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Generic action measurements

FiestaRed869

Member
Messages
2,486
So it seems everywhere says something like "for fender style, low action, the measurement should be 3/64 on high E. Isn't this completely dependent on the fret? Someone with a 6105 needs action higher, someone with a vintage fret can get away with super low action. How do you guys do it if someone says I want it as low as possible? Just keep going Lower and lower untill you get buzz then back off alittle?
 

David Collins

Member
Messages
2,246
The height of the fret has nothing really to do with it - measurements are made from the top of the fret, and how far the board itself lies below it is largely irrelevant (not entirely, but largely in terms of action/buzzing concerns). Generic measurements can be a good starting point for many, but final adjustments always have to be made according to the player's style and expectations.
 

FiestaRed869

Member
Messages
2,486
Ohhhhhh ok.... I was under the impression that measurement was from the fret board, it's all clear to me now :)
 

Dana Olsen

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,930
The spec "3/64" means 3/64" measured from the top of the fret to the bottom of the string, so the height of the fret itself is independent of the height of the action. In my opinion, 3/64" is pretty low action - real low. Usually folks mean measured at the 12th fret, but Fender spec is measured at the 17th fret.

6105 fretwire is just a little wider and a bit taller than vintage wire - folks like it 'cuz it looks nearly vintage but is easier to play on 'cuz it's a little taller. Some folks prefer the feel of jumbo fretwire (a little taller and wider than 6105), but the action itself is just the height of the string above the fret, period, independent of which fretwire is used. Some guys think you can have lower action with bigger frets, but in my experience the height of the action as you approach low is dependent on how level the frets are, and on the radius - nothing more.

I think you're talking about two different things - the feel of a guitar, which has a lot do to with which frets are on the guitar in combination with the action and radius, and the height of the action alone. Low frets may make your fingers feel like they're dragging on the fret board, but the only part that matters for buzzing is the relationship of the strings to the top of the frets - fret height and width has nothing to do with that.

For lowest action, you've got it - lower it until it buzzes and back it back up a little until it stops. Most guitars sound better with the action a little higher than "as low as possible without buzzing" - for 9.5" or greater radius, I try for 4/64" measured at the 17th fret on all strings, but I slightly cheat the top 3 down a tiny tiny bit if the guitar can handle it, and cheat 'em up a tiny bit on the lower strings (usually capo'd on the first fret to take the nut out of the equation).

If your frets aren't real level, you're not gonna be able to get the action down to 3/64" without buzzing - that's real low action IMHO.

Hope this helps, Dana O.

PS I see David beat me to it - listen to David, he does this for a living.
 

FiestaRed869

Member
Messages
2,486
Awesome explanation. I was assuming action meant how high over the fret board, not frets. So when I wqs sayin I like low action, I should of said I like low frets. Thanks guys
 

corn husk bag

Member
Messages
4,242
The spec "3/64" means 3/64" measured from the top of the fret to the bottom of the string, so the height of the fret itself is independent of the height of the action. In my opinion, 3/64" is pretty low action - real low. Usually folks mean measured at the 12th fret, but Fender spec is measured at the 17th fret.

6105 fretwire is just a little wider and a bit taller than vintage wire - folks like it 'cuz it looks nearly vintage but is easier to play on 'cuz it's a little taller. Some folks prefer the feel of jumbo fretwire (a little taller and wider than 6105), but the action itself is just the height of the string above the fret, period, independent of which fretwire is used. Some guys think you can have lower action with bigger frets, but in my experience the height of the action as you approach low is dependent on how level the frets are, and on the radius - nothing more.

I think you're talking about two different things - the feel of a guitar, which has a lot do to with which frets are on the guitar in combination with the action and radius, and the height of the action alone. Low frets may make your fingers feel like they're dragging on the fret board, but the only part that matters for buzzing is the relationship of the strings to the top of the frets - fret height and width has nothing to do with that.

For lowest action, you've got it - lower it until it buzzes and back it back up a little until it stops. Most guitars sound better with the action a little higher than "as low as possible without buzzing" - for 9.5" or greater radius, I try for 4/64" measured at the 17th fret on all strings, but I slightly cheat the top 3 down a tiny tiny bit if the guitar can handle it, and cheat 'em up a tiny bit on the lower strings (usually capo'd on the first fret to take the nut out of the equation).

If your frets aren't real level, you're not gonna be able to get the action down to 3/64" without buzzing - that's real low action IMHO.

Hope this helps, Dana O.

PS I see David beat me to it - listen to David, he does this for a living.
Nice post Dana!
 






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