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Action on Ibanez Acoustics?
sdgrfan1
#1 Posted : 8/5/2017 3:06:46 PM
sdgrfan1


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Hi Bill (and others). I'm still playing my Artwood AW54. I'd like to dial in the action but can't find the factory specs in the paperwork for this guitar. It stipulates what the neck relief is, but not the action. Can you help me with what the action should be at, probably, the 14th fret? I realize there is going to be a range (depending on neck relief and playing style), but it would be helpful to know where Ibanez sets these up at factory.

Can anyone help?

Thanks. Regards, Bill
Tracy Dae
#2 Posted : 8/6/2017 6:50:01 AM
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I never use the "factory measurements". I set the guitar up to play the best that it can possibly play without fret buzz - and that usually means the resulting action is lower than the factory measurements.

Why is that? You may ask. Because the "factory measurements" are the result of a compromise between playability and production time. Many if not most guitars can be setup much better than the factory measurements - but doing so adds to production time. Ibanez does what every other manufacturer does and they make that compromise. So feel free to set it as low as you can get it without fret buzz.


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RIX
#3 Posted : 8/6/2017 4:09:04 PM
RIX


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I agree with Tracy, Ibanez guitars can be setup with much lower action than what is set from the factory. Having said that below is a link to Ibanez How To page that has the specs you are looking for, which are in millimeters.



Ibanez How to page

Ibanez Manuals

On a person note after setting the relief I usually set the action at the 12th fret on my acoustics for 5/64" at the 6th string and 3/64" at the 1st string. I have found that works best for me, but you can go a little lower on the 6th string if you don't have a high fret.

After that I like to check the nut action to see if I can drop it just a bit. I usually try for .018" at the 1st fret. Lowering the action at the nut has to be done with nut files. Use caution though, because some the plastic nuts have voids and you can file down into one if you go too low.

inches to mm chart

Hope that helps.
RIX
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sdgrfan1 on 8/6/2017(UTC)
sdgrfan1
#4 Posted : 8/6/2017 5:32:39 PM
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Thanks, RIX.

I also agree with Tracy that setup is a personal thing, depending on strings, guitar, playing style, etc.

At the same time, there needs to be a "starting place", especially when the less expensive guitars come to our country with little to no setup. For instance, this AW54ce, while a very good entry level guitar for the money, has the action at 5mm at the 12th fret on the low E string. Ouch! I suspect that this is WAY too high and I don't know if it is a bad neck/guitar alignment or something I can correct by filing down the saddle. The neck relief is at .3mm right now which is Ibby's spec. So I'm just looking for a "ball park" figure from which I can tweak it if necessary. Thanks for your suggestions. I know that this is more of an art than a science. I can shave the saddle if I need to, but I doubt I will mess with the nut. And seeing as this has the peizo pickup under the saddle, I may see if I can locate a luthier to do the setup for me. He's still going to want to know where I'd like it set though.

Regards,
Bill
RIX
#5 Posted : 8/6/2017 10:17:23 PM
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Bill, I'm glad my info was helpful.

You can check to see if you neck has the correct angle by laying a straight edge on the fretboard and see where it hits the bridge (not the saddle). You will need something at least 24" long to do this. If the bottom corner of the straight edge hits the Bridge or fall below it, then the neck needs a reset. If the straight edge is above the Bridge or sits right on top of it, then it should be okay.

How To Check Neck Angle

RIX
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sdgrfan1 on 8/7/2017(UTC)
Tracy Dae
#6 Posted : 8/7/2017 2:48:32 AM
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Literally every single person who brings me a guitar for a setup wants the action as low as it can possibly be without fret buzz. I could easily set it up using the "factory measurements" and call it done - but I don't do that. I would not feel like I earned the money they are paying me if I did. I have a battery of checks that I do in a very specific order. None of them involve factory measurements.

First I check to make sure all the frets are fully seated. Sometimes you will find that a fret or two has lifted. So I tap any that I might find back down where they are supposed to be.

Secondly I set that neck as straight as I can get it and check to make sure all the frets are level. If any are high or low, I re-level and recrown the frets. I usually need to do at least some leveling.

Third I put strings on it and check the nut. A good 9 out of 10 import guitars do not have the nut correct. So I correct the nut.

Forth I set the relief - and I typically give the guitar very little relief because at this point, after doing the things above, you really don't need much.

