I have a question regarding my old beater, a green El Degas that I think I payed $300cdn for in 1995. Obviously there is nearly no financial value to it, but
a) I learned to play on it
b) I've done a heap of work on it (replaced the bridge/nut with hand-made bone ones, fixed a crack in the heel block, replaced the tuners, added an undersaddle pickup etc).
The action has always been terrible (even before I added the pick-up and replaced the bride/nut, I basically replicated them), so I finally decided to do something about it. I've never done a set-up, but thought I would give it a whirl.
The relief is fine, I used the capo on the 1st and fretted the 14th, and a playing card actually slightly lifted the G at the 8th. So I think that's fine, right?
I've attached a pic of the current action at the 14th, with a Canadian penny as a size reference, they're about the same size as an American penny (all my tools are at my Mum's).

I've already adjusted the height of the nut and saddle, but the problem now is, there is basically no break-angle for both the E strings, and very little for the B. (See pics) There is no sound difference that I've noticed, but still.

My question is, should I just leave the action as is (better, but still not stellar)? If so, should I cut channels in the bridge, to increase the break-angle, as per the tutorial on Or should I remove height from the bridge, to allow for a lower saddle, and also increase break angle? I realize this is a much bigger operation. I would assume I would just take my time using a sanding block and some 150, leaving the bridge stuck on the guitar. (I suppose I could remove the bridge, and remove the mass from the back too. But I think that's beyond me). The bridge is rosewood, by the way, not that I think that matters (yes, I know to wear breathing protection if I'm sanding that).

Thanks in advance for the advice,

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I'd leave it alone. To lower action at the 12th fret, you need to remove twice that much highth at the saddle i.e to gain a 64th, you must remove a 32nd at the bridge. You don't have enough to work with, let alone the time it would take. I'd say play it as is and keep fond memories of your first guitar.
So, what do you have to lose by re-setting the neck? I don't like sanding a bridge down because that introduces a whole 'nuther set of dynamics. You'll like the guitar much batter with a taller saddle and a better neck angle. The saddle now is way too low for my liking. I can't tell if the top is bellied much, but a neck re-set would be good experience.
You need to reset the neck. God only knows what kind of a joint it is.
Thanks for all the feedback. Indeed, a neck reset seems to be the way forward, but I am not going to take that on myself (at least not right now, too busy with work and our baby to even think about it). And I can't really see paying for a neck reset on a $300 guitar.

So shall I presume I don't need to cut any channels to increase the break-angle on the saddle, as long as there isn't a sound quality issue?
I must agree with Bob, also if the instrument isn't a precious one. You'll be happy to play it again in good setting conditions.
channel the strings is easy and wont hurt a thing. I do it to about 1/2 of the old junk guitars that come in for strings or repair.

This might be one that the Bridge Doctor works on - these dang things seem to "cure" more problems that I would have thought a few years ago.

I would shave down the bridge then make channel ramps between the pins and saddle. Yeah a lot of people say this is the wrong way but on a cheapo guitar a reset isn't worth it except if your the repairman being paid to do it....Mike


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