Is my guitar's action too high?


View Full Version : Is my guitar's action too high?

04-14-2010, 07:33 AM
It feels pretty uncomfortable to play on, so I'm wondering what you guys think.
It was hard taking the pictures, hope they're clear.

04-14-2010, 07:36 AM
If it's uncomfortable to play on, it's too high.

04-14-2010, 07:40 AM
That does look a bit too high.

Pink Muse
04-14-2010, 07:43 AM
That's average for blues playing, but if you were playing metal it'd be too high.

It's all relative.

04-14-2010, 07:50 AM
it does look a little too high yes, but does it feel too high to you? if yes, then lower it (or take it to a shop and get it lowered if you're not comfortable with making adjustments). If no, then there's no reason to do anything about it.

04-14-2010, 07:51 AM
Looks a bit high yeah, but it's kinda hard to tell despite your pictures. I'd say lower the action: you'll typically want the middle strings to rest slightly higher above the fretboard than the outer strings, along with the natural curve of your fingerboard (with the thicker strings being set up perhaps slightly higher because they're more prone to produce buzzing).

As soon as you're more comfortable with the string height it's time to look at the string buzz: if it buzzes a bit that's not necessarily a big deal, but if it does you might have to adjust the truss rod. There's a bunch of tutorials on this site and across the internets on how to do this. Keep in mind that adjusting your string height alone may not be the sole answer to your problems. Perhaps your current string gauge is not the right one for you. It always takes a bit of time to grow accustomed to your new setup, but if you keep experiencing problems with playing speedy licks, bending strings or even fretting them down, you might have to think about switching to another string gauge. Keep in mind that doing so will DEFINETLY require some time to get used to and it's very likely to affect your action in such a way that you're probably gonna have to adjust the truss rod again, so keep that in mind

04-14-2010, 07:56 AM
Its actually a JPM100 P1 sig model, and the strings are the standard .09 to .42
The fret board does feel considerably different and slightly uncomfortable with legato compared to my other guitar which is an RG370, which is pretty much very similar.
I have an easier time reaching higher frets with my RG, and fretting takes less effort.

04-14-2010, 08:06 AM
For me that would be too high but I always like very low action. Like someone said it all depends on what you feel comfortable with. I know guys who raise the action so high I have a hard time playing their guitars but I have one friend who's action is set so low the strings buzz like hell but he prefers it that way. You don't hear it when the guitar is plugged in but it sounds like a bee hive when it's not.


04-14-2010, 08:45 AM
do you know how to lower action?

Zoot Allures
04-14-2010, 10:36 AM
You just said its uncomfortable, it's too high then.

04-14-2010, 10:39 AM
looks very high to me

04-14-2010, 10:43 AM
Learn guitar setup. You'll be glad you did, It takes too long for guitars to get back from the shop IMO.

04-14-2010, 05:35 PM
thats pretty high.

04-14-2010, 06:00 PM
Lower it and see how it feels. Lower it too much till it buzzes then bring it up til all the buzzing is gone it should be about right if your truss rod is set good.

04-14-2010, 06:26 PM
If it does feel comfortable to you make some changes to it. lol when i got my silver Matt Tuck sig the strings were higher than i normaly play on and so for a week i was playing it uncomfortable and it messes up your playing by a lot

04-14-2010, 07:25 PM
One those frets look huge so it kinda throws the visual scale off a tad!
Two your action looks a bit high to me as well but I notice that the strings look fairly level on the fingerboard. I'd bet your nut is pretty high as well! How about posting a picture of the string height at the nut and first fret?
The reason I'm mentioning this is you can lower your action somewhat by lowering the bridge/saddles but if the nut is too high you're strings 'll be kissing the highest frets and your action near the nut will still be too high!

04-14-2010, 10:24 PM
I have no idea how to adjust the action, but I do know one can ruin their guitar doing so inproperly.
I bought the guitar for $2600 (AU), and its my dream guitar (no pun intended), so I'm not confident in touching anything im inexperienced with.

