Reducing the string height on a 70’s Guild D35 acoustic

Love the guitar but string height too high? This is a pretty common problem with acoustic guitars, particularly older ones.

This Guild acoustic is actually my own guitar and I have had it since new. It is a great guitar and I have always loved the rich middle and bottom presence that it has.

But like many acoustic guitars it has developed quite a high action. Many years ago I reduced the saddle height in an effort to improve the action. But despite that, it still had a string height of a little over 3mm (measured on the bottom E string at the 12th fret). As a consequence it was quite a struggle to play. Particularly when making chords above the 5th fret

So I decided that it was time to do to my guitar what I do to customers guitar and make it proper playable again.

But it was going to need some serious surgery on the guitar to achieve a reasonable string height. In effect, I needed to change the neck to body angle.

In this video I explain how I approached this task. I also decided that it was time to give this guitar a re-fret and replace the old Fishman under-saddle pickup.

So I re-fretted the guitar with Evo Gold fretwire and installed an LR Baggs Anthem pickup system. I also fitted a fully compensated saddle which has improved the intonation no end.

The guitar is now so much easier to play and is much more tuneful. By replacing the saddle and raising the overall height of the saddle I have also improved the top-end sparkle of this guitar.

Overall, the work has massively improved the tone and play-ability of this old Guild acoustic. It’s definitely a keeper!

So does your acoustic guitar also need attention to make it more playable or have the string height reduced? It may not need the major overall that I have given this guitar. So why not contact me. I can assess your guitar and give you some advise as to what can be done to make the guitar easier to play.

I have posted another article on reducing the string height on a Martin guitar. You might want to look at that article as well.