Saddles at max height, but action too low

KiloJuliet

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I have just put together a 'tele' from a neck and body from Warmoth. The neck is roasted maple, and has a 16 inch radius fretboard and 6100 jumbo frets, which isn't conventional (I grew up with Ibanez RGs- it's what I'm used to). Bolted the neck on and strung it up today.

I've found the action is far too low, even with bridge saddles at max height, especially the high e and low e. The open notes won't ring out because the strings are pressing against the frets.
I'm pretty sure its due to the radius and big frets. I haven't touched the truss rod yet, it has a -slight- back bow, so I will set the relief to achieve a slight concave, though I doubt this will solve all my problems.

I see several potential solutions, any suggestions on what I should do?

- Sand down the neck pocket floor to lower the neck in relation to the bridge
- Add shims to the bridge to raise it up in relation to the neck
- Shim the neck (a reverse shim to add forward angle?)
- Install taller nut? (I do trust Warmoth's nut installs though)

Thanks in advance
 

Gaz_

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Sounds to me like it might need a "forward shim" and as the parts were both from warmoth, I'm inclined to think there isn't a massive problem. However, before you change anything, I always follow Ron Thorns TRAIN method when setting up, especially on a new build, in this order

Tune
Relief
Action
Intonation
Noodle

To me, the truss is your most likely culprit, because I wouldn't expect any parts on a warmoth to be wrong... just my thoughts. Hope it helps.
 

Buzzgrowl

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You should send pics for better advice.

First, you need to take off the neck and drill the body-side holes (for the neck) so that the neck screws go through with zero effort, even a bit loose. They should drop through. Don't sand the pocket but do clean it up for excess finish.

Second, adjust truss rod.

Third, if that does not work, you may consider a forward shim. A little goes a long way.

Warmoth parts are usually very precise, so let unprecise production not be your first assumption.
 

KiloJuliet

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Oh, and welcome to the forum. We like pictures!
Thank you! When I'm back at home I will take photos.

You should send pics for better advice.

First, you need to take off the neck and drill the body-side holes (for the neck) so that the neck screws go through with zero effort, even a bit loose. They should drop through. Don't sand the pocket but do clean it up for excess finish.

Second, adjust truss rod.

Third, if that does not work, you may consider a forward shim. A little goes a long way.

Warmoth parts are usually very precise, so let unprecise production not be your first assumption.
The body side holes are already large enough for the screws to drop in.
I've tuned the guitar up and have left it to adjust to the tension of the strings. Will adjust relief when I'm back home.
Yes, a forward shim does make sense - however will the action on the higher frets then be greater than the lower frets?
 

Boreas

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Welcome!

Need pix of the neck joint and neck. Either the neck isn't seated properly or you need a shim. I would start with a totally straight neck with no strings - no relief. Don't mess with the relief again until you get the neck geometry figured out. Once the neck angle is set, then perform a proper setup sequence. Do it in order - don't jump around.

I would also work with Warmoth in case you have a bad component.
 

Buzzgrowl

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Btw, what type of bride do you have?

Also a bit strange that the neck has a backbow out of the box. Usually they are nearly flat.
 

Cyberi4n

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Longer saddle height screws
Reverse-shim the neck pocket
shim the bridge
sand down the neck pocket

In order of difficulty, easiest to most difficult. If it were me, I'd buy a set of longer saddle height screws from eBay or similar

 

Steve Holt

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I have just put together a 'tele' from a neck and body from Warmoth. The neck is roasted maple, and has a 16 inch radius fretboard and 6100 jumbo frets, which isn't conventional (I grew up with Ibanez RGs- it's what I'm used to). Bolted the neck on and strung it up today.

I've found the action is far too low, even with bridge saddles at max height, especially the high e and low e. The open notes won't ring out because the strings are pressing against the frets.
I'm pretty sure its due to the radius and big frets. I haven't touched the truss rod yet, it has a -slight- back bow, so I will set the relief to achieve a slight concave, though I doubt this will solve all my problems.

I see several potential solutions, any suggestions on what I should do?

