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Is there a case for higher action?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by kencollapse, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. I've heard once or twice guys talking about liking higher action.

    I've always thought the lower the better, but is there a case for higher action? If so, what are the advantages?
  2. I know in a lot of cases, guys who really dig when they play tend to prefer a higher action.
  3. Deedubs


    Mar 5, 2012
  4. invalidprotocol

    invalidprotocol Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2008
    I have a heavy hand and tend to dig down just slightly rather than strike across the string so I set the action just a little higher to compensate. It is either that or playing closer to the bridge to limit the string travel (swing rotation). I hate playing close to the bridge when driving 8ths.

    Also if lighter and/or lower tension strings are being used you will have to compensate similarly because of the increased string travel.
  5. shackled


    Jun 25, 2009
    Western NY
    It's just a matter of preference, IMO.
  6. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    I like to be able to play as soft or hard as I want without compromising my sound. Sometimes I get really into it and start beating the crap out of my strings, I like the way it sounds too.
  7. pocketgroove


    Jun 28, 2010
    I like slightly higher action; it's lower than anything at the local gc but probably higher than most would like. It's just more comfortable, and I feel like I get more dynamic and control.
  8. bluestarbass


    Jul 31, 2007
    When I'm in the studio I like lower action because I have more control and it doesn't buzz. When I play live I play a lot harder so I have to raise the action.
  9. gunlak


    Nov 24, 2009
    sometimes it's just an excuse by some people that haven't got their basses setted up yet or doesn't know how to. :ninja:


    the higher the action, the more 'round' the notes would be.. but intonation may be more off than usual because of the added pressure on the fretting hand i suppose?
  10. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Higher action gives me a wider dynamic range.
    I hate fret sounds, higher action sounds cleaner to me.
    I started doing it when I became somewhat proficient on the instrument, as a way to restrict myself. It helped preventing me from overplaying. A way to go to the essential.
    I kept a rather high action, I prefer the tone I get anyway.
    On a fretless, I prefer a very low action to get more wmah.
  11. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    For me, if the action is too low, it seems to "choke off" the sound a little... On a bass with a nice straight neck, and good, level fretwork, I tend to get the action down quite low, then raise it back up a little for a compromise of sorts between easy playing and best possible sound... A quality bass that's set up perfectly for me tends to be buzz free unless I really dig in, then I get a tiny bit - which seems to add to my sound...

    - georgestrings
  12. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Phillipsburg, NJ
    There's definitely a Sweet Spot. Too high and and it slows you down and puts too much "Outward" tension on the entire bass. Too low can be a bit sloppy and noisy. Right in the middle coupled with finding your favorite right hand location is Golden. These 3 scenario's are separated by about 1/32". I find I can get a Better Groove going with just slightly high action about 6/64” on both the bass and treble sides. To Me very low action would be about 4/64” on both the bass and treble sides. 7/64” on both the bass and treble sides would be very High.
  13. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Oh yeah I forgot to mention, on my main bass I have a detuner set to C on the E string.
    I set it pretty high so it doesn't rattle too much when detuned.
  14. i used to like my action real low, until i started playing upright. for upright, higher actiion can really increase your bass' output, as well as gives you a nice old school thump. now with my electrics, i have bumped the action up significantly for some of the same reasons. i like to dig in, so theres no fret buzz. as well i find my tone a lot "thumpier" for lack of a better word.
  15. sharp8874


    Jan 10, 2011
    I have a higher action on my 4 strings because I like to play out on them but I have a lower action on my six string because it makes it easier to play. Higher action on uprights can be useful if you really get into what your playing especially if your useing a bow. So basically the harder you play the higher the action?
  16. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Phillipsburg, NJ
    Great Points! I assumed electric bass but it wasn't specified.
  17. morgansterne

    morgansterne Geek U.S.A.

    Oct 25, 2011
    Cleveland Ohio
    I find it easier to slap if the action is high. this in my case is a good reason to set the action low, to keep me from slapping unless I really have to.:hyper:
  18. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    the lower, the better for me!:)

    btw, fret buzz is the new sexy!
  19. High action pull the note out of tune a it cause you bend the string when pressing down. The lower action without too much buzzing the better for me
  20. I don't like my action to low. I play hard
    even when I play soft (if that makes any
    sense). So higher action just works.