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Shaving the bridge to deepen the saddle slot to lower string action on a Classical Guitar (adjusting string action series)

Hi Nick, It’s been over six months since I bought the guitar [Hofner HM 96 Gigue] from you, she continues to develop her voice and is sounding very pleasing. I still have to fettle the action a little more and may even employ a luthier to shave a little off the bridge and deepen the saddle slot as not much more can be done by just shaving the saddle alone.
Thank you for all the time that you took in helping me with this guitar; I think it has been a very good investment and has rekindled my passion. This guitar sings with the La Bella Argento, expensive but worth it in my opinion.

Kind Regards, R

Dear Richard

I am pleased to hear you are enjoying the guitar. Its new strings should be in the post today.

As for the action and the bridge. This is the right course of action as long as you can keep a good break angle of the strings over the saddle after the latter has been lowered further. If the angle gets too shallow you can start to lose tone. I can’t remember the bridge on that guitar (as it was a one off) – does it have 12 holes which helps with the break angle?

Shaving the bridge a little can be a DIY job. The most important thing is to protect the soundboard against slips. You can tape on stiff plastic or light board or thick cloths etc to achieve this. An ordinary medium gauge file usually works fine and you can finish off with fine sand paper or sanding wool (assuming the bridge is not varnished). You don’t usually have to deepen the slot. If you are filing just a little off the treble side (which you usually are) the saddle is going to be supported just as before on the bass side.

I use the depth gauge on my micrometer to help take off just the amount needed and no more.

The other thing I might suggest is to use a new saddle, keeping the existing one as it is in case you go too low and start to get string buzzing.

I know the pesky Germans like their high action so you are going down a well-trodden path here!

Yours sincerely,
Nicholas Mahoney
Classical Guitars Plus

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Guitar with a little more resonance but still ‘flamenco’

Hi Nicholas, I hope all is well. You might remember I bought a Hanika KF from you some years ago, a great recommendation from you and I play it most days. I sometimes want something with a little more resonance but still ‘flamenco’ if that makes any sense, and I like the demos of the Yamaha (I realise the miking of the recordings has a lot to do with it).
I guess if its on your site then its better than ‘OK’! or would I be better looking at something else?


Yes, I see you bought the Hanika KF in 2015. Good to hear it gets a daily outing!

it is always a little difficult to know how others hear and describe the tone or quality of sound of a guitar so your “resonance” might not be mine and vica versa. I’ll do my best though.

I do think the Yamaha is a very good starter flamenco guitar. However, to my ear, I would say it has less resonance than the Hanika you have already.

If you were looking for something which had some of the Flamenco crispness of tone but a little more sustain and a slightly more complex tonal quality, I would suggest looking at a guitar with a slightly deeper body but with a maple back and sides.

The following are possibilities –

Hanika 50 AF

Hanika 52 AF

Hanika 56 AF-N

Hanika HE Doubletop-N Special Price One Only

You might want to think about the string action with these guitars; they are not normally set up nearly as low as a flamenco guitar but this could be done on request.

Another alternative would be to consider the Hanika Flamenco ZF. This has the traditional flamenco woods – spruce and cypress (compared with the spruce and cherry of your Hanika Flamenco KF) – but it has a lattice soundboard.

Hanika Flamenco ZF

I hope this helps a little. Feel free to give me a call to talk about it. The links above are all to our other, newer site “Hanika Guitars UK” which we run alongside the updated version of Classical Guitars Plus.

Yours sincerely,
Nicholas Mahoney