Can someone explain this (acoustic set up)

OHIOSTEVE

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Martin 000-18.... strings off neck angle is fine....neck relief is good...saddle is very low (to my eyes) string height at 12th fret is over 1/16th" . I can do a basic set up but I can't figure out why this seems so high. I know I need to get some feeler gauges to give more precise measurements.
 

Tweaker

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I'm not sure I understand the issue...1/16" string height at the 12th fret seems lower than normal for an acoustic guitar. Is that the high or low E? Not that it really matters, 1/16" string height on either E seems great to me. Maybe my standards are too low.

EDIT: how much over 1/16" are we talking?
 

OHIOSTEVE

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I'm not sure I understand the issue...1/16" string height at the 12th fret seems lower than normal for an acoustic guitar. Is that the high or low E? Not that it really matters, 1/16" string height on either E seems great to me. Maybe my standards are too low.

EDIT: how much over 1/16" are we talking?
I gotta get some feeler gauges. It's probably just a glitch in my brain from playing electric so much. On a side note I haven't broken a string in forever...broke 2 G and 2 D strings the last 2 gigs.
 

wildhawk1

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Find a good tech and spend $40 - $60 for a great setup.

I'll setup electrics all day but acoustics are a different animal. Shaving saddles and bridges, filing or swapping out the nut... better to spend a few bucks and let a real pro have at it.

We have a tech that does my acoustics and wife's mandolins. I've kicked myself more than once for putting up with "good enough" .

Since you use them as workhorses instead of decorations like many it's worth the investment IMHO.
 

OHIOSTEVE

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Find a good tech and spend $40 - $60 for a great setup.

I'll setup electrics all day but acoustics are a different animal. Shaving saddles and bridges, filing or swapping out the nut... better to spend a few bucks and let a real pro have at it.

We have a tech that does my acoustics and wife's mandolins. I've kicked myself more than once for putting up with "good enough" .

Since you use them as workhorses instead of decorations like many it's worth the investment IMHO.
The issue here is someone to actually do it. Mark Kaiser is over an hour away and stacked up on work. As a matter of fact thenlast time I spoke to him he told me he was not doing much of anything anymore except setups....I do my own all the time but this particular one just seems off. I will get some feeler gauges tomorrow and see if it actually high or just my perception.
 

the great waldo

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Check the neck straghtness hi E string pressed on first fret and 12/14 fret ,you should have a little relief under 7-9 fret about 0.25 - 0.5 mm then check the action and adjust to taste by raising (shims) or lowering the bridge saddle (sanding). All adjustments should be made with strings at playing tension. I've not used a feeler gauge to check an action for 50 years . The guitar either plays well or it doesn't. Check nut height . Having a look down the neck might give you an idea if the neck has a kink over the body joint . Sighting a neck is not always informative as sometimes the edges of the fingerboard are rolled over more or less at one end which can be deceptive. A good 450-600 mm ruler is useful to have. Good luck.
Cheers
Andrew
 

OHIOSTEVE

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I have it much better.. got the straight edge out again and the neck had a huge amount of relief...took some out. Sanded the saddle a touch more and it is much better. Still needs a pro to get it perfect but for my ham fisted playing it will do.
 

the great waldo

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If you've got a lot of neck relief and you straighten the neck the action will drop down quite a bit. Always adjust the saddle after sorting out any neck problems as you might need to shim it to raise the action, also make sure you've got a bit of a curve on the top as if it's too dry the top will sink a bit.
Cheers
Andrew
 

drivers1959

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I gotta get some feeler gauges. It's probably just a glitch in my brain from playing electric so much. On a side note I haven't broken a string in forever...broke 2 G and 2 D strings the last 2 gigs.
thats really weird that you broke 2 g...and 2 d strings..i've been playing for decades and never have done that..maybe your just a special type of player..either your to heavily handed or the guitars just got it out for you..best luck
 

OHIOSTEVE

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thats really weird that you broke 2 g...and 2 d strings..i've been playing for decades and never have done that..maybe your just a special type of player..either your to heavily handed or the guitars just got it out for you..best luck
I play entirely too hard.
 

Gpass1

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Martin 000-18.... strings off neck angle is fine....neck relief is good...saddle is very low (to my eyes) string height at 12th fret is over 1/16th" . I can do a basic set up but I can't figure out why this seems so high. I know I need to get some feeler gauges to give more precise measurements.
I have some experience with this. I have revived several old acoustics. You need to measure the string height at the nut. That starts the process. Lower that to a comfortable level, mine are around .025”. Then adjust the bow in the neck using a straight edge it should be mostly flat to just a bit of back bow. Retension the strings and check at the 12th fret. The neck after tension should have a slight concave bow but not much. If this is still high you may want to shave a little off the bridge saddle. It does take time. If doing this yourself for the first time, go slow and measure often.
 

davidjudd2

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Hi, my name is dave, i'm a string buster. But i have been bust free for years. I switched to a heavy pick, 1mm ultem for now, and don't break strings. A thinner pick will get little chips in the edges and grab the string, pull it too much, and bust it! My 2 cents.
 

OHIOSTEVE

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Hi, my name is dave, i'm a string buster. But i have been bust free for years. I switched to a heavy pick, 1mm ultem for now, and don't break strings. A thinner pick will get little chips in the edges and grab the string, pull it too much, and bust it! My 2 cents.
Thanks.... I switched to a thinner pick thinking the opposite, that the thicker pick was part of the issue. I alsongring my index fingernail down to raw meat. If I play 2 nights in a row it is painful but it's also 50 yrs of a bad habit.
 

OHIOSTEVE

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Lesson #1. Make sure the neck relief is right before you do anything else. #2 feeler gauges are a life saver.
 

fumblefinger

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Having moved out of my basement workshop to a retail music store, the biggest, most constant problem we see with acoustics is poor hydration. This results in fret sprout, top bellies/sunken (which result in bridges coming loose), neck changes one way or the other, and a host of strange body deformations. So the first thing to address is proper humidification. Then, as mentioned, start at the nut and work your way down.
 

the great waldo

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Having moved out of my basement workshop to a retail music store, the biggest, most constant problem we see with acoustics is poor hydration. This results in fret sprout, top bellies/sunken (which result in bridges coming loose), neck changes one way or the other, and a host of strange body deformations. So the first thing to address is proper humidification. Then, as mentioned, start at the nut and work your way down.
If you start with the nut and it's filed low and the neck is bent forward, as soon as you straighten the neck you've got a good chance of bottoming out on the first fret when you tighten the truss rod. Always leave a little extra height on the nut slots and finish cutting the slots after all other issues have been sorted out.
Cheers
Andrew
 

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