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 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.
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  4. 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?
  5. 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.