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High Action

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by stonedmotus, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. stonedmotus


    Dec 10, 2009
    i read that james jamerson had sky-high action, also (guitar) stevie ray vaughan's guitars were virtually unplayable with very heavy gauge strings, a bowed neck & high action. any other bassists of note known to play with a very high action? i prefer medium but assume most want it as low as possible.
  2. I read somewhere that Sting's old P Bass has pretty high action.....mainly because his tech doesn't want to mess with the neck.
  3. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    McCartney likes high action. My guitarist likes high action too. I do his set-ups. The first time I did one of his guitars he gave it back and said the action was too low. I was a little taken aback considering it is my nature to set everything as low as I can get it without fret buzz.
  4. pmcd


    Feb 22, 2006
    Setup is completely subjective. There is no one standard. Personally, I cannot play a bass with incredibly low action, but don't like it incredibly high either.
  5. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I like high action. I am not a bassist of note, but I like my action high and a slight bow in the neck.
  6. arsie


    Jan 19, 2011
    Action is directly related to playing style, isn't it? And playing style is about as subjective as you can get.

    I play with a really light touch, so I love my basses with as low action as I can get. I also love higher tension strings as a result. But I realize that there are certain tones that can only be achieved with certain playing style that will require a higher action.
  7. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    Will Lee plays pretty high action, as well as John Patittuci and Tim Cummerford of RATM. Percy Jones, George Porter Jr. and Gene Simmons, too.

    Lee Sklar likes high action on his old modded Fender/parts bass, but not on his Dingwall. The late great T-Bone Wolk used high action on his P-Bass. I played one of Neil Jason's old Jazzes and he had a higher action than most players.

    I've heard and read that Pino and Tony Levin like higher action as well, but I don't know for sure. It sounded like Pino used very low action on fretless in the 80's, but maybe not so low on later and more current projects using fretted.
  8. stonedmotus


    Dec 10, 2009
    that's a lot of great bassists, good to know, like i said before i've always liked a medium action but in the back of my mind i'm always thinking "it looks too high". i have played a few basses with incredibly low action & no buzz but i think thats only really meant for a lighter touch, not really digging in, i could be wrong.
  9. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh man, this is worth the half year bump just to point that out.

    And I'll never understand how people can like high action. Why would you make it more difficult to play?
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Medium low is good for the Munj.
  11. LowNotes1


    Jun 8, 2008
    I prefer the action as low as possible without buzz also, but this seems easier to achieve on some basses than others. Among the five I have now, my mid-80's E-series MIJ Precision has the most accommodating neck.
  12. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Yamaha, Fender, Rickenbacker, BSX. I'm Marc!

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    Medium-low or as low as possible with no buzz/a little bow for me
  13. mrsal


    Jul 14, 2011
    my action on my fender looks really high, but it doesn't feel it. i think is something to do with the radius messing with me. plays great too
  14. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    I like to play with a lot of dynamics, I set my basses with medium action so I can get some fret buzz and clank when I dig in.
  15. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    Bowed neck and high action. That's the McCartney way
  16. JazznFunk


    Mar 26, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Lakland Basses Artist
    On my Laklands (4 and 5 string), as well as my '75 Jazz, I prefer light or medium nickel rounds (depending on how the neck and overall setup feels) with a setup as low as possible to avoid buzz when played with a light to medium touch. I try to play as light as possible to avoid fatigue and maximize flexibility for dynamics.

    On my P-Bass however, strung with light gauge flats, I prefer a more medium action for better 'bounce' when played fingerstyle or when palm-muting. In any case, I try to get the neck as flat as possible and set the action/bridge curve from there.
  17. c0d3h4x0r


    Oct 17, 2006
    Sammamish, WA
    Dear god, that's ridonkulous!
  18. As low as I can get it without buzz, but with a bit of neck relief and tighter strings. Tighter strings let me get the action lower while still being able to pluck a bit harder.
  19. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Always puts some stank on it Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Because not every player is the same.
  20. I cant believe he can be intonated like that