How can I lower the action on my acoustic

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by fiddleforhim, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. fiddleforhim


    Feb 13, 2009
    I have an acoustic/electric with a peizio (sp) pu in the bridge. How can I lower the action. the grooves in the nut are about as lowas I can go. Can you work on the peizio I know nothing about these pickups

    Thanks, Tom
  2. Forgot to say what you own... don't trust the replies without full info.

    Overall it can be adjusted.
  3. Please complete your profile.. it is really lacking. MNAirhead is correct: You need to flesh out your description/problem with a lot more details. Yes, the action on most acoustic instruments with-or-without piezo pickups can be lowered.
  4. JTE

    JTE Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    It's the same as on electric basses, just the mechanics are different. First make sure the relief in the neck is correct, the nut is correct, and the frets are in good shape. Then if it's still too high, you need to lower the saddle. Now with a piezo under the saddle it's much more critical that you do this correctly. It means taking the saddle out of the bridge, and removing material from the BOTTOM of the saddle, not the top. But at the same time you need to make sure that it's square in all dimensions, and the bottom is perfeclty smooth and flat.

    So, the choice is to either take it to someone who knows acoustic instruments really really well, or do it yourself while being cognizant that you may dork it up enough to wind up having the really good tech do it anyway.

  5. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Why the action is high is more important than how at this stage of the game.

    It could be that there is too much relief.

    It could be that the saddle is to high.

    It could be that the top has started to hump.

    It could be that the bridge is lifting.

    Data is needed to be able to diagnose the problem.

    Please measure the string height at the twelfth fret on the outside strings. Also measure the relief at the seventh fret. Detailed instructions are located in the sticky labeled "All setup questions..." at the top of the forum. Post your findings and someone will help you.
  6. nortonrider


    Nov 20, 2007
    Yep! I did it just like JTE said.
    I set up everything else the best I could, then after taping a some fine sandpaper to a piece of flat steel, I removed the saddle and sanded material from the bottom.

    I figured what the heck, the worst thing that could happen was that I would make it too short and have to buy another plastic saddle. It worked out just fine.
  7. Errrrrrrrrr the obvious answer here that every one is missing is that you ADJUST THE TRUSS ROD!!!

    The rule being 'righty tighty and lefty loossey'.
  8. Craig_S

    Craig_S Inactive

    Oct 15, 2008
    Metro Detroit
    Good job on the saddle!

    Evidently you didn't read JTE's post. "Make sure the relief is correct"
  9. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    This is a common misconception. The purpose truss rod is regulating the amount of relief in the fingerboard. That the string height raises or lowers is merely a by product of adjusting the relief. It is important to lock in the relief first. When the relief is correct, string height is adjusted by raising or lowering the saddle.
  10. (or nut.. or frets)

    OR buying a different guitar
  11. Nah, i would'nt start axe'ing away at the bridge or nut until first off i'd done the simple job of adjusting the action with the truss rod, its not rocket science, if the action still feels high then use a nail file on the nut and if it still feel high adjust the bridge.
  12. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    The bolt-on neck and the ability to adjust the neck angle with shims is my favorite feature of the Tacoma Thunderchief.
  13. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Given that you have taken JTE's excellent advice above FIRST.....

    If you have to modify the saddle, my advice is to measure it and order a couple of blank pieces of matching saddle material from (this will cost about $12). Remove the original saddle, and trace its outline onto one of the blanks with a sharp pencil.

    Now, put the original saddle safely away into a sandwich baggie labeled "original saddle" and put that in your guitar case.

    Modify the blank until it's a replica of the original - then remove material from the bottom of the new saddle until it works for you. This preserves the original in case you screw up the process. The reason for the second piece of replacement saddle is obvious - more material to work with if you screw up the first one.

    Doing it this way, you always have the original saddle if needed.

    This is the exact process I used to adjust the saddle on my Applause AE-40:

  14. Joshua

    Joshua WJWJr Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 23, 2000
    Quoted for emphasis.
  15. fiddleforhim


    Feb 13, 2009
    Thanks to everyone for their advice and help, I think I can get it now. I have played fiddle and mando for 20+ years but I am really new to this electric instrument stuff. I wasn't sure if I could mess with the white part of the bridge or not but I think I can give it a try now. The instrument is my Johnson acoustic/elec. The neck seems to have the right relief an like I said the nut is down about right. I have set up my mandos for years so I think that will help.

    Thanks again for all of your help, Tom
  16. JTE

    JTE Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Sorry, but that's just wrong. The truss rod's only function is to adjust the relief in the neck. As pointed out several times, a by-product of that could be lowering the action. But cranking a truss rod when the problem is the neck/body angle or the problem is a saddle that's too high is more likely to damage the neck, the rod, or both, than it is to fix the problem.

  17. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    As will be clear from my earlier post, I also disagree with this post - especially the idea of a nail file (shudder!!!!!) :scowl: