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joaogvaz

 

Posts: 5
Joined: Nov. 18 2015
 

Saddle and nut help 

Greetings

I bought my first flamenco guitar , an Alhambra 7fc and noticed that the action is very high.

Can anyone suggest me a place to buy a factory made saddle and nut properly worked to just fit in the guitar so the action is perfect for flamenco?

Thank you
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 19 2015 18:04:09
 
pbekkerh

 

Posts: 32
Joined: Dec. 11 2012
 

RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to joaogvaz

You can't just buy it, as there are always individual differences between guitars and also different tastes between guitar players.

It's not so difficult to do yourself, you can buy a cheap tool on ebay to measure height and a flat surface and some sandpaper and you are on your way. But then is isn't to expensive to have it done at a workshop either.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 19 2015 21:45:33
 
joaogvaz

 

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Joined: Nov. 18 2015
 

RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to joaogvaz

Thanks for the answer

Do i need to sandpaper the nut? Or is just needed to adjust the saddle wich comes from factory with the guitar?

any good video about this?

Thank you
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 19 2015 22:31:01
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3220
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to joaogvaz

quote:

ORIGINAL: joaogvaz

Thanks for the answer

Do i need to sandpaper the nut?



On my guitars whose setup I like, the bottom of the strings is about 0.5 to 0.7 millimeters from the first fret. I have one guitar where this distance is about 1 millimeter. It feels a little hard to fret at the first fret, but I haven't gotten around to fixing it, since I don't play this guitar very much, for other reasons.

quote:

Or is just needed to adjust the saddle wich comes from factory with the guitar?

any good video about this?

Thank you


There may be good videos, but I remain ignorant. You can buy a tool for marking the saddle or nut here:

http://www.lmii.com/products/tools-services/measuring-tools/nut-saddle-setup-gauge

Some modify the nut or saddle by rubbing it against sandpaper on a flat surface. Luthiers and repairmen that I have seen usually mark the piece, put it in a vise and use a file. The question came up here on the Foro, and the luthiers favored using a file.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 19 2015 22:50:13
 
Sr. Martins

Posts: 3077
Joined: Apr. 4 2011
 

RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to joaogvaz

Usually Alhambra's nuts are ok. Just buy a bone blank to make the saddle as you want, that should be enough.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 19 2015 23:04:26
 
Stephen Eden

 

Posts: 902
Joined: Apr. 12 2008
From: UK

RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to joaogvaz

Check the nut height first. I like to fret on the 3rd and then check the distance from the string to the top of the first fret. Some suggest that you should just about be able to fit a thin piece of paper in the gap. I like to aim for about 0.2mm. If it isn't how you like it take material from the bottom of the nut. Carefully check by putting the nut back and doing the same thing with the strings under some tension.

Once you have done this check the action at the 12th fret again. If it is still too high then it's time to take material from underneath the saddle. Measure the action on both E and e strings at the 12th and keep one rule in mind. You have to change the height of the saddle by double the amount of change you want to see at the 12th fret.

For example. If you want to lower the action by 0.5mm at the 12th fret you must take 1mm away from underneath the saddle.

Also before starting make sure you have enough saddle height in the first place. Sometimes the action is wrong for other reasons.

Hope that helps

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 20 2015 9:59:31
 
Sr. Martins

Posts: 3077
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RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to Stephen Eden

Never played an Alhambra with a too high nut.

Alhambras with high saddle: all of them.

It's safe to assume that the saddle has to be lowered. Also, if the strings are from factory, they might be extra hard tension ones.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 20 2015 12:16:30
 
Stephen Eden

 

Posts: 902
Joined: Apr. 12 2008
From: UK

RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to joaogvaz

I'm sure it will be fine but it should always be the first thing to check and take a matter of seconds.

Imagine lowering the saddle so you now have the desired action only it's still a pain to fret in lower positions. So you go and lower the nut and bang your action is now too low and you have to raise it with a shim. 30 seconds of cautions pays dividends.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 20 2015 12:33:11
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to joaogvaz

SEden is right, it is considered the correct way to do things to check the nut first.

Joaogvaz, you seem a little unsure about all this (nothing wrong with that), so if you choose to fix the setup yourself, the I will strongly advice not to work the original saddle. Buy yourself a piece of saddle bone. That way you dont have to worry about taking to much off.
most probaly its a 2.3mm thick sadlle but it could be a 3mm, so meassure first

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 21 2015 7:50:32
 
Sr. Martins

Posts: 3077
Joined: Apr. 4 2011
 

RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to Anders Eliasson

I use a capo at 1 to measure at 12 and at 3 to measure the nut.

I wouldn't mimic Alhambra's saddle, it's better to throw that one out and make a straight one that fits the space.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 21 2015 13:37:42
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to joaogvaz

The capo trick is good to get a fast idea about how things are working. I use it myself.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 22 2015 7:46:52
 
Sr. Martins

Posts: 3077
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RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to Anders Eliasson

quote:

The capo trick is good to get a fast idea about how things are working. I use it myself.


