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  #91  
Old 10-08-2012, 03:09 PM
the.ronin the.ronin is offline
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Just wanted to check in on this thread. First off, my sincerest thank you to so many knowledgeable luthiers and technicians out there that are so willing to share their expertise.

To date, I’ve done 7 setups on various acoustics including a relief check / adjustment, saddle shaping and replacement, and nut shaping and replacement:

Taylor Big Baby – x3
Cordoba C5
Martin D-1GT (redoing nut)
Taylor GC3 (pending nut – its so perfect as it is)
Esteve 7SR

I’ve come to a point where I’m pretty comfortable going through a setup. Although each one takes me a fair amount of time (roughly 4-5 hours) although as mentioned, I’m typically starting with a brand new saddle and nut for each of these setups.

Some big take-aways I have are (and these may just apply to me so take with a grain of salt):

1) As a beginner, you might be after some ridiculously low action as I have been. Don’t overdo it.

2) Check the action with ruler but use feeler gauges when slotting the nut. You can easily go overboard with the nut file without something solid to bump against keeping you from going too far.

3) I might have gone too obsessed with the flat saddle bottom. Sure it’s important but I was busting out the vice press and various mideival contraptions to get that bottom straight. Now, I just carefully sand the bottom against sandpaper taped to a granite block. When I get closer, I sand against a granite bar to have a 90 degree straight edge guide.

4) Remember that things settle. If you manage to get the perfect action, you didn’t. Cos the neck will settle in and your action will likely be a smidge higher.

5) Don’t get too crazy with the measurements. Try to be as precise as you can be but don’t fret over 1/128” differences because you won’t ever be able to tell the difference anyway and may very well end up messing it up with the extra effort.

6) On the topic of measurements, I’ve come to rely almost entirely on three tools: Stew Mac’s macguyver ruler, feeler gauges, and a digital caliper. I use the macguyver ruler to check string action at the 1st and 12th. The feeler gauges to check relief and act as a safety for nut slot filing. The digital caliper for measuring the nut and saddle – both for letting Bob Colosi know what I need and also for checking progress while I shape them (I still draw a line on the saddle base, but I use the digital caliper to check my progress as I’ve actually never had the balls to sand all the way to that line lol).

7) A single placemat is not enough to keep various tools and edges of the guitar from marking your solid wood dining room table. But flowers is a great way to cover it up and mitigate the wrath of She Who Must Be Obeyed.

I hope anyone that comes across this thread found some help in it as much as I did. Thanks again everyone!
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GUITARS ESTEVE 7SR | APARICIO AA52 | SAEZ MARIN 715 | TAYLOR GC3 | MARTIN D-1GT | GIBSON LPMM
UKULELES KAMAKA HF-3 | KOALOHA KTM-00-R | KANILEA K-1 C SF | KOALOHA KCM-00 | OHANA SK50-MG
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  #92  
Old 10-15-2012, 11:15 AM
the.ronin the.ronin is offline
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Posts: 407
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Quick update. I just sold my Cordoba C5 over the weekend to a local musician that just got a scholarship to a very reputable music school. I was terrified to see what he would think of the setup and upgrades I had performed on the C5. Following up with him, he says that I can't get over the sound. The low end is so full and bright. It's perfect Rob.

I cant tell you how stoked I am to hear an accomplished musician say that about my guitar. I had sold my Taylor Big Baby (also set up even more extensively) with similar feedback but (and no offense to that guy) he was a casual performer and I had no idea of his formal training.

Very proud to have done a good job setting up these guitars and very thankful to you guys for helping me learn!
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GUITARS ESTEVE 7SR | APARICIO AA52 | SAEZ MARIN 715 | TAYLOR GC3 | MARTIN D-1GT | GIBSON LPMM
UKULELES KAMAKA HF-3 | KOALOHA KTM-00-R | KANILEA K-1 C SF | KOALOHA KCM-00 | OHANA SK50-MG
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  #93  
Old 10-15-2012, 02:57 PM
state-it state-it is offline
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Location: Sunny Sussex, UK
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I've just come across this old(-ish) and revived thread.

Notwithstanding the many good posts in this thread (SteveYam comes to mind):

The two posts I most gain from:

the.ronin - Your useful 'summary' in post #91: I agree with your points.
(PS Tsk tsk dining table... I've been getting furniture in this year for jobs like that. "I found this bargain table/chair/seat at the furniture recycling depot, darling. Oh dear, it doesn't loom right here, it had better go into my 'guitar room', whoops, I mean the 'spare room'."
the.ronin - In quoting JTFoote in post #74: Brought out by my using some light and custom-lights I had knocking about in my string box when curiosity got the better of me after a tendonitis episode.

So thanks the.ronin . Go easy with your sword.
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