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complicated action adjustment


george black

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DSC_0840.jpg?t=1259360764[/img][/img][/img[img]][/img]

 

I hope the picture is included. I have this exact setup. Now look at the bridge and notice how far the bridge pins are aft of the saddle. Much more aft than normal and shortly after this years production Gibson moved the bridge pin closer to the saddle. You can see this in the 60s Dove tread recently posted.

 

OK--here is the problem

1) Action is high

2) there is enough saddle to bring it down some BUT

3)If I bring the saddle nearly to the bridge level, then the angle from the saddle to the bridge pins is little more than a straight line. As a matter of fact that angler is too straight as we speak. Now I do know that when this angle becomes less acute then there is not enough pressure on the bridge to transfer proper vibration.(At least I thing that is right). So what can I possibly do to help this problem.

4)READ THIS before you suggest a neck reset--- This is a law suit copy with great potential. I know because I have had three 60s J45s and both a 55 and 61 j200. Just to mention a few. BUT I,m not willing to put a reset on it at this time unless I'm sure she will sing.

5) Maybe shave the bridge much lower and if it works then replace the bridge. Since this is a copy I don't care at all about original stuff , no only sound.. HELP

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You can change the angle to some degree by 'ramping', cutting (or filing) the slots where the strings go down into the bridge. So now instead of the strings being nearly straight and then dropping down into the pin holes, they will drop down at more of an angle.

 

Sorry about the crappy graphic, hopefully it shows what I'm trying to say.

 

vio3h4.jpg

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Yes this looks very interesting. Would the strings come in contact with the bridge as it looks in figure 2 or would it be like a tunnel that directed the string from the pin to the bridge saddle without contacting the wood??? I am guessing that I will have to turn the pins backward to get the string to sit at the bottom of the pin?????

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Any time I've done this, the strings have kept in contact with the bridge, simply because I didn't file the slots all that deep.... just enough so the angle was increased. I don't know if there'd be any positive or negative effect by 'over' filing and making a tunnel but increasing the break angle behind the saddle will make a huge difference if there is an existing problem, which, it sounds like you have.

 

I'm stumbling on words here, but I guess what I'm saying is that if there is insufficient break angle, increasing it to an acceptable angle will radically change the clarity of the notes. If the angle is acceptable (albeit not great) right now, then I don't think it will make a huge difference just by increasing it. Physics will prove that the greater the angle, the greater the downward force on the bridge and all that, I just question how much of that net effect will reach our ears. It's a lot like saddle material. If it's softer-than-puppy-poo-plastic and you change to a harder synthetic or bone, the change is hugely noticeable. Changing from a good synthetic to bone or ivory or tusk or whale molar might make a change but it won't be as radical.

 

As to the bridge pins: if you're careful filing the slots, you won't really change the actual hole the pin goes in, just the wood between the pin hole and saddle. The important point of contact for the string ball (underneath at the bridge plate) won't be touched. So my guess is the pins will fit the same as they did before. I have a little saw that is meant for that purpose, the only drawback is that it's only going to cut one size slot obviously. I've found it cuts too wide a slot for the unwound strings and sometimes not wide enough for the heavier wound strings.

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Thank you for your continued help. I think this will help because even now before I can consider lowering the saddle, I can lift the strings completely of the saddle while she is 440 tune!!!! I can live with action as is because it is really not an issue until I go up the neck to around 9 which I don't live there anyway. So I think I will just, for now, see what this suggestion of yours will achieve. Now I want you to know that no matter what the outcome, you have already been a big help. If left alone I was likely going to do something that would not have changed the angle as much as your idea, and plus would have been cosmetically more destructive. I doubt I will tackle this today as I may want to get a adequate file or saw.

I have also thought of this; What if I drilled 6 new holes just behind the saddle?? Then plug the old holes with those little round wood things that come when you cover a below the surface screw head??

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That would do what you want it to do but I think it would be a high risk/low payoff situation. If you do a neat job slotting and ramping it will look fine, in fact it will barely be noticeable, and will give the same outcome.

 

As to a tool, I would think you could grind away at a hacksaw blade and make one. You'd have to rock it back and forth to make the wound string slots wide enough I'm sure.

 

This is the tool I have. It's not perfect but it will work:

 

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Special_tools_for:_Bridges/Bridge_Pin_Hole_Saw.html

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A local luthier does this ramping operation with a Dremel tool, using different diameter bits (straight-sided deburring bits) to match string diameters. Cuts very cleanly and quickly and the tool is very controllable. I watched him ramp the bridge on my J200 with the Dremel.......worked great!

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Just curious, George, why do you not want to consider a neck re-set?

 

As for re-drilling 6 new holes and filling them, I'd be concerned about weakening the bridge plate. Plugging the old bridge holes disguises the move, but still leaves the bridge plate with 12 holes instead of 6, which it was not designed for.

 

The Stew Mac saw looks like Frank Ford put a handle on a jigsaw blade. Really ingenius.

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Just curious' date=' George, why do you not want to consider a neck re-set?

 

[/quote']

 

Curious George, heh heh heh.

 

I've never done a reset on a Japanese guitar but I have replaced the fingerboards on them. I don't know what kind of glue they used but it would probably work well to hold battleships together. So it might be next to impossible to remove the neck without causing mass carnage throughout.

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Here is the latest. There is a luthier in a town not far from me who is very familiar with this job. So I will likely take it ti him for the job. $20 quote. Thanks so much for the insight because I would have never know the term "ramping" to use when explaining my problem to him. I will let you know how it worked out. Thanks also for the drawings because they were worth a thousand words.. GREAT FORUM here.

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You should check the neck angle first before deciding on anything.

 

Lay a straight edge between the 3rd and 4th strings on top of the frets and slide it down until it touches the bridge. Does it slide just across the top of the bridge or does it hit the bridge thickness? At the top? Bottom? With a proper neck angle the straight edge will just glide across the top of the bridge. If the guitar's neck has started to settle into the body (happens to all acoustics over time) then you are in neck reset territory. Filing string ramps may improve tone slightly depending on how much the neck has settled. To have good tone you need a substantial break angle of the string over the saddle and down into the pins. A neck reset in these cases will restore an amazing amount of volume and tone to the guitar.

 

I would caution against shaving the bridge down or drilling new pin holes as you'll weaken the strength of the bridge and run the risk of splitting it. There is a tremendous amount of pressure riding and pulling on that bridge and that pressure is ALONG the grain of the wood. You need that thickness there for strength.

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WOW.... that's my Dove in the original post... YES' date=' I'M KEEPING MY DOVE, THE THOUGHT OF SELL IS NO LONGER....

[/quote']

ram, if it's yours, could you please take your time and read the 1962 Dove restoration threads that I started today? I think there may be some things you should be albe to clarify on an old Dove. Thanks.

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Just an update for the people who helped me with all the info. I missed out last weekend getting this guitar to its "ramping"job. Believe it or not it snowed in Tx. Typical small town in Tx. the store is closed till Thur. Played her today against the big boys upstairs(MY BABIES) and no she will not get there. However, being that I can gently lift all the strings off of the bridge with no effort at all gives me great hope. It is like I had her tuned two steps down as far as tension goes. The top is solid silka and the sides and back are solid rosewood. I think she may just go off like a rocket. I will give a report on the weekend. Oh yea I am in Tx.but went to Ala and sooooo ROOLLLL TIDE !!!!!

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