Lowering the action on an old Kay

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11,334
My folks found an early 60's Kay Swingmaster at an estate sale. The strings are like an inch off the fretboard but the bridge is as low as it'll go.
How should I go about this? I haven't really checked the relief but beyond that I was thinking I'd try shimming the next before I tried shaving the bottom of the (wooden) bridge, which I'm not totally comfortable doing...
 

Dana Olsen

Platinum Supporting Member
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7,921
You need to have a tech look at it to determine whether the neck angle has shifted so much that it may need a neck reset.

Don't shave anything or try to lower the bridge saddle until you have determined whether the neck angle is close enough to work with, otherwise you could be doing that work in vain. Many older guitars need neck resets - it's a common problem.

Then you'll have to decide whether it's worth it to do the work.

Hope this helps, Dana O.
 

HayekFan

Member
Messages
1,526
Sounds like it's a bolt on neck since you're talking about shimming it. I'd definitely shim the neck before trying to shave the bridge down. But before that I'd check the relief. If the neck is bowed you'll need to fix that first. If the truss rod can't counteract the bow then shimming isn't going to work. I'd get the neck straight first, then adjust the angle with shimming if needed.
 

Dana Olsen

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,921
Sounds like it's a bolt on neck since you're talking about shimming it. I'd definitely shim the neck before trying to shave the bridge down. But before that I'd check the relief. If the neck is bowed you'll need to fix that first. If the truss rod can't counteract the bow then shimming isn't going to work. I'd get the neck straight first, then adjust the angle with shimming if needed.
Ah ha, I get it - bolt on neck.

Then HayekFan's right; check relief, check neck angle, shimming is better than shaving and easier too.

Thanks, Dana O.
 
Messages
11,334
Ah ha, I get it - bolt on neck.

Then HayekFan's right; check relief, check neck angle, shimming is better than shaving and easier too.

Thanks, Dana O.
That was kinda my thought too. It's definitely got some bow to it so I'll see what I can do when I get home....otherwise we might be looking at a slide guitar.
 
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11,334
Adjusted the truss rod and made one of my patented business card shims. This thing is downright playable! Now to sort the electronics....
 






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