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A Question to the Luthiers on Guitar Action   You are logged in as Guest
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Ron.M

Posts: 7051
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Scotland

A Question to the Luthiers on Guitar... 

Hi Aaron, Charles or Stephen!
My question is this....
Can a Luthier do anything to improve the action on a guitar after it has been built, other than filing down the saddle?
I have a good, but factory made Brazilian guitar (de Giorgio) which I like a lot.
It feels very comfortable to play and sounds not bad.
I've had it about 25 years. It's cedar top (I think) and Brazilian Rosewood.
Ages ago I filed down the saddle to get the best action/buzz ratio I could.
Everything was fine but a couple of years ago it started to buzz badly on certain (high) frets. So much that it's becoming unplayable.
The frets do look pretty worn now.
Would it be possible for a Luthier to do some work on this guitar to maintain the same low action but stop the buzz?
I was thinking of contacting Colin Morrison (of Montrose, Scotland) about this, but I feel he may be dismissive about working on a factory made guitar.
I really would like to get the guitar sorted out and I am not looking to get this done on the cheap just because it's factory made and not a guitar de marca.
I realize that time is time whether it's working on my guitar or a damaged Arcangel Fernandez.
What do you think?

cheers

Ron
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 22 2004 20:35:06
 
aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: A Question to the Luthiers on Gu... (in reply to Ron.M

If there is no room to lower the saddle then it is a question of dealing with the fingerboard. Usually one can plane the board at the nut end to in effect lower the action. It all depends on how much we're talking as to whether or not thats an option. Other than that it's new fingerboard time or on trick a friend of mine does is to loosen the back at the upper bought and foot and push the neck back that way. Very tricky.
I would contact the luthier you have in mind. Unless the guitar is a real basket case then its really your call as to whether or not it's worth getting fixed.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 23 2004 2:32:01
Guest

RE: A Question to the Luthiers on Gu... (in reply to Ron.M

Planing the fingerboard for adjusting the neck angle, is a thing that is done sometimes to make a Classical action more flamenco. One problem though is that very often the breakangle over the saddle becomes to low and the guitar looses the tone you once liked.

So take it to a Luthier that knows about breakangles and flamencoguitars.

Anders
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 23 2004 12:46:21
Guest

RE: A Question to the Luthiers on Gu... (in reply to Ron.M

To Aron

This loosening the back at the upper bought and foot interests me, and I know exactly what you are talking about. Does it imply to renew the bindings and purfling? I mean, you´ll use heat (and maybe moist) to loosen, and then the bindings/purflings will go loose as well. But is it possible to reglue the part which is loose?

Thanks (nothing like a good trick)
Anders
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 23 2004 12:54:02
 
Escribano

Posts: 6311
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: A Question to the Luthiers on Gu... (in reply to Guest

Doesn't it depend on the glue that was used? Hide glue softens but TiteBond doesn't? Aren't hot knives involved? Scary Are luthiers still using hide glue for this purpose?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 23 2004 17:58:05

Paco E.

Posts: 70
Joined: Nov. 16 2003
From: Wieringerwerf, Holland

RE: A Question to the Luthiers on Gu... (in reply to Escribano

Buzz.........

There is another solution.

one :

It is possible to remove the frets and sand or scrape the fingerboard.
Place new frets and you are ready.

Pushin the strings on the first and the 12th fret(E) normaly you will have 0.8th off a mm space in the middel of these points. It is just a manner of giving the strings the space to vibrate.
It is not easy to do it your self for the first time.
My advice is to go to a luthier and let kim or her doing it.

In a standard concert tuning the space at the 12th fret is from 3,9 mm for the low E string and 3,1 for the high E string. These values may vary +- .4 mm, in case of a low or high action. This a standard for classical guitars, ofcourse it depends also on your own"taste" and buzzing strings or not.
Onother cause is maby a worn nut. It is easy to replace it. You can buy bone nuts at a lot of dealers (here in holland) just get a hamer and tick it out. Most of the time they are not glued, and replace it.

Ed
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 23 2004 19:43:20
 
Ron.M

Posts: 7051
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Scotland

RE: A Question to the Luthiers on Gu... (in reply to Ron.M

Thanks Aaron & folks,
I'm pretty amazed that you can work with already made guitars like that.
I find it incredible that you can loosen the glues etc, do some work and then put it back together again!
I thought that once a guitar was built, then that was it for all time, save filing the saddle or putting on new machine heads or repairing cracks etc!
My eyes have been opened.

thanks

Ron
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 23 2004 20:34:40
 
Escribano

Posts: 6311
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: A Question to the Luthiers on Gu... (in reply to Paco E.

quote:

Another cause is maybe a worn nut


I'm confused, how does a worn nut raise the action?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 23 2004 21:53:07
 
aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: A Question to the Luthiers on Gu... (in reply to Ron.M

Anders and Simon,
This trick is something that I have yet to try. A good friend of mine who is an accomplished guitarmaker told me about it. He uses hot pallete knives to seperate the back from the linings and the slipperfoot, if there is one. The bindings would have to be removed, at least in the area in question, to get at the joint in the first place. Both hide glue and titebond are capable of being reversed, the difference is hide glue can be re-reversed where as with titebond you now have to remove the glue residue and start over. Not easy to do nor easy to get a decent glueing surface.
This is not have repair I would take on lightly. I would consider all other options first. However it is good to have up your sleeve if there is no other recourse.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 24 2004 2:25:21

Paco E.

Posts: 70
Joined: Nov. 16 2003
From: Wieringerwerf, Holland

RE: A Question to the Luthiers on Gu... (in reply to Escribano

Hahaha,

Simon, I ment it otherwise

A worn out nut needs a raised action.

Is my English that bad? hahaha, well here I can still learn and improve my English.
This problem of buzzing strings can have different causes.
But without knowing the guitar, its difficult to know the cause of the problem.

I,ve seen top's that has been raised because of the string tension.( steel strings on a cedar top as an experiment of the owner ) the sadle was going (tumbling?) to the direction of the neck, and the result was a lower action, the top stayed in that shape.

So it's hard to know what is going on with an instrument. (30 years old?)

Ed
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 24 2004 14:30:35
Guest

RE: A Question to the Luthiers on Gu... (in reply to Guest

Hola Anders

I once took a worn Reyes with this problem to Reyes. He suggested removing the back, adjusting the angle and fitting a new back. I was a bit horrified and suggested a new fingerboard. After a bit of humming and hawing, he agreed. The guitar turned out well.

Sean
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2004 16:57:33
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