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  #61  
Old 02-24-2012, 08:36 PM
the.ronin the.ronin is offline
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Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
2. Viewed from above, the angle the string slots are cut in the nut is not critical. You can make them straight (i.e. perpendicular to the face of the nut) or angle them to point at the post of the tuning peg, or whatever you like in between.
Very good to know. Thanks again, Charles!
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  #62  
Old 02-25-2012, 03:50 AM
steveyam steveyam is offline
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Originally Posted by the.ronin View Post
Thanks bobby

Indeed, after some more reading (cant get enough of this stuff right now lol), Im understanding that lowering action at the nut is in fact not that uncommon just that the majority of the fretboard action is really dictated by the saddle. Say, up to the 3rd fret mostly dictated by the nut.

Im also starting to dive into this intonation concept. It seems the adjustment is as straight forward as manipulating the width of the saddle specifically each individual strings break point across the width. One, this sounds like one of those way easier said than done things. Second, Im still trying to get my arms around the Pythagorean vs. equal tempremant theories to get a better understanding of why harmonics play the way they do and in turn better understand intonation. Fun stuff I wish I were this motivated in high school lol.
I've not read all the posts on here, so apologies if I'm covering ground already covered. As has been said, string height at the nut and at (say) the 12th fret are different things and are adjusted separately - as you now know. BUT! always be sure to lower the action at the 12th fret FIRST! then lower the action at the nut. Why? because if you do it the other way, and if you are going for a really low action, you may find the strings buzzing on fret 1 after you lower the saddle. So, saddle first, nut second. And! midst those adjustments, check and reset the neck relief using the truss rod adjuster. All those setting are interactive; ie as you lower the action, the nett forward pull on the neck is reduced and the backwards pull of the truss rod is effectively increased, affecting the relief. In fact, so many things on a guitar are interactive, so avoid taking things 'to the limit' as much as you can - you might run out of adjustment if you do.

And best of luck. I started out down this road of setting up guitars, refrets etc in the mid 70s when there was very little information available. I had to make use of the engineering theory, workshop practise training and woodwork classes that I had done throughout my school and apprenticeship years. It was all self taught by using sound workshop theory, and experimentation on top of that. No special tools; a two foot steel rule was about the best thing I had, oh, and one book, 'Complete Guitar Repair' by Hideo Kamimoto. Fretwire had to be obtained almost by kinda backdoor means through friendly suppliers. It was not easy! But that resulted in me learning the hard way as they say. A refret was an epic. Prise the old frets out with a pen knife, cut the new ones holding fret wire by hand with a junior hacksaw, file the ends whilst (again) holding the fret in my hand, then bend the fret with two pairs of cutters gripping the tang, hammer em in with a wooden mallet. Anyway, one of my early refrets was for the late, great Mel Galley of Trapeze (later Whitesnake), and he was well pleased. I used to level the frets with a cutting edge whetstone. I eventually discovered Stewmac and I now have a vast arsenal of tools and can undertake most jobs, except full resprays. So yes, best of luck, it's a long hard road and there will be tears and mishaps along the way for sure. But just holler, lots of knowledgable guys on here ready to help.
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  #63  
Old 02-25-2012, 02:17 PM
the.ronin the.ronin is offline
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Originally Posted by steveyam View Post
BUT! always be sure to lower the action at the 12th fret FIRST! then lower the action at the nut. Why? because if you do it the other way, and if you are going for a really low action, you may find the strings buzzing on fret 1 after you lower the saddle.
You know, I've come across a lot of debate as to whether it's absolutely critical to do nut then saddle. The consensus seems to be so. I see what you're saying though where you run the risk of "running out of adjustment" as you put it - ending up in this case (let's say I went really aggressive at the nut before touching the saddle) with fairly decent action maybe up to the 3rd and ramping up to unacceptable action at the 12th. But if I bring the saddle down to bring down the action at the 12th, I'll likely buzz close to the nut.

In retrospect, yeah that was kinda risky to start out at the nut on this latest one. My reasoning was that I had a lot to shave at the nut. Rather than going all the way to my target height, I should've at least gone say halfway to bring it to a reasonable height. Then worked on the saddle and then gone back to finish off the nut.

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Originally Posted by steveyam View Post
And! midst those adjustments, check and reset the neck relief using the truss rod adjuster.
Really? My sense was the generally accepted approach was to start off first at the relief. Erlewine even recommends bringing it to 0 relief and starting from there and coming back to the relief after all the other adjustments to address any buzzing. Makes sense to me but something about 0 relief ... I just set it to my target relief and recheck after it's settled.

Thanks a lot for your feedback. Sounds like you've had a very interesting career!!

Side question on bushings ...

I just got my Grover Sta-tites. I needed 3/8" conversion bushings for the Big Baby. (Although I've had this issue on my other guitars too.) The bushings are just loose enough so they don't stay in the peg holes. The low g bushing actually leans toward the string tension.

