Action: Too High VS Too Low; Which To Buy?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by Tarnisher, Apr 22, 2019.

  1. drf64

    drf64 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    There are two techs working in the shop. One always lies and the other always tells the truth, but you don't know which is which. You are allowed only one question. Now, which guitar do you buy?
     
  2. Shuster

    Shuster Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Shim the bridge, you'll get there,,
     
  3. Buckocaster51

    Buckocaster51 Super Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    Guys, remember that you do not adjust the action with the trussrod.

    Relief is adjusted with the trussrod.

    Assuming a good neck angle, action is adjusted at the nut and the saddle.

    That being said, all other things being equal, it is always easier to lower action than to raise it.

    :)
     
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  4. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    This is why I miss the adjustable acoustic bridges that started to get popular in the 1970s. My ex-Epiphone (fatal headstock snappage) '72 dreadnaught had the best action of any acoustic I've ever encountered (others agreed)—because I could easily tweak the action at the bridge (it helped that that model had a zero fret). I'm hanging onto the bridge from it to someday put it on another guitar.

    Here's an example grabbed off the Web:

    EPI 1970s FT adjustable bridge.jpg

    For the OP, on each guitar I would check the relief first, then the nut slot height, then 12th fret string height. These together might tell you which has the best chance of taking a good setup.
     
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  5. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Is the neck straight or does it have a ski jump? I ask cuz it seems to me that if it's just low action, the buzzing should NOT get worse as you go up the neck--should it?
     
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  6. nosmo

    nosmo Friend of Leo's

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    To get low action, the frets have to be perfectly level. Perhaps you have a high fret somewhere up the neck.
     
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  7. Tarnisher

    Tarnisher Friend of Leo's

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    We have a winner.

    I took it to James Carbonetti at The Guitar Shop NYC and he did a masterful setup, including quite a bit of fret dressing. One of the useless high frets was the issue. The guitar now plays like a dream with no buzzing anywhere!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  8. mherrcat

    mherrcat Tele-Holic

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    I'm not sure this is a "common" thing. I think some people confuse the "fall away" of the fretboard after the body joint with a "hump." This is clearly visible on my Martin HD-28 and Gibson SJ-200.

    If the fretboard does have "fall away" after the body joint, it seems to me the fret would have to be extremely high to contact the strings. Especially if you were hearing it when playing lower on the neck.
     
  9. DrPepper

    DrPepper Tele-Afflicted

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    If the neck is not properly set, I wouldn't buy either one, that said, it's easier to raise the action (taller saddle), but, you can't always lower the action...


    Added:late reply to OP, sorry...
     
  10. Tarnisher

    Tarnisher Friend of Leo's

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    I don’t see any “hump” or “fall away”.

    I will add that the problem was worse when I put a capo on the 3rd fret. I actually brought it back to James after his first attempt because of this. Some more fret filing solved it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Well the hump at the body joint would not be common on more hand made guitars costing $2000, but the majority of guitars are less expensive, and I often see the actual hump of a few frets, not the same as fall away.
     
  12. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

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    This is the perfect testimony as to why it's always better to buy from a well run independently owned dealer that a chain store or online dealer, even if it costs a little more. This kind of personalized service is usually unavailable at the Walmarts of the guitar world. At the shop where I worked, we did free setups on every new guitar that we sold, electric or acoustic, and it didn't matter if it was a $100 guitar or a $10k guitar. And this kind of awesome customer service is why they've been successful for over 25 years.
     
  13. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

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    Taylor's revolutionary neck joint makes it super easy to adjust the neck angle and action, with two shims in the neck pocket, one vertical and one horizontal. Unlike some other high-end acoustics with bolt-on necks, the part of the fretboard over the body isn't glued to the top, so all you gotta do is loosen one bolt and the whole neck and fingerboard pop right off, shim the guitar for the required results, and then bolt the neck back on. And of course, they're warranty repair dealers stock a good assortment of the shims that Taylor supplies for such work. It's one of Bob and Kurt's best innovations.
     
  14. Alter

    Alter Tele-Meister

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    I have a dreadnaught that I use for strumming, recordings, but some periods see it played all over the neck, fingerstyle, etc. Nut and truss rod are set for intonation and a bit of relief, and I have two different bones for the bridge, one low one higher action. Works perfectly, you just have to be careful when changing cause it has a piezo underneath.
     
  15. Tarnisher

    Tarnisher Friend of Leo's

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    Just a quick update: I had the guitar set up, and it played perfectly. For about two weeks. Then the action started to come up. I assumed it was just the increasing humidity, so I tweaked the truss rod. But that didn't fix it, so I took it back to the luthier who did the setup, and he showed me that the bridge was pulling the top up. He thinks the lack of finish (literally, there is NO finish on these) is partially to blame.

    I took it back to GC and talked them into giving me store credit since it's outside of the 45 day return period, and I don't want to deal with Recording King.

    So much for buying a cheap road guitar. I'm about to head out on tour with my trusty Larrivee in a Hiscox case. I'll be sad if anything happens to it, but at least it will do the job as long as nothing does.
     
  16. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    If used I would buy the low action one. High action can be a sign of needing a neck reset!
    Yeah, good you returned it.
     
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