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Low action - is this really a good thing?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bass nitro, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. bass nitro

    bass nitro

    Feb 21, 2011
    I have put this tread here because i think it is related to setup generally .Well, What do you think about - What way low action does affect sound ( except these obvious "clinky" noises )? I for one think that some brand and basses do sounds better with little more action - mean higher,some do not.Do you like click-plucking sound?Why?Thank for any answers :bassist::bassist::bassist::D:D:D
  2. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Always overcompensating Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
  3. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I love low action, and it doesn't necessarily mean clinky and clunky. Just have to adjust your right hand for it.
  4. bass_study


    Apr 17, 2012
    You should lighten your right hand with low action.
    You just can play with less energy. Less easy to get tired.
  5. ghostrider


    Jun 12, 2010
    I play with low action, and having low action makes the bass a little more aggressive and "punchier"
  6. rolleharris


    Nov 10, 2002
    Falun Sweden
    I like to think of fretbuzz as the sound of a the strings vibrating against the fretboard on a double bass. Its gives the sound personality
  7. The distance necessary to push down a string to contact a fret changes the tension and therefore changes the pitch. The change in pitch effects the intonation to being either sharp, flat, or perfect. This small difference may or may not be noticeable to the human ear. For your question, yes the tone is effected.
  8. willbassyeah


    Oct 9, 2011
    I love a tiny bit of fretbuzz it gives a personality to the sound
  9. PlungerModerno


    Apr 12, 2012
    Oh yes. If you are willing to experiment you may find it works great - the only requirement is decent flat frets!

    When you intonate the string by adjusting it's length you are trying to offset this... make each fretted note very close to the actual note (without temperament etc. but clsoe enough).

    AFAIK the real tonal difference between high and low action is when you 'dig in' with 'yer pluckin' ' hand! That and the pickup height setup. As you fret up the neck a low action bass will have less string height change - on a high action bass the string height when open and when fretted at the 17th fret is more exaggerated - even with a straight neck. This matters even more if the neck has a lot of relief.
  10. I love low action. I play light 98% of the time, too, though. Can't stand these 'factory set up' basses that have like centimeter-high actions, and some people play them like this :eyebrow:

  11. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    I like low action because it's easy to play. Unfortunately I use gigantic strings and cheap basses so my action is pretty high. Neigh unusable to your average player.

    But you get used to it once you get your Popeye fingers and then start to enjoy the positives of a little bit higher action.
  12. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    I tend to use a low-medium action - I think I get my best playability and sound that way... For me, if the action is too low, my notes don't ring out as much as I want them to - I set my basses up so that there is no string buzz(unplugged) at all for "normal" playing, but so that I get a tiny bit when I really dig in hard... In order to accomplish this, I have to have very level frets, and run around .010-.015" of neck relief - fortunately, I have an excellent luthier within 45 minutes driving that does killer fret work for me...

    - georgestrings
  13. I don't think it's either a good or a bad thing - it's a personal preference. It all depends on what you like. I like the action low on my Hofner, combined with the short scale it makes it a really fast bass, great for playing intricate single-line runs. On the other hand, my P-Bass has a higher action, which makes me play slower and cleaner, for getting a good groove going when playing in a band setting.
  14. ^^^This^^^

    I like my action as low as possible, but detest fret buzz. IMHO, clanking is as unacceptable as playing drastically out of tune. When recording and listening to it played back, I like to hear all notes and no clank or buzz. That being said, I play Rock/Classic Rock/Jazz, fingerstyle only (no slap, ever), and never use stainless strings, only Nickels and flats. Might be a different story if it was more a metal-type scenario. But then again, I'm not the guy you'd want for that....
  15. grendle


    Mar 4, 2011
    Central FL

    I set mine up the same way. No buzz playing lightly, some buzz when I dig in. The buzz helps give some definition and character to the tone / notes.
  16. mcm


    Oct 2, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    i have low action and pull the hell out of the strings. it sounds rock n roll to me.
  17. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    The lower the better - as Entwhistle liked it - "below the fingerboard". Then you learn to play it with the right hand. It takes a while to get the relief and bridge setting balanced just right, but worth it, IMHO.
  18. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    you call it buzz,...

    i call it sizzle.;)

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