Hey all.

I'm having an issue where despite having a perfect neck angle on the guitar, the saddle height is fairly low in order to get just average action (about 2.5mm low E and 2mm high E on an acoustic). Any idea why this would happen?

Thank you.

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Ah thank you!

I do have feelers, and I used the .15 one. The low E barely touches it and the D string doesn't, so I think I can lower those two a hair. The others rub against it, yet I can get it under them.

I will fiddle with this some more. The things puzzling me are why the saddle has to be so much lower on this guitar, when my friend has the exact same model and I could get the saddle higher on this, despite him having a worse neck angle. And also why the guitar feels a bit "stiff" to play. Given it is short scale and I have silk & steal strings on it, it should be very low tension. My thought was nut binding, but I'm just not seeing it. Frustrating!

Anyway, thank you. If anyone else has thoughts I'd greatly appreciate it.

It is not 0.15" it is 0.015" (or 0.016"). BIG difference.

I wrote 0.16" in an earlier answer, sorry about that (I work in metrics..).

Here's one more photo of the side. I don't see any top collapse or bridge issues. Do you guys?


Hi mr smits.
I see two major problems:

The first is: your saddle should have a rounded top. It’s height appears to be good.
You’ll increase the break angle of the strings and will likely experience easier tuning and better intonation.

Secondly: although you’ve been correctly advised by another respondent that your nut slots are way to high, I see an indication in your photo that the strings’ take-off points on the nut may be too far toward the headstock.
You can correct that when you touch up the string slots.

The issues you’re dealing with are difficult to do correctly when you’re starting off in the craft and often for experienced technicians too as no two instruments are the same.

If you’re just beginning your foray into setup work, you’re making good progress.

Time provides the opportunity to amass knowledge.
Only hands-on experience polishes the skill sets needed to apply the knowledge.

Try the good suggestions you’ve gotten thus far from all the respondents and you’ll be on your way to a satisfactory resolution.

Take care and best of luck with getting your guitar “perfected”.

Thanks! I was wondering about the saddle shape and just made a thread about that.

Yes, I'm starting out. I've made about five saddles and nuts so far over the past year or so. Just working on guitars for myself and friends right now.

Regarding the slot angle, I know what you mean, and will fix it with some angled filing. I don't think they're too high, though, as when fretting the 3rd string they just barely touch the fretwire (just a slight slight plink sound). My guess is that is an illusion due to the photo. They'd literally be resting on the wire if I cut them any lower.

Hello Hesh, hello Paul, wishing you and yours all the best for 2020.  Stay chilled brothers and we'll keep doing our bit for the forum - the burden of knowledge I guess!.

Fond Regards, 


First I want say hi to my friend Paul V.  I hope you are doing great Paul.

Here's how I set-up a guitar including a newly constructed guitar.

1)  set relief

2) cut nut slots (this is an acquired skill and how low you can go is also a function of practice and experience.  It's very likely that all your measurements at the 12th fret are skewed by the nut slots being too high).

3). In this order and last measure the action at the 12th with the nut slots properly cut and relief properly set and you should be looking at 4/64" for the high e and about 5.5/64th" for the low e always measured at the 12th.  This would be a finger style or flat picking set-up for low action with 12's if the player is not too ham fisted for these spec.

Relief, nut slots, saddle in this order.  My set-ups are sequential in my approach and I never have to go back where I already was and redo anything this way.  It also takes variables out of play one at a time isolating what I am concentrating on.

As Paul said crown your saddle and compensate it too for better intonation.  You can eyeball intonation based on what a Martin compensated saddle looks like and if your saddle is in the right place it will improve intonation.  Be sure the saddle radius matches your fret board radius.

To get the action specs at the 12th that I offered lower the saddle (or raise it) as required doubling the measure that you want to go to from the 12th at the saddle.  For example if the action is 1/64th too high on the high e string at the 12th lower the saddle under the high e string 1/32nd inch.  The saddle is twice the distance from the nut so we double our desired measure.

As the others have said your saddle height looks OK but it doesn't matter because unless your nut slots are properly cut everything else is a function of the nut slots and will be skewed.

The neck angle I like a lot and think that you nailed it (not literally...).  I used to set mine with the straight edge over the saddle the same height as my frets.

Good luck to you.

Hello Hesh, hello Paul, wishing you and yours all the best for 2020.  Stay chilled brothers and we'll keep doing our bit for the forum - the burden of knowledge I guess!.

Fond Regards, 


Hello Hesh and Rusty. 
Your greetings made my day.

Everything is going as well as it can. 

Take care my friends and co-conspirators. 

I fixed all the above, and it's playing excellent now. Very buttery and great, mellow tone. Thanks everyone.

I'm still confused as to why this exact model guitar, when I set it up for a friend, could have a much taller saddle than this one. His guitar's neck angle was not as perfect at this one.


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