It really is. It brings a certain consistency to this kind of measurements on any kind of guitar by ruling out unneeded variables.

I think that the standard for 12th fret height measurement should be made with capo on 1.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 22 2015 14:13:26
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to joaogvaz

No, because the guitar has to work without a capo as well. Using a capo hised nut problems.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 23 2015 7:53:09
 
Sr. Martins

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RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to Anders Eliasson

I don't see how. If you take both measurements (capo 1 and 3) when adjusting them, the nut will be fine no matter how high or low the saddle is.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 23 2015 10:26:46
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
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RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to joaogvaz

Now, lets go 100% little detail nick-pickin.

You are saying 2 different things:
*I think that the standard for 12th fret height measurement should be made with capo on 1.

*I use a capo at 1 to measure at 12 and at 3 to measure the nut.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 24 2015 7:00:26
 
Stephen Eden

 

Posts: 902
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From: UK

RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to joaogvaz

Measuring the action at the 12th with a capo on the 1st will also make action adjustment calculations slightly out. It will no longer be 2:1 as the 12th is no longer the halfway point.

The way I see it. As long as the nut is right which it will always need to be, in order for it to be comfortable to play. Then there is no reason to use a capo to make any measurements.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 24 2015 9:12:19
 
Escribano

Posts: 6322
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to Stephen Eden

Interesting discussion about something that players should be aware of in upgrading a guitar, as the nut and saddle are accessible and relatively cheap components, but I am confused.

Having set up a lot of (electric) guitars over the years, if I was to use a capo on 1 (which can exert a lot of downward force), it could easily override a high nut at 0, so the strings would spring back to an inappropriately high action at 12 when removed and also distort the tuning fractionally.

Assuming the neck is true, no amount of truss rod/bridge/saddle adjustment will compensate for a high nut. Of course, I am talking about electrics but the concepts are the same, no?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 24 2015 10:07:03
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13344
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to Anders Eliasson

quote:

ORIGINAL: Anders Eliasson

Now, lets go 100% little detail nick-pickin.

You are saying 2 different things:
*I think that the standard for 12th fret height measurement should be made with capo on 1.

*I use a capo at 1 to measure at 12 and at 3 to measure the nut.


I think what he means is a decisive FIRST MEASURE NUT (via the capo 3 method), and only thereafter you have your capo 1 standard for the 12th.

As a player, I finally got around to measuring a bunch of guitars and disovered that there are 3 spots on the guitar to measure for action and they all are sort of balancing out in different ways to make the guitar play how I want. The one measure that is the same for all cases seemed to be the nut. In other words on a guitar that had a lower or higher than the norm nut, there was a noticeable problem....without capo. As for the rest, I realized I allowed for quite different 12 fret measurements so long as the bridge height was comfy. I think neck angle is the thing.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 24 2015 10:46:07
 
krichards

Posts: 597
Joined: Jan. 14 2007
From: York, England

RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to Escribano

quote:

Having set up a lot of (electric) guitars over the years, if I was to use a capo on 1 (which can exert a lot of downward force), it could easily override a high nut at 0, so the strings would spring back to an inappropriately high action at 12 when removed and also distort the tuning fractionally. Assuming the neck is true, no amount of truss rod/bridge/saddle adjustment will compensate for a high nut. Of course, I am talking about electrics but the concepts are the same, no?


Yes I agree

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Kevin Richards

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 24 2015 13:33:34
 
krichards

Posts: 597
Joined: Jan. 14 2007
From: York, England

RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to Stephen Eden

quote:

The way I see it. As long as the nut is right which it will always need to be, in order for it to be comfortable to play. Then there is no reason to use a capo to make any measurements.


Agree.

Measure the action at the first fret
File the nut slots to get the desired action at the 1st fret
Measure the action at the 12th fret
File the saddle to get the desired action at the 12th fret

I don't get the capo thing at all. Am I missing something?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 24 2015 16:07:54
 
keith

Posts: 1108
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From: Land of Daniel Boone

RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to joaogvaz

a couple of resources--the last link delves into the capo theory of adjustment. the only caveat for action is to use flamenco action specs and not classical action specs.

http://www.hillguitar.com/website/news/articles/classical_guitar_setup.html

http://frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/Guitar/Setup/LowerAction/loweraction01.html

http://frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/GenSetup/NutAction/nutaction.html
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 24 2015 18:12:12
 
Sr. Martins

Posts: 3077
Joined: Apr. 4 2011
 

RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to joaogvaz

Too clarify a few things..

The frets are always at the same relative distance from the 12th. Assuming a fairly straight neck, the measurements taken with capo on 1 would rule out the nut height variations. The same goes to the capo on 3 to measure nut height.

This way you cut out the "relativity" and it doesn't matter which one you adjust first (nut or saddle) because the measurements are taken independently.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 24 2015 20:50:36
 
Dudnote

Posts: 1800
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RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to Stephen Eden

quote:

ORIGINAL: SEden
Measuring the action at the 12th with a capo on the 1st will also make action adjustment calculations slightly out. It will no longer be 2:1 as the 12th is no longer the halfway point.

