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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / This Seagull is still giving me grief.


LA , Calif

I try my best
Jan 21st, 2018 09:52 PM   Edit   Profile  

It's a 2004 S series grand I got new in 2006.

For the first two years I never thought about humidity hadn't had an acoustic for years.
It played fine and I never measured anything.

Since maybe 2009 it started to change. Even though Seagulls are well made either the online place I bought it from screwed with the frets because each has a flat spot where most have a nice round crown or Seagull did this.

I needed to raise the action 1/64" and when I removed the saddle I found the route for the saddle had a missed area on the treb side. It was a small wedge shaped section right at the bottom so the treb side was sitting in this little wedge. Also it was tilted forward and loose in the slot.

When I got the replacement saddle from Graph Tech I found it was the same thickness. I needed to use it because once I trimmed the slot level the treble side would be to low. I then super glued rose wood to the saddle facing away from the neck and sanded it so the saddle would not tilt.

I checked the relief and it's .012" where it's always been.

If I site the neck I see relief from the nut to to the 14th fret lowest at the 7th. At the body sighting it and with a straight edge there is now a fall away and I can see the top has dropped a bit , looks almost like a 14th fret hump.

With a fret rocker I made I find the 14th is a tad high and past it a few others they are all seated well.

The action a the 12th is 4/32" low E and 3/32" High E . Factory said 7/64" and 5/64" . At that time is was and I could play it fine yet had some buzzing E & A 3rd to 7th frets.

Now with the humidifying didn't help at all so I stopped over a year ago nothing changed.

Since I play a lot less than in 09 it may be me even though now it does not buzz. 1/64" is nothing meaning if I lower it 1/64" who cares.

Or I've gotten spoiled because the Epi EL-00 Pro is 3/32" and 2/32" and has a 12 " radius not 18" plus it's frets are taller and crowned well.

I wanted to lower the seagull to that yet I fear without dealing with the frets which should be for me taller they will loose not a lot yet enough.

I realize wood changes no matter what some guitars may not.

I like high action and don't like buzzes. I've been playing it for the last 5 days for 2 hours and it seems better. On this 3rd edit. I have never touched the truss rod. If I slack off the strings and turn it counter clock wise to see it it moves well and work it a bit just to clear the threads then give a 1/4 turn to bring out the relief maybe over a few days then tune up and see what relief they pull then if I need more I can back off with the strings tuned yes?

On the crappy Epi AJ 100 I left the strings on and backed off then pulled out the relief and the rod worked it's from 09.Once I tuned up the relief was fine.

Any suggestions?

(This message was last edited by catnineblue at 02:19 PM, Jan 23rd, 2018)


New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
Jan 22nd, 2018 09:50 AM   Edit   Profile  

Fall away from the fret position that intersects with the body is often there on purpose and an intended part of the manufacturing process. It is there to address the potential development of rise due to the top elevating over time. I have seen it on Seagulls. Often, a fret rocker will rock on the 14th fret and others where the fretboard rides on the top of the body but this is not actually a problem because what you are seeing is a downward curve. Flat topped frets are not desirable but only a problem if they actually cause a problem. The trussrod will only address relief between the first and the 14th fret.


New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
Jan 22nd, 2018 10:38 AM   Edit   Profile  

What exactly is the problem you are encountering with the guitar?


LA , Calif

I try my best
Jan 22nd, 2018 12:45 PM   Edit   Profile  

"What exactly is the problem you are encountering with the guitar?"

. First off the guitar has changed. It never had fall away and even though Seagull tout's the 7 ply brace under the board over body plus the arch in the upper bout and it had both the top has sunk there where there is no arch thus now the fall away.I do realize all guitars change over time mine is 16 years old.

Emailing Seagull asking the specs I was told 7/64" bass 5/64" treb. Now it's only 1/64" higher. I read a relief of .012" which is also their spec.I have the .012" relief still and am 1/64" higher in action than their spec.

Trouble I have is when I used to play a lot I had huge hard callouses and that seemed to compensate for the flat top frets. Now I have trouble producing a clear note unless I am right behind each fret. They could have used taller frets think these are .044" tall and don't know why they have the flat tops . It's not sharp edged like a level job the tops for some odd reason have a much wider top than I would do.

I can't lower the action much since right now the treb side of the saddle is 1/8" above the bridge and if I try to go down to 3/32" low E the high E will have 1/16" standing and may not have enough break angle.

I have no idea what most new Seagulls frets look like can't find a photo that shows this. I know they changed the bridge and the shape of the saddle.

