Guitar Action – What’s a Good String Height?
Here are the steps to measure your guitar’s action: Tune your guitar. This ensures the right tension is applied to the neck Make sure your neck is straight and adjust your truss rod needed Rest the ruler or string action gauge tool on the 12th fret Read the ruler from the bottom of the string Repeat. How we're going to measure this guitar’s next straightness without a straight edge is to put one finger right here on the first fret, and one finger right here on the 15th fret (or whatever fret meets the body). You're going to be looking right around the seventh to ninth fret for a gap in between your fret and the bottom of your string.
You will better know what your preferences are and if the guitar has, in fact, changed from where it was last set. When we are setting up a new guitar at our shop, neck relief is the first measurement taken and the first adjustment we make. To measure the relief, the first step is placing a capo at the 1st fret to eliminate the nut from consideration.
Next, we hold down the 3rd string giutar the 12th fret and check the gap at the 6th fret with a feeler gauge. I use a. Now that you have measured, you can use your truss-rod tool to put in or take out relief lefty loosy, righty tighty. Putting more relief in will raise the action and taking relief out will lower the action. Tip: Always stop short of mwasure flat and you will not run the risk of stripping out the truss rod nut.
Saddle actkon. And most of the time, the correct adjustment would be made to the truss rod before moving on to the saddle height. To check the height at the saddle, take a steel ruler that measures in 64ths of an inch measurre measure the distance from zction top of the 12th fret to the bottom of the 1st and 6th strings.
If your action is too high and you want to take the saddle down a bit, guitaf is a simple formula for determining how much material to remove from mexsure bottom of the saddle. Note: If you are dealing with a how to measure action on a guitar with a through-saddle where the how to make bbq chicken legs in the oven slot is cut all the way through the bridge wings and exposes the saddle endsthen you will have to lower the saddle from the top or it could become too short on the ends.
You can sand the material off using grit sandpaper attached to a flat surface, making sure to keep the bottom surface both flat and perpendicular to the side of the saddle. Measre height. The winding on a guitar string can act like a file and slowly lower the strings at the nut over the course of time. Since I do this every day, I set the nut action by feel, but it can be measured. To do this, put a capo on at the 4th fret and use your feeler gauges to measure underneath all six strings at the 1st fret.
A rough measurement here would be from. If you are the adventurous type, doing your own action what are structures in c can be fun and money saving. If you are notat least teach yourself how to take your own measurements.
You will know a lot more about what to ask for when consulting with a repair person. Rig Rundowns. Rig Rundown Podcast. Riff Rundowns. PG Jams. Bass Gear. Gear Awards. Gear Review Inquiry. New Gear. First Looks. Review Demos. DIY Projects. How to measure action on a guitar Galleries. Factory Tours. The Big 5. Forgotten Heroes. Studio Legends. Album Reviews. Pedal Projects. Recording Dojo. Amp DIY. Guitar Shop Recording Tips. Gigging Advice. Ask Amp Man. Twang Oh Bohlinger Plays. Joe Gore's Subversive Guitarist.
Last Call. Tone Tips. Joe Gore's Recording Guitarist. Vintage Vault. Esoterica Electrica. Mod Garage. Bottom Feeder. PG Giveaways. Stay Connected. Enter email address Subscribe. Measuring neck relief and then mdasure adjustments as needed is a relatively simple affair that will save you the time and cash involved with om your guitar to the shop.
Enter Email Address Subscribe. Rig Rundown: Yasmin Williams. Rig Rundown: Zane Carney. Rig Rundown: Citizen . Rig Rundown: Olivia Jean. Rig Rundown: Burial Waves. The Secret to Connecting Chords. George Benson's Badass How to measure action on a guitar. Minor Blues for Beginners. Downstroke Funk. An Expressway to "Super Ohw Sounds. Your Pedalboards Part Deux. Your Pedalboards !
What You’ll Learn Today
Nov 07, · Measuring 1. Hold the guitar in the playing position. This helps you get the most accurate measurement possible. Tip: If you have 2. Hold the ruler flat on the top of the 12th fret between the E (6th) and A (5th) strings. Carefully slide the ruler up 3. Measure the space between the top of the. May 16, · Getting the PERFECT setup starts with accurate measurements at a number of critical points on the guitar. In this Trade Secret, Blake demonstrates fast and a. Oct 20, · In order to measure the height of your guitar’s strings, you should have either a ruler, a feeler gauge, or a specialized string action gauge. For electric guitars, in our opinion, a good default string height at the 12th fret is typically about 6/64th of an inch (mm) on the bass side and 4/64th of an inch (mm) on the treble side.
This post contains affiliate links, meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a commission. This is at no additional cost to you.
Learn more. What does it feel like? What are the measurements? When it comes to measurements, the guitar world seems evenly split right now between imperial inches and metric millimeters. Still others like to use fractions. Here are the things I use to measure string height useful for other guitar measurements too :.
A few of my Hotop blade feeler gauges. We only measure string height under the two outer E strings thickest and thinnest strings. This is important. Do not measure string height with the guitar on its back, because gravity will bend the neck just enough to make your measurement inaccurate:. Always make such measurements with the guitar upright in the playing position. Measure the distance from the top of the 12th fret to the underside of the lowest fattest string.
I much prefer this over using a ruler. The horizontal black lines on the String Action Gauge are 0. Since my string is slightly above the black line here, I need to add 0.
