The effects of raising/lowering the action on sound sound.

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by LM Bass, Sep 25, 2002.

  1. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    There's an interesting new thread. . .
    When I studied with Gary Karr, he mentioned that he really didn't care if his strings were high or low, and that he was always changing the height. He plays right near the bridge to maximize the upper harmonic content and volume, which also means the strings don't rattle on the fingerboard as much.

    Anyhow, I've never really understood how raising the action in-and-of-itself makes for a louder sound. I mean, don't get me wrong -my bass is currently at about 8mm on the "G" string, as I'm in Opera mode at this point. (I go lower for jazz gigs). But, as long as the strings aren't rattling, just play louder and you sound louder.

    Hope I didn't open too big a can of worms there.
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I was speaking strictly about pizz sound, and should have said so. On my bass, there seems to be an "optimum height" for the sound I'm going for, and the further away from it I get, the further I get from that sound. My teacher is a strictly arco player, and likes his strings a lot lower than I do. He suggested that I lower my strings for greater left hand facility in thumb position. I tried it, and while I gained a lot of "facility", I also lost the good strong tone, rendering the facility moot. After about four days, I raised it back up, and have been happy with the sound ever since. I've noticed a similar phenomenon on other basses, but again this is pizz only.

    I've split this thread into another topic as apart from the "how low can you limbo on EUB" thread, and placed it in Setup so that our Siamese Luthiers and other techie types might notice it and elighten us more easily.