Acoustic guitar setup on a Martin guitar

This Martin guitar came into the workshop in need of a setup. This is a nicely made guitar and is sounds great, but the string height at the nut and saddle is unnecessarily high. This makes the guitar quite hard to play. Measured at the 12th fret the string height on the bass side was a little over 3mm and just under 3mm on the treble side.

Acoustic guitar setup-how do we achieve a good action?

To achieve good string height on an acoustic guitar I focus on three areas. These being:

  1. Truss rod
  2. Height of the saddle
  3. String height at the nut

Firstly the truss rod is adjusted so that the neck is as straight as possible, but without causing unwanted string buzz in the 3rd to 7th fret area. This often brings the string height down a little.

Secondly, the saddle height at the bridge is reduced. This is not always possible. Sometimes I find that the saddle is already sitting just above the height of the bridge. Fortunately on this guitar, the saddle was raised well above the bridge, giving me plenty to work with.

Lastly, string height at the nut is set. It takes time to set the optimum string height at the nut. And so this is the part of the finishing process that guitar manufacturers often skimp on.

Have a look at the pictures to see the process I used for this acoustic guitar setup. Click on the pictures to enlarge them. Each picture has a caption which explains a little more about the process.

If you have a guitar that’s in need of a professional acoustic guitar setup, please contact me

You can also find details of costs on my acoustic guitar setup page