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  #1  
Old 01-07-2013, 08:59 PM
mandymh mandymh is offline
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Default Tips for lowering the action on my guitar?

I have a great sounding Yamaha that used to belong to my brother when he was trying to learn guitar. It's actually one of the nicer models I've seen and I'd like to keep it around for a while. Unfortunately, the action is terrible and the bridge is way to high for comfort. I've looked up how to file it down online, but I'm just wondering if anyone has any tips as this is my first time trying this.

Thanks!
Amanda
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:21 PM
clintj clintj is offline
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Welcome! Check out the frets.com pages for what to check for setup if you haven't seen them already. The saddle is only a part of the equation. Nut height, neck angle, and neck relief also can affect action height. I make sure everything else is right first before touching the saddle. Sanding the saddle is pretty easy, just get something really flat, set some sandpaper on it, and draw the bottom of the saddle across a few times. Check that the bottom is square when you are done and reinstall. Just take it in small steps, and remember it's harder to replace saddle than remove it. Best of luck!
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:27 PM
dhalbert dhalbert is offline
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See here for a similar thread started today as well.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:12 AM
StringFive StringFive is offline
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Sand down the saddle. Easy. But don't sand too much, and keep it level and flat.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:15 AM
Huckleberry Huckleberry is offline
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Read the Frets.com pages.

Tape the sandpaper down to a hard, flat surface (I use a granite worktop).

Work slowly, and make sure the bottom of the saddle is absolutely square and flat, both along and across the saddle.

Take of less than you think you need to. It's easy to go back and take a hair off later or another time, it's a pain if you take it too low and need to shim it back up again or make a new saddle.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:27 AM
roadbiker roadbiker is offline
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I'm surprised that nobody suggested a truss rod adjustment. The action on my Taylor 814 was too low for me to the point that I had slight buzzing on certain string up around the 12th fret and is also made me prone to rolling the high E string off the edge of the fretboard. I made a very slight adjustment of the truss rod and it eliminated both "problems."

Jim
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:27 AM
jdinco jdinco is offline
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I think you would be best served finding a good luthier in your area and let them guide you or do the adjustments. If you value the guitar and want to use it for a long while, I would not attempt the repairs on this guitar as your first lesson. Just sayin'.....
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:33 AM
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guitargabor guitargabor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadbiker View Post
I'm surprised that nobody suggested a truss rod adjustment. The action on my Taylor 814 was too low for me to the point that I had slight buzzing on certain string up around the 12th fret and is also made me prone to rolling the high E string off the edge of the fretboard. I made a very slight adjustment of the truss rod and it eliminated both "problems."

Jim
Try a small correction with the truss rod.Just as others have stated guitar action is dependent on saddle height,nut slotting height and neck relief.Truss rod adjustment is only part of the equation.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:34 AM
kydave kydave is offline
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Touching the saddle is the last thing you'd do in a sequence of events to set up that guitar.

Flatten out the relief with the truss rod adjustment.

Get the nut slots cut to the proper depth (see Nut Action at Frets.com!).

Then & only then, take meat off the bottom of the saddle.

And before you do any of this, find out if the neck needs resetting, because if it does, you'll never get things right without doing that.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:44 AM
dbintegrity dbintegrity is offline
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Like many people here suggested, there are numerous reasons as to why your action is high. I would first make sure neck angle and relief was correct before adjusting the saddle. It is possible that there are a few things going on.
first with the strings tuned to pitch, sight down the barrel of the neck looking down the fingerboard and see if the neck appears straight, or if it has a noticeable amount of relief.if it has too much relief, adjust it until it is straight, then with the strings tuned down, get a straight edge about 24" long and lay it on the fingerboard going toward the bridge. it should meet just a the top of the bridge (not saddle) if it hits the middle of the bridge or lower it may be a neck set candidate. If all of those things check out OK adjust the saddle by either removing shims under the saddle if there are any or sanding down the bottom of it until the saddle sits lower in the slot...make sure it is sanded level and flat.... if all of this seems too complicated take it to your local shop.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:53 AM
MrBJones MrBJones is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdinco View Post
I think you would be best served finding a good luthier in your area and let them guide you or do the adjustments. If you value the guitar and want to use it for a long while, I would not attempt the repairs on this guitar as your first lesson. Just sayin'.....
+1 That's what I did with my old Yamaha. Cost $60. Besides sanding the saddle and adjusting the truss rod, it included cleaning/oiling fingerboard, dressing the frets, etc.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:09 AM
slide496 slide496 is offline
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Maybe consider buying another saddle and nut and shape those, substitiute them for the original? Preserve the original nut and saddle in case the new ones doesn't work out.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:56 AM
DCannon DCannon is offline
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Hi Amanda. If you've never done this type of work, I support the suggestions of taking it to a qualified, trusted repair tech so you'll know exactly what's going on. At this point you have no idea what variables are causing the high action, and since you like the guitar and it sounds good, it'd be worth getting it checked out by a pro, which shouldn't cost anything to have it looked at. He/she can then give you an estimate to get it into good playing condition. Unless it needs a neck reset (let's hope not!), a basic set-up using the same saddle/nut, including fret leveling/dressing shouldn't cost a whole lot. Our local authorized Martin tech who is very highly regarded and one of the best I've ever seen, charges $30-$40, depending if he has to re-cut the nut slots and/or saddle work.

Good luck!
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Old 01-08-2013, 04:26 PM
BluesBelly BluesBelly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kydave View Post
Touching the saddle is the last thing you'd do in a sequence of events to set up that guitar.

Flatten out the relief with the truss rod adjustment.

Get the nut slots cut to the proper depth (see Nut Action at Frets.com!).

Then & only then, take meat off the bottom of the saddle.

And before you do any of this, find out if the neck needs resetting, because if it does, you'll never get things right without doing that.
I agree with Dave,
There is a logical order in which to proceed and Dave hit the nail,

Adjust neck for proper relief

Set up the nut so the slots are at the correct depth

Then adjust the saddle

Blues
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  #15  
Old 01-08-2013, 04:35 PM
delaorden9 delaorden9 is offline
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Agree with the majority; as it is mandatory to adjust first of all the neck relief I would send it to a pro.
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action, bridge, lowing action, tips, yamaha

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