I play a Washburn M118sw (all solid F style) that is a 2nd. Bought it about two years ago and have been really very happy with it. This weekend I did the 3rd string change since purchase and thought to lower the saddle a little (via the thumbwheels) as the action was just a tad high. Ran the wheels all the way down (not that far a travel). Turned out a little low but there was no buzzing so I decided to play her that way for a day or two and then decide later about a return to the previous height.
Picked the instrument up yesterday and the buzzing was terrible, so I figured it was time to take the saddle height back up a bit at a time to see if I could find a happy medium. Sighted the neck before I started and was not pleased. It APPEARS that the neck has suddenly taken on a huge twist and with the thumbwheels set approximatley at equal height, the E pair is way higher than any other and the G(s) are still noisy.
It seems to me in retrospect that I may have noticed previously that the thumbwheels were at slightly different heights. I had sighted the neck before and never seen anything amiss. My quandry is how to discern if a) in the space of a weeks time the neck developed a major defect (is that even possible?), or b) if perhaps there was a problem from the get go, but because the setup was adjusted by the seller the twist already exsisted but had been compensated for by the saddle being at different heights at each end and I just did not notice.
She used to play really sweet, and now it's like I am wearing gloves (and the tone sucks!). Live in NYC, but most repair shops don't know mandolins specifically, are too busy with their important customers, or are just plain too expensive for my means. Any advice, suggestions, or stories with related experiences would be very much appreciated. Thank you. Fare well, h
The side of the bridge with the G and D courses should be slightly higher than the other one. I can't speak to the twist, but sighting down a neck is something of an aquired skill. I'd take it down to Matt Umanov's or out to Staten Island to Mandoin Bros to have someone take a look at it.
its a very very long song
My guess is it was like that before and that the saddle wasn't even on the posts before you adjusted it. You may have moved the bridge when you were changing strings too. Finally I have had necks "relax " a bit after I lowered the bridge and get a buzz after a couple days. Check your intonation to be sure the bridge is in the right place. Check your neck with a strait edge to see if relief is the same on both sides because the string angle and size diff can give the optical illusion of twist. Raise the bridge till it doesn't buzz and reposition for intonation. I hesitate to suggest truss rod adjustment but some neck relief might be needed. If all else fails take it to a shop for a setup. Best of luck.
I would get it set up before all else fails.
Originally Posted by Jim
I don't think slightly different heights is evidence of a neck twist.
I never adjust my bridge height. Its all part of the last set up, which incorporates neck adjustment, slot depths, string type, and refrett. I don't want to play with something thinking I can change just one thing. Your experience confirms my fear.
Except for changing strings every three or four months, and keeping it in tune, I don't do anything myself. Bridge thumbwheels are not user serviceable parts, the way I look at it.
Thank you kindly for your advice and illustrations from your experience. Put her back together last night as closely approximating the original setup as I could. Intonation is fine, but the tone is weak and something still appears askew to my inexperienced eye. Professional setup it is then (as soon as I can gather the wherewithal). Gracias Amigos. Fare well, h