Select the thickness that is close to what you are aiming for – for example you might choose a blade that is 0.26 inches (0.66mm) if you are measuring the height at the nut for the high E string (see below). Glad you liked the post and I hope you found it helpful. If your neck warps outwards (has back bow) – which might be due to a lack of tension from strings or heat and humidity – then the action at the nut end and towards the soundhole will become higher and will become lower in the middle frets. âAction is totally a personal preference," said Fender Electric Product Development Manager Allen Abbassi. All Rights Reserved. He got the action. We are working in some small numbers here. I had the action lowered. It's all part of the journey in finding what works best for the individual player. And if you go too low it’s difficult to go back up without replacing parts. This is measured from the bottom of the string to the top of the 1st fret. The lower you go in tension/pitch, … Required fields are marked *. What I am afraid of is that the new frets will make the action harder to play. However, a lot of players prefer to go lower than this. Electric guitars have adjustable bridge saddles meaning you can twiddle or undo your work, but with a careful and methodical approach there is a way to give your acoustic a better action. I was experiencing that buzzing noise and it always sounded out of tune. If this is something that has happened quickly and is due to something you can control, like string tension, then you should also make changes to prevent it reoccurring. That seemed to be a recent problem for Reddit user dgaldeus, who asked the r/Guitar forum whether their action needed to be lowered. Your email address will not be published. You can get some idea of what is considered normal in the how to measure the action section below. Save my name and email in this browser for the next time I comment. String height at the nut should be as low as possible … Technically speaking, the action of a guitar is the distance between the string and the frets. Diving in to the action debate. Last updated: June 14, 2019 by Nate 6 Comments. If it’s cheap plastic, then this will happen much quicker than it will with the likes of bone or some of the new synthesized bone equivalents (Nubone, Tusq, Corian etc). A low action is when the strings are very close to the frets (compared to the normal) and a high action means that the strings are sitting high above the frets, compared to normal. This will also be harder on the tips of your fingers. At the end of the day, a guitarâs action is yet another key ingredient in everyoneâs personal tone recipe. For the action at the bridge it is usually o.k. Normal isn’t necessarily best for you – some prefer different actions for different reasons – but it gives you a starting point. The likes of barre chords are particularly difficult for a lot of players when the action is high. The thing is, it’s not just me (the setup and fret work) that determines whether fret buzz happens. Most people donât go higher than that.â. You are only really limited by fret buzz (if you go too low) or a hard to play guitar and potential intonation issues (if you go too high). This is measured from the bottom of the string to the top of the 12th fret (top of the fret itself not the fretboard). Thereâs a tradeoff there. Acoustic vs Bass Guitar: Which is better for Beginners. I, Piso17 [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons, Filed Under: Guitar Care Tuning Restringing, Setup. When action on a guitar is referred to, it pretty much just means how high off the frets the strings sit. How is the action at the nut? I want it really low, but no buzzing. Acoustics are not as friendly as electrics when it comes to setting saddle height. Yeah I find the engineering aspects of acoustic guitars really interesting – the different materials used and the specific materials that are suited to different parts, and, like you mention, how environmental factors can affect those materials. Lowering the action could help remedy dgaldeusâs issue, and that can be accomplished by adjusting the saddles and the bridge until the preferred action (low, medium, high) is reached. Fender PlayBLACK FRIDAY SALE: Get 50% off an Annual Plan.UNLOCK THIS OFFER. The Taylor 114E is the perfect all-purpose Grand Auditorium guitar. There is a considerable amount of leeway in choosing the right action height, depending on your instrument and playing style. Though there are definitely those that have different preferences but if you want a starting point then 0.030 inches is generally considered the standard. But it is important to know that changing the action could lead to other adjustments and possibly an entirely new setup. how to lower the action at the saddle end, 21 Guitar Playing Tips Every Beginner Should Know, Tips for Learning How to Play the Guitar and Sing at the Same Time, Acoustic Guitar Stands: Ways to Keep Your Guitar When Not Playing, Takamine Serial Numbers: What They Can Tell You and How to Decode Them. If your top swells (usually because of the humidity being too high and your guitar getting too wet) then the strings will be raised too high above the fret-board and may cause intonation issues and a guitar that is difficult to play. The luthier should understand this and setup the guitar for you. I think your best bet is to explain to the luthier that you want to make sure that the action will be in a nice position to play. If your top sinks (usually because of the humidity being too low and your guitar drying out) then the strings will become too close to the frets and may cause fret buzz. What should I be telling my professional luthier ? A lot of guitarists like to get their action as low as possible without getting fret buzz. How quickly this will happen will depend on the material that your nut and saddle are made from. Each “blade” has a thickness written on it. It’s also interesting from an engineering perspective to consider the materials and how they can wear and react to environmental elements. Hi, I just got my guitar back from the guitar shop. The biggest complaint that most guitarists have when the action is too high is that it makes it more difficult to play – more difficult both in term of playing fluently without errors and more difficult physically. If your neck warps inwards (has too much relief) – which might be due to strings that are putting too much tension on the neck either because they are tuned too tight or the guitar wasn’t designed to handle the gauge of strings you are using – or due to heat and humidity – then the action in the middle frets of the guitar will become higher. If you aren’t sure if your action needs adjusting or not then read on to learn when you need to adjust the action on an acoustic guitar. Firstly, because your action is likely to lower unevenly across the strings and secondly, because this will take a long time and you want to get your action right as soon as you can. If you have already encountered this problem then you may need to replace the existing nut and saddle. Though if you are only adjusting the bridge or the nut, then it’s not the end of the world if you get it wrong – worst comes to worst you’ll have to get new ones – which is a pain and a bit of an expense but not critical. The action on a guitar refers to how high the strings sit above the frets on the fretboard. Stevie Ray Vaughan famously had his action set very high (in addition to heavy gauge strings) to go along with his strong attack. what not to do when you lower an acoustic guitar’s action.Don’t mess with the truss rodIt used to be when I first started playing guitar a couple decades ago that adjusting the truss rod was a smart move That can make the pickups get louder and the magnets can pull on the strings. Really good quality nuts and saddles will last a life time. Many slide players who donât usually fret the guitar with their fingers also prefer high action because the slide can move past the frets uninterrupted.