High Action or Low Action???

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Funkster, Jun 14, 2002.

  1. Funkster


    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    Just wondering cause recently I have changed my set-up to med high action with a the neck flat from Low action with a bit of reliefe, and I'm diggin it.
    My basses sound bigger and rounder and I don't have a lot of unwanted fret noise anymore.
    Just wondering what you guy's are setting up your basses like?
  2. I used to use superlow, but I raised it, for a few reasons. First of all, I wanted to be challenged to the extent that I could pick up another bass and not struggle if the action was higher. Second, I didn't want so much fret noise and buzzing, it gets really annoying. Third, it feels so good to dig in real hard when funking it up!
  3. Funkster


    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA

    Yeah!!!! I couldn't have said it better,
    Digging in feels much better with the higher action!!!!
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I like it as low as it can go without buzzing. Why work any harder than I need to?

    For me the Fender factory setup spec works OK.
  5. ahpook


    Jul 13, 2001
    i use pretty much the fender spec - i'd hardly call it low....how hard are you guys hitting your poor basses ?


  6. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I like my action pretty darn low - and this is something I've been giving a lot of thought. I think action affects tone. For me, if the string is nice and low, it responds faster and easier for me, though I don't have problems playing dynamically. I recently changed the bridge on my Moses jazz, and when I did, the action went way up (as they do when you use Badasses). I noticed the tone got 'thumpier' and darker. Yesterday I shimmed the neck to lower the action back down and viola! growl and grind are back.

    I don't know if this is just me or not..... I also think it gives me that "crisp" sound on recordings that some folks have asked me about.....
  7. notnuffsleep

    notnuffsleep Guest

    Jun 5, 2002
    San Dimas CA
    I like my action relatively low because you never know when you need to tap on the fretboard, Although fretbuzz can get annoying.
  8. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    I'm a high action guy... I find that I am able to better control my dynamics with a medium high to high action. I do adjust my pickups an eighth of an inch from the bottom of the string when pressing on the highest fret, and this keeps my output consistent, while plucking at my preferred 'strength'... all without too much fret smack!

  9. what are the pros and cons of both high and low action?
  10. On my P basses, I have mid-high action so I can really dig in. I use my P basses for rock stuff, and harder music, so the hard attack makes it sound that much better.

    On my Jazz, I like my action lower for a more melodic approach.
  11. ColdYinTiger


    Jul 15, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I have low action on my Yamaha and super-low on my Ibanez, it suits my style beter. Though when I pick a bass up with high action it usually only takes me a few seconds to adjust to it, cant play quite as fast but it gives a bit more punch. I really love the sound of med to high action on P-Basses.
  12. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    That's the way that I have mine set up. I don't get a lot of buzz as long as I'm using good technique and low action seems to force me to use better technique. I can still dig in a little harder if I want to funk it up but I don't have to work as hard as when I had my action a lot higher. The end result is that I can play longer without getting tired and it's a lot more comfortable for me.
  13. Misanthrope


    Feb 7, 2002
    i use superlow on low setup because of i do a lot tapping there on neck and i like it more. it`s not that hard to tap it for hours or pluck. i also play a lot on fretboard (fingers and slap too... that`s why i have a only low setup on 1 bass...). i like smooth touch at bass when u know u can do a trick only with a little action... my spector with a superlow setup sounds much more jazzy ;-) and i luv it...

    setup strings down, make your strap short and funk it up ;-)
  14. I also argeee with this. I love being able to dig in, and although my action isn't super high, its high enuff to eliminate all fret buzz, and still produce a nice and crisp tone.
  15. low, Low,LOW......

    This makes me work on keeping my technique clean and clear, and delivers the consistent, even sound I like.

  16. Kid Charlemagne

    Kid Charlemagne

    May 29, 2002
    I have always used a medium-high action. For a long while, the bulk of my work was in the studio, and there fretbuzz must be avoided.
    Also, most recording jobs don't require any fast playing or tapping, the greatest challenge is rather to get an even tone and to play in the pocket, which I find much easier with a slightly higher action.

    But all this is very subjective, what works for me might not work for the next guy, and vice-versa.
  17. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I like very low action. I find that a bass that's properly set up with action as low as you can go with no fretbuzz (except that little "kiss" you get when you un-fret the note) makes playing much more effortless. I also get a wider range of tones.

    Hmmm...kinda sounds like most people around here;)
  18. Misanthrope


    Feb 7, 2002
    when i have my superlow action... then i can tap just by simple light touch... i love that...
  19. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    I think mine is med-low action. I think this is why I need more basses. One with really low action for my slap bass. one with med-low action for my all around bass. and one with High action for my dig in bass... they need to make a switch on bridges that will allow you to do that.......
  20. td1368


    Jan 9, 2001
    I agree with the low action and lighter touch crowd.

    Pacman, you think adding a badass bridge raises action? my jazz has a BA2 bridge that I've been struggling to lower the action on. Hmmm maybe it's time fro the bridge to come off.