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Quiet_Mind

 

Posts: 7
Joined: Jun. 5 2012
 

Guitar setup in Michigan 

Greetings from Detroit, Michigan to all the members of this wonderful forum. I was wondering if you could help point me in the right direction. I recently got my first flamenco guitar built by Francisco Navarro (blanca 'reyes' model) I am looking to have the setup done to lower the strings action as it feels a bit on high side but don't know of any luthiers in the area. If you have any sugestions or even recomendations as I am really afraid to it myself. Thanks very much.

Norm
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 30 2012 13:48:42
 
RTC

Posts: 667
Joined: Aug. 20 2008
From: DFW Area, Texas

RE: Guitar setup in Michigan (in reply to Quiet_Mind

Sounds like you got a nice guitar. There are several members here that might be able to help you. Hope someone is near your hometown. If all else fails look for Miguel Antonio web site under repairs, enjoy his music while you are there:
http://www.miguelantonio.com/

Good Luck!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 30 2012 17:19:32
 
Shawn Brock

 

Posts: 271
Joined: Sep. 19 2011
From: Louisville KY

RE: Guitar setup in Michigan (in reply to Quiet_Mind

Hi,
Elderly Instruments could handle the job I think... Outside of them you could always take a road trip or send it to someone... Maybe this would be a good excuse to take a trip to "The 12th fret" guitar shop in Toronto?

If you ordered the guitar from Ron Hudson, I would shoot him an email and see if he has any ideas. Also just to let him know that you weren't quite happy with the setup....

Though Elderly isn't much of a dealer in flamenco guitars, as long as you explained how you want it to feel they should be able to do a great job for you. Sorry if this is no help... Just an idea or two. It seems that someone else around there could do a good setup, but I need to study on it a little more. Those were the ideas that popped into my head first...

By the way, tell us about the guitar and how you like it! We all like to hear observations when a player gets a new instrument. Plus not many people have taken the time to review the Navarro Reyes, so a lot of members still have questions about those guitars.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 30 2012 18:37:44
 
srshea

Posts: 833
Joined: Oct. 29 2006
From: Olympia, WA in the Great Pacific Northwest

RE: Guitar setup in Michigan (in reply to Quiet_Mind

Lowering the action is a pretty simple fix you can do yourself. It's like changing your own oil or sparkplugs; you can pay some greasemonkey top dollar to do it, or you can save some bucks and spend a little time doing it yourself with the added benefit that it gives you a nice little sense of accomplishment and a certain ownership over the care of your own guitar, which you don't get when you just hand it over to someone else.

Get a bone saddle blank (or a few of them) and shave it down until you've copied the shape of the original (don't mess with the original; if it ain't broke don't fix it. By keeping the original you don't have to worry about screwing anything up. If you blow it with the replacement saddle you've still got the original to fall back on and you're just right back where you started.) Once you've copied the size and contour of the original saddle then start shaving the new one down little by little. Put the saddle back on, sting 'er up and test it out. Repeat the process as needed, testing it out with each little adjustment. If you end up going too low and get too much buzzing then you can put a shim under the saddle to bring it back up the height you should have stopped at, or if you're picky you can start over with a new blank.

If you want or need a full on high-class set up job with dressing the frets and replacing the nut and all that then you should track down a luthier, but if you just want to lower the action by taking down the saddle there's really no reason not to try to do it yourself, especially if you have to go some great distance out of your way to find someone else to do the job. Give it a shot.