I ordered this in 2004 on a on line site and at the time also got a A&L AMI Almond 12 fret I don't recall how the frets were. It had a low E buzz.

I see videos of people playing these and they get a clear sound.

Seagull screwed up on the saddle slot and also the pin taper because the pins always fell out easy with no string and I need to hold the pins down to replace a string. I didn't know the saddle was loose fitting until one day I took off all the strings and it fell out.

I thought of getting a bone one from Bob C since he said he can make one .018" thicker and I can then fit it to this slot rather than add a thin rose wood shim like I did in 2009 so the saddle would not lean toward the neck as it did.

Graph Tech sent me a Blank so I could make my own .

I'm not sure if I just round the frets will help some. I like the fact it does not buzz and I do tend to dig in since it's a small guitar it's not loud. I can get any guitar to buzz.

All in all I just want cleaner notes and a bit lower action.


New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
Jan 22nd, 2018 10:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

Try reducing the relief. Relief is not something that should be adjusted to a spec -- ever. Reduce the relief to exactly zero, elevate the saddle by about 1/32" and then add relief as needed to make the fretbuzz in the lower frets stop. Some guitars play just great with no relief. If your guitar doesn't need it, don't add it.

Wood is a bit unpredictable. You may need some fretwork if you can't clear up the dull sounding fretted notes. The worst may be that you need a neck reset if the geometry of the guitar has really gone south but you rule everything else out first.

There is no need for bridge pins to fit tight. They should be easy to remove with your fingers when the strings are loose. Its not the tension of the pins that keep the strings secure. Its the ball sitting forward of the pin and pushing back sideways against the front of the pin that keep the pin and thus the string in place. The ball needs to move toward the neck so the pin can slide past it. Saddles are sometimes snug and sometimes free to fall out but they shouldn't lean unless its part of the intent of the manufacturer or be able to wobble forward and back. New saddles always need to be fit. Shims under the saddle worsen the situation and can promote fracturing of the forward face of the bridge. You don't need to lower the bass side of the bridge if you just want to lower the treble side but once you go too low, you need to fit another saddle. Most of the time, I adjust a saddle via sanding the flat bottom so I don't need to deal with the radius and the intonation offsets but there is no reason that you can't adjust for height on the top of the saddle.

You can also make a saddle taller and/or thicker with CA if you are handy in the ways of working with CA. You can create a form using masking tape around the perimeter of the saddle and by applying numerous coats of thin CA, you can build up the height. To do this within a short time you need CA accelerator otherwise you need to let each thin application of CA cure overnight. You cannot apply it thick or the deep CA will not cure. Once you build up the CA, you just shape it as needed.


LA , Calif

I try my best
Jan 22nd, 2018 11:45 PM   Edit   Profile  


I understand the relief aspect. If I do reduce it it might bring the action closer yet not enough.

What I wanted was 1/32" lower action , if I raise the saddle then it will be far to high.

The bridge has a straight slot it's just the stock Tusq compensated saddle from Graph Tech was about .011 to thin so I made a rose wood shim and CA'd it to the saddle so it fits the bridge contour at the top edge so only the saddle shows.It is bonded to the saddle away from the neck side. It was not designed to tilt since the slot is cut 90 degrees.

It's not bad enough to require a neck reset. If I set a straight edge on the board center and keep the straight edge on the 1st to 14th frets and not allow it to tip into the fall away the straight edge sits right on top of the saddle.

I know it's very difficult without seeing it.

I may just try to get the relief out and see what this does then once I know the rod works backing off first since it's never been touched since 2004 .If this does not get me closer then maybe lower the saddle by 1/32" and then if needed add some relief. It's possible with the neck straight the strings will pull in just enough relief.

I spoke to a fellow here who is a tech David Neely who's worked for Gibson Nashville and came to Hollywood decades ago and does repairs for everyone and he has a few videos on You tube.

I told him what I had and he asked if I humidified it yes after owning it for 2 years. He said I would be better off not doing so. It's been close to a year since I stopped and it hasn't changed for the worst. It seems very stable the action from a year ago has not changed other than the high E is 1/64" lower and stayed there. The saddle slot is a bit more than 1/4" deep. When I had a capo on the first fret to check relief this lowered the action to 3/32" and 2/32" I played it for a bit like that and it was better action wise and didn't buzz if that helps.It could go down a bit at the nut.

All the acoustics I had before this back in the 60's to mid 70's didn't have compensated saddles all were Gibson's a 12 string and a 66 J160E and J45 . Never bothered me and most seemed to be close enough. Most of these compensated saddles at least the ones I've seen and had have to sharp of edge where the string sits causing the strings to create small grooves , nice rounded saddle tops didn't do that.

