To my Fellow Beginners: action height matters!

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
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rojarosguitar
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Re: To my Fellow Beginners: action height matters!

Post by rojarosguitar » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:38 am

Oh dear, from my side at least, I'm not talking about outrageously high action; just enough to be able to really dig into the strings without having all the buzzes. Of course, if you play with less force, you can use a lower action without buzzes. Nevertheless there is a limit how far you can lower the action without loosing substance in your sound - I went through all these experiments by myself. Suddenly, when the action is too low, the guitar obtains a limiter or compressor with no costs added :lol: ...

My argument about being more precise is of a different kind: if you really see the advantages of a slightly raised action and you want to go for it, you will need to practice that extra precision. I can't emphasize enough: MIDDLE WAY!

And of course: everybody has the liberty to decide for herself what to do. I just collected some counterarguments here.
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Re: To my Fellow Beginners: action height matters!

Post by zupfgeiger » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:12 pm

I fully agree. I had buzzing issues with my guitars all the time as I preferred low action. My approach has changed since I opted for a higher but of course still reasonable setting. No buzzing at all and a better sound was the reward. Most profs opt for higher action. For good reason.
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Re: To my Fellow Beginners: action height matters!

Post by Rognvald » Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:48 pm

rojarosguitar wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:51 am
Some professional guitarists, when they pick up their instruments from my luthier friends, as a first thing they ask for a higher saddle bone to raise (yes, r a i s e ) the action, not to lower it. They have developed their muscles and they like to dig deep into the strings, if necessary, and feel the resistance. None of them play low tension strings.

For me, after a period of always trying to get the action as low as possible this also reversed, and now I'm perfectly happy with 4mm at 12th E-6 and 3.5mm at e-1. I also start to enjoy to be able to dig into the strings if necessary and feel the resistance. I'm already trying to make a date with Sascha Nowak to raise the action on my Nowak guitar. :D

Very well said, Rojaro and this has been my experience as I progressed musically. Playing style reflects personality and some players, like myself, who have a big, aggressive playing style need a higher tension string to avoid string buzz, to "dig into the strings" as you stated and to get a big sound that projects to the audience. Also, when you have a big sound, you have the ability to utilize a greater range of dynamics than a player with a moderate or weak sound .. .ergo, in theory, a greater tonal palette. So, I have also walked this path and now prefer a higher action with high tension strings. Action height matters!
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Michael.N.
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Re: To my Fellow Beginners: action height matters!

Post by Michael.N. » Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:23 pm

There's always a trade off to these things. If someone states that they play with 3.5 mm bass E action and it's buzz fee take that statement with a huge dose of salt. There's no such thing as a buzz free guitar. It's not that difficult to get a buzz out of a guitar with 5 mm bass action, you just have to give greater energy/displacement to the string. You might be able to get an action that is a touch lower if the soundboard was extremely stiff and rigid (all other things being equal) but it's not going to sound very responsive. Players who are using a very low action are either accepting buzz or they are playing in a somewhat timid manner and limiting dynamics. There's just no two ways about it. No amount of set up and attention to neck relief etc. is going to give you gains of say 0.5 mm.
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Re: To my Fellow Beginners: action height matters!

Post by BellyDoc » Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:06 pm

How is action height best measured? Is there a specific tool for the job? I have a dial caliper that I’ve used which reads in thousandths of an inch and the backside of the device is for inside measurements. I can run that between the string and the 12th fret but I’m not likely to get the same number to the tenth of a mm three times in a row since the string flexes, the fret is a rounded surface, and I have to estimate perpendicular. For reference, a tenth of a mm is about 4 thousandths and similar to the diameter of a single human hair.
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johnd
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Re: To my Fellow Beginners: action height matters!

Post by johnd » Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:21 pm

Stop being concerned about small corrections to the guitar. THe secret to becoming good at playing classical guitar is PRACTISE.

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Re: To my Fellow Beginners: action height matters!

Post by Rasputin » Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:25 pm

BellyDoc wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:06 pm
How is action height best measured? Is there a specific tool for the job?
Yes, search for "string action gauge". There's even a digital one. For my money it's not necessary to have a really accurate measurement, but I suppose it is worth recording what works best, and keeping tabs on the action might give you an early warning of any work that needs doing.