Any harm in wrapping the bushing with a couple layers of masking tape to keep them snug in the peghole?
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  #64  
Old 02-25-2012, 02:44 PM
murrmac123 murrmac123 is offline
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It is universally recognized throughout the civilized world, that the order for setup is

A: relief
B: nut
C: saddle

Yes , everything is interactive, but if you set your relief first, and then set your nut slots fractionally high, by the time you get the saddle down to the correct height, you will be able to do the final nut adjustment by feel.

And the final adjustment is always by feel, not by measurement.
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  #65  
Old 02-25-2012, 03:12 PM
steveyam steveyam is offline
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Originally Posted by murrmac123 View Post
It is universally recognized throughout the civilized world, that the order for setup is

A: relief
B: nut
C: saddle

Yes , everything is interactive, but if you set your relief first, and then set your nut slots fractionally high, by the time you get the saddle down to the correct height, you will be able to do the final nut adjustment by feel.

And the final adjustment is always by feel, not by measurement.
Which, by the time we read your small print, is what I said, nut last. For some confusing reason you seem to want to call doing the 'nut last', 'saddle last'. If we're taking about final adjustments (as I was), the nut should be done last for the reasons I explained quite clearly; that you could end up with a string or two buzzing at the the first fret. Final nut adjustment has to be LAST. Saddle last is quite wrong in my opinion. But hey, the procedure isn't chiseled in granite, anyone can do it in whatever order they want, I'm just giving out my best advice based on 40 years hands on experience and yeah, getting it wrong a few times!. I feel your addition - albeit well meant I'm sure - only adds confusion and ambiguity. Not to mention the inference that I'm uncivilised!
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  #66  
Old 02-25-2012, 03:56 PM
RussB RussB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murrmac123 View Post
It is universally recognized throughout the civilized world, that the order for setup is

A: relief
B: nut
C: saddle


Yes , everything is interactive, but if you set your relief first, and then set your nut slots fractionally high, by the time you get the saddle down to the correct height, you will be able to do the final nut adjustment by feel.

And the final adjustment is always by feel, not by measurement.
I concur...
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  #67  
Old 02-25-2012, 06:41 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Originally Posted by RussB View Post
I concur...
Not me. I do it once through and achieve the desired results - no iteration.

I do relief, SADDLE then nut. I have a very specific reason for doing it that way having to do with the order of magnitude of the adjustments. It requires a more detailed explanation than is warranted and I'm willing to go into at the moment.

If you want to, change the order, iterate, whatever. The only thing that matters is that you achieve your desired result.

I'm of the opinion that the way I do it is quicker for me. I'm sure everyone else is of the opinion that the way they do it is quicker for them. I have nothing invested in trying to convince others they should adopt the methods I use or that my methods are "better".
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  #68  
Old 02-25-2012, 06:43 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Originally Posted by murrmac123 View Post
It is universally recognized throughout the civilized world, that the order for setup is
Seems like two people just proved this false.

I love it when you make these ridiculous absolute statements in an effort to justify why everyone ought to do it the way YOU prefer to do it. It makes me laugh every time.

Last edited by charles Tauber; 02-25-2012 at 06:50 PM.
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  #69  
Old 02-26-2012, 03:53 AM
stanron stanron is offline
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If you set the nut height by holding the string down between the 2nd and 3rd fret, the height of the saddle is irrelevant.
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  #70  
Old 02-26-2012, 05:07 AM
steveyam steveyam is offline
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Originally Posted by stanron View Post
If you set the nut height by holding the string down between the 2nd and 3rd fret, the height of the saddle is irrelevant.
Well yeah, only for the duration and requirements of THAT procedure! Look, no matter how you set up the nut slot depth, if you have cut the slots for a low action at the nut (and the method you mention can be hit and miss), and SUBSEQUENTLY, IE AFTERWARDS, you lower the saddle to attain a low action at the 12th, it could be that the string(s) now buzzes slightly under strong strumming (or even not) at the first fret. It just doesn't happen the other way round. Furthermore, the method you mention is a basic, 'rule of thumb' procedure, it is not one that an experienced tech would use every time - certainly not in a low action scenario, you have to take into account many variables; string gauge, playing style, action desired, etc etc.

I'm not sure of your status as a tech or as someone who lovingly looks after their own guitars, but this is the danger of self-styled experts assuming they know better than people who have not only been doing the job for decades, but whose approach is scientific, based on engineering principles and lots of studying too. That may sound conceited, hmm, not sure if I should apologise for that or just be brazen and say "that's the way it is". Anyone can wrong - including myself of course - but trust me on this issue. Cutting nut slots too low is an easy mistake to make, and you are playing with fire if you cut nut slots low THEN take the saddle down. Sorry, but the rules of (very simple) physics dictate that it is as simple as that!