I'd send photo's yet the camera I have will not show it well.


michigan usa

Jan 23rd, 2018 04:20 AM   Edit   Profile  

If a capo at the first fret drops your action by 1/32 then I'd say your nut slots are way too high. I just checked one of mine and it didn't even move 1/64.

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Jan 25th, 2018 03:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

It sounds like you have a dry guitar. You should hydrate it before you make any adjustments.

Several of my guitars have gone a bit nuts over the last couple of months. It has been dryer for a longer period of time than in several, 6-7 years.

I noticed a slight improvement after our rain of a couple weeks ago however humidification to 40-60% is what I would recommend. It may take a couple of weeks for a cased guitar to respond.

Note that a neck that gains relief will have nut slots that seem too high. When you get the neck and body back in the correct positions this will temper itself.


LA , Calif

I try my best
Jan 26th, 2018 08:59 PM   Edit   Profile  

"It sounds like you have a dry guitar. You should hydrate it before you make any adjustments."

When I got this seagull in 2006 and it was a 2004 model, from 2006 to 2009 I never thought of humidity.

It played fine then and it got pretty dry here.

I thought well I should add a dampit. It always had a few nut slots I could feel where higher than others. This didn't bother me.

Mainly is was the saddle slot. I noticed the tone suffered and first time I removed all the strings to oil the board the saddle fell out real easy.

First thing I noticed was this missed route in the slot treble end like a small wedge of wood was missed on the pin side. Once I removed that and got another saddle I need to raise the treble side 1/32" because of this missed route. Plus all Tusq saddles are just a tad over .128" so I needed another .010" so the saddle I bought would fit and not lean.

Point is for months on end around a year ago I had a dampit in the sound hole with a cover then added a sponge in a zip lock because the dampit would dry out in 2 days and before this just the dampit and sponge in a zip lock at the peg head for years and kept track of it. Even with the two sponges one at the head stock one in the sound hole and sound hole cover it didn't change really at all. I never altered the slight dip near the sound hole or changed the fall away 14th fret to end of board over body. All I noticed was the treble side rose a very slight amount. and the action raised 1/64" at the 12th fret.

I called the tech I spoke of David Neely and he told me my first mistake was humidifying it and told me let it dry out so I did. This was almost a year ago and all that changed was the 1/64" came back down on the high E 12th fret. The action is still 1/64" higher than when I replaced the saddle in 2009 Low and High E.

What I think happened was 14 years of string tension which all guitars suffer from. The Seagull top has changed and from what I measure it's the same on both sides across the top and neck to tail block . The back still has a nice crown. I always used the string gauge Seagull built this guitar for 12-53 and tune down to E flat low E a half step down across all 6 just because I like the sound and tune all my guitar this way. Seagull's spec is 7/64" low E 5/64" High E I am now 1/64" above this. I'm going to adjust the neck as straight as I can , lower the 2 strings at the nut and then tune up and see just how much relief it needs. I may need to take a tiny bit off the 14th fret since this is where the straight edge rocks just a bit and leave the fall away which is slight. As it is now I can't force a buzz out of it anywhere and like that part. The guitar rings for ever.

Now the EPI EL-00 Pro is a 2013 model I got in 2015 and was a few days more than 2 years old , I use a planet waves sound hole deal and a sponge in a zip lock at the head stock same gauge strings and so far kept that up and it has not changed one bit , in fact it barely has any relief at all and came set up at 3/32" low E and 2/32" high E 12th fret and it's still there.

Perhaps years from now it will change yet since I started right away with the humidifying I stick with it.

Not one of the 4 electrics I built and still own or the other 15 I built decades ago and sold never changed yet they were built in this climate.


LA , Calif

I try my best
Jan 28th, 2018 01:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

Since it's been 15 to 22% RH since Dec 7th 2017 I decided to put the Dampit and sponge back in the Seagull . I looked at my records and it's been 7 months since I removed them.

I also built a neck rest and portable work table to work on my acoustics. I never had one. Just used scrap wood I had laying around ,3/4" pine ply good on one side which I added 1/4" Birch ply to since the old 3/4" ply was a bit rough. Made the neck rest 5" tall out of pine 1 3/4" with a 3/4" Birch ply base and added 1/4" birch ply to this so I could get the 5" tall. I glued an old leather belt to the neck rest into the 2 1/2" half round rest area , across the top and down the sides .I used tite bond wood glue on the raw leather side and on the sides down to the base also glued I used 4 brass nails counter sunk into the leather so they didn't stand proud and would keep the sides in place even with glue. I just left the black finished side of the old belt up.

