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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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Choice of strings for drop tunings on Nylon string / classical guitar

Dear Richard

Yes, a “high tension” string is a likely to be a better choice than a “low tension” for the reason you said.

The La Bella 10-String Classical Guitar Set 10BT, 10MT comes to mind as it has 4 additional bass strings.

Another thought is to use “Extra hard tension”; The D’addario SCX-3B set contains 3 such bass strings.

Hope this helps, let me know either way…

Nicholas Mahoney
Classical Guitars Plus
Natson Mill, Bow, Devon EX17 6JE, UK
01363 881174

On 18/03/2021 22:47, Richard Youngs wrote:
Hi Nicholas, 
I am experimenting with tunings on my classical guitar, frequently down-tuning several strings an entire tone – the lower E has been as low as a C. Can you recommend a string set that would suit this? Am I correct in thinking I should be using high tension to avoid the strings being too loose? Any brand in particular?
Thank you,

Richard Youngs.