The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Build and Repair

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 03-01-2021, 09:17 AM
sedandelivery sedandelivery is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 61
Default What should I do with this J45?

How have you handled guitars that are right on the edge of needing a neck reset? Play 'em or take 'em apart?

I bought this J45 off craigslist in 2009. I was 23 at the time and it was my first nice acoustic. It played well enough and I was thrilled to have it. I brought it into The Music Emporium for a setup and they told me that the geometry of the guitar necessitated a neck reset. I took it to Peter Stokes and he disagreed with that assessment. He shaved a tiny bit off the treble side of the bridge, put in a bone saddle and it has stayed that way ever since. It continues to play well even today.

It is now my guitar that gets played the least. I'm thinking about selling it, but not sure if I should take it in for another setup or maybe even a reset and then re-evaluate if I want to keep it or not. Or maybe I should sell it but just at a discount bc it may or may not need a neck reset?

I have used a pack of sandpaper to perform the straight edge test and you can see the corner just hits the front corner of the bridge and it has been that way for years.



Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-01-2021, 09:49 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 8,085
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sedandelivery View Post
It continues to play well even today....

It is now my guitar that gets played the least.
The obvious question is, if it plays well, why is it your least played? If it already plays well, what do you expect a setup or a neck reset to accomplish?

If it plays well, and I intended to sell it, I would not put money into it, as you aren't likely to get that money back in an increased selling price.

If it actually does play well, I would not discount it because it might, someday, need a neck reset. If it has been stable for an extended period of time, it isn't likely to need a neck reset in the near future.

The straight-edge test is an indicator of the need for a neck reset, but not definitive. For a definitive answer, you need some specific measurements.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-01-2021, 10:47 AM
ArchtopLover's Avatar
ArchtopLover ArchtopLover is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Blanchardville, Wisconsin
Posts: 110
Default

A pack of sandpaper is not really long enough to get a good idea of neck geometry in regards to neck-set angle.

Since many guitars often have a small amount of fingerboard fall-away at the higher frets, a short straight edge (12 inches or less) will biase your measurements.

See if you can get your hands on a 24 inch ruler, preferably one made out of aluminum or stainless steel. Then perform the neck geometry/neck-set measurement again. The longer straight edge will give you a better idea if the guitar is in need of repair, or not, since it rides up on the neck and takes into account some factors that may biase your results, like neck relief or fall-away.

Nevertheless, you're on the right track in regards to your understanding of how to measure neck-set geometry quick-and-dirty .
__________________
Leonard

1918 Gibson L-1
1928 Gibson L-4 (Blond w/Ebony Fret-board)
1930's Kalamazoo KG-32
1930's Gretsch F-50
1934 Gibson L-7
1934 Gibson L-50 (KG-11/14 Body Shape)
1935 Gibson L-50 (Flat-back)
1935 Gibson L-30 (Flat-back)
1942 Gibson L-50 (WWII Banner Head)
1948 Gibson L-50
1949 Epiphone Blackstone


"a sharp mind cuts cleaner than a sharp tool"
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-01-2021, 10:54 AM
fazool's Avatar
fazool fazool is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Buffalo, NY
Posts: 15,673
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post
...
The straight-edge test is an indicator of the need for a neck reset, but not definitive. For a definitive answer, you need some specific measurements.
And to do it most accurately, you could do the following:

Relieve the truss rod so the neck is dead flat.
Use a longer straight edge such as a metal yardstick - aa short straight edge is inaccurate
__________________
Fazool "The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter"
Taylor GC7 / Martin OM-15 Custom Shop / Taylor GA3-12 / Taylor SB2-S / Taylor SB1-CT
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-01-2021, 11:19 AM
sedandelivery sedandelivery is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 61
Default

Thanks for the replies so far! Being in a major city you'd think it would be easy to just pop into a luthier's shop to discuss this but that is not the case these days.

Quote:
The obvious question is, if it plays well, why is it your least played? If it already plays well, what do you expect a setup or a neck reset to accomplish?
Fair question. I have taken a liking to smaller guitars and I find dreads to be clunky and generally uncomfortable these days. I guess "playing well" is a relative term. It doesn't play quite as well as my other guitars but those are single builder instruments. As I play up the neck now I can hear the strings hitting the frets, not buzz, just a slightly metallic sound of, I assume, the strings touching other frets they aren't supposed to be touching. It's subtle, but it's there. I would want a setup to address that.

Overall, the initial shock of TME telling me it needed a reset still stays with me. I wrote the person I had just bought it from a frantic email asking for my money back. He encouraged me to get a second opinion. I accepted the results, cooled my jets after that, and played it for many years. If I sell it I wouldn't want to deceive a new buyer but I don't want to tell them that it needs a neck reset if it doesn't. I have seen guitars in obvious need of a neck reset and this is not one of those cases. Seems like it's right on the edge which is why I'm asking for everyone's advice now.

Quote:
A pack of sandpaper is not really long enough to get a good idea of neck geometry in regards to neck-set angle.
Ah, yeah that makes sense. Unfortunately I don't have a long metal straight edge at the moment. I'll see if I can track one down.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-01-2021, 12:02 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 8,085
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sedandelivery View Post
... I find dreads to be clunky and generally uncomfortable these days.
Obviously, no setup is going to change that.


