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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:37 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:23 am
Posts: 1
I have recently received an Electra Model 2229 from my grandfathers old collection. I figured I would clean it up and get it playing since it has been sitting for 20 years.

The bridge is very strange though, instead of it having a adjustable saddles on the bridge, it is a wooden base, like all the 2229, but the actual saddle is one peice of wood with string grooves cut in it.

The string height is ridiculously high, at the 12th fret the string height is at least 1/2 inch. The bridge is adjust all the way down. I have tightened the truss rod to straighten the neck, but I am thinking the body may be warped and caused issues with the neck pocket.

Has anyone seen this before?

With this setup like it is, it is unplayable. Not just because of the string height, but you cannot even get the intonation set correctly.

The wooden base of the bridge I thought would be glued on, but it is not. There are felt pads on the feet, so the pressure of the strings keep it in place. But as I said, the bridge saddle is one solid peice of wood and cannot be adjusted like the other model 2229 that have the adjustable bridges.

Any help would greatly be appreciated..

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 5:24 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 22, 2004 12:17 am
Posts: 1903
Hi Chris, welcome to the site.

What you're describing is unfortunately not uncommon with guitars of this type, this vintage. What happens is the neck pocket becomes warped, or perhaps it's fair to say the entire body gets warped, such that the geometry of the pocket to the bridge gets changed.

I don't suggest trying to unwarp it, although that's probably something a luthier could do, it's major surgery.

Instead, you can slove teh action problems by changing the neck shim. Note that I say 'change the shim' rather than 'add a shim' because (although most people don't realize it) many of these guitars had a shim from teh factory anyway.

So what you do is remove the neck, and add a shim between the heel of the neck and the pocket. You may find there's one in there already- I've seen some made of thin black plastic which looked to me like photographic film.

Anyway, you're adding a thin strip maybe 1/4" wide by however wide the pocket is. it's much like a strip torn from a matchbook cover (and many guitars are shimmed with a matchbook cover) but I'd suggest using something more stable, maybe a strip of plastic cut from a plastic jug, etc. You're probably looking at the equivalent of maybe a couple thicknesses of matchbook cardboard.

And then reinstall the neck and try it. Last time I did one I had to remove and reinstall it six times befor it was right. Be sure every time you re-set the neck that it's firmly pressed into the socket as the screw connects with its threads.

If the trem works, you can even turn it backwards and block it against the body to loosen the strings while you remove and replace the neck. Don't be afraid to remove it and try again- patience is key.

And then you'll get it right and suddenly the bridge will adjsut perfectly withint range, and everything will seem to settle into place- it's emarkable, like bringin a blurry picture into focus. Getting the neck set right brings the whole guitar to life.

P.S.- for the purists who disdain neck shims, I say sure, if you're choosing how to build a guitar, I like a set neck myself. But a shimmed neck is not so much of an obstruction to resonance, the difference in contact area makes a difference I don't think you can even hear. Acoustic electrics, let's face it, sound lousy not plugged in anyhow! And plugged in the pickups are doing msot of the work, and the resonance of the strings o the body is ngligible compared to the tendency of the hollow body to resonate and feed back. So take shims as part of the normal construction of bolt-neck guitars like this, and love em for what they are- when adjsuted well they can sing wonderfully!

 Post subject: Shims
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 12:20 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 9:32 am
Posts: 1024
Location: NYC
For those who don't like messing up the wood to wood contact, you can always make a wood shim. Its more work and I have never been able to hear a difference myself.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 6:31 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2003 4:58 am
Posts: 925
Location: Southern Indiana
Don't forget, a guitar pick makes an excellent shim - you can get them for cheap (probably already have a bunch already) and get them in all sizes, shapes, and thicknesses. Easy enough to trim too. They are dense and do not compress so once they are snug they should stay that way. Just look in the back of your old amplifier - betcha find some - along with some stuff you may not want to find!


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