does extreme low action decrease playability?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Berme, Jun 23, 2001.

  1. Berme


    May 11, 2001
    does a very low action increase the opposition of the string to be fretted against the neck? I ask this because this is what i feel in the basses i´ve played, and, if this is true, then an extreme low action wouldn´t be very useful, it would decrease the playability (of course with extreme settings you obtain extreme results). I like very low action, but sometimes i feel my left fingers have to press the strings more than usual.
    Have any of you felt something like this?
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    A repair tech took a look at my main bass this past Thursday and noted, "Your action is really low, almost like a flameco guitar....and the neck is really straight," (he meant flat). This is not a good set-up for ripping off fast arpeggios or triplets. But it makes some of the "tricks", fast lines with lots of notes come off easier, and chords. Plus, there less effort to get more output.

    I usually also carry a second bass with higher action and more relief in the neck. Some of the funk stuff is far easier for me and sounds a lot better, like pops and double pops.

    From what you're saying about the low action making fretting more difficult, it sounds like your strings are almost resting on the frets and you're having to make extra effort to fret a clean note. That's too low for me :eek:
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    no. low action, better playability. This is probably a thing in your head. try to use a lighter touch.
  4. RickBass, I think the tech said exactly what he meant by "straight". That is, that the neck was in alignment down it's length.

    The reason I make this distinction is that there is another aspect of neck construction that is usually overlooked in discussions of "playability". The radius of a fretboard has quite a bit to do with feel. If you describe a neck as "flat", you should be referring to the radius of the fretboard being rather large. Funny thing is that there isn't an acronym for a fretboard that has a small radius :rolleyes: A perfectly flat fretboard is sort of cumbersome and playability increases with a decrease in the radius making the fretboard rounder. This continues to a certain point where the radius is so small that you can't move from one side to the other quickly, at which point playability begins to decrease again. Of course, the perfect radius is different for everybody.
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Ham - That's a good catch, but he was talking about the amount of relief and the way I have the saddles set so the string heights conform to the crown of the fingerboard. The tech was troubleshooting a G that sounded pinched, (no sustain on a nech-through), and raspy. A little superglue in the nut slot, and VOILA!