Anyway, more pics, with different lighting and higher resolution.

At first fret/nut:

At bridge (holy crap its action is apparent):

Here's the beauty

04-14-2010, 11:43 PM
no offense, but if you have no intention of discussing how to adjust action, then why are you showing even more pics of your action.

are you waiting for someone to tell you it's not high?

the only answer is, if it feels high then it's high.

when you're ready to learn something, then click the green link in my sig.

the first post explains how to adjust action.

04-15-2010, 01:48 AM
But I do have intention of discussing action adjustment my friend, I do!
I have a very nitpicky nature, obsessively so, and sometimes I like to get a second opinion on an issue I'm facing.

04-15-2010, 04:50 AM
The action is high... That's the only correct answer you get.

I ll give you a quick guide on adjusting the action...

First we need to take a look at your truss rod bow. Fret the guitar at first fret and the fret where the neck meets the body (around 17-19). Check how much distant there is between the string and the top of the 7th or 9th fret. If you can slide a credit card through it then you will have to readjust the truss rod to lesser the relief. About 0.3-0.5mm (0.010"-0.020") should already be plenty for a typical low action setup. Less than that you might get excessive fret buzz at the lower frets, more than that you will might uncomfortable high action at higher frets.

After you have the truss rod done all that left is the bridge's height. Unlock the locking nut and lower the string tension somewhat. Use a wrench that fits the bridge's post to turn them down. Tune up to pitch. Lock the bridge slightly and feel the action. If you're not happy then redo the bridge again. Remember to wait for about 30 min between steps. The neck needs some time to adapt itself to the new tension to get a proper bow.

Here's what taken directly out of my ESP handbook:
Neck relief: Between 7-9 fret .3mm - .5 mm (.010" - .020") should be plenty
Minimum String action: Guitar 6 strings, Bass side 2.00 mm (5/64"), Treble side 1.5 mm (1/16")

I personally have it a bit lower than their minimum recommendation. A bit of fretbuzz when I hit the string hard but it's so much comfortable to play on.

04-15-2010, 05:11 AM
whow that does look pretty high. show it your local luither or local guitar shop and they'll do it for you.

04-15-2010, 05:57 AM
Hell, looks low to me...

There's no such thing as universally high or low action. Everyone has a slightly different preference for height and what some people call high other people call normal and what some people call low other people call too high. Only you can know if your action needs to be raised or lowered.

04-15-2010, 07:32 AM
But I do have intention of discussing action adjustment my friend, I do!
I have a very nitpicky nature, obsessively so, and sometimes I like to get a second opinion on an issue I'm facing.

well, now that someone has told you that, in his opinion, the action seems ok for him, does that make it more comfortable for you to play?

listen, action adjustments are not hard trust me.

what type of bridge is it?

04-15-2010, 07:40 AM
^Its got a Lo Pro Edge.
The setup thread is good, but I'll mention this as I dont believe its in there;
The Ibanez Edge and LoPro trems have locking studs with small set screws inside the stud itself, to lower the action you need to raise the post a little first, then with a small allan key (1.5mm from memory) raise the set screw, then tighten the stud down until it feels tight. It takes a little bit of trial and error to get the set screw in the right spot.

Also, nice guitar! I've got a P4 on the way, got it for the bargain price of AU$1500!

EDIT: just checked, the FR setup guide does mention the locking studs.

04-15-2010, 09:55 AM
I can't see your pic of the nut as I'm checking this post from another PC that blocks external links!
I'll check it out when I get home, but again I want to point out that there's more to action than bridge height alone & the nut is an important factor in overall action.

EDIT: If you look at the two pics attached. Each shows two bridge heights (High with Red String and low with Blue String) The Top picture shows a normal nut and the bottom pic shows a high nut. You'll notice that with a high nut lowering the bridge doesn't correct the action and can cause buzzing in the upper registers an you'd still have basically a high crappy action for most of the fingerboard!

EDIT 2: I finally was able to see the pic of your nut! It looks fine so you should be able to check your reilef and set your action.