Portland Guitar Co.

Designing and Building
Custom Handcrafted
Guitars, Ukuleles
and Accessories

Portland Guitar Co. | Portland Oregon | Contact Jay Dickinson-503.245.3276 | jay@portlandguitar.com

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Engineered Braces | Tilt Action Neck | Split Saddle Bridge | Split Saddle Nut


Portland Guitar Pretty Good Intonation (PGPG) System

Short Version | Introduction | Intonation Errors | Analysis | PG Approach | Comparisons | Conclusion

User Adjustable Tilt Action Neck

All Portland Guitar instruments incorporate a User Adjustable Tilt Action Neck that allows the player to easily change the action, i.e., the string to fretboard spacing, by simply inserting a hex wrench into the strap pin bolt hole and turning the wrench slightly.  The string to fretboard distance has a dramatic effect on the playability of the instrument.  Generally, the higher the action, i.e., the farther the strings are away from the fretboard, the harder the instrument is to play.  To improve the playability of an instrument the action is often lowered by reducing the height of the saddle.  If the action is lowered too far though, the strings will buzz against the frets farther up the fret board.  The degree of buzzing is also affected by how hard the strings are plucked. The harder the string is plucked, the larger its amplitude will be and therefore the higher the action needs to be to prevent buzzing.  The height of the saddle also affects the response of the top to the plucked string.  There is an optimal saddle height to get the best sound for each guitar, so if the saddle height is changed to adjust the playability, the quality of the sound will be degraded.  Furthermore, the type and gauge of the strings will affect the playability.  If the strings are changed and the saddle height is lowered by shaving down the saddle, it may be impossible to return to the original type of strings without replacing the saddle.  These adjustments often require a trip to the guitar doctor and once set will require a return visit if they need to be changed again.  This makes it difficult to try a setting out for a while and compare it to alternate adjustments.  Therefore, the User Adjustable Tilt Action Neck allows the player to easily experiment with the playing action and eliminates the need to change the saddle height to optimize the playability of the guitar.

The User Adjustable Tilt Action Neck also eliminates the need for a neck resetting operation.  A steel string guitar is under a constant 160 to 180 pounds of tension from the strings and by necessity an acoustic guitar is built as light as possible to optimize its response. Therefore, it has been said that an acoustic guitar is an instrument that is in a perpetual state of self destruction.  The customer will often notice this as an increase in the action as the front of the guitar slowly collapses over time and the effective angle of the neck increases.  Although all luthiers do their best to prevent this from happening, to eliminate this phenomena would mean building an instrument that would not sound very good because the additional bracing it would require would reduce its response to unacceptably low levels.  To correct this problem usually requires taking the guitar into a technician for an expensive and dangerous process of removing the neck from the body, shaving the heal of the neck and then reattaching the neck to the body.  With the User Adjustable Tilt Action Neck a simple twist of a hex key brings the guitar back to its optimal condition.


To change the action of the strings:

1) Remove the guitar strap pin from the heal of the neck.
2) Insert the hex key into the guitar strap pin hole.
3) Rotate the hex slightly
4) The neck will change angle causing the string to fretboard distance to change.
5) The guitar must be retuned after the adjustment.
6) Replace the guitar strap pin.