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  #1  
Old 04-05-2021, 01:41 PM
euraquilo euraquilo is offline
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Default Fretting out past the 15th fret - but only the center strings

A friend was playing one of my Taylor GCs on Saturday and found that on the 15-and-higher frets it is fretting out on the B, the G and a little on the D strings. I never play up that far so I never noticed before.

I ran a straight-edge between the center D and G strings to the bridge and it shows about 1/16" above the bridge. The straight-edge from between the E and B, as well as the low E and A show it just barely topping over the bridge - almost touching it.

Given those parameters, I am under the impression I really don't need to do a neck reset (though I know Taylor NT resets are pretty low complexity).

I've been keeping it in its hard case with humidpaks and a hygrometer for the last two days just to make sure it's not drying out. It's been hovering at about 45-47% humidity.

Is a new saddle (with a slightly higher center) all that is needed?
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  #2  
Old 04-05-2021, 02:48 PM
Piercast Piercast is offline
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Have you checked fet height and level? I have come across quite a few Taylor’s with a high 16th fret. Don't know if that's a sign of anything going funny with the NT neck or not, no scientific data here, but I've seen enough to make it a habit to always check for fret evenness just past the body joint. Maybe you’ll find a high 16th or 17th fret.
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Old 04-05-2021, 03:27 PM
euraquilo euraquilo is offline
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Thanks for the response, Piercast. Is there a good way (aside from eyeballing it) to check for fret height? Wouldn't the outer strings also be fretting out if they were high?

I just received a response from MacNichol Guitars (HIGHLY recommended for bone saddles, in my opinion) - and he was asking if the saddle may have been created for a different fretboard radius. He sent me a document that allows me to print it out/cut it out to check radius. I'll be trying that tonight or tomorrow.

Dan
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Old 04-05-2021, 05:13 PM
warfrat73 warfrat73 is online now
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Have you checked that the radius of the saddle matches the radius of the fret board?

A flat saddle with a radiused fretboard could cause that kind of a fretting out problem on just the strings closest to the middle.
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Old 04-05-2021, 06:12 PM
Piercast Piercast is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by euraquilo View Post
Thanks for the response, Piercast. Is there a good way (aside from eyeballing it) to check for fret height? Wouldn't the outer strings also be fretting out if they were high?

I just received a response from MacNichol Guitars (HIGHLY recommended for bone saddles, in my opinion) - and he was asking if the saddle may have been created for a different fretboard radius. He sent me a document that allows me to print it out/cut it out to check radius. I'll be trying that tonight or tomorrow.

Dan

You'll have to use a fret rocker to make sure. Google this if you don't know what I'm talking about.

It might be related to the fretboard radius being different from the saddle's, but I doubt this would be a problem on an untouched Taylor. An out-of-level fret might very well be too high anywhere and not uniformly all over its length. It IS possible, I'm just saying that I have quite a few times seen this on Taylors so I'm not surprised.

You'd have to knock back and level the offending fret, then recrown and polish it. This is something you should not be doing yourself without prior experience in the matter and the appropriate tools. Any experienced guitar tech will fix this problem for you in a matter of minutes while you watch and learn.

https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-tool...et-rocker.html
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Old 04-05-2021, 06:42 PM
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rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Perhaps one of the frets above the 15th has popped up a little in the middle.
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Old 04-05-2021, 09:23 PM
John Arnold John Arnold is offline
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Exactly. If the saddle radius was too flat, the middle strings would buzz on all the frets.
Also look for some rise of the fingerboard tongue.
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Old 04-06-2021, 02:36 PM
euraquilo euraquilo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warfrat73 View Post
Have you checked that the radius of the saddle matches the radius of the fret board?

A flat saddle with a radiused fretboard could cause that kind of a fretting out problem on just the strings closest to the middle.
I used the measurement pdf MacNichol sent me and measured the saddle. I will be the first to admit that my xacto-cutting skills are not the best. But I'm attaching a picture of my attempt to find the best radius measurement. To my untrained eye it almost appears that it better matches the contour of the 12" radius rather than the standard Taylor 15".

