Acoustic guitar action adj advice sought

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by radd, Jul 15, 2020.

  1. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    like most of us I have set up my guitars for years, truss rod and action height adjustment at the nut and bridge.

    The vast majority of that is on electrics, I have very limited acoustic experience.

    I have a Eastman thinline, stunning guitar, set up with low action and I love it.

    The new Eastman dreadnought has much higher action. I figure most acoustics probably come with action set high because you can lower section but can’t raise it with out shims at the bridge.

    F5AF70A0-5EC9-4A12-AB0D-59BDB4849A14.jpeg

    Both guitars have almost identical specs, 12” radius, 1 3/4 nuts same frets and an ebony board. They have the same string spacing at the nut but the acoustic has wider spacing at the saddle.

    Both are set close to 4/64” on the treble side, the electric is also at 4/64 on the base side. The acoustic is at 7/64” on the base side. The acoustic is clearly playable but not as comfortable for me.


    Before I start sanding the bottom of that beautiful bone saddle my question is, do acoustics need to have higher action, possibly due to a top that moves?

    90978896-580B-4619-97B8-2382EE72999D.jpeg

    Thanks
     
  2. TSims1

    TSims1 Gretschified

    Jun 18, 2013
    Atlanta
    Nah. I like low action on my acoustics. File the bridge a bit, turn the truss rod a little.........you’ll get it there.
     
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  3. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    I don't think that the top moves all that much.
     
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  4. mrcoffee23

    mrcoffee23 Gretschie

    171
    Sep 23, 2009
    Virginia, USA
    I always buy a substitute bridge, and use that one to adjust, because once you've gone too far, you've gone too far. Always nice to have the original sitting in the case to sub in if needed.

    Math thing: If you want to drop action, say 1/64th at 12th fret, take 2/64 off the bottom of the bridge, that should get you there. Always double the number of how much you want to go down at the 12th fret as your measure of bridge.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
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  5. mrcoffee23

    mrcoffee23 Gretschie

    171
    Sep 23, 2009
    Virginia, USA
    Your action is high. You can go as low as you want until you get buzz, but it won't be as loud, the lower it goes.

    The break angle of your strings says you have plenty of saddle to work with, so off ya go!
     
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  6. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    Some great information here, thanks a bunch.
     
  7. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    My nut/saddle vice and a sanding block, all done

    4/64” both sides. I will try that for a bit and see what I think.

    Plays nice, no buzz

    Thanks for the advice

    7152BBE9-58C3-47BC-8153-33310C4CE763.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
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  8. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
    PNW
    Generally I think acoustics are higher a bit. I like all the low E strings high acoustic or electric. Higher than yours. I hate rattle.
    Most often my experience is that acoustics feel hard to play if the nut slots aren't down real low, just a few thousandths clearance on fret 1 checked with the string fretted at fret 3. They may also sound out of tune on fret 1 and 2 if the slots are too high. I would try that first.
     
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  9. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    4/64" = 1/16".
    Basic grade school math.
     
  10. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz

    True, but common denominators are often times best utilized when working on something where the differences are measured in that lowest common denominator.....Much less chance of error. For me, mitigating possible errors is always a good thing. :D
     
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  11. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    My old eyes can't even see the 64ths markings.
     
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  12. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    I use a piece of maple or walnut to make a new bridge and tweak the height, usually a piece of scrap laying around, once I have the action where I want it I make a new bone bridge or tweak the existing using the temporary wood one as my template. I use it for measurements and leave the new one slightly proud then sneak up on the final dimensions based on the feel on loaded into the saddle.
     
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  13. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz

    I like that
     
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  14. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    It is a little more work but it gives me a chance to see what I can and can't get away with, without wasting a bone saddle.
     
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  15. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    I may drop my treble side a bit, I may try your idea. It sounds time consuming but fun.
     
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  16. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    I'll tell you half the reason I do it is not to waste a bone bridge but the other half is I like to hear how it sounds with wood.
     
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  17. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    usa
    "Lowest Common Denominator."

    Yes, I like that.

     
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  18. I prefer low on all my guitars. If the action is similar on all of them, then changing to one is not a new learning curve. I have learned that the higher the strings, the more volume they put out. I have met a few blue grass players and tried some of their martins. These guys can fly on their guitars, but the action for me was way to high to play past the 5th frets. They get used to it, and their volume keeps up with those pesky gibson banjos and mandolins.
     
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  19. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    Hey! @radd did you try a wood saddle yet?
     
  20. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz

    I don’t have a piece of quality hard wood around so I just ordered a compensated bone saddle from Alloarts For $7 to play with.
     
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