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Author Topic: Lovering the action on a Washburn WCG18CEN-best way to sand saddle down?  (Read 392 times)

Offline Donegaljoe

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Hi folks,

I have just bough a Washburn acoustic/electric WCG18CEN such as this one,

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Washburn-WCG18CEN-Auditorium-Comfort-Contours/dp/B004Y1O1MO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503444640&sr=8-1&keywords=washburn+wcg18cen

and would like to lower the action slightly though it is not bad.

Because it is an acoustic/electric I am a little nervous about sanding down the underside of the saddle, and I have read somewhere it is better to do so at the top of saddle, I would be grateful for some advice, if its possible to sand the bottom of saddle?

many thanks for any help.
Joe

Offline YerDugliness

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It is important that the bottom of the saddle be perfectly flat so that it will exert equal pressure on all parts of the pickup trandsucer, which sits into the sadde's "slot" under the saddle, itself.

You COULD send your current saddle to Bob Colosi @ www.guitarsaddles.com, but he always ships his saddles slightly oversize so they can be custom fitted to the guitar...which requires sanding, so why not try sanding down the saddle that came in the guitar? It isn't that hard.

You'll need a piece of glass from a glass shop...it will have a VERY flat surface. Tape the edges with masking tape or duct tape to keep from cutting yourself, then tape a piece of fine grit sandpaper to the glass and carefully remove your current saddle from your guitar (if the transducer in the slot lifts, carefully push it down in the saddle slot...it needs to lay flat in that slot). The next part requires care...you hold your current saddle perpindicular to the surface of the glass and rub it back and forth, carefully exerting even pressure om both ends. Trial fit it to the saddle slot and repeat the sanding process until you are satisfied with the action...be careful that the bottom of the saddle is flat so it presses evenly on the entire length and width of the transducer.

One issue arises...if your guitar was built with a bone saddle (or equivalent product), you're good to go, but if it was produced with a plastic saddle...well, replacing a plastic saddle with bone is one of the most effective upgrades undertaken...I mention this so that you might consider sourcing a bone saddle to begin with.

Of course, a GOOD shop tech or a luthier can do the work for you. I supplied my own bone blank and for $20 the luthier sanded it down for me, polished it and shaped it (maintains correct intonation up and down the neck), installed the newly worked saddle and installed my new strings.

Yeah...you can do it for yourself, but once you've sanded it down TOO MUCH, it'll be useless (shims have been used to correct that with variable results).

That's about it...your factory saddle is already intonation compensated, so obviously you should try working it yourself...just beware of how far you go. If you ruin your saddle you'll need to source a new one (my new WG26S came from the factory with a replacement saddle and an extra bridge pin..check to see if yours did)... it's not unusual for DIY work to need to be redone so kudos to Washburn for providing replacement parts with their new guitars!!

Hope this helps. Check your current saddle by poking it with a red-hot pin...if it melts it's way into the material of the saddle, it's plastic; if not, you have bone or a synthetic equivalent.

Cheers!

Dugly 8)
YerDugliness,Esq./Post No Bills
Guitar Playin' FOOL, attempting to age disgracefully!
Washburns:WD32SW,D61SW,C124SWK,WMJ21S(2),WGO26SCE, WMJ11S(now gifted),WSJ60SKELITE,WG26S.
Other fine acoustics:Breedlove custom shop 000,Hippner #506 Hauser,Takamini 2005 LTD,Epi Masterbilt AJ500RC

Offline Tony Raven

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Hmm. First, have you already checked the NUT for correct height? I've bought a few "broken" guitars where the previous owner had got peeved with the "string height" & ground the saddle to uselessness, when (to me) it was clearly the nut slots over-high by ~1mm.

Second, have you checked the trussrod? If the neck curve is incorrect, it's dificult to make pronouncements about string height.

