making my acoustic easier to play


just uploaded this to youtube so i thought i’d copy it here too :)

if the height of the strings on your acoustic guitar is too high, follow these simple steps to improve its playability:

– remove the strings and the bridge pins
– remove the saddle
– wrap sandpaper around a flat-faced piece of wood
– evenly sand the bottom of the saddle to reduce its height
– reinstall saddle, strings, and bridge pins, tune your guitar

IF the saddle becomes too low in the bridge:

– remove strings, saddle and bridge pins
– sand the top of the bridge with the wood-block-sandpaper to reduce its height
– reinstall saddle, strings, and bridge pins, tune your guitar

IF it’s still not quite right, particularly if the strings are uneven in height from one string to the next, you can cut grooves into the saddle for each string. i don’t use files for this; i just use the thickest string as my “file”

a combination of any / all of these steps will give you a guitar that plays much better. reducing height of the strings not only makes the guitar easier to play, it improves the intonation because you’re pressing down with less force, leading to the guitar staying in better tune with itself.

just remember to take your time and check your progress often by reinstalling the saddle, strings and pins. if you take off too much you can’t put it back! :-)

occasionally you may find that the lower frets buzz after performing this kind of maintenance. a simple truss rod adjustment (a quarter turn! don’t go crazy with that allen key!) will fix this.

worst case – you sand too much away and you replace the saddle. $10. told you it was cheap :-)

the music is something i recorded quickly after recording the video. it’s using the guitar in the video, and i purposely used some chords higher up the neck, which would have been more difficult to play had i not done the maintenance as described above :-)

good luck and happy playing!

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