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High action plays better?

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

  1. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    71
    May 26, 2006
    Jacksonville, FL
    Don't ya mean, Somehow my american std strat sounds but also plays better ... for me?

    Ron Kirn
     

  2. heltershelton

    heltershelton ROCKIN FOREVER Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 5, 2013
    Not Florida
    ive lowered it just a little since you played it.....its still high though.
     
    abnormaltoy likes this.

  3. Nate D

    Nate D Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    37
    Apr 2, 2016
    Ohio

    If you look in the pics of the actual Brownie I took (and zoomed in the bridge) you can see how low the action is. I’ve read in several spots where Clapton prefers a very low action.


    2F955766-7010-49A6-9A2B-D720FBC49556.jpeg 3C37D08B-A473-4740-9AF4-773DAA9FA9D0.jpeg B7676856-18D8-42AC-A468-4A0389A80817.jpeg 84EF4993-5D03-488F-9935-0493245B071F.png
     
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  4. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Nitro-mancer Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 18, 2014
    Victoria TX
    There was a ghostly image of Pattie Boyd in one of those Brownie photos.
     
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  5. Musician78

    Musician78 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    39
    278
    Dec 14, 2009
    Hillsboro, NH
    I hate high action so much that I will tolerate a little buzz to get it as low as possible. Most of the time I can’t hear the buzz through an amp anyway. Just unplugged.
     
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  6. johnnymg

    johnnymg Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 5, 2015
    Central Coast Ca
    Larry J, fezz parka and abnormaltoy like this.

  7. Nate D

    Nate D Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    37
    Apr 2, 2016
    Ohio
    Not that it’s entirely indicative, but if you look closely and see how low the saddles are and keeping in mind this is a vintage radius (7.25”) those saddles would be pretty low.
     
    abnormaltoy likes this.

  8. rolandson

    rolandson Senior Stratmaster

    As arthritis and a hand injury progress, the string gauge and action goes down. But I don't measure...never have. I'm toying with going up in gauge and tuning down one or two steps to see if that doesn't make me feel like I used to....

    because that's all it's ever been for me, the way it feels.

    Does a higher action sound better? I think it does, to a point. I also like a heavier gauge. And that is all merely a personal preference.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018

  9. gitlvr

    gitlvr Strat-O-Master

    550
    Sep 1, 2008
    No. Va
    I prefer 6/64 at the 12th. .009 strings and .010 or .012 relief.
    I know, everyone says that is high. Don't care; it's where I like it. I like being able to get my fingers under the strings when I bend.
    As far as chasing some artist's tone, you're actually chasing phantoms.
    The "sound" of any artist's guitar on any album you can think of has more to do with the engineer, the producer, and all of the editing, tone shaping, etc., that is done after the artist goes home.
    Even the artist's live sound is not the one he/she is getting on stage; it's the sound engineer's idea of what it should sound like.
    MHO, YMMV, Yadayada yada.
     
    abnormaltoy likes this.

  10. Bluestrat83

    Bluestrat83 Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    35
    772
    Jan 17, 2016
    Ecuador
    I like high action too especially for soloing but a couple of years ago I found that too high sometimes throws off the intonation of some chord voicings (maybe it has to do with my technique or maybe its something factual still don’t now that). I would say that now I use medium action still leaning to the high side... enough to get my voicings right.
     
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  11. Bluestrat83

    Bluestrat83 Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    35
    772
    Jan 17, 2016
    Ecuador
    On the other hand I saw Eric Gales rig rundown the other day where he said he used his action as low as it gets and listening to his beastly playing I never got to a point when I say: oh he should raise the action of his strings, that’s affecting his tone or playability...
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
    abnormaltoy likes this.

  12. Seekir

    Seekir Strat-Talker

    Age:
    63
    122
    Mar 11, 2015
    Hilo, Hawaii
    I tend to concur with this. Bending with low action seems difficult for me—the strings tend to want to slip out from under my fingers and that means more downward pressure on them is necessary to control bends and vibrato. I also think the mechanical effect of fret buzz is detrimental to tone/sustain, though I guess electrics can be turned up to overcome this. Though I use 10's or 11's on my guitars, I think I can play light strings okay, but super low action doesn't seem to work for me. Gonna' try a scallop neck.
     
    henderman likes this.

  13. Highway Star

    Highway Star Former Member

    411
    Apr 22, 2016
    Who knows?
    Everything is a matter of taste and what you are used to. I use 1,5 mm picks and measure the string action on the 12th fret with them. It's not neuro science. I'm just happy I don't use 0,5 mm picks :D:D:D
     
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  14. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Strat-Talker

    Age:
    53
    380
    Jun 30, 2016
    Heart O' Dixie
    I learned to love higher action. Yes as mentioned it allows you to dig in and drive the string harder, with more string swing space for more tone and response from the guitar itself. It also can improve playability, because you can respond quicker, if you aren't having to backoff finger speed and timing to barely touch low action strings. And, higher action might afford more forgiveness in dynamics, like a compressor. Maybe like a piano with heavy weighted keys versus lighter weighted keys, heavier action allows better control on the dynamics, being less sensitive to finger pressure.
     

  15. Percy

    Percy Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter


    And if you want to sound even better put some 12's on it and tune a whole step down....Dangerous......:thumb:
     
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  16. Guitar0621

    Guitar0621 Strat-Talker

    147
    May 24, 2017
    USA
    Assuming that they haven't done something to it for display, notice that the saddles are maxed-out in height and the trem is flat on the deck. When you deck the trem, you have to make up for the lost height by jacking up the saddles and you still get lower action. Decking trem = high saddles and sharp break angle so it's stiff; flat plate so can't get higher action even if you want it; and you kill the natural reverb of the floating and springs. This is the source of Clapton's crappy Strat tone. :whistling:
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018

  17. Vic Interceptor

    Vic Interceptor Strat-Talk Member

    89
    Dec 28, 2017
    Sparkleberry SC
    SRV's action - "it was so high you could slide a cassette tape between the strings and fretboard!" While I'm sure that's an exaggeration, it was indeed high.

    The reason it was high - Stevie liked clear notes above all else. If you've ever dug into a G, B or E string really hard (as he did) you notice it fart or rattle. His did not do that. He could shake a string on the 15th fret and it ring long and clear.

    The reason it was perceived even higher than it was - Stevie was one of if not the first guy to use really tall frets. The distance between the string and fretboard is in fact much greater than normal.. but the distance from string to fret top is what counts.
     

  18. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Strat-Talker

    Age:
    53
    380
    Jun 30, 2016
    Heart O' Dixie
    You reminded me: higher action also reduces or eliminates "fret out". You can dig in more, and bend further up the neck.
     
    Vic Interceptor likes this.

  19. Brambo

    Brambo New Member!

    Age:
    20
    6
    Nov 23, 2016
    Netherlands
    More sustain and brighter tone indeed. It's way less "ploinky"
     

  20. roadhog96

    roadhog96 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    67
    102
    Oct 11, 2017
    CT
    Am I wrong but after you tune your strings to pitch wont all the fretted notes be sharper with a higher action, after all the strings are being stretched further than if they were lower, yes, no?