Action needs sorting bigtime

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by rogerzilla, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. rogerzilla

    rogerzilla Tele-Meister

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    2mm at 1st fret, 4mm at 12th fret :eek: The guitar (a beautiful Tanglewood TW170) is basically unplayed, with a barely-marked first fret, but I was told by the seller that it is around four years old and the top has probably crept a bit - I can't believe they ship new ones with action this high! The intonation is really bad as a result - about 15 cents sharp on the bass E at the 12th fret - and it's incredibly hard to play any kind of barre chord..

    I'm going to let the professionals fix it, but as the nut and the saddle will need attention, should I ask them to start afresh with bone blanks? The existing parts are plastic, although the saddle is a compensated one. I know the nut will come out easily because it fell out when I changed the strings and I only put it back with two tiny spots of PVA glue.
     
  2. DMace

    DMace Friend of Leo's

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    With the action that high it sounds like the guitar needs a neck reset. Bone saddle/nut is never a bad idea, imo. See what your guitar tech says. A guitar that young shouldn't have the issues this one has.
     
  3. Bill Ashton

    Bill Ashton Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    OK, lets not panic here...

    Not sure what the Tanglewood spec would be, perhaps its on their website, but check the relief set on the neck. Sorry, no quick conversion for metric here, but if with a capo on the first fret and string fretted at the fret where the neck meets the body, check the gap between the low E string and a fret at the 5th through 7th fret. If about .010" OK to move on, if not, tighten the truss rod on the neck is tiny increments...1/8 to 1/4 turn...no more! Let sit for a day between each adjustment. When you get to about .010", how is the action/playability now? If still too high, then its time to lower the bridge saddle some...

    I have a Nomex jumpsuit on, so the flaming may start :lol: A trip to a luthier is never a bad thing, but this is where you could start yourself in a simple way...

    good luck!
     
  4. kec!

    kec! Tele-Holic

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  5. Bill Ashton

    Bill Ashton Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Great article, as are the others when you follow the built in links...
     
  6. rogerzilla

    rogerzilla Tele-Meister

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    The local dealer says he's fixed it. I'll report back when I've collected it.

    His initial reaction looking at it was that the action was "horrible" and that he would have returned it to the manufacturer (he sells Tanglewood himself). He thought he'd need to shave the bridge to take account of the amount by which the saddle would need to be lowered although he did say that the truss rod might correct some of it. He was also going to file the nut slots a bit deeper. He does know what he's doing (he set up my partscaster after I built it, although in that case all he said he'd done was to shim the neck; I'd pretty much got it right).
     
  7. GigsbyBoyUK

    GigsbyBoyUK Friend of Leo's

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    Sometimes Tanglewoods have a really high saddle so there is plenty of scope to file them down to get a lower action. In fact when I bought my last Tanglewood the high saddle was one of the things I liked about it for that reason and I have been able to try a couple of different actions with two different saddles in order to get it exactly to my liking.

    If you get into shaving the bridge as well it can mean that you are reducing the string angle over the saddle far too much and it doesn't always work out well. Fingers crossed that your guitar didn't have that problem.
     
  8. rogerzilla

    rogerzilla Tele-Meister

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    It's done, and it's like a different guitar; very easy to play and the nice tone is still there with .011 strings. The saddle needed dropping (it's a bone saddle now) and the bridge has been shaved, but you can't tell by looking at it.
     
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