For a 2:1 with a capo put capo at 2nd and measure at 13

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tú ahora no me conoces.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 24 2015 22:06:42
 
Sr. Martins

Posts: 3077
Joined: Apr. 4 2011
 

RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to Dudnote

You guys aren't getting it lol

If the standard were to measure guitars at the 12th while pressing down the strings at 1, that would be the standard. No need to measure height at 13th, the idea is to remove the nut height variable.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 24 2015 23:23:45
 
Anders Eliasson

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RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to joaogvaz

Or maybe you arent getting it.
Meassuring the 12th fret stringheight is a waste of time if the nut is not correct. and if its correct, then there's no need for the capo.
I use the capo on 3rd fret to check the nut!!!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 25 2015 7:19:53
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

As a player, I finally got around to measuring a bunch of guitars and disovered that there are 3 spots on the guitar to measure for action and they all are sort of balancing out in different ways to make the guitar play how I want. The one measure that is the same for all cases seemed to be the nut. In other words on a guitar that had a lower or higher than the norm nut, there was a noticeable problem....without capo. As for the rest, I realized I allowed for quite different 12 fret measurements so long as the bridge height was comfy. I think neck angle is the thing.


That is my conclusion as well, as a player and especially after having several good local players check guitars.
They (and me) are not very picky with 12th fret stringheight IF EVERYTHING ELSE IS CORRECT!!!.
Everything else consist of nut height, stringheight at the bridge, corrected frets, AND relief.
To this we add the most important thing, the feel of the guitar. Most good players are very responsive to that. If the feel aint within the right parameters, then the above doesnt matter.

I consider all these action discussions to be completely overrated and some go realy nickpicky with 10th or 20th of a milimeter. And its always about getting it as low as possible. Thats typical bedroom guitarist approach.
I have told players that making a slightly higher action would make the guitar sound better and play better and some have tried and agreed that they felt more comfortable with a slightly higher setup). The last 2 10th mm of "possibly" lowering the action is where you loose so much sound and response in the instrument.
There is a reason why most classical players prefer 4 - 5 mm setups. Not that it should be applied to flamenco guitars which work under different sound esthetics, but its worth noticing and thinking about.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 25 2015 7:33:35
 
Echi

 

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RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to joaogvaz

I completely agree.
I believe this point is often unknown or misunderstood because of the different perspective of the buyers in the second hand market: they want to know for sure if the neck is fine or bent/warped and therefore they ask for solid points of reference: hence the strict measures of the string heigh at the 12th and bridge (which became even more popular after Johannes of Mundo flamenco wrote something about it in his website).
Nothing wrong with that but the geometry of a guitar is more complex than that and few people make the effort to understand it.
A Reyes is usually 9 mm at the bridge and less than 3 at the 12th fret while some Sanchis or Conde can be easily at 7 at the bridge because of the different settings: both are fine but different.
Often this means also a different style of playing: I saw a funny video of Vicente Amigo coping when playing a Sanchis Lopez (given to him by someone at the last minute)...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 25 2015 8:51:45
 
Blondie#2

 

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RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to Anders Eliasson

quote:

ORIGINAL: Anders Eliasson
That is my conclusion as well, as a player and especially after having several good local players check guitars.
They (and me) are not very picky with 12th fret stringheight IF EVERYTHING ELSE IS CORRECT!!!.
Everything else consist of nut height, stringheight at the bridge, corrected frets, AND relief.
To this we add the most important thing, the feel of the guitar. Most good players are very responsive to that. If the feel aint within the right parameters, then the above doesnt matter.

I consider all these action discussions to be completely overrated and some go realy nickpicky with 10th or 20th of a milimeter. And its always about getting it as low as possible. Thats typical bedroom guitarist approach.
I have told players that making a slightly higher action would make the guitar sound better and play better


Interesting discussion, I am about to shim two of my guitars at the saddle for this reason as I feel the action is a little too low.

I am interested in why you feel the slightly higher action improves the sound? Apart from string buzz/clarity issues, lets assume that isn't an issue, why does raising the action at the saddle by a small amount improve the sound?

Also would you mind expanding on what you mean by 'corrected' frets, is this basically level and crowned?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 25 2015 11:32:48
 
Ruphus

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RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to joaogvaz

Higher saddle = steeper angle to the tie block = more levering on the top = more transition.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 25 2015 13:59:24
 
Blondie#2

 

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RE: Saddle and nut help (in reply to Ruphus

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ruphus
Higher saddle = steeper angle to the tie block = more levering on the top = more transition.


One would think that break angle was the issue but Al Carruth did a series of experiments demonstrating that a break angle of 5 degrees was sufficient and anything beyond that made no difference.

From what I understand this is purely about the height of the string off the guitar top.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 25 2015 14:28:41
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