Best of luck to OP (pm me anytime for advice), I'm outta this one now, nothing more to prove, just pointless arguments to participate in!
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  #71  
Old 02-26-2012, 05:11 AM
RussB RussB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanron View Post
If you set the nut height by holding the string down between the 2nd and 3rd fret, the height of the saddle is irrelevant.


I do it this way as well. I also measure and set the saddle height while pressing the string down at the 1st fret. This eliminates any variables in nut height. I set relief at or near zero first

Last edited by RussB; 02-26-2012 at 05:18 AM.
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  #72  
Old 02-26-2012, 05:16 AM
RussB RussB is offline
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Originally Posted by steveyam View Post
Well yeah, only for the duration and requirements of THAT procedure! Look, no matter how you set up the nut slot depth, if you have cut the slots for a low action at the nut (and the method you mention can be hit and miss), and SUBSEQUENTLY, IE AFTERWARDS, you lower the saddle to attain a low action at the 12th, it could be that the string(s) now buzzes slightly under strong strumming (or even not) at the first fret. It just doesn't happen the other way round. Furthermore, the method you mention is a basic, 'rule of thumb' procedure, it is not one that an experienced tech would use every time - certainly not in a low action scenario, you have to take into account many variables; string gauge, playing style, action desired, etc etc.

I'm not sure of your status as a tech or as someone who lovingly looks after their own guitars, but this is the danger of self-styled experts assuming they know better than people who have not only been doing the job for decades, but whose approach is scientific, based on engineering principles and lots of studying too. That may sound conceited, hmm, not sure if I should apologise for that or just be brazen and say "that's the way it is". Anyone can wrong - including myself of course - but trust me on this issue. Cutting nut slots too low is an easy mistake to make, and you are playing with fire if you cut nut slots low THEN take the saddle down. Sorry, but the rules of (very simple) physics dictate that it is as simple as that!

Best of luck to OP (pm me anytime for advice), I'm outta this one now, nothing more to prove, just pointless arguments to participate in!
Wow. So take your nut files and go home.


Right, wrong...this isn't about that, is it? I am just sharing how I do set up work. The methods I use result in consistent and repeatable results
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  #73  
Old 02-26-2012, 12:30 PM
murrmac123 murrmac123 is offline
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Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
Seems like two people just proved this false.

I love it when you make these ridiculous absolute statements in an effort to justify why everyone ought to do it the way YOU prefer to do it. It makes me laugh every time.
Thank you Charles, thank you ...laughter, after all, is the greatest gift ...

"Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For this brave old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own".


[Ella Wheeler Wilcox]


"If I can help somebody, as I pass along,
Then my living shall not be in vain
".

[Mahalia Jackson ]
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  #74  
Old 02-26-2012, 02:09 PM
the.ronin the.ronin is offline
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Very interesting debate and really no better proof in the pudding that guitar setup is truly not set in stone. Everyone gravitates to their own way of doing things. Frankly, cos, all these ways have their own seemingly irrefutable logic to them.

Anyway, I was getting a little spoiled with the Big Baby and now feel that the playability on my dread is way too hard (lol) so much so that I was thinking of going back to ... gasp ... light gauge strings on them. Google search came up with this post in the AGF archives by a "JTFoote" giving his (or her?) thoughts on why you should theoretically be able to get easier playability with mediums since you can get lower action action with them over the lights ...

Quote:
And although this flies in the face of popular Internet forum opinion ... the facts are this: medium gauge strings can be made to be even more playable than lights.

Light strings, being thinner in diameter, oscillate more than thicker strings, forcing them to set them farther from the fret, to keep the strings from striking the fret after being picked or plucked. In other words, to avoid fret buzz, the action must be higher (or the neck has to have greater relief), and due to the smaller dimensions, are always farther away from the fret.

This means a medium gauge string can actually be set lower, and closer to the frets, without producing buzz after being struck, and the larger diameter means there is automatically less distance between the bottom of the strings and the frets. Less distance means less pressure is needed from the fingers to produce a clean note. It may not be much, but when setting up a guitar, millimeters count, regardless of how small they may seem to be to the mind's eye.
So I guess I'll stick with mediums and do some more adjustment to the Martin.
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  #75  
Old 02-29-2012, 06:43 PM
the.ronin the.ronin is offline
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So I’ve been giving some thought to the rule that however much you want to take down at the 12th, you double and that is the amount to take off at the saddle.

If the 12th is the midpoint between the nut and saddle, someone had pointed out to me that this relationship can be summarized thus: the change is the inverse of the ratio of the distance from the saddle to the fret in question versus the entire length to the nut. In the case of the 12th, it’s the distance and therefore you shave off 2/1 times.

Out of curiosity would this technically apply to the nut as well? Granted, of course the proper way is how it’s been described here. But mathematically, would that still hold?
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