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Question on Action

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by yor123, Apr 25, 2002.

  1. yor123


    Mar 29, 2001
    New Orleans

    I often read about high action, low action, and everything in between. Unfourtunately these are subjective terms. Action is a very objective measurment. Could you please define in inches what would be considered high, med, and low action.

    FYI: I play an Fender American series Jazz (four string) and do my own setup. Measuring from the top of the last fret ( the 20th) to the bottom of the string, I set my E at 6/64's and all others at 5/64's. I would like the G to be at 3/64's but anything lower than 5/64's buzzes when I slap/pop at the ninth fret on up.

  2. I have moved this to setup because this is not a question that can only be answered by the Luthiers. We are trying to keep things clean and tidy in Luthier's Corner and so i personally felt that this was better placed in the Setup forum for that reason.
  3. with relief, which is related to action. I can tell you that if you press your strings down at the first and last frets, low would be considered .012 - .016" at the 8th fret. I like mine at about .020" (medium). you can uses some feeler gauges or you can improvise. a peice of paper is about .005, fold it over twice to get .015 and so forth.
    after I get the relief I like, I then adjust the saddles to get the lowest possable action without any buzz.
  4. it all depends on your playing style. the best way to set action is to set all the strings so that they buzz like mad. then, play a string, all up and down the neck, to see if it buzzes (of course it does the first time), and if it buzzes, raise the saddle. keep trying it, and raising it, until the buzzing is gone. repeat for all strings. then you know you have the lowest playable action for you. you have to make sure that if you really dig in when you play normally, you have to play that way now. that way, your adjustment will be accurate for the way you play. if you play lightly, you can get away with lower action, because the strings don't vibrate as much, so even with the strings 'neutral position' being closer to the frets, the string won't hit the fret when plucked. this set up won't work for someone who plays hard, because the strings move further from their neutral position when vibrating, and would hit the frets. for those people, higher action is the way to adjust. there really isn't a 'range' of high, medium, or low action. you really can't standardize it that way. if you take 2 basses and set them with the same saddle heights, their actions would be completely different because of relief in the neck, nut height, etc.

    the only way to catagorize it is to say if it buzzes sometimes, it's low. if it never buzzes, and the strings are high off the board, it's high.

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