It's nothing fancy yet it clamps to a 3 drawer part of an old metal desk which has the slide out metal type writer shelf and I made 3/4" Birch ply clamps 5" long 1" wide with two stands to fit the metal sliding shelf's down ward lip and two 1/4" stove bolts 4" long and large wing nuts to grip the shelf . The stove bolts are fixed in the top /covered by a 3/4" back stop to keep the guitar from sliding back and on on the side to keep the guitar from hitting the wall on the desk top above the shelf . I made a leg to support this new bench at the 3 foot free hanging end, mounted to a hinge so I can fold it away and a small wood catch to keep in secure when moving it.

It's nothing fancy but it works.Just old spare scrap I had hanging around. Better than nothing. I have some old stewmac water based clear coat so I can wipe it down.

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Jan 30th, 2018 04:38 PM   Edit   Profile  

Relative humidity at my place today is 9%....nine.

The top sinks on a dry guitar and the pressure of the fret tangs on the finger board is reduced as the board shrinks.

Keep that thing at least at 40% RH. It may fix itself.

The last couple of months it's been dryer than I can remember in SoCal, and for a longer period of time. Some years I do not need to humidify at all.

Whatever you decide to do with humidification, be consistent. Then once the guitar is set to your liking it should not change. Personally I try to keep my guitars at about 45%. You may have seen my post about the wireless system I bought to monitor humidity. I 'm not taking the chance of a cracked top.


LA , Calif

I try my best
Jan 30th, 2018 07:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

"Keep that thing at least at 40% RH. It may fix itself."

I kept on it since 2009 and for a while nothing changed. Since about 2014 even though I kept on top of the humidity I noticed the top had sunk a tiny bit where I place a straight edge across the top over the X brace above the sound hole. None of the braces are loose and the top has no cracks. It's very even on both side of the top where it sank.

No matter how much I added for 6 months the top never did raise back up.

To be honest I never checked the top before so as far as I really know it may have been like this since I got it. It's not quite as dry here , at lease inside the small closet I keep them in . I have seen 10% at times and always checked the sponges and dampit and how long it took for them to dry out. Lately I've seem 15 to 20% and I always keep them in their cases.

I fear the top even though not cracked on the seagull has taken on this shape no matter what I tried to keep ahead of it and now need to deal with setting it up as it is now.

I did add the sponge and dampit a few days ago and will see what that does yet like I said keeping it humidified didn't change anything.

None of the frets have popped up. Both the seagull and epi EL-00 Pro only have solid tops and I realize even laminated sides and back still being wood can and do shrink yet not crack.

I only have one hydrometer that reads the closet and don't know what it is in the case , I assume it's higher with damp sponges and sound hole devices in closed cases. It's not the best set up yet the best I can afford. I have a stew mac analog meter that reads temp and RH and it seems accurate better than the crap that came with the dampit.

I'll see what changes in a few weeks and then set it up around this and keep on it. All I had to read the RH until 2014 was the things that dampit has in the sound hole cover and even then they are in the ball park of the stew mac hygrometer.

I've read even the electronic meters can very quite a bit unless one spends hundreds on one.


LA , Calif

I try my best
Feb 11th, 2018 01:37 PM   Edit   Profile  

I checked the seagull grands action at the nut.

I checked two ways and it seems odd.

It's odd I measured the action between the first fret at the nut without pressing down between the 2nd and 3rd (E .041 A .030 D .032 G .034 B .032 E .030) Then did like Graph Tech describes fretted between 2nd and 3rd fret. ( E .012 A .010 D .010/.009 G .010/.009 B .010 E .010/.009. .009 on some because .010 on these slightly raises the string. Graph Tech states .010 Low E and .006 high E that makes it .002" high low E and .004" high E which to me won't feel any different.

I see some do all .018" to.020" no fretting and this was I did on all the guitars I built. I used feeler gauges stacked = fret height + .010" to file each nut slot. This method seems to work best . Some claim just enough for a sheet of note paper is enough , to me that seems like to little for the way I play.

Seems since I don't have nut files and only the low E when fretted is high by .011" I could just mark the nut, remove the nut and sand off the bottom so the strings set .018" above the 1st fret and not fret between the 2nd and 3rd fret. This may be enough to lower the action leaving the saddle alone. I could always feel the G was higher. Then I could use number drill bits and notch one part of the shank to make small one cutting edge files to fine tune the slots if need be.

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