action at fret 12

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Andrew Pohlman
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Location: SF Bay Area

Re: action at fret 12

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:49 pm

The standard at the SF Conservatory nowadays is 3/2.5 with HT strings - MAXIMUM. I've seen lower action for sure, especially on flamencos. Classical, not so much. All my guitars are now set to 3/2.5 with HT strings per SF Conservatory standards.

But the proof is in the pudding. If you are getting no buzz, you can go lower or use lower tension strings. You have to play with it on YOUR specific guitar to find the limits.
2013 Rodriguez FF Sabicas blanco
2015 Trevor Gore custom Neoclassical
- redwood top, Palo dorado B+Ss.

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petermc61
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: action at fret 12

Post by petermc61 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:01 pm

Andrew Pohlman wrote:The standard at the SF Conservatory nowadays is 3/2.5 with HT strings - MAXIMUM. I've seen lower action for sure, especially on flamencos. Classical, not so much. All my guitars are now set to 3/2.5 with HT strings per SF Conservatory standards.

But the proof is in the pudding. If you are getting no buzz, you can go lower or use lower tension strings. You have to play with it on YOUR specific guitar to find the limits.
A conservatory has a standard for guitar action and what strings to use?? :shock:

I would love somebody to explain the logic of that to me. At face value that just seems a ridiculous thing to have - all guitars are different and all players different.

Keith
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Re: action at fret 12

Post by Keith » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:11 am

I believe the SF Conservatory action requirements are for playing Flight of the Bumble Bee--the buzzing of the strings adds to the effect and gives a feel of the a bee buzzing around. :)
be true to the one you love but have many flings with different guitars

guitarras en la espiritu de la:
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Andrew Pohlman
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Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2015 8:24 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: action at fret 12

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:28 pm

petermc61 wrote:
Andrew Pohlman wrote:The standard at the SF Conservatory nowadays is 3/2.5 with HT strings - MAXIMUM. I've seen lower action for sure, especially on flamencos. Classical, not so much. All my guitars are now set to 3/2.5 with HT strings per SF Conservatory standards.

But the proof is in the pudding. If you are getting no buzz, you can go lower or use lower tension strings. You have to play with it on YOUR specific guitar to find the limits.
A conservatory has a standard for guitar action and what strings to use?? :shock:

I would love somebody to explain the logic of that to me. At face value that just seems a ridiculous thing to have - all guitars are different and all players different.
I highlighted the proviso.

I have had this conversation with Trevor Gore and with a Bay Area luthier, Lewis Santer, protege of Somogyi. The well known 5mm+ action is only justifiable when you use low tension strings. Higher action only makes it harder to play. The kinesiology of it is clear - finger movements needed to play and release a note with 5mm action take more time and effort than with 3mm. Stated slightly differently, players typically use low tension strings for ease of play. If you can handle HT strings, why would you make it harder to play by choosing 5mm+ action? All that and 5mm+ action has a bigger affect on intonation.

Trevor can certainly build guitars to whatever spec the buyer wants given the limits of guitar physics. My Gore easily handles 3/2.5 mm and I could go lower. Lewis Santer is vehement about this. He works on many of the instruments used by staff and students at SF Conservatory. He equates the 5mm+ action with T. rex thinking. He told me, "It just isn't done that way anymore." - at least not at the SF Conservatory. No extremes - I'm sure there are some who will still request high action due to tradition ... damn the kinesiology! :D
2013 Rodriguez FF Sabicas blanco
2015 Trevor Gore custom Neoclassical
- redwood top, Palo dorado B+Ss.

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petermc61
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Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:11 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: action at fret 12

Post by petermc61 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:43 pm

Andrew

I don't for a moment think any guitar needs to be set up at 5mm+, nor could my comments imply that. I agree those guitars are very hard to play and typically unnecessary. The argument you use does not support 3mm with high tension strings though.

For a start, to mandate 3mm action with high tension strings only makes sense if that guitar sounds best under that tension. If the higher tension chokes the sound then there is absolutely no basis for imposing that requirement. It's just plain dumb.

I typically play medium tension strings around 3.6-3.7mm and rarely get buzz. Ergonomically, its fine. The tension feels good and I'm happy. If I was at SF Conservatory I would not need to be told how to choose or setup and instrument 'better' for my needs.

As I said, each player is an individual and importantly each guitar is unique in the tension it likes to sound best. To try and impose a standard action and tension is just plain misguided.

All the best
Peter

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