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Is 3MM action achievable?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by sailri, May 2, 2010.

  1. sailri


    Nov 16, 2007
    Rhode Island
    Someone asked me if a bass of mine could be setup with an action set so the bottom of the strings were 3MM above the fingerboard.

    I'm currently measuring 3-4 mm from fret top to string top using a business card to measure.

    I've heard a few folks mention they're set 2.5mm from the fret to the bottom of the string.

    Any opinions on can this easily be done by a pro shop, "buzz free" "with no dead spots" on an '83 G&L SB-2? I wanted some group feedback before I try to get this setup done for potential sale.

  2. Plek treatment.

    And no, I dont think this is very achievable.... unless you play with close to NO attack on the strings
  3. santucci218


    Jan 26, 2007
    well, a bass fret is about 2.5mm. if you want the action 3 mm above the fingerboard, then we are saying 0.5mm above the top of the fret.

    so to answer, no.
  4. ubnomnar

    ubnomnar Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    So Cal
    Bass action is usually measured from the top of a fret to the bottom of the string, at a specified fret.

    As an example, Fender specifies their factory bass string height as 3/32" +/- 1/64" measured from the top of the 17th fret to the bottom of the strings.

    Given 1" = 25.4mm, then 1mm = .03937"

    A little algebra shows that 3/32" = .094" = 2.39mm.

    3mm = .118"

    A 3mm string height is actually higher than the Fender factory spec.

    If you're currently measuring 3-4mm to the top of the string, then you may already be within the spec you are looking for... given a typical G-string is larger than 1mm diameter and an E string is larger than 2mm in diameter.

    Bass frets typically fall between .040" and .050" in height which is essentially 1mm to 1.3mm

    IMHO...it sounds like you should clarify the setup details with the potential buyer... but what they are asking for should be no problem for a competent tech (assuming the frets are in good shape, the truss rod works properly, the neck isn't warped, the strings aren't dead etc.).
  5. sailri


    Nov 16, 2007
    Rhode Island
    Thanks everyone who replied. I think there was a language barrier contributing to a misunderstanding. We agreed the 3MM target wasn't realistic, but we did get a very low action on this bass.


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