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Thread: Filing down an acoustic saddle... Help!

  1. #1
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Gingrel's Avatar
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    Default Filing down an acoustic saddle... Help!

    Hi all,

    A friend of mine bought a pretty nice Tanglewood acoustic for 9 (!), but the action on it is super high. He was told at a shop to get the saddle filed down. He asked me for advice on this and so (naturally) I came here. Is this something that could be done by anyone handy with a file, or is it best taken to a tech? Also, about how much would it cost to get it done professionally??

    Thanks!
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    Mojo's Minions lex666's Avatar
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    Default Re: Filing down an acoustic saddle... Help!

    I think this is somthing you can do on your own. Its fairly simple. Loosen strings, remove bridge and file down flat side SLOWLY. Remove only a little bit of material at a time. Replace bridge, add strings, tune, and check string height. If not satisfactory, repeat. The trick here is to remove only a little bit of material underneath the saddle & check often. There is no going back, only starting over...
    Last edited by lex666; 03-08-2010 at 01:41 PM.
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  3. #3
    Funkfingers
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    Default Re: Filing down an acoustic saddle... Help!

    Reducing the saddle height is a relatively simple task but it has to be done correctly. (The saddle needs to be kept perpendicular against the abrasive surface.)

    If the action is "super high", my first reaction would be to check the adjustment of the truss rod.

    On a budget guitar, it might be advisable to change to a lighter string gauge. This would reduce the load on the truss rod. Hardly ideal but way cheaper than replacing the rod altogether.
    Last edited by Funkfingers; 03-08-2010 at 01:36 PM.

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    Cake Mire cakire82's Avatar
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    Default Re: Filing down an acoustic saddle... Help!

    +1 All of the above.

    Also check the nut if it is to high or not. Filing down the nut is more delicate job and I recommend a tech for that.
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Gingrel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Filing down an acoustic saddle... Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Funkfingers View Post
    Reducing the saddle height is a relatively simple task but it has to be done correctly. (The saddle needs to be kept perpendicular against the abrasive surface.)

    If the action is "super high", my first reaction would be to check the adjustment of the truss rod.

    On a budget guitar, it might be advisable to change to a lighter string gauge. This would reduce the load on the truss rod. Hardly ideal but way cheaper than replacing the rod altogether.
    Maybe "super high" was a bit of an exaggeration. It's uncomfortable to play on, but it's playable. The neck is pretty much straight, so truss rod is out of the question.

    I'm not going to be the person doing the filing, it's another friend of mine, who has the right tools etc.
    Ministers and superstars
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    and the rock and roll still burns in me

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    Mojo's Minions lex666's Avatar
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    Default Re: Filing down an acoustic saddle... Help!

    BTW - I also wanted to add, when you check your action be sure to check for fret/string buzz. It is very easy to cross the fine line from 'perfect' string height to annoying fret buzz.
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Gingrel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Filing down an acoustic saddle... Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by lex666 View Post
    BTW - I also wanted to add, when you check your action be sure to check for fret/string buzz. It is very easy to cross the fine line from 'perfect' string height to annoying fret buzz.
    Oh i know all about that, took me ages to get the action on my Strat right...
    Ministers and superstars
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    Glossless SlyFoxx's Avatar
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    Default Re: Filing down an acoustic saddle... Help!

    200 grit sandpaper on a perfect level surface.

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    Mojo's Minions Bludave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Filing down an acoustic saddle... Help!

    The best way to do it is to place the file or sandpaper on a flat surface like a table. Tape it in place or if you use a file use a couple pair of vice grips to clamp it in place. Then just slide the bottom side of the saddle flush against the filing material and slide it back and fourth. As all said above go slow and take off small amounts. I use a pencil line marking the top above the bridge slot and attempt to see how much I need to sand off.
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