Dan
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File Type: jpg 210406_140448_COLLAGE-1.jpg (29.0 KB, 56 views)
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  #9  
Old 04-06-2021, 02:37 PM
euraquilo euraquilo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piercast View Post
You'll have to use a fret rocker to make sure. Google this if you don't know what I'm talking about.
Thanks - I will be ordering a fret rocker shortly.
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  #10  
Old 04-06-2021, 02:39 PM
euraquilo euraquilo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
Exactly. If the saddle radius was too flat, the middle strings would buzz on all the frets.
Also look for some rise of the fingerboard tongue.
I noticed the barest amount of looseness/movement of the fretboard tongue and gently tightened the bolt that holds it to the body. It still buzzes a little. My (again) untrained eye does not see any rise there.
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  #11  
Old 04-06-2021, 06:46 PM
Piercast Piercast is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by euraquilo View Post
I noticed the barest amount of looseness/movement of the fretboard tongue and gently tightened the bolt that holds it to the body. It still buzzes a little. My (again) untrained eye does not see any rise there.

The neck bolts might also need some tightening then. I often see this up here in freezing Québec, where the winter takes a staggering toll on unsuspecting guitar owners. Taylors frequently need some tweaking after a few winters and the ensuing under-humidification so I'm familiar with having to do this on any Taylor coming into the shop that look like they need a reset, and most any others for that matter unless they’re almost brand-new. Last week one that got in had all 3 bolts loose. You'll have to remove the Taylor neck block sticker to get access to them.

About the saddle radius : if anything, with what you've said about the radius being closer to 12 on the saddle, you should have the exact opposite problem that you've been experiencing. Sorry about your x-Acto skills, but if they are unsifficient and the resulting gauge is even slightly out of whack, you’re bound to reach false conclusions. The difference between 12 and 15 is not all that great that you can get by with errors in cutting. IF you measured right, the center most strings should be higher above the frets than the extremities'.

So I suggest you either get the right tools to learn to properly evaluate the situation (the aforementioned fret rocker and precision-cut radius gauges) and correct it, or take it to your friendly neighborhood guitar repair person.

Those tools, and the knowledge you'll gain by learning them, will be applicable to every other guitar or bass you'll own.
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Old 04-06-2021, 10:01 PM
euraquilo euraquilo is offline
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Thank you, Piercast - I'll take a look at those bolts asap. I've read somewhere that the bolts are scary easy to strip. Any pro tips on making sure I avoid catastrophe that way?

I appreciate the feedback.
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  #13  
Old 04-07-2021, 09:17 AM
John Arnold John Arnold is offline
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I have never bought a bespoke ''fret rocker'. About 40 years ago, I started using a 6" stainless steel ruler that I just happened to have, and it has served me well. To find a high fret, just place the ruler on the first few frets, and slide it toward the bridge. If it bumps against a fret, it is high. Move the ruler on down so that it just catches the fret on the nut side of the high one. If it rocks, you have confirmed the high fret. Conversely, low frets can be identified by pressing on the end of the ruler and seeing if it rocks, all while sliding it toward the bridge. The reason for sliding the ruler in that direction is because buzzing often occurs on the next fret, due to a lack of next fret clearance.
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  #14  
Old 04-07-2021, 07:54 PM
Piercast Piercast is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by euraquilo View Post
Thank you, Piercast - I'll take a look at those bolts asap. I've read somewhere that the bolts are scary easy to strip. Any pro tips on making sure I avoid catastrophe that way?

I appreciate the feedback.

They are very sturdy for their intended use. That's wood my friend, so no need to torque them beyond having a secure and stable joint attachment. First loosen that fretboard extension bolt you already tightened. Manage a secure fit, tight but not overwhelmingly so that you'd damage wood with the neck block bolts. That's not metal you're dealing with here. Lastly retighten the fretboard extension bolt. Secure it but don't crush any wood.

With a stable neck joint you can proceed further with what we've already talked about. Use John's advice while you wait for your low-dollar tools. ;-)
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  #15  
Old 04-08-2021, 05:34 AM
euraquilo euraquilo is offline
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I found last night that the bolts were already plenty tight. I also noticed that the Taylor heel block sticker had been removed, which makes me think it's been serviced by a non-Taylor-authorized shop/person/whomever.

I'm going to look for a shorter metal ruler to try your advice, John. My shortest decent straightedge is 18" long.

Dan
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