Guitar Neck Angle and Neck Reset Explained

What does a guitar seller mean when he describes a guitar as having "Great neck angle as the action is currently very low with plenty of saddle height left?"


After a guitar is 25 or 30 years old, sometimes the neck starts to slant forward from the constant pull of the strings over the years. Instead of getting a neck reset, a less expensive fix is to lower the saddle, even sometimes making the bridge thinner. This less expensive fix is OK if the luthier knows what he's doing and doesn't make the bridge too thin or make the saddle too low. It's inevitable however that the guitar will eventually need a neck reset which is a very expensive repair. The neck needs to be completely removed from the body and re-angled plus a bunch of other stuff.

If the seller states the guitar has, "Great neck angle as the action is currently very low with plenty of saddle height left", that means he's trying to convince you the guitar is not in need of this expensive neck reset repair. I just saw a used guitar the other day in a music store. At first, I was impressed with its playability but after a few seconds I realized the saddle (white part) was barely showing and the bridge (wood part) looked thinner than it ought to. This guitar had definitely had the cheaper fix done, maybe several times. I didn't buy the guitar.

Also: If a guitar is hard to play and the bridge measures less than 5/16" thick and/or the saddle measures less than 1/8" tall, the guitar probably needs a neck reset.


Neck angle can be checked with a straight edge approx. 24" long.

Lay the straight edge perpendicular on top of the guitar's neck.

Then slide the end of the straight edge towards the bridge.

Guitar Neck Angle
This is the way it hits on one new guitar.

It just clears the top of the bridge and hits the saddle.



Guitar Neck Angle
This is the way it hits on another new guitar, different manufacturer.

It hits slightly below the top of the bridge.

Also good.

Guitar Neck Angle
Here's an older guitar.

The neck angle has risen some but the guitar is really not ready for a neck reset yet.

In the above pictures on new guitars,  the white saddles look nice and tall.

Here, the saddle has been made shorter by a guitar tech to adjust for neck angle because the tuner end of the neck has risen some and the end of the straight edge hits lower on the bridge.

Guitar Neck Angle

See my other tip relating to this subject - Tip 82.

Gman ( o )==#

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