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> How High Do You Set Your Action?
fkalich
post Sep 21 2007, 01:24 AM
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What brings this up, is that I raised mine in the past day. I have found that for really demanding bending and vibrato, by that I mean at the top of the neck, high speed, where you have to put some dynamics on notes, even those that are fairly quick notes, that it makes life a lot easier to raise your action. I understand that scalloping helps that, but that is not going to happen for me, at least for awhile. I had my action very low, well below Gibson spec. Now it is at spec, maybe even just a hair higher than spec. Just makes songs where you bend notes a lot, much easier to play.

edit: I am thinking that I may have to set guitars differently, some real low, others not so low. High action seems to definitely impede fast AP. Anyone else set it differently like that for different purposes?

This post has been edited by fkalich: Sep 21 2007, 02:51 AM
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Smikey2006
post Sep 21 2007, 02:58 AM
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Im never sure what people mean when they say High or Low. I know some people who say low as in having the strings lowered or low as in slow speeds which means they are farther away. No matter what the case I try to keep my action set so that the strings are as close as possible to the fretboard without getting the annoying vibrations off the frets. The faster and easier it is to hit notes the better IMO


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MickeM
post Sep 21 2007, 02:58 AM
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On my Ibanez I set ut to buzz, then raised it the tiniest bit.

On my Les Paul I keep it higher, the tone was so bad when I kept it low. I raised it quite a bit above buzz level, don't know how much in mm but it's still comfortable to play and the tone is teriffic! So on that guitar I let the tone work with playability to find what's right.


...just becuase you made a rescent effort of your own I made an effort to go measure. smile.gif smile.gif smile.gif

Didn't know where to measeure so I checked the thick E string at the 12'th fret. It's ~2,5mm from the fret to the bottom side of the string. So I measured air in between so to speak.

EDIT: Now that I looked at it it's still pretty low, imagine I kept it even lower blink.gif I had to raise it since when bending the thin E string it went off the pu magnet and the tone died. Well worth to find that out since the tone increased by a ton!

This post has been edited by MickeM: Sep 21 2007, 03:00 AM


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The Uncreator
post Sep 21 2007, 03:14 AM
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I keep it as low as possible, as long as i here or feel no buzz when i play through my amp im good.
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al christie
post Sep 21 2007, 04:40 AM
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QUOTE (The Uncreator @ Sep 21 2007, 04:14 AM) *
I keep it as low as possible, as long as i here or feel no buzz when i play through my amp im good.

I agree with the uncreator, on an electric guitar keep the action high enough so as you have no fret buzzes and low enough so as you can bend strings with out killing yourself.


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Asphyxia Feeling
post Sep 21 2007, 05:29 AM
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Ultra low. or, as low as it can get before you get any fret buzz on ANY fret.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Sep 21 2007, 06:29 AM
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Just done the same as MickeM here fkalich: not very accurate but my GTibson is @2 1/2 - 3 mm at the 12th on the bottom e string.

Years ago I was told that the more important bit of setting the action was to do with both tone and bending the string. Needs to be high enough so that there is some bite and you can get under and potentially lift the string you are bending towards out of the way (if you get my drift) but not so low that the tone suffers. I was told that speed vs action was more a thing about 'time spot' that is right hand left hand co-ordination; nothing matters if you aren't co-ordinated and you need to practice to manage your time spot. This though was ages before shredding really took off so maybe the game has changed for many people. To me, well I'm old and old fashioned and set pretty much in my ways so my action isn't ultra low and could certainly go lower but it's what I'm used to.

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Pavel
post Sep 21 2007, 06:31 AM
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QUOTE (Asphyxia Feeling @ Sep 21 2007, 06:29 AM) *
Ultra low. or, as low as it can get before you get any fret buzz on ANY fret.


Second that! smile.gif As low as it goes without the buzz! smile.gif


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Robin
post Sep 21 2007, 07:23 AM
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I got mine pretty low. Its easier to play and I like the sound of it, sometimes buzzing a little. Not that evil kinda buzz, but the good kind! Not when soloing of course, but when playing heavy riffing.

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shredmandan
post Sep 21 2007, 07:35 AM
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I guess im just like everyone else on this.I have my guitar set up at a shop and i tell them i want it as low as posible without making a buzz.Me personally i dont see why any benifit of having high action on a guitar other than playing slide guitar.Thats the only time when high action is needed but in any other case i dont see the point. smile.gif


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Muris Varajic
post Sep 21 2007, 09:20 AM
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This is tough one...
If you set it low,it feels great for legato and fast stuff but you're missing lot of tone/sound.
Setting it higher gives powerful tone but kills left hand for sure.
Also it depends of guitar.
Per example,my new custom has higher action than my EBMM Axis
but it's still softer and easier to play bends,legato etc.
I'm not sure why is that cause scale/measure from nut to bridge is identical on both guitars.
Final word,I prefer action without buzz,with enough tone and sustain while being comfortable to play legato.
Hope I'm not asking for too much smile.gif


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fkalich
post Sep 21 2007, 01:51 PM
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Thanks all, and especially to Tony and MickeM, for taking measurements. Those confirmed what I had long suspected......indeed, I am a complete moron.

