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Strings are too high off the fretboard

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  • Strings are too high off the fretboard

    Hey all, ive been playing guitar for about 5 years now. I bought an acoustic guitar about 2 years ago and have dealt with this problem since i got the guitar, but its really starting to bother me now.

    I have an Ibanez AW20 guitar and the strings are way too high off the fretboard. Theres a good 1-2 cm between the strings and the neck. At the top of the guitar its thin, but then the gap gets bigger going down the fretboard to the point where u can probably put a pencil in between the gap.

    But yeah it hurts my fingers after i play and i cant play the guitar for very long. Ive even went from .12's to .11's and now i use .10's, but still no use.

    I heard that to fix this, i need to adjust the truss rod but its dangerous to do. Now i dont wanna end up breaking the damn thing, but i need a way to fix this.

    Thanks
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    <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>KsE fan</strong>
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    <div class="message">So I wanna lose my man titties</div>

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    <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>missingastring</strong>
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  • #2
    The truss rod is NOT for adjusting the action, it's for adjusting the relief or "bow" in the neck.

    You probably just need to sand down the bottom of the saddle and nut a bit. Take it to a tech if you're worried about doing it youself, it's just part of a basic set up - not a big job at all. While you're at it, have the tech set it up for .012s again - .010s don't belong on acoustics.
    <div class="signaturecontainer"><i>A number of words mean &quot;fool&quot; in various keys. A brinjah is a comical person; to brinja is to play the fool. Fool can be an adjective meaning foolish: &quot;Cho, man! You too fool!&quot; - or as the abstract noun, foolishness: &quot;De whol a de nex week Wasp wid him fool fly up an dung.&quot;</i>—Frederic G. Cassidy</div>

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    • #3
      Hey all, ive been playing guitar for about 5 years now. I bought an acoustic guitar about 2 years ago and have dealt with this problem since i got the guitar, but its really starting to bother me now.

      I have an Ibanez AW20 guitar and the strings are way too high off the fretboard. Theres a good 1-2 cm between the strings and the neck. At the top of the guitar its thin, but then the gap gets bigger going down the fretboard to the point where u can probably put a pencil in between the gap.

      But yeah it hurts my fingers after i play and i cant play the guitar for very long. Ive even went from .12's to .11's and now i use .10's, but still no use.

      I heard that to fix this, i need to adjust the truss rod but its dangerous to do. Now i dont wanna end up breaking the damn thing, but i need a way to fix this.

      Thanks



      First of all, why did you buy a guitar with such huge action, 1cm!!!
      Ok, you made a mistake, but it doesn`t seem to me it`s just trust rod adjustment, ok, you can do it, it`s not a dangerous as you think but with adjusting the trus rod you can lower strings just a bit, do not expect to be 0,5 cm, not even close. The problem with cheap guitars is that poor neck angle set up, actually, there is no any back angle , the neck is flat to the top , which is not good at all.
      Do not lower the saddle as it`s gonna affect the overall tone , you will lose the sound, that`s very imprtant, on a good set up neck (action about .3 mm = 1/8") the saddle should be at least 1/8" high above the brigde top surface.

      One more thing, yes, that`s true, trus rod is for a neck releife, and it`s quite easy to do it properly, tighten your trus rod that much so when you press a string on first and 14th fret at the same time there should be just a little offset on the 7th fret, maybe 1/64" or so.

      Next time when you are buying a guitar, pay attention on several very inportanat things, back neck angle, so, actio on the 12th fret no more than 1/8" and at the same time sadle height should be at least 1/8", as I explained, in that case you know you get a nicely set up guitar.

      I hope you understood what I was trying to say, English is not my first language, but I hope this helps.

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      • #4
        The action on a guitar depends on several factor: the bridge and saddle height, nut height and the whether the slots are cut properly, how straight the neck is (which depends in part on the amount of relief; hence, the truss rod affects action, but is not the principal adjustment factor), and the angle of attachment of the neck to the body. Since you are unfamiliar with these factors and how to identify and adjust them, why not just take the guitar to a good tech for a set-up; should only cost about $30 or so. In theory any guitar can be set up to play with low action, but when the action is set low, it may uncover other problems like one or more high frets (which will cause buzzing when they shouldn't). On the premise that your guitar may have been set up at the manufacturer or dealer to cover up something like the latter, taking it to a tech is better than trying to do it yourself.

