Action is the amount of effort a musician has to exert over the strings in order to make them ring clearly. Lower action is preferred by most advanced players because allows for less fatigue, easier fingering, faster runs and better intonation. Plus, once the action has been lowered, it’s fairly easy to raise it. However, the opposite is not usually true.
One of my trademarks has always been the quest for lower action. Altough some players prefer it to be higher, I have seen how once my clients try their instruments with a lower action, they ask me to adjust their other guitars as well!
Let’s revisit once again the infamous red bass guitar. Its bridge had to be shifted from its original place because the screws were far beyond the rust. When I strung the bass up, I adjusted the saddles to their minimum height. Usually, this forces the strings against the frets, buit this was not that case.
Usually, a neck reset could take care of the problem, but the screws were extremely tight, and since this bass had a story with broken screws, I opted to leave them alone. So I turned to the bridge instead.
The modifications I did were focused in the saddles and the body. First, I truncated the bottom part of the saddles. Then I deepened the string slot inside them, but even that wasn’t enough. Look at the pictures to see the difference.
I decided to carve a place to install the bridge inside the body instead of on its surface. This way the baseplate would be flush to the body and I could get the entire bridge 1/16″ lower to aid in the process. I used the Dremel 335 routing attachment with the #115 tool to leave a smooth surface on the bottom.
Look how I am using goggles and a dust mask. Most people seem to not be aware that inhaling dust can lead to respiratory diseases. And if, as in this picture, the dust has chemicals from the finish, the damage can be serious. Safety first, folks!
With these modifications, I was able to get the string much lower than before. In the picture at the bottom you can see how the bridge plate sits flush with the body, and how lower is the first string when compared to the unmodified saddles.
In the end, I managed to get the action much closer than before, and the kid was able to play his first bass easily.