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Wow....String height DOES make a difference!!

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by M@tt C, Oct 11, 2008.

  1. M@tt C

    M@tt C Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2004
    Wadsworth, OH
    I've owned my R7 for a few months now, and while it sounded good, it wasn't <quite> as good as I thought it should be. It played WONDERFULLY, but it didn't have as much sustain and punch compared to my buddy's R8.

    I chalked it up to the differences in wood, and focused on messing with new pots, caps, pickup height, etc. to try and maximize what I had. Tried 11's, 10's, and even though I had always checked the intonation I had left the action "as is" since it played so nice.

    All made improvements, but acoustically it still wasn't where I wanted it.

    Then, I thought back to when I played my friend's guitar, and I remembered his action was just a little higher than mine.

    So I busted out the ruler late last night and measured...a tad less than 2mm on the bass side, 1mm on the treble side. Hmmm....raised it to a bit over 2mm and 1.5 mm.

    Retuned, and WOW! There it was. The sustain and punch was there, even without plugging the guitar in. Chords just rang out, and single notes were full and singing.

    I plugged in to my Budda SD 30 today, and it was a different (and improved) guitar. What I heard acoustically translated into fat fat sustain with a nice bite. There was a clarity that was missing before as well. It still sounded like my guitar, but everything was better. I couldn't stop playing-the guitar sounded amazing. I quit only when my fingers got tired.

    The trade off is that it's a little stiffer to play (could be the new strings though) and I have to work a bit more for the notes, but man, does it sound good!
  2. 57special

    57special Silver Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2003
    sometimes raising the action will not only make the notes cleaner, but the higher angle from the bridge to tailpiece can make it sustain and come alive more.
  3. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

    Feb 27, 2007
    dont forget, you also got your strings further away from the pickups too. the magnetic field's pull on the strings is weaker, so you'll get more vibration/sustain from your strings instead of the magnet's dampending effect due to downward pull.
  4. DC1

    DC1 Member

    Oct 30, 2006
    You have discovered something very important.

    There is a string height that is too low and causes buzzing, so we go a bit higher and get rid of the buzz, and most of us leave it there.

    However, if you raise it just a bit higher, the tone, sustain, clarity, etc go WAY up. This is well worth an hour or so fooling around with to find that point of maximum playability without losing an ounce of tone.

    Remember too, a properly dialed in truss rod and good frets are important in this whole equation.

  5. Strat58

    Strat58 Member

    Dec 17, 2006
    HI yeah thats why I always set mine action on 2mm and 1,5 mm because it sounds real good. After 25 years of doing that why should I change. I also take a little more relief.
    Peace Strat58

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