Have I bought a stinker?

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BarnezyBarnezy Frets: 355
Recently bought a 2016 used J45 unseen off the internet. It arrived and everything looked good, but the action was high. The guitar looked barely played and I assumed this was why. I took the guitar to my luthier for a setup and he’s done a really good job getting to action to a good place. Guitar plays lovely now. However the saddle had to come down a lot and he said he could have gotten the action a tad lower, but then there wouldn’t be enough break angle in the strings. 

I’ve been playing it a bit and I’m wondering if it’s not loud enough for the type of guitar it is. I then started looking in to neck angles and neck resets etc and I’m wondering if I’ve got a duff one or if I’m just being overly paranoid. 

Here are are pics of the saddle post setup. The action is now around 2-2.5mm on the low E at the 12th. What are your thoughts, should a saddle on a guitar this young be this low or is it fine? 








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  • Andy79Andy79 Frets: 45
    If you put a straight edge down the neck does it hit the bridge or just sail over the top?
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  • BarnezyBarnezy Frets: 355
    edited April 27
    Andy79 said:
    If you put a straight edge down the neck does it hit the bridge or just sail over the top?
    Over the top. Flush. 
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  • brucegillbrucegill Frets: 140
    Andy79 said:
    If you put a straight edge down the neck does it hit the bridge or just sail over the top?
    What he said ^^
    That should give you a good idea about the neck angle. Saddle does look low though, but on both E strings, like there’s a tight radius to the saddle. Hard to judge from photos to be sure. 

    As for volume, could just need playing if it’s been sat in a case unplayed for a while. 

    Notes ring true? Or do they sound muffled/muted? 

    Taylor have a couple of great articles with picture showing what to look for on wet or dry guitars, that might be worth a look. (If it was wet then the bridge can rise up on the belly, so high action etc and sometimes a loss in volume). 
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  • dannyboy82dannyboy82 Frets: 30

    I always use this as nice, simple check for neck angle on an acoustic,


    Here's a simple method for checking neck angle that doesn't depend on fret or fingerboard condition, or bridge height. 

    First, check to see that the neck is straight, then take note of the action at the twelfth fret. Presuming that the action is reasonable, say, between 3/32" and 4/32" between the bottom of the low E string and the top of the twelfth fret, then simply measure the string height in front of the bridge:

    If there's about 1/2" between the low E and the top, then the neck angle is just about right:




    If there's less than 3/8" between the string and the top, then there's neck angle trouble:

    If the strings are this close to the top, it means that the saddle and/or bridge have been seriously lowered to compensate for a "shallow" neck angle. 

    If I don't have a scale handy, I can easily estimate the difference between 1/2" and 3/8" visually, and by checking how my finger fits under the "E" string:
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  • BarnezyBarnezy Frets: 355
    As mentioned, the straight edge glides flush to the top of the bridge, so I guess the angle is ok, I might just be paranoid. 

    I heard Gibson come out the factory setup high, so maybe that was just it. Plus I could see from the tarnish on the frets it had nearly been touched, so maybe it’s just a tight top that needs some strumming. 

    Thanks for for the tips guys! 
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  • Andy79Andy79 Frets: 45
    Yeah the neck sounds good. Give it a thrashing and watch it open up
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  • BarnezyBarnezy Frets: 355
    Andy79 said:
    Yeah the neck sounds good. Give it a thrashing and watch it open up
    Why do you reckon the saddle needs to be so low? I guess if the neck angle was slight further back, you’d get more angle. The top appears flat still. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 39524
    It's hard to be sure from the pics, but the bridge looks unusually thick for a J-45. That would result in the saddle appearing too low relative to the slot even though the neck angle and the actual *height* of the saddle is correct.

    If that is the case, it would be possible to have the top of the bridge shaved, which would increase the break angle on the saddle - but it would need the pearl dots removed and refitted, so it's not quite a trivial job. A short-cut, either temporary or permanent, would be to 'ramp' the string holes to increase the break angle, as is sometimes done on an old bridge when shaving it isn't an option.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • KDSKDS Frets: 74
    Maybe worth emailing Brook? They are really helpful
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  • Andy79Andy79 Frets: 45
    what’s the bridge height and saddle height?
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  • KittyfriskKittyfrisk Frets: 951
    ICBM said:
    It's hard to be sure from the pics, but the bridge looks unusually thick for a J-45. That would result in the saddle appearing too low relative to the slot even though the neck angle and the actual *height* of the saddle is correct.