        Action adjustments aren't hard, unless you don't know what you're doing. There's no reason for you to torture yourself with bad action.
        <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">Callaham S, EJ Strat, '62 RI Strat, Fender AD Tele, Fender AS Tele, Peavey Wolfgang, Gibson FB, Gibson LP Std, Gibson LP Studio, Gretsch 6118, Edwards LP, Schecter Hollywood, Schecter C-1EA, Fender Deluxe Jazz Bass, MM Stingray 5, Bourgeois Vintage D, Martin D-41, Gallagher Doc Watson, Gibson Dove, Taylor 414ce Ltd, Taylor GC4, Larrivee OM-03, Larrivee Parlor, Tacoma DR-20, Aria AD-80, Fender Twin 50th Anniv, Fender Blues Jr, Egnater Rebel 20, Vox AC30H2, Marshall JTM-45, Fender SuperSonic 22</font></div>

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        • #5
          The action on a guitar depends on several factor: the bridge and saddle height, nut height and the whether the slots are cut properly, how straight the neck is (which depends in part on the amount of relief; hence, the truss rod affects action, but is not the principal adjustment factor), and the angle of attachment of the neck to the body. Since you are unfamiliar with these factors and how to identify and adjust them, why not just take the guitar to a good tech for a set-up; should only cost about $30 or so. In theory any guitar can be set up to play with low action, but when the action is set low, it may uncover other problems like one or more high frets (which will cause buzzing when they shouldn't). On the premise that your guitar may have been set up at the manufacturer or dealer to cover up something like the latter, taking it to a tech is better than trying to do it yourself.

          Action adjustments aren't hard, unless you don't know what you're doing. There's no reason for you to torture yourself with bad action.


          Not really........... the action does not depends on nut height because you have to make slot for strings, so not properly cut slots itself can cause the problem but not 1cm as mentioned on the particular guitar. Also , bridge height does not affect the action because it has to be sloted again for the saddle, rule of a tumb is, for middle size guitars bridge height should be 3/8" , and as I said, saddle shoud be at least 1/8 protruding above bridge for the proper sound, in total strings should be about 1/2" above the top of a guitar at bridge position.

          I am affraid in this situation, problem could be resolved with a neck reset which is quite expencive procedure, probably $200-250. Do not shave the saddle off less than 1/8" above the bridge, otherwise you are gonna kill the sound.

          If frets are properly placed and evenly filed, you can go with les than 1/8", mine is aobut 3/32", no buzz at all.

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          • #6
            Not true. You can compensate for a too-high nut by cutting the slots deeper than they should be, but that will create problems of its own. Also, on a poorly built guitar, bridge height absolutely can make a difference: do you think inexpensive production builders handshape each saddle?
            <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">Callaham S, EJ Strat, '62 RI Strat, Fender AD Tele, Fender AS Tele, Peavey Wolfgang, Gibson FB, Gibson LP Std, Gibson LP Studio, Gretsch 6118, Edwards LP, Schecter Hollywood, Schecter C-1EA, Fender Deluxe Jazz Bass, MM Stingray 5, Bourgeois Vintage D, Martin D-41, Gallagher Doc Watson, Gibson Dove, Taylor 414ce Ltd, Taylor GC4, Larrivee OM-03, Larrivee Parlor, Tacoma DR-20, Aria AD-80, Fender Twin 50th Anniv, Fender Blues Jr, Egnater Rebel 20, Vox AC30H2, Marshall JTM-45, Fender SuperSonic 22</font></div>

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            • #7
              Well first off, thanks for the replies.

              I bought the guitar off musiansfriend so i never actually tested it out before. I played an Ibanez V at the store before it and i liked it and i was originally gonna get that. I orded the Ibanez V and it was sent damaged. Musiciansfriend said they didnt have any others to send me, but they said they would send me the AW20 instead because they sent me a broke guitar. Thats how i ended up with it. And it was like $150 more than the ibanez v, so i figured it had to be better.

              Something tells me it wasnt set up properly when i got it. Right now when im looking at it, the first fret feels good and its fairly close, but as u go up the neck, the gap gets bigger and bigger. I think the neck might be bowed. I do keep my guitars out on stands in my basement studio and it does go through 4 seasons. So that might be it. Is there any techniques i can use to figure out if my guitar neck is bowed?
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              <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>KsE fan</strong>
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              <div class="message">So I wanna lose my man titties</div>

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              <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>missingastring</strong>
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              I could pack with the best of em.</div>

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              • #8
                I think Musicans Friend has a guarentee policy,or something like that.If that is the case,I'd send it back.If you buy a guitar that isn't suitable for playing,it should be up to them to fix it,or replace the guitar.This is why I won't get a guitar online.If you haven't waited too long,send it back and ask for either a playable guitar,or a full refund.
                <div class="signaturecontainer">1997 Epiphone PR-350CE<br />
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                • #9
                  I think Musicans Friend has a guarentee policy,or something like that.If that is the case,I'd send it back.If you buy a guitar that isn't suitable for playing,it should be up to them to fix it,or replace the guitar.This is why I won't get a guitar online.If you haven't waited too long,send it back and ask for either a playable guitar,or a full refund.