Third... Dugly, you mean well, but (again) I've fixed some of those repairs. ;) Beginners generally rock the saddle from side to side (unintentionally) causing a rounded surface. They also don't have much patience, & press down unevenly, resulting in one end getting more cut than the other. Me, I use a nice flat wooden table, 220 grit, & a LOT of patience.

I'll only shim a saddle if it's an odd shape & I need the guitar immediately. I'd recommend shimming even less for a piezo.

Sanding the TOP...? Yeah, I suppose so. However, if it's at all intonated, this WILL require reshaping.
M1SDL; XB-400 (natural), XB-400 (burg), XB-500 (teal); X-10, X-33; D46CESP, WCSD30SCE; BT-3, BT-4, BT-6, JB-80; WS-4; WI-66V; Lyon LCT24; OS Autoharps

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Offline YerDugliness

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Third... Dugly, you mean well, but (again) I've fixed some of those repairs. ;) Beginners generally rock the saddle from side to side (unintentionally) causing a rounded surface. They also don't have much patience, & press down unevenly, resulting in one end getting more cut than the other.

I've figured out how to keep the saddle square and avoid rocking...I use the body of a combination square to establish a 90* "base" against which to hold the saddle as it is rubbed against the sandpaper. It maintains a 90* orientation so the saddle cannot rock back and forth. The bottom of the saddle ends up flat. I put a piece of tape on the face of the surface against which I hold the saddle to enhance it's ability to slide...it works, as long as one is careful to make sure that the face of the saddle stays flat against the face of the square.

I know this is a bit advanced for beginners....but if they use this process it should turn out right.

Cheers!

Dugly 8)

YerDugliness,Esq./Post No Bills
Guitar Playin' FOOL, attempting to age disgracefully!
Washburns:WD32SW,D61SW,C124SWK,WMJ21S(2),WGO26SCE, WMJ11S(now gifted),WSJ60SKELITE,WG26S.
Other fine acoustics:Breedlove custom shop 000,Hippner #506 Hauser,Takamini 2005 LTD,Epi Masterbilt AJ500RC

Offline Donegaljoe

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Re: Lovering the action on a Washburn WCG18CEN-best way to sand saddle down?
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2017, 12:35:07 PM »
Thanks guys for the replies and sorry about taking some time to reply.

I did show the guitar to a tech who did say that the action was pretty good, but at the same time he did say that it could be lowered by maybe 1-2 mm, I take it by that he meant at 12th fret.

While changing the strings to Martin extra light (10-47) I did sand down the underside of the saddle a bit, but didn't over do it, think it helped a little but probably some room for improvement, which I won't attempt myself.

I do notice that the ssaddle itself looks pretty high in size  in above the bridge saddle slot, whereas with any other guitars  whereI had action adjusted by a luthier, the saddles themselves are well sanded down and didn't protrude a great deal above the bridge.

Not a bad guitar the WCG18CEN, nice and comfy to hold due to the comfort contours.
Thanks a lot again guys.
Joe

Offline YerDugliness

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Re: Lovering the action on a Washburn WCG18CEN-best way to sand saddle down?
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2017, 02:11:04 PM »
Thanks guys for the replies and sorry about taking some time to reply.

I do notice that the ssaddle itself looks pretty high in size  in above the bridge saddle slot, whereas with any other guitars  whereI had action adjusted by a luthier, the saddles themselves are well sanded down and didn't protrude a great deal above the bridge.

Joe

Joe, one of the signs that a guitar needs work is when the strings'  "break angle" over the bridge is lowered because of neck issues. If the break angle is too high because the underneath of the saddle is sanded down too much, the volume of the guitar can be significantly reduced due to that issue.

Generally high action around the 12th fret can usually be addressed by a truss-rod adjustment, while lowering the overall action is addressed by sanding down the underside of the saddle...but a neck that requires excessive adjustment to the height of the saddle can signal the onset of a condition that can only be corrected by a "neck reset"...often times at greater expense than the value of the guitar.

