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rule of thumb on string height

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by stubarura, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. stubarura


    Jan 20, 2009
    is there a good rule of thumb on an average distance between a string and the 21st fret? ive had my bass adjusted and re-adjusted so many times lately i just cant find an exact height, i love the feel of low action but i tent to attack the strings pretty hard and i dont like the fret buzzing. what would be the average height that i can set to then fine tune from there?
  2. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
  3. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I don't know if you can have low action and a heavy right hand. I know I can't. You're gonna have to find a happy medium, or change your technique.
  4. Its a really personal thing, you just have to find whats right for you!
    I play with a high action , i have 6mm between the strings and the 21 fret.
    My brother on the other hand has 1mm between strings and 21st fret.
    I find his basses unplayable and he hates playing mines!
  5. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I went through this very thing the last few weeks. I sat in on a phenomenal player's bass that was set up perfectly for him. Light strings, flat neck, uber low action..... I hated it.

    The very next week, our singers old bass player sat in on my bass. I favor thick stiff strings, and while I wouldn't call my action high, I do have a heavy right hand and the string height is set accordingly. My singer told me his buddy said my bass was the absolute worst he'd ever played. :D

    Seeing as how I'd had the exact same reaction to a bass that guy would have loved, I took it as something other than negative.
  6. Wademeister63


    Aug 30, 2004
    Denton Tx
    Rule of thumb = if your thumb fits under there it's too high :D

    I think I play kind of heavy handed and I set mine up about 3/16" high for the E string and a little lower for the G. If you need to measure it, an easy way is to get a 3/16 allen wrench or something like that and adjust until you have a close fit between the fret and string.
  7. Craig_S

    Craig_S Banned

    Oct 15, 2008
    Metro Detroit
    The "rule of thumb " for action on a bass is as follows: If you can fit your thumb under the string, at the twelth fret, it's too high. :p
  8. stubarura


    Jan 20, 2009
    LOL @ some of your answers, thanks for the feedback fellas.... im gunna try again tonight to find that elusive perfect height
  9. EADG mx

    EADG mx

    Jul 4, 2005
    You just answered your own question. You've got three factors:

    - your setup (actually a combination of several factors)
    - your playing
    - your volume controls

    To get the output level you need you're going to have to find the balance. It takes a lot of experimentation but it's about optimizing your playing for best sound through maximum efficiency.

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