- Sand down the neck pocket floor to lower the neck in relation to the bridge
- Add shims to the bridge to raise it up in relation to the neck
- Shim the neck (a reverse shim to add forward angle?)
- Install taller nut? (I do trust Warmoth's nut installs though)

Thanks in advance

It's strung up under tension and there's still back bow? I'd wager that if you took the strings off you'll see even more back bow.

If you have a Warmoth neck with back bow contact them and make them give you a new neck. Their truss rods DO NOT correct back bow (i.e. you cannot add relief. I've been down that road before and it's the main reason I'll never buy another Warmoth neck.

I ran into this issue a few years back when I was just getting into building. They told me they don't offer a two way truss rod, and they believe that if a neck is made properly with good materials, you don't need one. They do offer (or did at the time) a deceptively titled "double expanding" truss rod. It just adds back bow with more steps.

I sent my neck back to them, they diagnosed it as 'terminal' and gave me a new neck for free. The customer service was great, but the time I had put into that neck, as well as the time that I had to put into the new neck was not compensated. So it was frustrating and left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Unless they've finally changed their minds in the last few years. If so, they'll tell you.
 

PCollen

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I have just put together a 'tele' from a neck and body from Warmoth. The neck is roasted maple, and has a 16 inch radius fretboard and 6100 jumbo frets, which isn't conventional (I grew up with Ibanez RGs- it's what I'm used to). Bolted the neck on and strung it up today.

I've found the action is far too low, even with bridge saddles at max height, especially the high e and low e. The open notes won't ring out because the strings are pressing against the frets.
I'm pretty sure its due to the radius and big frets. I haven't touched the truss rod yet, it has a -slight- back bow, so I will set the relief to achieve a slight concave, though I doubt this will solve all my problems.

I see several potential solutions, any suggestions on what I should do?

- Sand down the neck pocket floor to lower the neck in relation to the bridge
- Add shims to the bridge to raise it up in relation to the neck
- Shim the neck (a reverse shim to add forward angle?)
- Install taller nut? (I do trust Warmoth's nut installs though)

Thanks in advance
I'd vote big frets before radius. As suggested above ^, some tweaking of dimensions and adjustments may be required. "A picture is worth 1000 words"...post a few.
 

schmee

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Just shim it unless your bridge screws are real short ones.
It doesn't take much. My shims are often about .010-.015" total. I often use a long one and a short one for a tapered effect.
Maybe a .010 and a .005 combo. That clear plastic found on small pacaked items runs either .005 or .010 usually. I often use that.
Don't try the nut idea, that has other problems and is not what you need.

You want shims at the opposite end of this picture:
 
Last edited:

Winky

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Sounds to me like it might need a "forward shim" and as the parts were both from warmoth, I'm inclined to think there isn't a massive problem. However, before you change anything, I always follow Ron Thorns TRAIN method when setting up, especially on a new build, in this order

Tune
Relief
Action
Intonation
Noodle

To me, the truss is your most likely culprit, because I wouldn't expect any parts on a warmoth to be wrong... just my thoughts. Hope it helps.
It's a good acronym, but I'd argue that it should be "STRAIN". The S is for strings. Before you start, put the gauge of strings on the guitar that you will be using. If you change gauge, you need to check it all again.
 

Alex_C

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I'm concerned about the backbow on the neck. It needs to be at least flat, a slight concave bow is preferable.
I usually only shim necks when the strings aren't uniformly parallel with the neck, but I'm a hobbyist so my experience is limited.
As for all the compensations you listed. I'd raise the bridge with a shim. It is the least intrusive and easily reversible.
 

KiloJuliet

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Joined
Jun 6, 2022
Posts
15
Location
Grand Falls-Windsor
Thank you all very much for the replies, much appreciated!
Since I’ve got home I’ve been tinkering with shimming the neck and bridge. I used copper tape to create a shim, layering them to increase thickness.

For the neck forward shim, I tried a shim 3 copper tape layers thick (tapering off to 1 layer) first - no improvement. Increased it to 5 layers and still no noticeable improvement.

Tried adding shims to the bridge to raise it up. Used a 8 copper tape layer thick shims. May have helped a bit, but can’t say for sure.

As requested, photos (after my shimming attempts)
 

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KiloJuliet

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Oh, and yes only two strings are currently on the guitar. The action of tuning and loosening the strings multiple times has resulted in the strings snapping due to metal fatigue.
 




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