Quote:
As I play up the neck now I can hear the strings hitting the frets, not buzz, just a slightly metallic sound
If it has that sound at specific frets, it suggests un-even frets, the remedy of which is fret dressing, not what I consider part of a "setup".

If it has that sound over larger sections of the fingerboard, it suggests, issues with neck/fingerboard shape and/or string heights relative to the tops of the frets (i.e. saddle height). It could also be something else on the instrument that is vibrating, such as a loose brace, strings not fully seated in the bridge, shape of the saddle, loose machine head washers, etc.

Quote:
Seems like it's right on the edge which is why I'm asking for everyone's advice now.
Generally, a neck reset is required when the action is higher than you want and there is insufficient saddle projecting from the bridge to reduce the saddle height further. There are four measurements related to that, as follows:

1. the string height from top of the 12th fret to bottom of the strings
2. the amount of saddle projecting from the top of the bridge
3. the vertical string height from the guitar top to the bottom of the strings at the bridge.
4. the amount of curvature (relief) in the neck

You can measure 1-3, above, with a short ruler in 1/32", 1/64" or mm, your choice. The neck relief should, typically be between .005" and .01", as measured mid-span (7th fret) when the bass E string is simultaneously pressed against the first and 14th fret. If the neck relief is in within that range, then double the difference between the string heights you have at the 12th fret and the string heights you want at the 12th fret, is the amount that would need to be removed from the saddle to obtain your desired string height at the 12th fret.

To ensure adequate break angle of strings over the saddle, you need to maintain about 1/16" minimum. If you can remove from the existing saddle height the amount you have measured and calculated above, the saddle can be reduced to obtain your desired string height at the 12th fret. If not, it is a candidate for some form of remedial action.

Remedial action can be ramping the bridge holes to increase break angle over the saddle, shaving the bridge, as you've already had done, or changing the neck angle (neck reset). It depends upon the specifics of the instrument - and its geometry - how viable ramping the holes and shaving the bridge are. In many cases, if extensive shaving of the bridge is done, if a neck reset is done later, the bridge might need to be replaced.

If the current string height at the 12th fret is what you want, and you have sufficient break angle over the saddle, you likely don't need a neck reset. The photos you posted show an adequate break angle of strings over the saddle. There is likely room to do some ramping, if necessary.

In some instruments, there is a loss of volume as the vertical string height from guitar top to bottom of the strings decreases. Some report regaining that volume after having a neck reset that increases that vertical height.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-01-2021, 03:06 PM
John Arnold John Arnold is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 3,372
Default

Quote:
As I play up the neck now I can hear the strings hitting the frets, not buzz, just a slightly metallic sound of, I assume, the strings touching other frets they aren't supposed to be touching. It's subtle, but it's there. I would want a setup to address that.
If I am reading your comment correctly, the buzzing is primarily on the upper frets, which is an indication of too much relief in the neck. Reducing the relief will allow for a taller saddle, which would lessen the need for a reset.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-01-2021, 04:18 PM
sedandelivery sedandelivery is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 61
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
If I am reading your comment correctly, the buzzing is primarily on the upper frets, which is an indication of too much relief in the neck. Reducing the relief will allow for a taller saddle, which would lessen the need for a reset.
You are correct, and I was thinking the same thing as well. Perhaps I will just suck it up and take it to a tech. There seems to be more possibilities than I thought with this guitar.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-04-2021, 06:13 AM
SonofA SonofA is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 8
Default

Have you looked at the nut end ???from the pictures, it appears the slots are pretty deep, maybe worn down.???
I find alot of buzzing issues are due to a worn out or improper nut cut.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-04-2021, 07:18 AM
redir redir is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Mountains of Virginia
Posts: 6,181
Default

It looks to me like you can get away with lowering the saddle a bit too. I bet you could get another 1/16th inch there.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 03-04-2021, 08:15 AM
sedandelivery sedandelivery is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 61
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonofA View Post
Have you looked at the nut end ???from the pictures, it appears the slots are pretty deep, maybe worn down.???
I find alot of buzzing issues are due to a worn out or improper nut cut.
I wouldn't even know how to identify a bad nut slot vs a good one, to be honest. They do look a little deep though compared to the higher end guitars that I have.

Quote:
It looks to me like you can get away with lowering the saddle a bit too. I bet you could get another 1/16th inch there.
Yeah, saddle is low-ish already but could go a little lower. I'm always jealous of guitars I see with massively tall saddles. I feel like all mine are quite low. Saddle envy, I suppose.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 03-06-2021, 11:05 PM
pickinray pickinray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 1,051
Default

I'm not qualified to say whether or not you need a neck reset, but if you do, I think it would be worth the expense for a guitar the caliber of a J45. Something to consider, Gibson offers a Repair and Restoration Service:

https://www.gibson.com/Support/Repair-And-Restoration

Perhaps they could be of some help.
__________________
Acoustics:
Martin D35
Martin OM-16GT
Breedlove Pursuit Concerto CE
Takamine F410 12-string
Yamaha FG800
Citation CIT8000 "The Survivor"
Electrics:
Fender Standard Telecaster
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Build and Repair

Thread Tools





All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:58 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=