Here are a couple of links:
http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/Guitar/Setup/LowerAction/loweraction01.html

http://www.fernandezmusic.com/ClassicalGuitarSet-up.html
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 30 2012 22:23:58
 
Jeff Highland

 

Posts: 401
Joined: Mar. 5 2010
From: Caves Beach Australia

RE: Guitar setup in Michigan (in reply to Quiet_Mind

Before you start lowering the saddle, you need to check and correct the Nut slot heights, and then the neck relief and then measure the 12th fret string height.
That will tell you what is needed. And then you can make the necessary adjustments to the saddle height.
It's not Rocket surgery, but it does require some tools such as nut files and measurement devices and the knowledge of how to use them (especially with nut files)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 30 2012 23:30:18
 
Quiet_Mind

 

Posts: 7
Joined: Jun. 5 2012
 

RE: Guitar setup in Michigan (in reply to RTC

Thank you very much for the all the sugestions. I checked Miguel's site and I have to say I took my sweet time before I went to repair section just enjoying the beatiful music. The combination of violin and guitars with hungarian gypsy music is fantastic. Thanks for the link.
Shawn I was thinking about Elderly as that is definitely the best music store within my driving distance and I bought other gear there before but was not sure if they do understand what good flamenco guitar setup is. But then again as Adam pointed out this might be something I could even do myself. Once I inspected bridge closely it looks like it was raised from the original setup and might not need any shaving. I assume there might be a shim under and if I remove it it might be just right. I did not get the guitar directly from Ron and I am the second owner. This makes lot more sense now since the fellow I bought it from said that guitar was little too bright/buzzy for the music he plays and I assume not really looking for low action.
As far as the Navarro Blanca Reyes model I am still getting acquinated with her and so far I have to say that it is more inspiring then any other guitar I have (mind you I am talking about Takamine CP-132 and Godin Multiac which I used mainly because live show amplifying and they are quite different "genre") Navarro sounds lyrical in classical way with more sustain that you expect or want but with the hints of of the raspiness especially when driven hard on bass strings. Now, lot of this might due my playing style and the strings as I only experimented with one set so far but I do need to lower the action if nothing for playability. This might affect sound as well, I assume, so I'll be able to give better review after it is all set.
Thanks for the instructions Adam, I will try to see if I can get the bridge to original height first and go from there. Cheers!!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 1 2012 3:08:09
 
Shawn Brock

 

Posts: 271
Joined: Sep. 19 2011
From: Louisville KY

RE: Guitar setup in Michigan (in reply to Quiet_Mind

Hi,
Yes, that's what I have been forgetting to tell you! Lots of times Navarro sends along an ebony shim with his guitars. First try lowering tension on all strings and pushing the saddle out. I had forgotten that the Navarro I had owned once upon a time had the shim with it... Glad your happy with her!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 1 2012 21:37:54
 
Quiet_Mind

 

Posts: 7
Joined: Jun. 5 2012
 

RE: Guitar setup in Michigan (in reply to Shawn Brock

Just wanted to post a quick update; now that I have removed the shim and it lowered the action perfect for my taste and have played with four diferent sets of strings and settled on Hannabach Flamenco MT's, this blanca is reborn. It sounds so good that I cannot get myself to put it down. It is definitely not high percussive blanca but more subtle, romantic tone machine that even makes rasgueados sond melancholic. Interestingly I was going to get the negra after this one to cover the "spectrum", but I find this Navarro guitar to sit in that perfect middle that I won't need another one?? Anyway, the only remark about the guitar is that it has somewhat of thicker neck that I would like but at the same time I wonder if that actually helps it get the beatiful tone and resonance...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 24 2012 14:28:37
 
a_arnold

 

Posts: 558
Joined: Jul. 30 2006
 

RE: Guitar setup in Michigan (in reply to Quiet_Mind

In setting up a guitar to have the most comfortable possible action, I was told by a local luthier that he just tunes the guitar (or any other fretted instrument) a half-step or two low, then lowers the action until he begins to get slight buzz, at which point he knows he is pushing it, then tuning it back up to 440 standard makes the buzz go away. And voila.

He says that this way, he avoids taking too much off the nut or bone when lowering it, because you can't put it back, and a shim affects the sound.

I guess this approach means you have to know whether your customer wants to use high or low tension strings.

Is this a reasonable way to proceed -- assuming you want the lowest possible action?

_____________________________

"Flamenco is so emotionally direct that a trained classical musician would require many years of highly disciplined formal study to fail to understand it."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2012 22:24:20
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