    If that is the case, it would be possible to have the top of the bridge shaved, which would increase the break angle on the saddle - but it would need the pearl dots removed and refitted, so it's not quite a trivial job. A short-cut, either temporary or permanent, would be to 'ramp' the string holes to increase the break angle, as is sometimes done on an old bridge when shaving it isn't an option.
    Dammit! @ICBMI thought you just lived in the 'Guitars' section,LOL  :)  ;)   I was just about to say the same about the bridge thickness. 
    Also, as you noted, it's not easy to see detail from the photo's, but the visible edge of the scratchplate where it is laid on the body looks a little 'rough' like it has a lot of excess granular glue or debris. Probably me being wrong, but just thought I'd mention it.
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  • KittyfriskKittyfrisk Frets: 951
    PS @Barnezy, don't assume the worst about the guitar. It's early days & getting better photo's and info will help the members to help you. Cheers.
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  • BarnezyBarnezy Frets: 355
    The bridge is pretty thick. Measures 8mm at the back. 

    There’s no rough finishes, it’s actually Very nicely finished..... for a Gibson. It’s just dust and where I’ve zoomed in the picture. 
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  • BarnezyBarnezy Frets: 355
    Andy79 said:
    what’s the bridge height and saddle height?
    Bridge is 8mm thick and the saddle is 4mm at the mid point, 3.5mm at the low E. The saddle actually drops away quite steeply after the string contact point, so maybe creates an optical illusion that there’s not much saddle. 
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  • Andy79Andy79 Frets: 45
    Those measurements, to me, are completely normal. Structurally I think you’re good. The only point I would make is the bridge top looks flat so you loose a bit af angle on the two Es but I don’t know if this is a normal J45 thing
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  • BarnezyBarnezy Frets: 355
    Andy79 said:
    Those measurements, to me, are completely normal. Structurally I think you’re good. The only point I would make is the bridge top looks flat so you loose a bit af angle on the two Es but I don’t know if this is a normal J45 thing
    Thanks for the reassurance. That's a very good point about the bridge being flat, I hadn't noticed it myself and that adds to the appearance that the saddle is low. 

    I am really enjoying the guitar though. Haven't put it down since I got it back from its setup, which is the main thing. 

    Thanks all for the input. 
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  • MikePMikeP Frets: 6
    You might lose a bit of volume with a low action. You could also get string ramps put into the bridge to improve break angle and possibly volume. If a straight edge from the top of the fretboard hits the top of the bridge exactly then the saddle height should be double the action at the 12th fret so 4mm saddle is 2mm action which is quite low. You could loosen the truss rod a quarter turn and see if a little relief improves volume and tone. J45s are not a super loud guitar especially when new. Play it loud, a lot as said above and it'll open up. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 39524
    Andy79 said:
    Those measurements, to me, are completely normal. Structurally I think you’re good. The only point I would make is the bridge top looks flat so you loose a bit af angle on the two Es but I don’t know if this is a normal J45 thing
    Yes, that's how Gibson do them.

    For what it's worth I checked my Dove and the dimensions are the same - other than the bridge being even thicker, 9mm. The Dove is 'notorious' for its very thick bridge.

    I certainly wouldn't worry about this one.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • LewyLewy Frets: 924
    I had a J45 True Vintage that looked a bit like that (before I raised the action a bit for my preference). The string height off the soundboard in front of the bridge (as per one of the pics above) was bang on 1/2" though so it was just a function of the thickness of the bridge. Break angle, in and of itself, doesn't make a difference to projection as long as it's sufficient to prevent the strings from moving laterally. It's all about that string height off the top.If that's low, the break angle will also be very shallow but that's not what would be causing the issue.
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  • elkayelkay Frets: 24
    Barnezy said:
    I’ve been playing it a bit and I’m wondering if it’s not loud enough for the type of guitar it is.
    Compared to most other dreads, J-45s do tend to be a bit on the quiet side anyway. My Martins sound thunderous compared to my Gibson J-45. All other Gibson J-45s I have played have been similarly on the quiet side.
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  • Andy79Andy79 Frets: 45
    Yeah I agree loud and sometimes boomy is more associated with square shoulders  
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