Cordoba guitar technical question

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Dave92270

Post by Dave92270 » Fri Jun 22, 2007 11:42 pm

pepe wrote:I presume the nut on that guitar is made of plastic. The saddle may be bone, or plastic too. You can lower the action yourself very carefully. You may want to cut a piece of 2 or 3 inch pencil in half (you can do this by cutting with a blade and then sanding the expose face on sandpaper ona flat surface. The purpose is that you place the pencion over the last two frets and mark the height of the fret on the nut. The bottom of th strings should be a little bit over that mark. Some build the bottom at the same level. My higher E is lower than B, which is lower than G. Then the D is at the same hight as B (approximately), then A is a bit higher and then Lower E is the highest of all. The difference between the low E and hhigh E bottom should be about 1/3 of a mm.

You can chose to file the nuts (If plastic, I am sure there is only a little cut ), or chose to file the bottom. A properly adjusted nut is the best thing to make a guitar play smoothly and without stress in the left hand. There is not excuse for factories to leave it high, or the pretext to let the player chose the height of the nut. That could be acceptable for the saddle, not for the nut. The reason they do that is to avoid buzzing, which woudl interfere iwth the sale of the guitar. If you need more indications or help, email me directly and if possible take some pics. I will be glad to go in more details.
Pepe,

thanks for more details about the string action adjustments. Beside the high saddle, I think that the nut on my 45R is possibly not set correctly either; the lower E won't even fit in and sits on top of the nut, sort of half-way into the slot (is that right?). Is it OK to post a few pics here?

Dave

Pepe Vergara

Post by Pepe Vergara » Sat Jun 23, 2007 4:42 am

Sure. Post the pics.

Do not worry about fixing the problem. It is one of the most common and easiest to deal with. If you were close by, I would ask you to stop by my shop for couple of hours to do it for you. I do not know where you are. I am in Southern California.

Dave92270

Post by Dave92270 » Sat Jun 23, 2007 6:54 pm

pepe wrote:Sure. Post the pics.

Do not worry about fixing the problem. It is one of the most common and easiest to deal with. If you were close by, I would ask you to stop by my shop for couple of hours to do it for you. I do not know where you are. I am in Southern California.
Here are the pics. I measured the distance at the center of the 12th fret on lower E, beetween string and the fretboard, to about 5.5mm (with calipers 7/32"); the higher E is little lower because the saddle angled/sloped shape, so maybe 4.5mm or so...well, have a look at the images and tell me what you think. I'm still unconvinced whether instead of messing with it I shouldn't return it and go to brick store instead to pick a different instrument that will feel right out of the box. It cost me over $800 with SKB Freedom3 hard case (of which workmanship I'm not very excited either). Oh BTW I'm in Southern California as well, Palm Springs area.

edit: I took the exact measurement on the higher E too - it is little over 5/32" so some 4.1-4.2mm (at 12th fret)

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Pepe Vergara

Post by Pepe Vergara » Sat Jun 23, 2007 7:32 pm

The Cordobas are good guitars. That is the only problem I find in them. Yes, the nut is that plastic thing (this is common on less expensive guitars, lets say less than $2K). It can be improved or replaced by bone. The saddle can be lowered by sanding the bottom. Make sure you draw a line parallel to the bottom. To lower 1 mm, you need to lower 2 in the saddle. If you lower the nut, you can also lower a bit more.

brooks
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Post by brooks » Sun Jun 24, 2007 11:25 pm

dave, it looks to me like you may be measuring incorrectly. you need a ruler that starts measuring from the edge, and place it on top of the twelfth fret, not on the fingerboard. from your photos it looks like the action - if measured in this way - might be pretty good, i.e. about 4-4.5mm.

Dave92270

Post by Dave92270 » Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:19 am

brooks wrote:dave, it looks to me like you may be measuring incorrectly. you need a ruler that starts measuring from the edge, and place it on top of the twelfth fret, not on the fingerboard. from your photos it looks like the action - if measured in this way - might be pretty good, i.e. about 4-4.5mm.
brooks,

OK, I did meter the fingerboard/string distance (instead of correct fret/string?); I however checked accurately with calipers, the ruler was just positioned in the photo for scale. I'll measure once more, this time fret/string distance. No matter what the distance, I still feel that I need it lower.

Anyway, thanks for pointing it out, I'l check it out!

Pepe Vergara

Post by Pepe Vergara » Mon Jun 25, 2007 4:20 am

brooks wrote:dave, it looks to me like you may be measuring incorrectly. you need a ruler that starts measuring from the edge, and place it on top of the twelfth fret, not on the fingerboard. from your photos it looks like the action - if measured in this way - might be pretty good, i.e. about 4-4.5mm.
I think the ruler cannot go on top of the fret because there is a space of about 2.5 mm before teh ZERO starts. I think you were measuring trying to align the ZERO with the top of the fretboard, not the fret. I can read 6.4 mm, if you take 1 mm for the fret height, then you are left with an action of 5.4 mm or so. Try to get a metallic ruller that sstarts at ZERO flat. I can see the action is high. The bridge is also too high. It is probably 9 mm plus the saddle.

The nut is the plastic I was afraid off.

brooks
Posts: 1054
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:11 am
Location: halifax, nova scotia

Post by brooks » Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:51 pm

pepe wrote: I can read 6.4 mm, if you take 1 mm for the fret height, then you are left with an action of 5.4 mm or so.
actually pepe, if you check the photo again, you'll see the distance from the fingerboard reads 5.4 mm, which would make the action aproximately 4.4 mm.

Dave92270

Post by Dave92270 » Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:31 am

..just an update - I picked up a generic plastic saddle at the local music instruments store, filed it (at the bottom) down on 320 & 600 grit sandpaper by some 2.5mm and installed. I got the strings somewhat lower, but the sound got worse in my opinion; the saddle is visibly a different material then the original one, probably worse - I think it resonates less, and also I believe that lowering the strings has impact on the quality of the sound too? It seems that I had now lowerE at some 4.5 mm, measured from top of the 12th fret to the bottom of the string; the high E was at around 3.5mm; I enclosed a few pics again, with new saddle.

Well, for now I ended up reinstalling the original saddle. I guess I'll order a better quality saddle (tusq?) and try again. Also, I found out that the local guitar store could actually adjust the guitar's action for me if I'd want to - so I'm weighting out whether I want let them do it or fool with it myself for a bit more.

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brooks
Posts: 1054
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:11 am
Location: halifax, nova scotia

Post by brooks » Tue Jun 26, 2007 3:21 am

as pepe mentioned, the nut could also be affecting the playability.
check out:

viewtopic.php?t=16429&start=0

viewtopic.php?t=18606

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