#1
Ello ello everybody!
I'm back on the better tone=higher action issue again, because I learnt something new.
I'm using d'addario exl 148 (12-60) in C# standard on an ibanez, and I want to get high action on the lower frets and moderate/medium action on the higher frets, in order to avoid intonation problems (anywhere on the fretboard).
The problem is that in order to do this, we need to think about 3 different things: saddle and nut height, and the neck relief.
I saw a picture showing the effects of adding more relief to the neck, and it looked like it increased the action in the middle of the neck (6th fret-11th fret) and lowered the action in the lower and higher parts of the neck.
The basic idea, is how do I get higher string action on lower frets ( essentially 1st fret-5th fret) and moderate/medium action on higher frets, in order to avoid intonation problems?
I'm finding it difficult to understand what results I'll get by adjusting these 3 things. I just want to get a punchier sound with a much bigger boom (I think those are synonymes) along with good sustain.
Note: I've already fully adjusted the saddles backwards in order to reduce intonation, and the action at the 12th fret is around 5,2 mm.
CAN ANYBODY GIVE A EXPLANATION OF HOW THESE 3 THINGS SHOULD BE ADJUSTED IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE THIS CONFIGURATION? I appreciate any answers from any guitar experts out there.

Just to say, I'm asking this because going near the truss rod scares me, so I'd prefer to leave it to those who have a better idea of how this all works.
One more thing: I know some may disagree with the high action benefits, but this idea has been encouraged by Gibson and Ibanez, and even Dean Markley: higher action= more room to vibrate+ bigger boom (depending on pickup height). Just saying, this idea king of makes sense, and I'm not bothered about playability.
Last edited by jzRTCAQ!PY13575 at Sep 19, 2014,
#2
I read your other thread and saw that it regarded Yngwie. I sincerely disbelief that he sets his action that high. High, maybe, but not that high. He claims that it's that high, but I've learned not the belief tall tales until I see evidence.

The configuration that you speak of would require quite a neck bow, and would cause intonation issues nonetheless.

In my experience, higher action does give the string more room to vibrate, but after a certain height, you get diminishing returns: notes become too thick and unclear.
#3
You might be equating the distance of the string and the fretboard on Yngwie's set up to the fact he has scalloped frets.

Action height is a personal preference, just like string gauge is. there is no right or wrong. having action low is 100% fine and as long as the strings do not touch any other frets you will not have any sustain issues at all.

find what you like and focus on that instead of what someone you've never met said.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
Last edited by Robbgnarly at Sep 20, 2014,
#4
Quote by Robbgnarly
You might be equating the distance of the string and the fretboard on Yngwie's set up to the fact he has scalloped frets.

Action height is a personal preference, just like string gauge is. there is no right or wrong. having action low is 100% fine and as long as the strings do not touch any other frets you will not have any sustain issues at all.

find what you like and focus on that instead of what someone you've never met said.


Yngwie claims 7mm on the bass side at the 12th fret from the fretwire . That's the one with the 0.048 string. I sincerely disbelieve that a strat saddle can be set that high without the bolt bending out of shape.

A second source comes from the Petrucci forums, from a guy who claims to have gotten specs from Yngwie's tech. It's pretty comprehensive, but rather dubious, and to me as credible as Yngwie's BS.

It's much more believable though,

COMPREHENSIVE "YNGWIE-TONE" & EQUIPMENT SET-UP OVERVIEW INFORMATION:

The speakers Yngwie uses are Celestion G12T-75
Many published sources wrongly claim he uses Greenbacks or 30 watt speakers but that is not the case. He dislikes speaker distortion as he needs a tight response for quick picking and thus uses the 300w cabs on a 50 watt amp head.

I know because I got Yngwie his CELESTION endorsement deal when we had to re-fit several of his old speaker cabs.
When we took them apart...... Poof..... 75 watters.

