Do lower frets give the illusion of lower action?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by still.ill, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. still.ill

    still.ill Member

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    I have both my 2013 ES-335 and 2004 Les Paul Vintage Mahogany set up as similar as I can get them, with around .008 of relief and 5/64, 3/64 action heights, and yet the Les Paul seems to play "slinkier".

    The LP does have noticeably smaller frets though due to some fret levels in the past (I bought it used a year ago), and my 335 has 6105's.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  2. StratoCraig

    StratoCraig Member

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    It can seem that way. I recently picked up a mid-'60s Silvertone (Teisco) guitar (posted here with pix). When I first played it, the action felt incredibly low, but then I realized that it was more the low frets than low action. The frets, in fact, are so low that when bending notes, my grip on the string feels a little weaker than on any of my other guitars. The neck relief and action were actually set quite nicely.
     
  3. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    Yes because your eyes see the strings to the fretboard. Another factor is how close the strings are to the edge of the neck. When you look down on the fingerboard if the strings are close to the edge you are more likely to see through the gap again adding to an illusion but this time the other way. This one is a strong factor on a vintage style strat with high frets looking like the action is sky high when in fact it is only medium.
     
  4. B. Howard

    B. Howard Silver Supporting Member

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    Other factors that have nothing to do with action height can have a great effect on feel. Things like neck carve shape and thickness, FB radius, string break angle over the bridge just to name a few.
     
  5. icr

    icr Member

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    For me low frets play like a guitar with heavy strings and a high action. A lot of finger pressure is needed to make any sound from the strings.
     

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