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Re: To my Fellow Beginners: action height matters!

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:41 pm

I recently lowered the action on my Takamine and now it's much easier to play. No buzzing anywhere on either of my guitars (I suppose that theoretically I could produce a buzz but it never occurs in actual playing). I use medium to light tension strings. Many will suggest that high tension strings can choke the sound on a guitar and produce a weaker vibrato; that is, they restrict the tonal palette of a guitar. Of course, it all depends on the guitar and the player!

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Re: To my Fellow Beginners: action height matters!

Post by BellyDoc » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:26 pm

Rasputin wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:25 pm
BellyDoc wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:06 pm
How is action height best measured? Is there a specific tool for the job?
Yes, search for "string action gauge". There's even a digital one. For my money it's not necessary to have a really accurate measurement, but I suppose it is worth recording what works best, and keeping tabs on the action might give you an early warning of any work that needs doing.
Aha! It's basically a type of ruler, but it sits flat on several frets and it's designed to be better visually readable at that scale. Thanks!
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Re: To my Fellow Beginners: action height matters!

Post by BellyDoc » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:39 pm

johnd wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:21 pm
Stop being concerned about small corrections to the guitar. THe secret to becoming good at playing classical guitar is PRACTISE.
That's not a secret! :lol:
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Jorge Oliveira
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Re: To my Fellow Beginners: action height matters!

Post by Jorge Oliveira » Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:07 pm

BellyDoc wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:06 pm
How is action height best measured? Is there a specific tool for the job? I have a dial caliper that I’ve used which reads in thousandths of an inch and the backside of the device is for inside measurements. I can run that between the string and the 12th fret but I’m not likely to get the same number to the tenth of a mm three times in a row since the string flexes, the fret is a rounded surface, and I have to estimate perpendicular. For reference, a tenth of a mm is about 4 thousandths and similar to the diameter of a single human hair.
There is a simple tool you can get from Amazon.
String Action Ruler.png
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petermc61
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Re: To my Fellow Beginners: action height matters!

Post by petermc61 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:56 pm

Unfortunately that scale doesn’t cover the height of the 6th string on many (most?) classical instruments. Splash out on the digital gauge by LMI.

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rojarosguitar
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Re: To my Fellow Beginners: action height matters!

Post by rojarosguitar » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:20 pm

Michael.N. wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:23 pm
There's always a trade off to these things. If someone states that they play with 3.5 mm bass E action and it's buzz fee take that statement with a huge dose of salt. There's no such thing as a buzz free guitar. It's not that difficult to get a buzz out of a guitar with 5 mm bass action, you just have to give greater energy/displacement to the string. You might be able to get an action that is a touch lower if the soundboard was extremely stiff and rigid (all other things being equal) but it's not going to sound very responsive. Players who are using a very low action are either accepting buzz or they are playing in a somewhat timid manner and limiting dynamics. There's just no two ways about it. No amount of set up and attention to neck relief etc. is going to give you gains of say 0.5 mm.
:merci:
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Mike Steede
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Re: To my Fellow Beginners: action height matters!

Post by Mike Steede » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:41 pm

petermc61 wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:48 pm
It’s a perfectly rational choice to play with a ‘normal’ action, as is your position. The action you describe is ‘low’. (I would describe ‘high’ action as anything beyond what is reasonably necessary to avoid buzzing. Typical that is more than 4-4.5mm E6 and 3mm e1.

I think ‘generally’ lower tension strings make vibrato easier and sometimes a better/sweeter tone.

I think your guitar works because it is designed with low action and higher tension strings from scratch, and voiced with those design parameters in mind.
I've found normal tension basses and low tension trebles to be the best of both worlds - no buzzing, cleaner and sweeter tone in the melody.
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Re: To my Fellow Beginners: action height matters!

Post by Michael.N. » Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:08 am

You can use a 6 inch metal ruler to measure action. I actually prefer them without the 0.5 mm increments. I just 'split' the mm by eye. If you go up to the 14th fret, down to the 10th and back up to the 12 th you should be able to read 0.2 mm accuracy if not slightly better. More than good enough.
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