A technical/WTF question

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A technical/WTF question

#1  Postby Oldskeptic » Feb 13, 2016 1:02 am

Or anyone else for that matter. My old fender steel string acoustic was stolen a while ago, and a few weeks ago I bought a fender FA-100 just for something to noodle around with at home. For $150 it wasn't bad There were three minor problems with it though; the sound was a bit dull and lacked volume, and the action was too high for my style.

I decided to do a bit of do it myself improvement by removing the bridge saddle and sanding off a 1/16 of an inch off the bottom to at least lower the action. When I got the saddle out at the bottom of the slot I found a 1/16 of an inch thick paper spacer.

So, instead of sanding off the bottom of the bridge saddle I left the spacer out put the saddle back and re-tuned the guitar. Not only is the action where I wanted it, but now the guitar sounds bright and rings out like it should.

My question is what the fuck were they thinking when the put a paper spacer between the bridge saddle and the body of the guitar? It's like someone went out of their way to make the guitar hard to play and sound lifeless.

Also the guitar came with .012 .016 .024 .032 .042 .053 fender strings and I was thinking about replacing them with lighter strings, but didn't want to have a guitar that couldn't be heard. Now I think lighter strings will work fine. Any suggestions on what brand and size of the lightest strings I should look for would be appreciated.
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Re: A techichal/WTF question

#2  Postby Alan B » Feb 14, 2016 7:27 pm

The spacer may have been added as a result of hf hearing loss and the use of hearing aids. If I increase the volume of my hearing aids it increases the treble response. This has the effect of causing an annoying feedback effect. Reducing the 'brightness' of the guitar with the spacer may help to avoid this problem.
Just a thought.

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Edit.
The increased treble is accompanied by an unpleasant THD effect.
Last edited by Alan B on Feb 15, 2016 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A technical/WTF question

#3  Postby John Platko » Feb 14, 2016 9:17 pm

Oldskeptic wrote:Or anyone else for that matter. My old fender steel string acoustic was stolen a while ago, and a few weeks ago I bought a fender FA-100 just for something to noodle around with at home.


You bought a guitar! :shock: After the detailed instructions I'm providing on how to build one. :doh:


For $150 it wasn't bad There were three minor problems with it though; the sound was a bit dull and lacked volume, and the action was too high for my style.

I decided to do a bit of do it myself improvement by removing the bridge saddle and sanding off a 1/16 of an inch off the bottom to at least lower the action. When I got the saddle out at the bottom of the slot I found a 1/16 of an inch thick paper spacer.

So, instead of sanding off the bottom of the bridge saddle I left the spacer out put the saddle back and re-tuned the guitar. Not only is the action where I wanted it, but now the guitar sounds bright and rings out like it should.

My question is what the fuck were they thinking when the put a paper spacer between the bridge saddle and the body of the guitar? It's like someone went out of their way to make the guitar hard to play and sound lifeless.


I'm guessing at some point the shim was need to keep the thing from buzzing or just to get the action high enough so the guitar was less likely to have a buzz when it got to a customer. Guitars are normally shipped with high action, that sort of thing used to be handled by music stores- probably not so much these days. Guitars move a lot with changes in humidity and/or time. Shimming the saddle or nut isn't the worse thing that can happen to a guitar but paper? I took a quick look over at the Fender forum and you're not the first guy to find a shim under his saddle - but I couldn't find much talk about it. I did find that some high end builders supply shims (not paper) to their customers. And Jimmy D'Aquisto made a feature out shimming with his adjustable height bridge.

Image



Also the guitar came with .012 .016 .024 .032 .042 .053 fender strings and I was thinking about replacing them with lighter strings, but didn't want to have a guitar that couldn't be heard. Now I think lighter strings will work fine. Any suggestions on what brand and size of the lightest strings I should look for would be appreciated.


I can't help you there as it's a matter of taste. Those strings look pretty good to me. Changing string gauge will likely effect the action a bit and might require further fiddling.
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Re: A technical/WTF question

#4  Postby Oldskeptic » Feb 18, 2016 1:47 am

John Platko wrote:
Oldskeptic wrote:

Or anyone else for that matter. My old fender steel string acoustic was stolen a while ago, and a few weeks ago I bought a fender FA-100 just for something to noodle around with at home.


You bought a guitar! :shock: After the detailed instructions I'm providing on how to build one. :doh:


If I only had your shop.

Oldskeptic wrote:
For $150 it wasn't bad There were three minor problems with it though; the sound was a bit dull and lacked volume, and the action was too high for my style.

I decided to do a bit of do it myself improvement by removing the bridge saddle and sanding off a 1/16 of an inch off the bottom to at least lower the action. When I got the saddle out at the bottom of the slot I found a 1/16 of an inch thick paper spacer.

So, instead of sanding off the bottom of the bridge saddle I left the spacer out put the saddle back and re-tuned the guitar. Not only is the action where I wanted it, but now the guitar sounds bright and rings out like it should.

My question is what the fuck were they thinking when the put a paper spacer between the bridge saddle and the body of the guitar? It's like someone went out of their way to make the guitar hard to play and sound lifeless.

John Platko wrote:
I'm guessing at some point the shim was need to keep the thing from buzzing or just to get the action high enough so the guitar was less likely to have a buzz when it got to a customer. Guitars are normally shipped with high action, that sort of thing used to be handled by music stores- probably not so much these days. Guitars move a lot with changes in humidity and/or time. Shimming the saddle or nut isn't the worse thing that can happen to a guitar but paper? I took a quick look over at the Fender forum and you're not the first guy to find a shim under his saddle - but I couldn't find much talk about it. I did find that some high end builders supply shims (not paper) to their customers. And Jimmy D'Aquisto made a feature out shimming with his adjustable height bridge.


Yeah, I think the spacer was just a precaution for the chance that the frets were too uneven, but as you say, "Paper? That makes no sense at all. Anyway there was a slight fret buzz on the e and b strings, but a little filing and polishing on the 13th fret took care of that.

After posting the OP I filed down the individual seats on the head nut to where I wanted them, and made the action even lighter.

Oldskeptic wrote:
Also the guitar came with .012 .016 .024 .032 .042 .053 fender strings and I was thinking about replacing them with lighter strings, but didn't want to have a guitar that couldn't be heard. Now I think lighter strings will work fine. Any suggestions on what brand and size of the lightest strings I should look for would be appreciated.

John Platko wrote:
I can't help you there as it's a matter of taste. Those strings look pretty good to me. Changing string gauge will likely effect the action a bit and might require further fiddling.


I bought D'Addario phosphor bronze flat wound .10-.47 and life is good now.

Thanks.
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Re: A technical/WTF question

#5  Postby John Platko » Feb 19, 2016 2:58 pm

Sounds like it all worked out great, fellow luthier! :cheers:
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