steveyam steveyam is offline
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Originally Posted by callouses View Post
I recently picked up an alvarez for about 75 bucks. Cant do too much to it that would especially hurt my feelings, but still I would like to be able to keep it around for a beater. The strings are set way high off the fingerboard, but the tension is loose enough that it's relatively easy to play. I gave it about two 1/4 turns, and all it did was increase the tension, not the action, so I turned it back the way it was. Could shaving down the bridge take care of it? where is the stopping point on doing something like that? You can see an underbow on it, but I don't want to mess with it anymore than I have, coz I'm not a repairman. Any suggestions?
You do not adjust the truss rod to effect action changes. The truss rod is adjusted to set the amount of relief in the fretboard. Yes, it does affect the action as a byproduct of that procedure, but adjusting the action's not what it's there for, and not what it should be used for. Without seeing the guitar it's difficult to do an 'action lowering' by blind proxy. Anyway, most probably you will be able to lower the saddle to lower the action. Adjusting the truss rod and lowering the saddle will interact to some degree, so long as you don't forget what the purpose of each is. If you're in doubt, take it to a good guitar technician and get him to set it up for you. Oh, and brace yourself for a long thread that will be both contradictory and repetitive in equal numbers! Will you end up being confused? probably! Charles is an ace set up man and there are others too. Your problem is knowing who to believe I'm afraid. I'd go with Charles.
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:10 AM
callouses callouses is offline
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thank you sir. Yes, when the dissertations start, it doesn't take long to lose me, the technical stuff is over my head, thats why I asked, because I don't want to do any damage, just wanted to improve the playability. Maybe I will take it in to a guy I know and trust, probably the best answer for me, thx again
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:56 AM
steveyam steveyam is offline
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thank you sir. Yes, when the dissertations start, it doesn't take long to lose me, the technical stuff is over my head, thats why I asked, because I don't want to do any damage, just wanted to improve the playability. Maybe I will take it in to a guy I know and trust, probably the best answer for me, thx again
Well, that's probably the best way, but in simple terms you can check the neck relief (that you're adjusting with the truss rod) by holding down an unwound string at the first fret and the 14th fret, then look closely to see that the string should have a very tiny gap between it and the top of the 7th fret of something less than the thickness of your first string. Adjusting your truss rod clockwise will lower that, and vice versa. Sand the bottom of the saddle on sandpaper on a very flat surface to make it lower. Removing 2mm will make the action 1mm lower at the 12th fret. That's it in VERY simple terms; there are snags and complications and one could write a whole chapter about lowering the action on a guitar and all that it entails. What I have just outlined is just that; an outline procedure. If you feel you're up for it, find more info on bona fide web sites and begin with caution. Otherwise if you're in any doubt about your own abilities, take it to a tech.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:37 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is online now
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In 1996, I wrote an article intended to answer questions such as yours. Recently I revised and up-dated it. Rather than attempt to answer your question, and repeat myself poorly, I suggest reading the article, Basic Guitar Setup 101. If you aren't too interested in the theory on intonation, you can skip the last 20 pages.

Even if you don't do the work yourself, it will give you some insight into what someone you take it to will likely do. If you have any questions regarding the article, I'll be happy to try to answer them.

The article is located here: http://charlestauber.com/luthier/Resources.html
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:50 AM
callouses callouses is offline
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thank you, charles, i'm going to read it now.
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:46 PM
murrmac123 murrmac123 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by callouses View Post
. The strings are set way high off the fingerboard, but the tension is loose enough that it's relatively easy to play. I gave it about two 1/4 turns, and all it did was increase the tension, not the action, so I turned it back the way it was.
You lost me just around here ...when you say "the tension is loose enough that it's relatively easy to play", does that mean that you are using extra-light strings, or are you tuning down a couple of steps?

Maybe if you could give a measurement of the height of the string above the 12th fret it might clarify matters.

Reading Charles' meisterwerk on set-up procedure will certainly increase your understanding.
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:07 PM
stanron stanron is offline
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There is one simple check you can do. If the guitar is significantly easier to play with a capo on, then the nut is too high and needs to be adjusted first.

If you don't have a capo try this on the outside strings. hold it down between the second and third fret and check the distance between the string and the first fret. Then hold the string down at the first and also at the third or fourth fret and check the string distance from the second fret. If the first distance is greater than the second then the nut is too high.
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