Is action supposed to be even across the fingerboard?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by aguillem, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. aguillem


    Nov 10, 2013
    Hi all,

    I am new to Upright and have been renting for the past 6 months. I have tried out a few basses, and the action is usually comfortable at the G string (as low as 5mm) but then steadily increases until I have 15mm+ action at the E string. Is this normal? Or is the action supposed to be reasonably consistent across the strings? What should I expect from a setup (mm of string height) if I buy a bass for playing jazz and want lowish action?

    When I quote string heights in mm, I am measuring from the bottom of the fingerboard.

  2. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    String heights are just that: the height of the string above the finger board i.e., G = 5mm D = 6mm A = 7mm E = 8mm from the top of the fingerboard to the bottom of the string.

    The larger strings have a wider excursion when played and so they need a little more height.
  3. aguillem


    Nov 10, 2013
    Thanks. So what should I expect as a differential between g and e for a nice setup? Are the heights that I described above normal?
  4. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    String height will depend on personal preference, string type, etc. Generally, lower tension strings like gut are set higher. I use steel strings and generally have my height at 4mm to 8mm (G to E).

    The 15mm height on the E you quoted seems a little high to me. That might fly with unwound guts, but I'd hate to encounter a 15mm E on steel. I am of course presuming you are measuring to the bottom of the string and not including the string diameter by measuring to the top of the string.
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