Fifth I set the bridge height. Often times on acoustic guitars there are shims under the saddle. I remove as many as needed to get the action as low as possible without fret buzz. Sometimes I need to shave the saddle a little but not very often. By the time the above things are done the action is nice and low and comfortable.

If the guitar is an electric I set the intonation at this point.

Not once during this process do I ever refer to the "factory measurements" because I know that outside of the production environment they are meaningless. They are not needed in any meaningful way. They are a goal based on compromise for production reasons - and nothing more.
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sdgrfan1
#7 Posted : 8/7/2017 10:13:02 AM
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RIX, I checked the neck angle and a straight-edge hits the bridge at a point where the bridge needs to be lower by about 1/32". This is a new $300 guitar so I'm not going to mess with a neck reset. On the bright side, I've got the relief and the action where you recommended and there is no buzzing anywhere.

Tracy, I do understand what you are saying. But 1) I don't know of any luthiers in my area that I would trust and 2) I'm not going to put a lot of money into this guitar because it is a cheap, Chinese starter model. I just want it to be playable. Then, if I decide that I really like guitar, I'll buy a Martin or a Taylor or a Seagull or some other higher-end guitar that is worth putting money into.
RIX
#8 Posted : 8/7/2017 3:34:34 PM
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Bill, if you bought this guitar new from a authorized dealer than return it and have them send you a new one, since this one has manufacture defect.

I say this because last year I ordered a new Ibanez acoustic guitar and the action was really high. After checking it out I found that the neck angle was off like your guitar. I sent it back and got a refund; I was really disappointed that Ibanez didn't catch this in the QC process.
RIX
sdgrfan1
#9 Posted : 8/8/2017 1:31:36 AM
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RIX, I appreciate your advice. I bought this guitar at my local Guitar Center. Obviously, they pull the shipping box out of the back room, you pay for it, and you walk out with it. And as Tracy has said, due to the nature of a good setup, GC is not going to mess with it. They only had one other of this model (the one on display), and the action was worse than mine. You could have used it as a crossbow.

Because I'm mainly a keyboard and accordion player, I don't have any calluses built up to know how a good setup should feel. As has been said, a player wants the strings as close to the fretboard as possible, but without any buzzing. But I'm so inexperienced that a "luthier" could claim to have done a setup on my guitar, charge me $100, and my fingers and eyes probably wouldn't know the difference.

So as of right now, I have 0.10" relief, 3/32" action on the low E and 5/64" action on the high E. It is substantially lower than when I bought it. I had to shave about 1/8" off the bottom of the saddle. And, as I mentioned, a straight edge hits the front of the bridge and would need to come up about 1/32" to clear the bridge. Nonetheless, after sanding down the saddle, I still have 1/16" of saddle protruding on each side of the bridge (more in the middle obviously). It is definitely easier to play. Is it optimum? Is it perfect? Certainly not. But I wouldn't, at this point, know what a perfect setup would feel like due to my lack of experience.

Should I return it? Good question. Not for the other model. For something different? Again, I'm in the shallow end of the pool on this. It's not good for a beginner to buy a guitar that he/she has to fight with in order to learn how to play it. But it's not good to fork out big bucks on a Martin and then find out guitar just isn't your thing. So I'm trying out a guitar that gets really good ratings and reviews, but trying to tweak the setup to where I can use it to learn on. I could return it, but as I'm sure you and Tracy know, EVERY guitar is going to need adjustment. The cheap ones probably need a lot. The more expensive ones, hopefully, not so much.

Anyway, thanks for the advice and help. I'll try this for a bit. I may end up returning it. But I suspect that any guitar at $300 and under is going to need some work done. Even all of the $500 Seagulls I've looked at have reviews where almost every person said they had to have the action lowered.
Tracy Dae
#10 Posted : 8/8/2017 2:36:29 AM
Tracy Dae


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Originally Posted by: sdgrfan1 Go to Quoted Post
I could return it, but as I'm sure you and Tracy know, EVERY guitar is going to need adjustment. The cheap ones probably need a lot. The more expensive ones, hopefully, not so much.


You would think the more expensive ones would not need much but sadly that is not the case. I've had people bring me brand new high dollar Gib$ons that were just unbelievably bad setup wise. I've had people bring brand new inexpensive Epiphones to me that didn't need much work at all.
The mind is like a parachute...
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sdgrfan1 on 8/8/2017(UTC)
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