                  I bought it 2 years ago.
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                  <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>KsE fan</strong>
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                  <div class="message">So I wanna lose my man titties</div>

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                  <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>missingastring</strong>
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                  I could pack with the best of em.</div>

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                  • #10
                    Check if there's a strip under the bridge saddle. That was the case with my AW800 and after removing that the action is very comfortable.
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                    • #11
                      Well first off, thanks for the replies.
                      Something tells me it wasnt set up properly when i got it. Right now when im looking at it, the first fret feels good and its fairly close, but as u go up the neck, the gap gets bigger and bigger. I think the neck might be bowed. I do keep my guitars out on stands in my basement studio and it does go through 4 seasons. So that might be it. Is there any techniques i can use to figure out if my guitar neck is bowed?


                      Put a capo at the first fret, then press down on the low E at the body fret. Look at the gap between the string and the 7th fret. It should be very slight; less than one or two sheets of paper. If you have a set of feeler gauges, look for it to be .010" or less (I like my necks straight, so I shoot for .005" or less).

                      Alternatively, hold the guitar by the body and sight down the neck - make sure you're looking toward a light source so you can see clearly - and see if the neck looks straight or is bowed.

                      The first method is preferable. Keep in mind that if even if the neck is bowed and you remove the relief by adjusting the truss rod, you may still be left with too-high action due to problems at the saddle (based on your description of the action increasing dramatically as you move up the neck toward the bridge). Worst case, the neck angle could be bad, which means a reset, and probably not worth the money for your guitar.
                      <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">Callaham S, EJ Strat, '62 RI Strat, Fender AD Tele, Fender AS Tele, Peavey Wolfgang, Gibson FB, Gibson LP Std, Gibson LP Studio, Gretsch 6118, Edwards LP, Schecter Hollywood, Schecter C-1EA, Fender Deluxe Jazz Bass, MM Stingray 5, Bourgeois Vintage D, Martin D-41, Gallagher Doc Watson, Gibson Dove, Taylor 414ce Ltd, Taylor GC4, Larrivee OM-03, Larrivee Parlor, Tacoma DR-20, Aria AD-80, Fender Twin 50th Anniv, Fender Blues Jr, Egnater Rebel 20, Vox AC30H2, Marshall JTM-45, Fender SuperSonic 22</font></div>

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                      • #12
                        . . . You probably just need to sand down the bottom of the saddle and nut a bit. Take it to a tech if you're worried about doing it youself, it's just part of a basic set up - not a big job at all. While you're at it, have the tech set it up for .012s again - .010s don't belong on acoustics.

                        When you're finished, the action should be about 2.4mm (not cm) at the 12th fret for the low E and 1.6mm for the high E. And you can use 10's on an acoustic, although they're a bit lighter than what "everyone else" uses. You'll lose some volume but the guitar won't sound bad. I used 10's for a good while and I currently use 11's. It's a matter of what feels right to you.
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                        • #13
                          Listen to DonK and also read the 3rd thread from the top on the front page of the forum - "Is My Guitar Sick?"
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                          <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>Samilyn</strong>
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                          <div class="message">Can't put a price on the love one has for an instrument, the mojo it gains from being played by you or good friends, or the good feelings it produces when you pick it up and it feels like an old friend, no matter what the the numbers on the price tag.</div>

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                          • #14
                            Type "guitar set up" into a search engine - you will find lots of sites telling you how to do it.

                            And do fit 10's to your guitar if you want to.
                            Howard

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                            • #15
                              Is there any techniques i can use to figure out if my guitar neck is bowed?


                              Please go thru the measurements in the "Sick Guitar" sticky (and actually measure the string height at the 12th fret with an good rule) and report the results here. Don't adjust anything (truss rod, nut or saddle) until you understand that they are related.

                              Also, "keeping your guitar out on a stand" could have resulted in some serious humidity related changes to the action, top, and neck angle - before you start changing anything get it right and stable.

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