What's your preferred string height at the 12th fret?

< 4/64
> 4/64
= 4/64
 #114954  by TRG
 Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:02 am
I recently picked up a new axe and when I got it I thought the string height was a bit high for my liking. I played it for a while like that and then decided to mess with the individual saddles to lower the action. My old guitar had the action about 3/64 and I've tried to get this one there, but can only get to about 4/64 without bad buzz (and or a true tech setup).

There certainly are many give and takes to string height, but I'm always feeling that the higher action means slower playability/smoothness for me...and that's what matters most to me.

What say you..what's your preferred string height?
 #114968  by Pete B.
 Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:39 am
Historically since like 10th grade I have always just eyeballed it high enough to play aggressive Slide Guitar without the slide bar fretting out all over the place (I was playing a Les Paul at the time and setting string height by hand during string-changes or whenever was really quick and easy).
That is typically pretty high for most non-slide players, but in line with the Jer-aaay tone factor.
I currently have a Strat set up like Tiger and I think it is 7/64ths.
 #114982  by mgbills
 Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:53 pm
I prefer the 7/64 action. While it does take a bit of time for the bear paws to adapt, the tonal characteristics are worth the work. On a Strat 7/64 with 0.30" at the 1st fret...is still easier than a night on the acoustic.

End Low Action! :smile:
 #114995  by TRG
 Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:49 pm
Yup, I definitely like the tone with higher string height, but I'm just not as fluid. Tone vs.fluidity...ughh. I'll keep working towards the middle ground...and maybe someday I'll be more comfortable with higher action, but not sure I'd be able to get to the 7/64 range!
 #115006  by TRG
 Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:19 am
dleonard wrote:semi-related...does anyone know where to get one of those tiny allen wrenches for a strat? I don't think my local sam ash has one.
You mean like a 1.5mm? I picked one up at an autoparts store.
 #115552  by easytoslip
 Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:56 am
haven't gotten into adjusting/having adjusted the height on my Les Paul, but it's definitely on the higher side as far as action. Sounds beautiful but yeah hard to play up at the higher frets. Was considering getting a second electric solely for that purpose (more playability up around twelfth fret) and am considering a Strat or an SG, dunno.
 #119635  by TI4-1009
 Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:46 am
wolftigerrosebud wrote:started playing at 7/64 'cause i saw jerry did it and i'm a shameless thief.... then realized why he did it, and that it's awesome. so i kept it.
Can someone explain why the higher action- what it does, and how? Is it just that you can put more energy into the strings without buzzing?
 #119644  by mgbills
 Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:00 pm
There will likely be better answers...

My perception is that it creates more volume range possibilities from the right hand, and a richer timbre. To me it translates to more tone control with both hands, but especially with the rhythm hand. More boink! More growl. More whump. More sproink to the tubes.

I like that word...Sproink. Feel free to consider that a technical term, and use it at your leisure.
 #119645  by vwjodyme
 Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:12 pm
I've always been as low as i can without buzzing :lol:
but when i got my sg it was really high so i lowered it and it sounded like crap...completely sucked the tone right out of it. so needless to say that one stays high.

Funny side note: I've noticed when you have high action and people ask to try out your guitar they always say, "man, your action is way to high" and set it down. seems to be a good way to keep peoples grubby paws of your stuff :lol:
 #119649  by tcsned
 Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:33 pm
I have found that all guitars have a sweet spot in relation to the action. There is a spot that really makes a guitar sing. Higher action can sound better to a point but not always. One of the guys a work with has a Yamaha electric with a Floyd and .009 strings. I've been having a blast playing it as I don't have anything with action that low or strings that light. There's a certain sound you get with that set up that you can't get with 10s and high action. Country stuff or anything Mark Knopfler doesn't work with anything other than this set up. It doesn't work for Dead stuff though.
 #126440  by TI4-1009
 Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:24 am
I just want to understand this a little better. I'm assuming there's nothing magic about setting action higher and getting "better tone", right? Just because the string is higher off the fretboard doesn't in and of itself make it sound any better. I'm guessing that having the higher action allows you to pick harder and gives the vibrating string more room to move without hitting frets or buzzing. More energy and dynamics in the string?