So, according to what you see here, the string height of my low E is roughly 2. Next, measure the height under the highest thinnest string in the same manner. Reading the height on the high E string can be a little tough. Note: Some people and guitar manufacturers measure string height at some fret other than the 12th… such as the 17th. Some measure action by first placing a capo at the 1st fret before taking their measurement.
Using a feeler gauge, measure the distance from the top of the 1st fret to the underside of the lowest fattest string. When taking your guitar in for a setup, you should always give the repair tech actual measurements when telling them how you want the action set. Electric guitars generally can achieve a lower overall action than their acoustic or Classical counterparts. Of course, you can break this down further and talk about medium-low, medium-high, etc.
Obviously, there are spaces in between the measurements I gave above, but those should at least give you an idea of where you stand. Unfortunately, there is no correct or official answer to this.
There are drawbacks to really low action, as I point out in my other article. Some players like medium action, and some like it high. That said, I generally recommend the lowest possible action for beginners just starting out.
That way you can focus on learning rather than physically fighting the guitar, at least until you build hand strength and dexterity. Do you need to learn how to set up your guitar?
If so, there are a few resources I highly recommend for learning this stuff:. Now that you know how, measure it at the 12th fret and let me know what it is in the comments section down below. Great article! Your concise explanations are such a pleasure to read. I have one tip I would like to share on how I measure first fret action extremely accurately on my electric guitars. Notice how the strings are metal, and the feeler gauges are metal too?
Simply connect one lead from your multimeter in continuity mode beep mode to the strings with an alligator or claw clip and hold the other against the feeler gauge stack as you slide them under the string at the first fret. If it beeps it is touching the string. Reduce the feeler gauge stack by a couple of thou and go again. After a few attempts you will be able to get exact measurements quickly without having to guess whether or not the feeler gauge is touching the string.
This also works for 12th fret action measurement if you stack up a bunch of the gauges in the pack. I mostly do this for curiosity since its not important to have that height so accurately. I would like to hear your opinion: I am buying a new premium classical guitar to play classic and flamenco. I asked to have settings low but without buzzing or growling. I wonder if this is not too low.
My current guitar has action really high, so I can not compare, as I am looking for a change. Thanks for help. Hi Mike. The good news is, if you find it too low for your liking, you can easily add a thin wooden shim under the bridge saddle to raise it a bit. Many Classical players keep different bridge saddles in their guitar case—all with different heights. Can the height of the strings affect the intonation? I tune my guitar but when i play the e string on the 12th fret it s a little bit flat.
I have tried to intonate. Actually i have reduced the length of the string as much as possible but it s still flat. I wonder if changing the height would help. String height does indeed affect intonation. Generally, if you were to raise your action enough, without compensating for it by adjusting intonation, your note would be just a tad sharp when pressed. First fret string height is high with a feeler gage but looks fine with the 3rd fret check method.
I am happy with how it plays. Two questions: 1 I have an old acoustic guitar and it is set up even lower —. I am wondering if there is any reason not to go lower than your recommendations on my new Eastman? I would like to reduce fret wear on my new guitar. I bought a Shubb adjustable capo but am wondering if you could recommend strings that would reduce fret wear. The wear shows up on the first 5 frets of the thinner strings.
The other part, I realize, is not to press down the strings so hard. Only then is it time to troubleshoot and start looking for ways to improve. I would tell you to avoid stainless steel strings, but no one really uses stainless steel strings on acoustic guitars. Stainless steel strings will definitely eat up nickel silver frets faster than other strings.
Really, your only options would be to play the guitar less, or switch to nylon guitar strings. Firstly, guitars are made to be played and, as I said above, frets wear out. You might want to look at my article Lifetime Guitar Maintenance Schedule for a guide to everything a guitar might need during its lifetime.
Hi Joud. If so, those are pretty low measurements for an acoustic guitar. Take it to a qualified tech or repair person. Just know this: acoustic guitars are harder to play, period. I still struggle with certain bar chords and my acoustic has ultra light strings AND really low action. I would keep working on your hand strength before you modify your guitar—especially since it sounds like your 1st fret action is pretty low already. What helped me was switching to ultra-light strings I use 10 — 50 on my acoustic.
Hi Kane. Anything over 3mm on the low E at the 12th fret is excessively high in my opinion, unless you need really high action for playing slide guitar. I think you nailed this answer. Poor guy! When I was a beginner I had the same exact problem and it discouraged me from wanting to learn guitar. I have a schecter C-7 Deluxe.
I was going through my summer setup as part of my restring, and found that I could tweak the truss rod a small bit to flatten it out a bit and did great things there. But, then I also noted that I could lower my action a good bit at the bridge. My Low E was sitting at just below a medium setting of around. I got it down to around. If I fret around the 18th fret with the D string it buzzes hard, even deadens quickly.
Hi Chris. The only way to know for sure is to check with a fret rocker. It is possible to just spot-level the few problem spots. However, a word of caution: Spot-leveling takes the same skill as doing a complete fret job.
Also, you still have to know how to properly re-crown the area you flattened, and unless you have experience doing this, I recommend you leave it all to a pro.
When I was a teenager, I attempted to spot level a high fret had the same kind of buzzing as you—in just spots and screwed it up. As a result, I ended up having to get a complete fret job by a pro to fix my mistake.