How low do you like the action on your guitar?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
LBrandt
Posts: 754
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:40 am

How low do you like the action on your guitar?

Post by LBrandt » Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:35 am

I like the action on my guitars to be quite low, and I don't know whether I'm in the minority or not.

I'd be interested in hearing from those of you who like low action, just how low (in mm) you prefer it.

Thanks,

Louis

User avatar
bacsidoan
Posts: 2302
Joined: Sun May 10, 2009 1:59 am

Re: How low do you like the action on your guitar?

Post by bacsidoan » Fri Jun 09, 2017 2:24 am

Are you a student at the San Francisco Conservatory? :wink:

SteveL123
Posts: 184
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:05 pm

Re: How low do you like the action on your guitar?

Post by SteveL123 » Fri Jun 09, 2017 3:51 am

I have mine set as low as possible without buzzing. It is currently 3.8 / 2.7 mm @ 12 with Dadarrio EJ46 FF carbon high tension. Before I lowered the action, it was around 4.5/ 4 mm @ 12 and my left hand would get really tired in the middle of the Barrios Preludio, where the piece is all bar chords. With the current action, my left hand is only a little tired at the last chord. Big difference.
Last edited by SteveL123 on Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

hesson11
Posts: 503
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:48 pm

Re: How low do you like the action on your guitar?

Post by hesson11 » Fri Jun 09, 2017 4:30 am

I have several hand/arm "issues," so I really need a lower action, or I couldn't play at all, or at least not much. I generally have about a 2.8mm action on both e strings. I especially like the adjustable truss rods in Kenny Hill's guitars, because it allows me to fine tune the overall playability of the guitars. I can usually adjust things so I don't get any buzzing, and I really don't believe the volume/projection of the guitars to any significant degree.
=Bob

vesa
Posts: 373
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:52 pm
Location: Sulva, Finland

Re: How low do you like the action on your guitar?

Post by vesa » Fri Jun 09, 2017 6:08 am

3.5/4.5
Vesa Kuokkanen

Antonio Marin nr. 813 1995 (Bouchet)
Vesa Kuokkanen 2016

User avatar
zupfgeiger
Posts: 1721
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:12 pm
Location: Wezembeek-Oppem, Belgium

Re: How low do you like the action on your guitar?

Post by zupfgeiger » Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:48 am

I used to prefer low action, but as I have quite a strong right hand attac, buzzing was sometimes an issue. So I learned over the past two years to get acquainted to a more medium/high action with string height above 4 mm at 12th fret. I think acoustically it is the better option to play witha a higher action. The sound is stronger, richer, with more projection.
The secret of getting ahead is getting started (Mark Twain)

Tobias Braun, Santos copy, spruce/yew, 2017
Andrea Tacchi, Enrique Garcia model, Spruce/BRAZ, 2016
Giovanni Tacchi, Daniel Friederich copy, cedar/EIR, 2017
Alain Raifort, cedar/EIR, 2004

User avatar
georgemarousi
Posts: 137
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:10 am

Re: How low do you like the action on your guitar?

Post by georgemarousi » Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:29 am

About 3mm trebles and 3.5mm basses @12th fret, with few mm's + or - depending on other factors, i.e. strings. If all else perfect, around there.

I thing string tension is also a very important factor for some calibration of the above: The harder the tension, the more the need to lower the action a bit, or problems will arise, for example LH consecutive barres will start be painful. ( And as string tension opotimal choice has also to do with each particular guitar, we may have to take it to account too for the overall setup )
--Classicals--
Paulino Bernabe Especial 2009
Ramirez 1A 1980
Alhambra Luthier india 2012
Juan Martinez nr 55 (the return @2014)
Yamaha cg 110 (as a kid @88)
--
student again since 2015, to my degree @..? - God bless!

User avatar
eno
Posts: 234
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2016 4:56 pm
Location: Boston, USA

Re: How low do you like the action on your guitar?

Post by eno » Fri Jun 09, 2017 2:44 pm

3 mm@E1, 4mm@E6
Tried lowering down to 3.5mm@E6, it's easier to play but starts buzzing at higher volumes. But I got used to 3/4, it seems to be a reasonable compromize between playability and sound/volume.

A good thread on actions is here
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=96783
Paulino Bernabe 'India' 2001
Rokutaru Nakade 1967
Takamine C136S and C128S
Yamaha SLG200S silent

User avatar
petermc61
Posts: 5800
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:11 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: How low do you like the action on your guitar?

Post by petermc61 » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:04 pm

If the guitar plays cleanly I like to set up at 3.7mm E6 and 2.8mm e1.

User avatar
AndreiKrylov
Posts: 1668
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:22 pm
Location: Canada, USA, Mexico, Portugal, Spain

Re: How low do you like the action on your guitar?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:39 pm

always as low as possible
I'd better speak by music...Please listen Andrei Krylov at Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon Prime etc. Thanks!

User avatar
otirroz
Posts: 98
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:20 am
Location: Vina del Mar, Chile

Re: How low do you like the action on your guitar?

Post by otirroz » Sat Jun 10, 2017 5:59 pm

Hello Louis,

My two classical guitars are set at 3.0mm at high E and 3.3mm at low E. For me that seems about right when using string sets at around 90# total tension. My one flamenco is at a ridiculously low 1.8mm and 2.0mm respectively. Even with higher tension strings it buzzes. This will definitely be raised. I also had a guitar which I found caused real problems for my left hand (eventually had to have surgery when I was practicing 4+ hours a day), which was set at 3.6mm and 4.3mm respectively. I'm 71 and my hands can't deal with that kind of action.

P de V

hesson11
Posts: 503
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:48 pm

Re: How low do you like the action on your guitar?

Post by hesson11 » Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:00 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:39 pm
always as low as possible
Hi Andrei,

A kindred spirit! Do you say this in reference to flamenco playing, traditional classical or both? THANKS.
-Bob

User avatar
AndreiKrylov
Posts: 1668
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:22 pm
Location: Canada, USA, Mexico, Portugal, Spain

Re: How low do you like the action on your guitar?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:11 pm

hesson11 wrote:
Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:00 pm
AndreiKrylov wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:39 pm
always as low as possible
Hi Andrei,

A kindred spirit! Do you say this in reference to flamenco playing, traditional classical or both? THANKS.
-Bob
Sure.
I do not like buzzing strings. So - as low as possible (but without buzz).
My fingers are not very strong, therefore I would not use a lot of power while playing classical, as many others will do and then they would naturally need higher action :)
I'd better speak by music...Please listen Andrei Krylov at Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon Prime etc. Thanks!

User avatar
geoff-bristol
Amateur luthier
Posts: 178
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:31 pm
Location: Bristol - UK

Re: How low do you like the action on your guitar?

Post by geoff-bristol » Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:29 pm

Does fret guage make barring easier ? ( ie heavier - better )

Andrew Pohlman
Posts: 849
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2015 8:24 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: How low do you like the action on your guitar?

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:03 pm

3.0/2.5 - I do have to choose strings carefully though to avoid buzz. I notice at that height I can get buzz on the low E if tuned to Drop D. Even then, only when I romp on the low E really hard. With carefully chosen strings, both my classical and flamenco sound correct.
2013 Rodriguez FF Sabicas blanco
2015 Trevor Gore custom Neoclassical
- redwood top, Palo dorado B+Ss.

Return to “Luthiers”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bruno Piancatelli, CommonCrawl [Bot], fast eddie, geoff-bristol, Google [Bot], guitarrista, khayes, LBrandt, Les Backshall, martinardo, simonm and 45 guests