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Old 11-27-2020, 06:44 PM
dcochran4 dcochran4 is offline
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Default Fixing high action on a mid 90’s Taylor DCSM (Dan Crary)

I just got a used Taylor Dan Crary model in the mail today, and the action seems less than great (I can slide a quarter under the strings at the 12th fret and still have room for almost another one to fit before grazing the strings). The neck appears straight as an arrow when sighting down it, so I don’t think there is any more relief to take away from it.

Some cursory research has yielded the following about Taylor guitars and action adjustments:
1) Taylor advises against lowering saddle height at all, and instead advises that all adjustments should be made at the neck joint.
2) Taylor necks are universally bolted on, and can be reset / adjusted using manufacturer-provided shims, but they do not distribute these to just anyone.

On my 1994 Taylor DCSM, are these two above tenets even applicable? Are there more helpful things to know in addition to or instead of these?

To clarify, this post is for my personal knowledge, and to guide me as a customer, not as a luthier, nor novitiate thereof. I intend to take this guitar to my tech for the set up and any tweaking, but if it’s going to be a financially-involved and long protracted endeavor, I might discuss straightening things out with the seller, since it was said to have “great action,” and be “excellent playing.” I do leave room for disparate preferences between players though, so I hesitate to bother the seller about anything unless I know something is very wrong and that it will require several hundred dollars of repair work.
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Old 11-27-2020, 07:03 PM
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bnjp bnjp is offline
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That "don't lower the saddle" bit and the shim system is for the NT neck and yours doesn't have that. Yours is bolted on, but the fretboard extension is glued to the soundboard. A little more of a traditional neck reset if that's what it needs.
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Old 11-27-2020, 07:26 PM
mirwa mirwa is offline
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If your guitar requires a neck reset then here is an example of some pricing for you.

Australian dollars, usd is likely similiar

Old taylor with glued fretboard - neck reset is around 350
New taylor with bolt on neck and fretboard - neck reset 145
Saddle new from taylor 35

So if you have an older style taylor system with an action height that can be rectified by sanding the saddle - go for it, worst case scenario you buy a new saddle for 35 dollars

Cole Clark Fat Lady
Gretsch Electromatic
Martin CEO7
Maton Messiah
Taylor 814CE
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Old 11-28-2020, 03:11 AM
nikpearson nikpearson is offline
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Default Bolt on neck but glued fingerboard...

Prior to the introduction of the NT neck joint, Taylor still used a bolt on neck but the fingerboard was glued to the top. This makes adjusting the neck angle a little more complicated but still considerably easier and less invasive than a traditional dovetail joint.

I had a pre-NT Taylor 12 string where the neck angle wasn’t perfect. The neck was reset by the Taylor facility in Amsterdam. At the time I queried how the work would be carried out. Depending on how far out the neck angle was there were two options:

1) Loosen the neck bolts and remove wood from the back of the heel with abrasive paper. This could be done without ungluing the fretboard.

2) Unglue the fingerboard and adjust the heel, re-glue fingerboard and repair any finish damage to the soundboard.

The latter option was more expensive and in my case wasn’t needed as the neck geometry was not too far from optimal. The guitar was absolutely perfect when returned and played even more easily. The cost was a little under €300 for the revive package + neck reset.

As already suggested, you could certainly look to make saddle adjustments if the action is too high for your liking. If this doesn’t remedy the issue, get in touch with Taylor.

Hope that helps,

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Old 12-19-2020, 01:05 AM
dcochran4 dcochran4 is offline
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Thank you for all of the advice!
My tech sanded the under side of the saddle, and then made me a new bone nut for my DCSM. It plays wonderfully now, and no neck-reset required yet (knock on wood; sitka spruce to be precise).
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Old 12-19-2020, 08:32 AM
redir redir is offline
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I build guitars with that old style Taylor butt joint with the FB glued down. And if I need to make minor adjustments I simply floss the heal with a strip of a special kind of sand paper. It takes about 15 minutes.

If it's major, which yours doesn't sound so to me, then I would need to remove the neck. A quarter is .07in thick and ideally you would want the action under the low E to be .09in which is 3/32nd. So if you can *almost fit two quarters under there then you are at something like .12in or so. To get to .09 you would have to remove .06in of saddle which is about 1/16th of an inch. That's not a whole lot so that's probably your best option provided you have enough saddle to do it.
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