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Medium/High Action on your Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Big Mick, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. Big Mick

    Big Mick

    Jun 28, 2014
    Lancashire UK.
    First off, this is not a question about fixing my action, quite the opposite in fact.

    Ive recently got back into playing and just bought myself a project precision copy to ease me back into playing. After messing around with tweaks etc, ive come to the decision that I prefer a Medium action to a Low one. Anyone else play a Medium to High action as the norm seems to be as low as poss and if so what styles is it useful for.
  2. mark beem

    mark beem Wait, how does this song start again?? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    Alabama, USA
    I have an aggressive right hand technique so I have my action a little higher than most would probably prefer. Mostly use it for rock / metal, etc.
  3. Sorken


    Nov 20, 2013
    Yeah i guess mine is a bit on the medium/high side of the specrum, i would love to have a tad lower for my fretting but that ends up with to much noise since i play pretty agressively with my picking hand. I play in a 3 piece so i really need go lay down an agressive bottom end, especially when the guitarist does some lead stuff.
  4. Shabz


    Jun 20, 2014
    Strings wack the fretboard when I play aggressively with low action which i find a bit irritating. It does feel easier to play though since i have a high tension it's actually quite an effort to fret. Guess it's always something of a balance.
    Recently changed from high to medium-low, whether i'll stay i dunno.
    It was definitely nice to be able to pluck as hard as i like while staying perfectly clean.
  5. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    medium is about as high as i can go nowadays, any higher and i get some finger joint pain in my fretting hand, gettin old

    i do practice however without an amp a lot, therefore i prefer that the basses not be buzz machines
  6. 4-stringB


    Jun 10, 2010
    +1 on the above guys with a high action. With a more physically aggressive style, I get too much clack on a standard setup. Although I'd love to emulate Chris Squires' clanky style.
  7. Uncle K

    Uncle K The bass player doesn't get a sandwich Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2011
    Erie, PA
    Yep, medium action here. I like my bass to fight me a little bit.
  8. Remyd


    Apr 2, 2014
    St. Louis, MO
    Me too; I like it higher than most people. I like to be able to control dynamics with right hand force and dig in when needed.
  9. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Medium action, medium strings.
    I play Rock, Blues, Pop, dance music.
    I play fairly hard and can't stand a flopy string.
    Don't like string noise when I dig in.
  10. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    Low action.3/32 at the 24th fret.It makes it easier for tapping,speedy fretting,and to barre a chord to do clean sounding low effort arpeggios above the twelfth fret.
    Plus,a little bit of fret buzz can be a good thing.Mark Adams on bass.

    Check out the bass at 1:30.Just a bit o' grit!Danny Wilson on bass.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014
  11. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    Same here.
  12. The Diaper Geni

    The Diaper Geni Submissive. And loving it. Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2005
    Central Ohio
    Medium action. For pretty much the same reasons as stated above.
  13. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013
    My action is as low as possible. You could just stick a dime In at the 12th fret. With 30-90 gauge strings. Nobody but me can ever play my bass because it's impossible to almost play. Too much buzz and no effort. When I play I get no buzz no nothing. It's so comfortable for me. My hands are very strong ironically! But I can dig in and get a nice clank or have a nice clean bright sound if necessary. The secret is in the way I set my basses up. It's in my technique and playing. Also having the low E on the bottom and G on the top changes lots of things with digging in and how hard you play. I'm a light player but I have another bass with a little higher action and high tension flatwounds to practice stuff on.
  14. billgwx


    Apr 10, 2009
    Centereach NY
    I like action just a hair lower than "medium," which for my Fender basses means just a hair below 7/64" to 6/64" at the 17th fret from low E to high G plus .014" neck relief on a bass with a 7-1/4" radius neck, and 6/64" to 5/64" plus .012" relief on a bass with a 9" radius neck. Keeps me out of clank territory unless I purposely dig in for it. Everyone's mileage will vary I guess.
  15. Relatively high action. Gives strings more room to vibrate. I tend to completely straighten my neck, and prefer the action to gradually become higher as the strings travel up the neck. The action measured at the last fret on my bass is quite high. But as you finger notes in the middle of the neck, and further up, I get a consistency of feel I've become accustomed to. Fret buzz is never a concern, as many of my heroes whole tone was based on buzz (Geddy, Steve, etc), and I play directly ON the frets, unless I want a bit of buzz. I use the buzz as an effect in certain situations. My high action was all about string travel range, and output. Another of my heroes, Will Lee, played high action. I always dug his stuff. Read an article YEARS ago where Roger Sadowsky explained Uncle Will's setup. I connected with the info in the article. And continue to enjoy my setups.
  16. Jhclark


    Jul 13, 2014
    I enjoy high action on fretted basses, but if draw the line when a fretted octave is 1/8 tone above the 12th fret harmonic.

    I go real high because I've spent a lot of time practicing unplugged, but intonation becomes a serious issue for me having spent most of my life playing fretless instruments.
  17. High action, heavy gauge strings, high tension. Yup it's a workout but that's how I like it.

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