It sounds like, from your description, that your saddle sits high enough that it presents a good break angle and therefore sanding down the saddle in small increments will not present an issue.

Cheers!!

Dugly 8)
YerDugliness,Esq./Post No Bills
Guitar Playin' FOOL, attempting to age disgracefully!
Washburns:WD32SW,D61SW,C124SWK,WMJ21S(2),WGO26SCE, WMJ11S(now gifted),WSJ60SKELITE,WG26S.
Other fine acoustics:Breedlove custom shop 000,Hippner #506 Hauser,Takamini 2005 LTD,Epi Masterbilt AJ500RC

Offline Donegaljoe

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Re: Lovering the action on a Washburn WCG18CEN-best way to sand saddle down?
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2017, 04:49:55 PM »
Thanks a lot Dugly for that info.

Just wondering on a acoustic/electric such as WCG18CEN is it possible that adjusting the  truss rod could affect the intonation of the guitar as I go up the neck?

I have to say that Washburn make good guitars at a good price, this is my second one now, so I am well pleased.

Thanks again.
joe
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 04:53:37 PM by Donegaljoe »

Offline YerDugliness

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Re: Lovering the action on a Washburn WCG18CEN-best way to sand saddle down?
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2017, 03:45:43 PM »
Thanks a lot Dugly for that info.

Just wondering on a acoustic/electric such as WCG18CEN is it possible that adjusting the  truss rod could affect the intonation of the guitar as I go up the neck?

I have to say that Washburn make good guitars at a good price, this is my second one now, so I am well pleased.

Thanks again.
joe

As I understand it the intonation is established by the offsets on the saddle. While I suppose you might be able to put a good bow into the neck by adjusting the truss rod, I doubt that the guitar would be playable. Before you start adjusting the neck measure the guitar's scale (the distance between the nut and the saddle) and check it after your adjustments. If your scale is not at spec, as long as you bought it from an authorized dealer Washburn should repair or replace the guitar.

I doubt that you could put enough bow into a neck that it would substantially alter the scale...I'd think you'd start popping strings first.

Cheers!

Dugly 8)
YerDugliness,Esq./Post No Bills
Guitar Playin' FOOL, attempting to age disgracefully!
Washburns:WD32SW,D61SW,C124SWK,WMJ21S(2),WGO26SCE, WMJ11S(now gifted),WSJ60SKELITE,WG26S.
Other fine acoustics:Breedlove custom shop 000,Hippner #506 Hauser,Takamini 2005 LTD,Epi Masterbilt AJ500RC

Offline Tony Raven

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Re: Lovering the action on a Washburn WCG18CEN-best way to sand saddle down?
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2017, 12:14:54 PM »
Tightening the trussrod does indeed pull the nut further from the saddle. However, few guitarists would notice the difference. For the few that can, it almost always simply means reshaping the saddle or properly shaping a new one. (Really, finger pressure, which is never consistent, makes a more significant difference. Changing humidity is as bad.)

By the time you go at all "too far" with the trussrod, there will be such a hump around fret 9 that you'll hear buzzing (maybe even total fretting out) there when fretting lower, certainly 5 or 6, maybe even 3.
M1SDL; XB-400 (natural), XB-400 (burg), XB-500 (teal); X-10, X-33; D46CESP, WCSD30SCE; BT-3, BT-4, BT-6, JB-80; WS-4; WI-66V; Lyon LCT24; OS Autoharps

resident troublemaker: http://forum.frugalguitarist.com/

Offline Donegaljoe

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Re: Lovering the action on a Washburn WCG18CEN-best way to sand saddle down?
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2017, 06:21:28 PM »
Thanks a lot guys for all the help. Overall the action is not bad at all, but maybe playing it for a little while longer and letting a friend play it, who has a collection of guitars and has been through the action adjustment thing himself, will help me decide to bring it to a luthier or not.

Thanks so much again for all the help.
Joe