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Lower action on J-45


gibomonks

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I have a 1995 Gibson J-45 Buddy Holly Limited Edition and I know it's a custom shop but the action is a bit high for me. I am used to electrics and being able to get it where I want it the ususal way using the bridge nots. But with an acoustic set neck and no bridge adjuster it's more difficult. I did it once on an old Fender 12 string by shaving the bridge which created other problems like shallow string break angle. Anyway I have read that it can be lowered by truss rod. Never tried that one before and I am a tiny bit worried on this baby! Any suggestions or ideas as I have broken a rod in the past and don't want it on this one obviously. Thanks in advance.

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I don't know that adjusting the truss rod would do much for solving a high action issue. I think it's more for giving some neck relief to the guitar than changing string height. I believe it actually moves a part of the guitars neck (where a bow or bend might be occurring)closer to the strings at a given point than moving all the strings closer to the frets up and down the entire length of the neck---don't know if I'm explaining that 100% correctly)... I think shaving the saddle would be a likely way to go. I just did it on a J29 I acquired a few days ago. And in all sincerity, if I can do it, literally anyone can. It's not difficult. The J29's action was too high for me. Now the action is much lower and very comfortable for me. Almost like fretting the strings on an electric. I like the strings so low that they don't roll-out from under my fingers, no matter where I'm at on the neck. I'm far from being a guitar tech, but it not hard or complicated to file/shave some space off the bottom of the saddle. Like others, I'm sometimes hesitant to do my own work on my guitars, but some of the stuff is pretty easy, even for me...........In addition, there are a lot of very talented and knowledgeable folks in here that can really go into detail on this stuff.............and welcome to the Gibby Forum.

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Yes, welcome here. It sounds like you are in over your head here. Trust me, take it to a good guitar tech. If you aren't sure whether to sand the bridge, or turn the truss rod I would take it to get set up by someone qualified. You may be able to luck into getting it right but the extras you will get from a good setup are well worth the $.

A nice guit' that Buddy Holly!

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You can get an acoustic to have action as good as an electric, but 2 things: it's harder to do, because adjustments aren't as easy, and also, acoustics tend to change with humidity and weather.

 

So basically, if you make it to have low action, just a little sinking of the top and it all goes to hell. So, you don't want to go TOO low because it won't keep it's adjustment as well as an electric. And unlike an electric, you can't just turn a few screws to reverse it.

 

Same rules apply to both: lower the bridge to get the strings lower, deeper nut slots so the strings are lower to start with, and truss rod for the PROPER neck bow adjustment to keep the strings from buzzing when the action is low.

 

What you might have read or heard, is in a pinch, if you need to RAISE the action, you could put more bow into the neck with the truss rod. But that won't stop strings buzzing when playing up the neck. OR...you might have read that adjusting the truss rod for a PROPER neck bow when it is out will restore lower action if it needs an adjustment.

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