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  #1  
Old 02-10-2010, 09:02 PM
Rob Ott Rob Ott is offline
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Default A Bridge Too Tall

Hey all, My favorite guitar is a funny litle Airline acoustic from the '60s. It's sweet, but the action is WAY too high. Its neck is not able to be adjusted, so I have to look at the string-through bridge, which seem taller than needed. I'm tempted to just sand the bottom, but don't want to weaken it. My other option would be to remove the fret wire 'bridge' and sand down the massive 'hump' (trying to preserve the fretwire slot as I go). A pic is attached.
What would you do? Thanks!!
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:13 PM
ironman187 ironman187 is offline
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How high is too high for you? And how far would you have to bring it down???
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:20 PM
Rob Ott Rob Ott is offline
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It's cheese-grater high, but sounds like a vintage dreamboat. I'd say a little less than a 1/4 inch would do the trick. If I were to do away with that hump, I'd be in good shape. It's a tough job for a non-pro, but I might try to tackle it.
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Old 02-10-2010, 10:42 PM
ironman187 ironman187 is offline
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I would not hesitate to work on it yourself since it is a low value guitar. If it were me, I would probably go ahead shave the bridge since that is the easiest way to go about this, and also the hardest to mess up. Tape a piece of 800 grit sand paper to a flat surface like a counter top and take it down CLOSE to where you need it, then fine tune with 400 grit.

I'm not a luthier, now am I a professional repairman, so I would probably wait for a pro or two to tell you what you should do. Remember also, that removing mass from the bridge will change your sustain and volume. You will get less sustain, but I believe you will gain volume.
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Instruments I own.
2004 Martin DC16 GTE Custom (1 & 13/16" nut) w/ Fishman Prefix Stereo Onboard Blender
1999 BC Rich Warlock N.J. Series (import)
2009 Lanikai LU21
Dunlop shaker egg
Alesis DM10 Pro
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:44 AM
Rob Ott Rob Ott is offline
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Thanks for the sanding technique tip, I hadn't heard that one. Like you mentioned, it's a low-cost guitar, and the 2 screwholes you see in the bridge are all that pin it to the body. I believe that the width added by its humped bridge portion gives it the needed stability to keep the string tension from ripping the bridge right off the top of the guitar, so I'm just a little concerned about weakening the thin part between the bridge itself and the part that the strings are put through. Guess I'll have to have beer first to steady my nerves
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:12 AM
Brackett Instruments Brackett Instruments is offline
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Why can't the neck be reset? If you shave the bridge it probably won't have the "vintage dreamboat" tone. Not only will you be losing mass from the bridge but the leverage the strings have on the top will change drastically. Lowering the distance the strings are from the top tend to make them just pull on the top, instead of rocking it.
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:55 AM
Rob Ott Rob Ott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woody b View Post
Why can't the neck be reset? If you shave the bridge it probably won't have the "vintage dreamboat" tone. Not only will you be losing mass from the bridge but the leverage the strings have on the top will change drastically. Lowering the distance the strings are from the top tend to make them just pull on the top, instead of rocking it.
Woody, these old Airline models have no truss rod, but instead have a baseball bat neck, similar to old Gibson archtops. I was under the impression that the high-high action was also contributing to notes skewing sharp, is that not the case?

Thanks!
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:51 AM
Brackett Instruments Brackett Instruments is offline
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High action will affect intonation. Re setting the neck will correct this. I'm not familar with Airline models, and don't know how the neck is attached. If the neck can be removed, and the angle reset it would correct the high action and preserve, or even help the tone. A shim under the fingerboard may be necessary to prevent a hump at the body/neck join.
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Old 02-11-2010, 11:22 AM
Rob Ott Rob Ott is offline
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Good point, though it's such a cheapy little thing, that that kind of work might be overkill for it's worth. FWIW, it looks exactly like this, though not in quite such good condition. Thanks.
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Old 02-11-2010, 11:32 AM
ironman187 ironman187 is offline
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Robb, is it a bolt on neck? If you you could probably do the work yourself. As you said, the cost to repair the guitar would far outweigh it's value.
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Instruments I own.
2004 Martin DC16 GTE Custom (1 & 13/16" nut) w/ Fishman Prefix Stereo Onboard Blender
1999 BC Rich Warlock N.J. Series (import)
2009 Lanikai LU21
Dunlop shaker egg
Alesis DM10 Pro
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  #11  
Old 02-11-2010, 11:58 AM
Rob Ott Rob Ott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironman187 View Post
Robb, is it a bolt on neck? If you you could probably do the work yourself. As you said, the cost to repair the guitar would far outweigh it's value.
No, unfortunately, it's a glue on. I might just leave it be and enjoy it as it, I'd really hate to goof up its great gut-bucket sound. Thanks again.
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