My action had been set to less than half the height you guys set yours to, about 1.3 mm. Even after I have raised it to what I thought was sky high, it is no more than 1.7 mm. Gibson spec is 2 mm.

edit: OK, after raising it to Gibson spec, I have these observations. The tone sounds much better when you don't have every note you hit slapping against the frets. Unless you are SRV. Also it is much easier to execute demanding bends and vibrato at the top of the neck. While these things may be obvious to you guys, to a complete moron, this is all very amazing stuff.

This post has been edited by fkalich: Sep 21 2007, 02:11 PM
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Juan M. Valero
post Sep 21 2007, 03:13 PM
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QUOTE (muris @ Sep 21 2007, 10:20 AM) *
This is tough one...
If you set it low,it feels great for legato and fast stuff but you're missing lot of tone/sound.
Setting it higher gives powerful tone but kills left hand for sure.
Also it depends of guitar.
Per example,my new custom has higher action than my EBMM Axis
but it's still softer and easier to play bends,legato etc.
I'm not sure why is that cause scale/measure from nut to bridge is identical on both guitars.
Final word,I prefer action without buzz,with enough tone and sustain while being comfortable to play legato.
Hope I'm not asking for too much smile.gif


I second that !! I like the action as low as posible because it's easier to play legato and tapping BUT I also love extrem bendings, so if my action is too low I cannot bend correctly. What's the solution? Neither one nor other tongue.gif
(there's also another solution that is having a doble necked guitar laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif )


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Andrew Cockburn
post Sep 21 2007, 05:40 PM
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My Jem is stock, and it works for me (sorry can't measure it for you as it is a continent away!) Playing legato at that height has actually strengthened my playin, as it is hard work to get it to sound good on less hi gain settings, so it helps with training in that way. I haven;t tried it lower, but I like the tone as it is, and find bends are working really well for me (including getting under the next string up as Tony said - a must for some bends) - the only thing I am a little less happy with is alt picking taht changes between string feels hard - but I am not the worlds best speed picker anyway and that is still a work in progress.


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Scott Gentzen
post Sep 22 2007, 02:37 AM
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QUOTE (Andrew Cockburn @ Sep 21 2007, 04:40 PM) *
s are working really well for me (including getting under the next string up as Tony said - a must for some bends) - the only thing I am a little less happy with is alt picking taht changes between string feels hard - but I



This might warrant a new topic, but I've heard this twice now...

Bending and going under the surrounding strings. Is digging under the strings a function of how far you're bending or more of a thing that's determined by what you're trying to accomplish?

It seems to me (being a relative newbie) that even really deep bends that I've seen tend to just push the other strings along, bunched up against the string being bent. Maybe it's just a situation where it's more subtle than obvious when watching someone play. Either way, when I do bends, I don't go under strings at all and am having a hard time thinking of a reason why I would want to.


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fkalich
post Sep 22 2007, 03:04 AM
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QUOTE (Scott Gentzen @ Sep 21 2007, 08:37 PM) *
This might warrant a new topic, but I've heard this twice now...

Bending and going under the surrounding strings. Is digging under the strings a function of how far you're bending or more of a thing that's determined by what you're trying to accomplish?

It seems to me (being a relative newbie) that even really deep bends that I've seen tend to just push the other strings along, bunched up against the string being bent. Maybe it's just a situation where it's more subtle than obvious when watching someone play. Either way, when I do bends, I don't go under strings at all and am having a hard time thinking of a reason why I would want to.


Listen to someone like Clapton, and then see if you can be the first person on earth to execute bends and vibrato at his speed, with his dynamics, and not get under the adjoining strings.

Anyone who disagrees with me, feel free to shoot me down, I have been a moron before. But that is the way it looks to me. I don't think you can possibly to the highest quality work with these, unless you get under the strings.
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botoxfox
post Sep 22 2007, 05:24 AM
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Low action here too.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Sep 22 2007, 05:46 AM
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At some positions on a neck if you need to make a large bend and/or add wide vibrato after you have bent then getting under the adjacent strings that you bend towards can really help in my experience. A big advantage f it is that you are no longer pushing against several strings. Try it - I can do a two tone bend in 5th position on the high b string by getting under and lifting the 3rd and 4th out of the way far more easily then pushing against all the other 4. It takes practice and you have to palm mute/damp though.

Cheers,
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