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Is this low or high action?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by adamerom, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    Looks a bit high to me, but some people like their action high like that.
    jamro217 likes this.
  2. AboutSweetSue


    Sep 29, 2018
    Lebanon, TN
    There isn’t anything odd about that action. If you’re using light gauge, low tension strings, it is probably for the better. If you’re heavy handed, it’s probably for the better. If you have a strong attack, it’s probably for the better. If you play heavy pick, it may be for the better.

    I never measure anymore. Going by feel alone is best, imo. Learn to do your own setups, it’ll be to your benefit. My guess is the luthier set your neck,truss up properly. Just begin experimenting with the saddles to your taste.
    bebi, BLDavis, Clutchcargo and 6 others like this.
  3. Getting a capo will be a big help also. Using one will give you a much more accurate measurement (according to the manufacturer’s “suggested” optimum playing action). As suggested previously, watch those videos regarding bass setup. Those vids gave me some tremendous understanding and insight and were very helpful.
  4. JohnArnson


    May 28, 2019
    Looks high, but hard to judge from the pictures, maybe a couple of millimeters too high (1 mm is about 0,039"), which actually means quite a lot feel wise, and if that is correct it would be about double as high as recommended by the Fender standard setup guide.

    Get something to measure it with, the standard action that Fender recommends is about 2mm (0,079") at 17th fret, measured from the top of the fret to the bottom of the string, and that is what's considered standard medium action, depending a bit on what radius your fretboard has, the bigger radius and the flatter board the lower action they recommend.

    Here is Fender's guide to setting up a bass guitar, with all the measurements you need for a standard setup, though what really matters is that it fits you personally, some do prefer relatively high action, while others will want it really low, there's not one correct and best action, this should give you some general guidelines though: How do I set up my bass guitar properly?

    Edit: Was just made aware that my numbers are slightly wrong, the correct number for Fender's setup guide for basses is 2,4 mm (0.094") at 17th fret on the low E string, not 2 mm, that's how high G string action is set according to the guide.

    Still doesn't change the fact that your action seems too high though.

    Personally I guess I have a relatively low action then, just slightly below 2 mm at 17th fret low E string.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
    jamro217 and Stumbo like this.
  5. jamro217

    jamro217 Supporting Member

    It looks high to me, too.
  6. bordinco90

    bordinco90 Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2011
    SW Louisiana
    Looks high to me.
  7. mojomike001


    Mar 28, 2013
    South Florida
    You mean a ruler? You don’t have a ruler?
    Rallypoint_1 likes this.
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Welcome to TalkBass! It looks about average for my playing so it's likely a little high for most. I am a bit physical with my technique.
    Nephilymbass and thetragichero like this.
  9. shoulderpet


    Sep 24, 2015
    Not meaning to argue but when I looked it seems to suggest 2.4 at 17th for the E and 2.0 for the G , 2.00 at 17th for the E would be relatively low action
  10. not high for me, I like playing high action
    thetragichero likes this.
  11. looks like it needs a truss rod adjustment, I would check the neck straightness, before doing anything with the saddles
    tlite and Kipp Harrington like this.
  12. guitar-with-a-forward-bow-example_orig.
    petrus61 and tlite like this.
  13. JohnArnson


    May 28, 2019
    Look again, you are kind of right, though I guess you could say I am still even more right than you, the 2,4 mm is for basses with a vintage Fender fretboard radius of 7,25", every other fretboard radius over that, which is by far most bases, it is 2 mm for the deep E string at the 17th fret, and slightly less for the high G string.

    Edit: Oh, sorry, looked again myself, and you are indeed right, and I am actually wrong.

    Yeah, I guess I must have looked at the treble side and got the idea from how I set up my own bass which is slightly below 2 mm at 17th fret on the low E string.

    Thanks for correcting my mistake.

    Will edit my original post with the correct numbers.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
  14. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Looks pretty high to me, although I do prefer very low for a light touch...
    petrus61 and Lownote38 like this.
  15. Samatza


    Apr 15, 2019
    To me it looks low at the 7th fret and high at the 12th. If you play a lot at 7th fret and lower that may be ok. If you play higher up the neck, i.e. solos you may want a little more relief and lower at the bridge. It’s a bit of a balancing act between the two to get the best feel across the playing range.
    tlite likes this.
  16. adamerom


    May 16, 2019
    i'm now starting playing jazz, but normaly metal and rock
  17. PaulCISSA

    PaulCISSA Propeller-Head Hero Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2014
    New Jersey
    That image makes my head hurt.
    pappabass likes this.
  18. Samatza


    Apr 15, 2019
    Cool! That setup for me would work for rock and blues where I play lower notes, for jazz you may want to consider lower action at the bridge but a little more relief so you get it more consistent in height from the 7th fret up. If you have one bass try and set it up sort of half way between the two. You will have to adjust your plucking hand to accommodate the new action. All that said, it really has to work for you.
  19. Well, for jazz-style playing, most guys I know like it low. It all comes down to personal preference, though.
  20. scuzzy


    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    A properly cut nut combined with proper relief will have a greater effect to playability over the length of the neck. Very few address the nut slot height, but if it's too high, you will never get an optimal action in the open-12 fret area. Just don't go too low.

    And it looks like the strings aren't set to the radius, which will help. Looks medium/high to me in the E. The rest seem about a medium. Fender spec is a bit higher than I like on my personal basses. 1.5mm at the 12th with about 0.2mm relief over the neck is my ideal
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019

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