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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Art & Lutherie Ami with gauge 10 that I find it difficult to play CAGED chords over the 7th fret. The distance from the 6th string to the 12 fret is 0.1398in (3.54mm) and the bridge is a bit tall too (picture). I would like to know your opinion on how I could make it more comfortable to play whether if it's lowering the bridge or any other idea I haven't think about.

Bridge

12 fret

Nut

Thanks in advance for any help, I play both electric and now more acoustic and I need to find a way to ease the transition from each other as much as possible without compromising the sound.
 

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Wait until others respond, as I'm not 100% sure.
Would it be wise to sand a tiny bit off the bottom of the saddle, as it appears that you have the height to do so? Maybe that is too simple of a solution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wait until others respond, as I'm not 100% sure.
Would it be wise to sand a tiny bit off the bottom of the saddle, as it appears that you have the height to do so? Maybe that is too simple of a solution.
Which one is the saddle? The one on the bridge or the other?
I want to add that it seems to be fine on the first 4-6 frets
Thx
 

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The saddle is the white plastic piece that sits in the slot in the bridge. The strings go over top of it.

Adjusting the action on an acoustic can get very complicated, as there are many "factors" that must be considered. Apologies if you know this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The saddle is the white plastic piece that sits in the slot in the bridge. The strings go over top of it.

Adjusting the action on an acoustic can get very complicated, as there are many "factors" that must be considered. Apologies if you know this.
I'm learning right here right now. Appreciated!
I know you have experience and play acoustic guitar, by all means please go on
 

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I am no expert. But I've had two Seagulls, both bought second hand. Each of them had either never been set up from the factory, or the previous owners liked the action high like that. On each of them, I popped the saddle out and sanded it down on a flat surface (removing quite a bit of material in fact) to get the action nice and low.

I can see in the first picture that you posted that your saddle is looking about the same as mine did on both of my guitars.
 

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Before doing anything that can't be undone I'd try adjusting the truss rod. Tighten it 1/8 turn and see if that fixes the problem. If it is better but still too high you could try another 1/8 turn. Be careful, don't go too far. If it is hard to turn don't force it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Looking at your last pic too now. What's going on with the nut? Is there a shim under it? It doesn't look like it's sitting flat.
Yes! I completely forgot about that! It seem like a piece of paper in the upper half where the last 3 strings are. I never cared about removing it because it plays nice in that part. I don't know if that will affect the sound though.
 

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Somewhat off topic...Did you take this pic? Very impressive!!

Now..back to the topic.

Personally, I would start with the truss rod adjustment also.
The issue is, if you make too much of a change, you will end up with buzzing.
I do not have a lot of experience with setting up acoustics...but I have read a fair amount about it and have talked to many others who are experienced.

Cheers

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So, should I loosen the strings, take the saddle out and start sanding it a tiny bit at the time until I get to a good height? Any other advice out of experience?

Thanks for the fast responses, looks like I have a nice weekend project on my hands!
 

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I agree with checking the truss rod first. The nut needs work too. There should be no gaps under it, the shim should be full length of the nut and about 1/2 of the strings diameter should be above the nut, out of the slot. Fix the obvious short comings first. Only after that would I address the saddle. You can sand the bottom of the saddle to lower the action.....to a point. You want 1/8" to 1/4" of the saddle sticking up above the bridge for the correct angle to the pins. It looks like you have room to be able to lower it. Whatever you take off the saddle will lower your height at the 12th fret by 1/2 of that.

So if you want to lower the strings 1/64, you take 1/32 off the bottom of the saddle. This is assuming that the string height at the 12th fret is equal on all strings. If one is low already, you may go too far and make it buzz. Check all the strings. It is possible that the strings heights have to be lowered by taking material off the top of the saddle if you have 1 low string already. Heights should transition smoothly from bass to treble.

Gibson factory specs:

Neck relief - .012"
String height at 12th fret - 6/64 on bass, 4/64 at treble
String height at first fret - .020 is considered OK on the 6th a bit lower on the treble side.

Martin specs:

Relief - .010"
string height at 12th - 3/32 - 7/64 on bass, 1/16 - 5/64 treble
String height at first fret - bass - .024 max, treble .016 min.

These are the factory recommendations. Many player like them a bit different but it is a good place to start/aim for. Less neck relief is pretty common as is lowered height at the nut and 12th fret. Careful, it is easy to go too far.

Always do the neck relief first.

Re-check your work after the guitar has sat overnight also.
 

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Take a look at this and see if you think you might want to try it.
 
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have you sighted down the fingerboard to see how it lines up at the bridge? could have a bad neck angle, also,out here high humidity makes the top of acoustics rise causing high action, if your over 65% it could be a factor -+1 for doing it yourself!
 
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