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Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by alialxnunez, Nov 18, 2020.
Not so high that the intonation is off and not so low you get fret buzz.
i set mine low then raise it until it gets harder to play , then i lower it back down into the "not harder to play zone".
if strings are too low, it is hard to grab them and have good control. the notes ring out better if the strings are not belly scraping low also.
I usually try for between 1.75mm - 1.5 on the low side and then around 1.5 on the high. For me, the mark of a solid guitar is one that can achieve this with a solid setup without too much buzzing, etc. Of course, this is all relative to how hard your picking hand is. I don't care how even the frets are, or how good your setup is, if you have a real heavy picking hand with a super low-action setup, you're gonna get buzz. Don't make yourself crazy by trying to achieve zero buzz and super low action. Like all things, there is a tradeoff. All things considered I think 2mm on the low side and 1.75 on the high is probably acceptable
I like 2mm on the high e side and 2.5mm on the low e side, or there abouts
Personal preference. Depends a lot on playing style and string choices too.
Some people like very light strings and the lowest action possible, some people have a higher action and really thump it at times.
The things worth really noting are that low action isn’t necessary for speed (plenty fast players also like it higher than it needs to be) and it isn’t just fretting out on bends that’s a worry but low strings killing their vibration.
3/32” at the 12 th fret is considered standard. But the neck relief must be set first.
Fender recommend between 1/16"-5/64" bass side and 1/16" treble side at the 17th fret.
I use D'Addario 10's. From the bottom of the low E string to the top of the 12th fret, 3/32nds of an inch space. Adjust the others accordingly.
A little buzz is acceptable if you mostly use an amp as amps don't reproduce the buzz, however a hollow body played off line..buzz = . Mine are set as low as possible without buzz, around 3/64
So of course there are variables, intonation, relief, string gauge, scale, and radius. Even something like pickup height can affect buzzing. I find that with 10 - 52, these are my optimal heights.
1. 1.5mm bottom of string on line
2. 2 mm top of string under line
3. 2.5 mm top of string under line
4. 3 mm top of string under line
5. 3 mm top of string under line
6. 3.5 mm top of string under line
confort + no buzz = spot on ! I never measured anything in over 50 years playing !
I use different string gauges on different guitars, usually either a hybrid light or super-light bottom with a heavier top. I want the strings as low as I can get them without fretting out, regardless of gauge. The only exception is the cheap Les Paul copy I use for slide - it has a set of .011s, and it's set up with a higher action than any of others.
1.6mm at the 17th fret always does it for me.
What BigNorm said. It's personal. Don't worry about measurements, set it how you like it.
Fender sets up American Stratocasters with a 4/64" string height. I checked my American Strat and it is spot-on, set up precisely that in the factory in Corona California. I feel it is the perfect height because it will not buzz when bending strings, even up a step-and-a-half. Any lower, you could get some fret buzz doing that. It is also a nice light low action so you get the best of both worlds.
OH, and about the action height -- it's mostly a matter of what works best for you.
Carvin once advertised that the fretwork on its guitars supported action "as low as 1/16th inch at the 24th fret with no buzzing frets." And they delivered.
Most guitar manufacturers pick a number like 4/64ths (which is 1/16th") and set that up at the 12th fret. Drop the action lower than that and whatever the quality of their fretwork will *really* show up.
I've had a number of my guitars PLEK'd by a Really Good Tech in San Francisco, and he knows I like very low action. So in addition to the PLEK job, which is responsible for the guitar having really level frets, he superglues the frets (StewMac has a video on this process) to eliminate changes due to temperature variants, etc., and to eliminate "dead" frets. But the important bit is that he then sets up the guitar for how I play.
If you're a wanger who strums a guitar with wild swings of your pick hand, this will not be your preferred action setting. So...
SRV's action: "5/64 on the treble E string and 7/64 at the bass E", according to Rene Martinez.
For me it is about fret height.
My Lester with leveled old meaty wide frets lower works well.
The StratoMutt with much newer relatively tall 6105 SS frets require a higher action.
I simply let the fret buzz dictate based on relief and fret height. No gauges or measuring needed.
There is nothing concrete!
Do you mind a buzzing guitar that is super low and easy to play or can’t you stand that?
Do you have strong hands? Find manufacturers spec and just tweak from there until you like how it feels.
Level fret, nut slot depth, neck angle, relief, and action last. Trying to set the action without getting the others right, you'll be like a dog chasing its tail!