action at fret 12

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
APK
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action at fret 12

Post by APK » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:44 pm

Hi,

I just had the opportunity to measure the string height of my guitar at the 12th fret, using a Baroque String Action Ruler. The low e string (6th string) measured at 3.5 mm. or just slightly under – or, alternately, 3.25 mm. or slightly over. (I apologize for the indeterminacy; it was difficult for me to determine where the string ended and the marks on the ruler began….) The high e string measured 1 mm. less. In both cases I did my best to measure from the top of the fret to the bottom of the string. My question is this: how much will the tone, sustain, volume, or intonation be affected by what is likely (if I understand) this unusually low action? The guitar is a Sakurai-Kohno Professional J, if that helps.

Thanks for the feedback,
A

beanctr
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Re: action at fret 12

Post by beanctr » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:30 pm

I don't think 3.5 is unusually low, I think anything between 3.5 and 4 is pretty standard. R
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hesson11
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Re: action at fret 12

Post by hesson11 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:20 pm

APK wrote:My question is this: how much will the tone, sustain, volume, or intonation be affected by what is likely (if I understand) this unusually low action?
I, too, would not consider this to be unusually low action. And I'm betting that if you raised it, even by as much as 1 mm, you would not notice any difference that would be worth the trouble or expense of doing it. Just my personal opinion based on years of monkeying around with action!
-Bob

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petermc61
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Re: action at fret 12

Post by petermc61 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:28 pm

If it plays cleanly without buzzes then stop worrying and simply enjoy it. sounds like it would be a breeze to play.

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David Norton
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Re: action at fret 12

Post by David Norton » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:29 pm

Certainly this is well within "normal parameters" for CG action. No reason to make changes.
David Norton
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Marshall Dixon
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Re: action at fret 12

Post by Marshall Dixon » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:17 am

APK wrote:Hi,

I just had the opportunity to measure the string height of my guitar at the 12th fret, using a Baroque String Action Ruler. The low e string (6th string) measured at 3.5 mm. or just slightly under – or, alternately, 3.25 mm. or slightly over. (I apologize for the indeterminacy; it was difficult for me to determine where the string ended and the marks on the ruler began….) The high e string measured 1 mm. less. In both cases I did my best to measure from the top of the fret to the bottom of the string. My question is this: how much will the tone, sustain, volume, or intonation be affected by what is likely (if I understand) this unusually low action? The guitar is a Sakurai-Kohno Professional J, if that helps.

Thanks for the feedback,
A
Some players like a higher action. A lot depends on the guitarist's attack.

Another thing to think about is the additional torque you will be putting on the bridge. If you raise the action 0.5 mm at the 12th fret, that means a 1mm rise at the saddle. If your string action is 10 to 11 mm of the soundboard this would be around 10% rise which is a significant change... I don't remember but way more than a 10% change in torque. Which may have a desirable effect.

You'll never know unless you try it.

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Steve Toscano
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Re: action at fret 12

Post by Steve Toscano » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:47 am

As others have said, this is not particularly low.
What's your reason for making it higher? Assuming to get a higher break angle at the saddle? Or is it buzzing? If its buzzing at that action you have more problems eg a bowed neck.
Without photos of the saddle/bridge i would take a guess that you already have quite a good break angle and making a higher saddle MAY open the guitar up to other issues.

APK
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Re: action at fret 12

Post by APK » Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:23 pm

Thanks, everyone, for the quick and helpful feedback. It is good to learn that actions of just less than 3.5 low e and 2.5 high e are not a concern.

Bob: I appreciate the wisdom gleaned from years of monkeying!

Peter: there are no buzzes and the guitar does indeed play very easily – a bonus, given my not-so-young-anymore hands (not to mention my playing level...). So, yes, no worries.

David, Marshall, Steve: Your observations are helpful and informative.

I'm grateful to all.

A

Laudiesdad69
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Re: action at fret 12

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:04 pm

I have my action lower than this: 3.2 Low E at the 12th and 2.5 on the highE at the 12th. And no buzzes. I also use medium tension strings. When I used low tension the action height was 2.8 and 2.0 and it buzzed a little due to the fact that there really wasn't any relief in the neck. It buzzed at frets 2 through 4.it buzzed on the A,D and G strings.

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Michael.N.
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Re: action at fret 12

Post by Michael.N. » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:08 pm

Try playing a bit harder. You'll get plenty of buzzes. It's simply not appropriate to state 'no buzz' because it's a combination of the amplitude of the string and the action. I can get no buzz with 1.5 mm action, should I wish.
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petermc61
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Re: action at fret 12

Post by petermc61 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:40 pm

Not sure that's particularly helpful in this case Michael. The OP wanted to know whether he should raise his action because he was concerned he might be missing out on something with the action set as it is. Given he can play his guitar without buzzes and is enjoying the ease of playing then the concensus in the advice is to leave it as it is.

What does it matter if somebody far heavier handed could make the guitar buzz? I presume you know that technique also contributes to buzzing - so different technique (essentially how you put the string in motion) can lead to more or less buzzing for the same degree of volume from the instrument. Another fact, but also largely irrelevant to the question being asked.

astro64
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Re: action at fret 12

Post by astro64 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:46 pm

The change in torque would be exactly 10% if you raise the distance from top of the saddle to guitar top by 10%. Torque is defined as force multiplied with length of the lever arm perpendicular to the direction of the force; the force is provided by the string tension and stays the same, so only the change in the length of the lever arm matters, and it will be directly proportional to the change in torque.

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Michael.N.
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Re: action at fret 12

Post by Michael.N. » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:04 pm

petermc61 wrote:Not sure that's particularly helpful in this case Michael. The OP wanted to know whether he should raise his action because he was concerned he might be missing out on something with the action set as it is. Given he can play his guitar without buzzes and is enjoying the ease of playing then the concensus in the advice is to leave it as it is.

What does it matter if somebody far heavier handed could make the guitar buzz? I presume you know that technique also contributes to buzzing - so different technique (essentially how you put the string in motion) can lead to more or less buzzing for the same degree of volume from the instrument. Another fact, but also largely irrelevant to the question being asked.
Not sure 'heavy handed' is the correct term. Forte might be. I was responding to the previous post that stated 3.2 mm action and no buzz. Fine for that particular person but let's not make the mistake that 3.2 mm is suitable for every player, especially those who wish to play with greater dynamics.
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petermc61
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Re: action at fret 12

Post by petermc61 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:13 pm

Thanks for clarifying that Michael. It might have been better if you'd quoted the response you were addressing. I had discounted the comment you now refer to since in that same post the poster also talked about getting buzzes.

I think my use of 'heavy handed' was more appropriate to what I was trying to convey, rather than forte which signals a relative position on the loudness scale the composer is asking you to achieve. By heavy handed I was trying to point out that some players just have stronger right hands than others and create more string motion on average than others. Sorry if that term was not well understood.

Marshall Dixon
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Re: action at fret 12

Post by Marshall Dixon » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:41 pm

astro64 wrote:The change in torque would be exactly 10% if you raise the distance from top of the saddle to guitar top by 10%. Torque is defined as force multiplied with length of the lever arm perpendicular to the direction of the force; the force is provided by the string tension and stays the same, so only the change in the length of the lever arm matters, and it will be directly proportional to the change in torque.
Right you are. I was confusing torque with some other equation.

Then if you figured the pecertage gain in height (off the soundboard I would say) increasing string tension by that amount would give a fair idea of the changes in volume, etc. Though I'd read something about it on these pages, I don't know how to figure the tension increase.

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