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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Lowering the Action on an Acoustic?

Contributing Member


Sep 27th, 2017 02:25 PM   Edit   Profile  

I want to get the action on my Gibson LC-1 acoustic lowered a bit on the wound lower strings side.

How much should I expect to pay to have the bottom of the bridge sanded down (or however its done) to get the action more uniform from the high E to the low E?

This is an expensive acoustic (to me at least) and I WON'T try to do the work myself. (:oD

Contributing Member


Sep 27th, 2017 03:07 PM   Edit   Profile  

You could buy another saddle and try it yourself. If you overshoot, just shim it back.

Or reinstall the original and take it to a pro. :-)

Contributing Member

Boston Area

Sep 27th, 2017 11:43 PM   Edit   Profile  

It's not a big job so it shouldn't cost more than an hour bench time from a good luthier; Whatever that is in your area... I'd guess $75 but it could go either way a few bucks as long as there are no surprises. You may as well have him check the truss and do a good setup before he pulls that saddle and takes it down on the bass side. At least you'll get your hour's worth of bench time. Take the time to talk to him/her about your expectations. They want that information so that there are no unhappy endings when it's done.

It is however extremely important that whoever does it, trims the bottom of the saddle such that the bottom is perfectly flat from end-to-end, especially on a guitar with a transducer ribbon beneath the saddle. A good luthier will know this. If the saddle bottom is not perfectly flat, the saddle won't convey the string vibration optimally to/through the bridge, and also adversely affect the performance of the transducer beneath it (some strings will be less loud than others when plugged in).

You've got a beautiful guitar so take it to somebody who know what they're doing.

Contributing Member


Sep 28th, 2017 05:28 AM   Edit   Profile  

JJuran - Thanks so much.

I play rhythm and lead on my guitars and the current action on the LC-1 Cascade inhibits some of my playing further up the neck. I know of a good guitar tech.



When Good Enough is more than adequate.
Sep 28th, 2017 09:21 AM   Edit   Profile  

You have to lower the saddle height by twice the amount that you wish to lower the action above the twelfth fret. I.e., to lower the action at the 12th fret by 1/32", you have to lower the saddle by 1/16".

Contributing Member


Sep 28th, 2017 09:54 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks Givson, I'll leave this to a pro.



Sep 29th, 2017 09:06 AM   Edit   Profile  

Regrading JJ's post on the saddle affecting string volumes: ABSATIVELY!!!!!!

Before it leaves the shop make sure to check that all strings are coming through at least close to the same volume.

Note: This can be tricky to do. If you have it plugged in to an amp, and are sitting in a small room and/or close to the amp you may not notice anything. That is because the ambient sound of the guitar can mix with the amp, making everything seem OK. Then when you go to record using the electronics, you may find some strings not coming through as well as they should.

Some form of preamp with an analog "needle" type meter will show you the levels as you play the strings.......one at a time.

Or, maybe a good set of headphones would do it. They would allow you to isolate the sounds in the room from the actual signal coming out of the guitar.

This whole act isn't hard to do, but may take several attempts and requires patience. If sanding proves to be tricky at some point with one or two strings, I have heard that a piece of scotch tape under a weak string can provide *just enough* thickness to make it louder. However, I have not confirmed this myself.

Contributing Member

New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
Sep 30th, 2017 08:46 AM   Edit   Profile  

Yup. About $75 to $85 is a good ball park figure plus the cost of your strings. With me, I just regard this as a setup. Maybe its me but I get annoyed when the front desk writes up a guitar as "lower the action". Everything is related and its a waste to simply lower the saddle and not check and adjust the trussrod, check the nut slots, and do anything that needs to be done to make the guitar play right.



Sep 30th, 2017 04:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

I bought a second saddle for the Martin I had and set the origional to the side incase I messed up. I marked with a line on the side of the saddle so I knew when to stop. I laid a piece of sandpaper on a flat surface then moved the saddle back and forth until I reached the line then stopped and tried it. I loosened the strings but did not remove them so I could quickly tune and check intonation and for fret buzz and make adjustments as required. Worked quite well, was not hard to do ( I am not a luthier and would not feel comfortable with fretwork)

Contributing Member


Oct 14th, 2017 06:25 AM   Edit   Profile  

I finally took my guitar in for work yesterday. It's only costing me $55. The tech is supposed to be really good AND he works out of an independent music store fairly close to where I live.

I should get the guitar back next week too.

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

Nine mile skid on a ten mile ride
Oct 14th, 2017 10:43 AM   Edit   Profile  

It's a leap of faith, brother. I brought the saddle down on my D-42 because there was no one local to do it. I figured if I screwed it up I could always bring the guitar to Boise and pay for a new saddle or have mine corrected. Fortunately, it worked doing it myself.

I'm making a leap of faith this week when I bring my recently acquired '72 D-18 to a guy in Boise to reset the neck, repair a crack, and do whatever else it needs. I'm also bringing him my modded Road Worn Tele to do something about the frets.

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Lowering the Action on an Acoustic?

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