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Strings too high from fretboard?

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Postby kaelby » June 28th, 2007, 10:35 am

I am pretty much a newbie to playing guitar and have been reading up on stuff on the internet. One thing that I read about before I got my guitar was the height of the strings from the fretboard. It said that most cheaper guitars have a greater distance meaning that it's tougher than usual on the fingers. So I thought I'd check when I got mine and came out with 5.3(ish!)/32" and figured that is quite high. I thought that the only reason my fingers were hurting was because I was a wimp and had to build up tougher fingertips! :) Trouble is, there's not many shops or places to get it altered where I live, although I'm sure if I looked I'd find somewhere. Also, my dad was the one who payed the majority of the money for the guitar and would probably end up paying(you know how it is!), so he's a bit against the idea and thinks it's not completely necessary but I wouldn't have thought it would cost a great deal of money.
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Postby kent_eh » June 28th, 2007, 11:27 am

Just so we're on the same page:

Electric or acoustic?
Are the strings the same height over the entire length of the fretboard?
How high are the strings at the first fret? the 12th? the 22nd?
What type of bridge does it have?

If you could show us a picture (if not your guitar, then the same model from a dealers' web site would do nicely)

That said, 5/32 is a bit high, but I've seen worse.
There are some adjustments that can be made, and depending on the guitar these might be trivial (and reversible) or not.
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Postby kaelby » June 29th, 2007, 1:26 am

Sorry, I should have really given you more info about the guitar. The guitar is an acoustic, it was quite a cheap guitar because I didn't want to spend too much when starting out.- Falcon FG100(http://www.jhs.co.uk/falcon.html). The action slowly decreases going up to the nut and at the first fret the low E is just under 2/32", at the twelfth was the 5/32" (just tried it again to double check and its about 4.5/32”) and at the 20th fret it's about 5.5/32".

Images-
http://picasaweb.google.com/kaelby/Guit ... 6800834082
http://picasaweb.google.com/kaelby/Guit ... 8146128402
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Postby kent_eh » June 29th, 2007, 8:11 am

IIRC, the strings should be mostly paralell to the surface of the fretboard. (anyone can feel free to correct me on this).

The easiest (and least expensive to un-do) change would the to lower the saddle (the white bit that the strings actually sit on) by filing (or sanding) a small amount off the bottom of it.
This is of course not reversible, however a replacement saddle is not very expensive if you go too far.

If you take off too much, you'll have a new problem - the strings will start to buzz, or vibrate against the top of the frets.

*I've only done this once, and had good success. Perhaps someone with more experience can jump in here....
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Postby kaelby » June 29th, 2007, 9:54 am

Thanks, my dad has a workshop as he does modeling and other things so I could ask him if it's not to complicated. Or, I did look in the yellow pages and found a shop in a town near us that my Brother-in-law knows.
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Postby kent_eh » June 29th, 2007, 11:08 am

Show this web page to your dad, paying attention to the 4th photo from the bottom, and associated text.
In the picture, he is sanding the side of his new saddle, while you will be sanding the bottom of yours, but the method is the same.
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Postby Ricochet » June 29th, 2007, 2:51 pm

Depends on the style of playing you like. I do a lot of bottleneck sliding, mixed with fretting, and I think the measurements you gave above are ideal! :D
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Postby kaelby » June 30th, 2007, 12:28 pm

Thanks for everyones help. :) I'll probably get him to take a bit off and that should hopefully make it a little bit more comfortable to play.
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Postby kaelby » July 1st, 2007, 3:42 am

We had a bit of trouble getting the pins off of the bridge at first but managed to get the saddle out without much effort and my dad took off a bit from the bottom. I put the strings back on, tuned it and it was great until one of the strings broke :x . That'll teach me for not getting spares! Apart from that it sounds good and it doesn't buzz so he hasn't taken too much off. I'll hopefully get some new strings in a couple of days and continue learning to play.
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Postby Ricochet » July 1st, 2007, 12:46 pm

Spare strings are definitely a good thing to keep around. :D
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Postby kent_eh » July 2nd, 2007, 6:22 pm

Ricochet wrote:Spare strings are definitely a good thing to keep around. :D

And a few extra bridge pins.

That difficulty you encountered removing them is not uncommon, and occasionally results in a broken pin.
They are very inexpensive (unless you buy the ones made from some exotic material, which for an entry-level guitar is a wast of money)
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