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Thread: PRS USA Custom 24 action height

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    PRS USA Custom 24 action height

    I've run into an issue with this particular guitar and wonder who else has found the same thing in that the lowest action height achievable is 0.062" across all strings. It was originally much higher than this due to the setup being quite far off the factory specs (excessive forward relief and the bridge canted up on the treble side and too far off the body), but the owner is looking for a lower action than how it stands right now.

    At present I have it set so that the trem bridge is an even 1/16" off the body all the way round. 0.008" neck relief. No buzzing and all frets are level. The E saddles are at the lower limit of adjustment and the string radius is set to match the neck. The nut is a fraction deeper cut than I would ideally like, but isn't an issue.

    It would appear that the only further adjustment would be to set the bridge lower, but this risks compromising the trem travel. I can't recall action height being an issue on other PRS guitars I've worked on, but I think it just comes down to individual player preference.

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    How/where do you measure action?

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    I use a set of feeler gauges at the 12th fret as my preferred method, though I also have a digital vernier as well as a string height gauge.

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    PRS factory specs are 0.0625" treble and 0.078" bass at the 12th fret. To me me this would be too low. My Les Pauls I adjust to around 0.08" all strings.
    But of course minimum acceptable action depends on personal preference and playing style.

    BTW, I use pieces of strings as "feeler gauges". Especially useful for measuring relief.

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    Last edited by Helmholtz; 10-08-2019 at 08:41 AM.
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    I like a fairly high action myself, but this particular player has all her guitars set very low - light strings, small hands and a very light touch so she gets away with it.

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    Pardon my observational curiosities...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Bailey View Post
    light strings, small hands and a very light touch
    Interesting.
    To me, this sounds like she'd be more suited to something like a Jackson or Ibanez (wizard neck) than a PRS (which usually reminds me more of a Gibson feel).

    I wonder if this was a gift from a loved one, or an impulse purchase...

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    I have this problem on one of my guitars. I know the model well and didn't expect this issue when I purchased it. Also a set neck guitar. Also a higher end guitar. Since I've seen many of this model I speak of I had to assume that it was a Monday or Friday guitar How it got past QC I don't understand. Just right on the edge of tolerance? And yet not everyone's tolerance. I have some pretty aggressive mods in mind for the one I have. In your case aggressive probably isn't in the budget or what the customer would want for their high end guitar.

    If there's any way to reduce the height of the E saddles or bridge by milling or planing the bottoms on a belt sander I might do that. Sure the chrome plating will be compromised, but since they don't make the saddles and bridges planed down now what are you gonna do? Just make sure the customer is down with the idea and that replacement parts can be acquired.

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    I don't know the story behind this particular guitar - it is out of keeping with all the others she owns. Machining the saddles crossed my mind as being the only other viable fix. I always think of a factory value for height being the centre point for adjustment with some latitude either way, but this guitar is quite limited.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    It really does sound like the same thing I'm dealing with on my '85 Yamaha SBG. I've owned two others that were eminently adjustable "either way" as you say. Since the trem on this guitar is an early Floyd type, though not recessed, it's pretty funky. Yamaha only used it on a couple of models for two years. So I plan to have a proper Floyd route done. I'm sure that option isn't on the table for you though.

    A good quality set of saddles for that guitar looks to be around $40 to $70 (US). In case you don't want to mill the originals. Not sure how much leeway there is with the angle of the intonation adjustment screw at the back and the saddle peak point. Hopefully removing .4mm or so from the bottom of either E saddle won't "float" them. I've seen that happen on other strat type bridges when the individual saddle screws are adjusted too low.

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    "In fact when I run into problems working on electronic circuirts, there are so many times that when I finally track it down, the source of the problem is located between my soldering iron and my seat." SoulFetish

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    I think there's enough angular movement to accommodate thinning out the saddles. It looks to be just the E saddles that need adjusting and there ought be enough movement in the rest. I'll ask the customer if she wants to go ahead.

    Edit: I went ahead with reducing the E saddles and now all is pretty good - it will now drop to 0.045" and still maintain the bridge radius, so this now gives room for adjustment either way of the factory measurement. The saddles are brass, flashed with gold. A limitation is the possibility of break-through of the thread and after careful measurement and looking at the angles I decided to take off a little more from the front of the saddle and rather less from the back. It was quicker just to rub it against 120 aluminium oxide paper rather then mill them. I did find that the saddles weren't flat to begin with so this wasn't helping when I originally tried adjusting the bridge. It only took about half an hour to do in total and I think the owner will be pleased with the result.

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    Last edited by Mick Bailey; 10-08-2019 at 06:15 PM.

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    Why not thin the bridge plate from the underside and deal with all the saddles at once? It's probably brass or pot metal, a magnet would tell you if it's steel.

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