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High action plays better?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Brambo, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Brambo

    Brambo New Member!

    Nov 23, 2016
    Somehow my american std strat sounds but also plays better with high action, 0.010 strings and 0.014" neck relief than with 0.09 strings and fairly low action Does anybody know a reason for this?
    Thanks in advance
    Percy and abnormaltoy like this.

  2. rocknrollrich

    rocknrollrich Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 8, 2016
    The reason is that, it's your preference.
    Perfectly legitimate reason.

    Sounds better?
    How? Brighter, more sustain?
    It's said that higher action gives the string more room to vibrate.

  3. heltershelton

    heltershelton ASKED TO LEAVE THE STAGE Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 5, 2013
    Not Florida
    i think so. i dont know the technical reason.

  4. Count Glockula®

    Count Glockula® Strat-O-Master

    Aug 16, 2009
    Fenderland, CA
    Heard SRV kept his high. Now if we all can play like him...hmmmm.
    abnormaltoy and StratSounds like this.


    LOSTVENTURE Strat-O-Master

    Jun 15, 2007
    It's always going to be your preference. I'm glad that you found a guitar that gives you what you want.
    Personally, I rarely get along with 9's at any action height.

  6. heltershelton

    heltershelton ASKED TO LEAVE THE STAGE Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 5, 2013
    Not Florida
    thats what i heard too, but there was a thread not too long ago that talked about his action and how it wasnt as high as we all thought.
    abnormaltoy likes this.

  7. stratnutz

    stratnutz Senior Stratmaster

    Apr 10, 2011
    Dallas TX
    I just changed strings on 2 Strats and put some relief on both truss rods, a quarter turn
    with the necks off. They both feel better now with a few other tweeks
    abnormaltoy likes this.

  8. Fender Fool

    Fender Fool Strat-Talker

    Oct 25, 2013
    There 's not a right or wrong answer in general, there's just a right and wrong answer for you.... play it the way you feel it!
    abnormaltoy likes this.

  9. Guitar0621

    Guitar0621 Strat-Talker

    May 24, 2017
    Depends on how the action gets higher. If it's higher because of the nut or from saddle height typically it will be stiffer. If its because the trem height has changed because of tighter springs it will be stiffer. But more springs can make it squishier and feel more slinky. Trem height can also make it slinkier if it`s far enough up that the break angle begins to pitch forward. Heavier strings might put more relief in the neck and allow you to get at and bend the strings while not increasing break angle.
    Brambo and abnormaltoy like this.

  10. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 24, 2017
    Newnan ,Ga.
    As long as you are getting some action then I say , get to playing that thang :whistling::p:eek::thumb:

  11. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member

    Dec 4, 2013
    It is harder to grab and control a note, plus they do not ring out and as sing well if the strings are too low.

  12. blille

    blille Strat-Talker

    Oct 17, 2016
    In my case I noticed that I prefer to have some additional tension under my fingers and I just play better with higher gauges or slightly higher action (within reason). Total preference.
    abnormaltoy likes this.

  13. fezz parka

    fezz parka Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 21, 2011
    I like it not too low, or not to high. I don't measure...I do it by sight and feel. If it looks right and plays right, I'm good to go.

  14. johnnymg

    johnnymg Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 5, 2015
    Central Coast Ca
    Some interweb info on SRV's guitar setup:

    String height does seem a bit high. "High action for clear, ringing tone. At the 12th fret: 5/64" on the treble E, 7/64" on the bass E. Each string with three full winds on the tuning machines for best angle at the nut."

    FWIW, for my noob fingers I find 4/64 on the high-E to 5/64 on the low-E a good compromise. Lower action than that and I have a harder time with bends and more string-fret buzz. Higher action than that makes for more missed notes. My gut feeling is that if I new what I was doing I would raise the action a bit so I could really wail away on the strings.
    abnormaltoy and heltershelton like this.

  15. CaseCandy

    CaseCandy Senior Stratmaster

    May 9, 2015
    It always seemed to me that pursuit of very low action setups is a beginner thing, because people believe it will make fretting the strings easier. I never got along with low action setups because they don't seem to be able to take aggressive playing.

  16. Nate D

    Nate D Senior Stratmaster

    Apr 2, 2016
    I’m mostly here insofar as I don’t measure it out, but I do prefer it to be on the lower side. Not so low my finger slips off when I do bends.
    abnormaltoy and fezz parka like this.

  17. heltershelton

    heltershelton ASKED TO LEAVE THE STAGE Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 5, 2013
    Not Florida
    i never have measured mine either.
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  18. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 1, 2009
    My house.
    Your opinion doesnt count. Your action is freakishly high.:p

  19. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 1, 2009
    My house.
    I measure mine all the....wait what?
    heltershelton and abnormaltoy like this.

  20. abnormaltoy

    abnormaltoy BushBaby Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 28, 2013
    IMHO, if you want a particular Strat sound...Bell Bottom Blues or anything Harrison you need the strings low. There's a video of Clapton checking out a Brownie repro when it first picks it, before plugging in, you can hear the strings rattling. You can hear the same thing in any number of Harrison videos, mostly where he might be picking during an interview. Low strings along with tone/amp settings, I think (again imho) are the way to that type of sound.

    I think the higher is better argument comes from the string not hitting the frets, so it rings clearly and longer.

    Another thing...better is very subjective. Better might just be different.

    That Tube Show did a thing where they strung up guitars with gigantic fat strings until they thought it sounded the best one guy ended up with 12s on a Les Paul. Billy Gibbons plays with 7s...which one is right? For bending I like 9.5s on the top, but the bottom three are a bit flabby so I play 10s...advancing age, a once broken fretting hand and pain may force me to learn not to bang on the low string in order to keep playing.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
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