Typical Amp Settings
NOTE:
These vary slightly based on specific amp
Presence =4-6
Bass =4-5
Mid= 4-6
Treble =6-7
Always add Hall Reverb around 1.7-2.9 seconds depending on song tempo

ADD EQ for guitar at mixing console as follows........
160 Hz and below shelving +3db
180 Hz Parametric +5-6 db
1.6K Parametric +1 db
4.7K and above shelving +3 db

When listening to your amp be sure you are at least 15-20 feet away MINIMUM and NOT directly in front of it.
Be off to one side to avoid hearing an exagerrated high end harshness that will fool you into boosting bass too much and cutting high end to try and "smooth" out or "warm up" sound.


Strings:
8-46 guage

To adjust guitar you should have a small ruler and a capo (to clamp 1st fret).

1) With no Capo installed, tune guitar to playing pitch and adjust springs (3 of them) so back of tremolo is 1/8" off body.

2) Now install Capo at 1st fret.

3) Adjust string height so the HEIGHT OF STRING ABOVE THE FRET AT THE 17th FRET is 1/16" (4/64") for the High e string, b string, g string.
d string should be just barely over the 1/16" (by a smidge).
The A and low E string must be slightly more than 1/16' (4/64") and can be as much as 2.0 mm (5/64").
NOTE: 2.0 mm is just a bit more than 1/16"

4) Check Tuning

5) With Capo still at First fret, depress the last fret where neck meets body (around 19-20th fret)
And with a feeler guage, measure either the A or D string gap between string and fret at the 8th fret position.
There should be some slight relief (gap) of about 0.010 "Â
NOTE: This is about the thickness of a Fender Thin guitar pick or Deluxe Business Card.

Many guitars have a rattle and buzz problem because of no relief.
You will quickly see this problem if when you do this test, the strings are literally touching the fret at fret# 8 during this test.

If needed, adjust truss rod to get that 0.010" relief.

6) Check Tuning

7) Now with all the above settings correct and the capo removed and no strings being pressed down.
Lay the guitar down on it's back.
Measure string height at the 12 fret.
The top 4 strings should be 1/16" and the A and low E should be between 1/16" and 2.0 mm.

8) If everything was done right, this guitar should be now set up to the same specs Yngwie plays with.
Thru an amp you will hear no fret rattle or buzz.
When playing unplugged, only a hard picking should cause a small but acceptable amount of fret noise in the middle 4th-11th fret region of the neck due to string vibration

9) PICKUP HEIGHT
Depress high e & Low E string at last Fret on highest fret on the neck...
Measure distance from string to Pole piece of pickup

NECK PUÂ Â Â (treble side = 1.0mm) (bass side= 1.0mm)
BRIDGE PUÂ (treble side = 0.5 mm) (bass side = 2.0 mm)
NOTE: this is closer than factory spec but Yngwie likes it this way.


The rig is as follows.........
Guitar >>>>> DOD250 (NOT Yellow -grey only)>>>>>> Boss NS2 Noise Suppresor>>>> Amp Hi Input (upper left) (no bridging inputs) >>>>>>>> Powerbrake (or THD Hotplate if needed) >>>>>>> Speaker Cab 4X12 with Celestion G12T-75 speakers


Note:
When using gray DOD 250 pedals use the loop in the Boss NS2 pedal
When using new DOD308 pedal, run Overdrive and Noise Pedal in sinple series


The "key" ingredients to the Yngwie sound are..............

1) HS3/YJM pickups

2) Light strings on scalloped neck for vibrato

3) Gray DOD Overdrive Pedal (new YJM308 as second choice).... but NOT the Yellow 250 reissue pedal.

4) A vintage style Marshall head without all the modern higain preamp distortion.

5) Celestion G12T-75 watt speakers (greenbacks and others dont do it right....too mushy and weak on low end..... vintage 30s are often to thick in the mids and give a muddy tone that ruins clarity.... but Mesa Rectifier players love them.)
Gear:
Jackson Dinky (JB+59) > TC Polytune Noir > TS808 clone > DOD 250 > Modded RAT > CH-1 > GE-7 > TC Flashback > Plexi Clone
Last edited by Archer250 at Sep 20, 2014,
#5
What you need is a better amp...........

You really need to get the neck relief set properly and keep the strings basically level the entire length of the neck. the more you need to move the string to meet the neck, the more it will change pitch. Making the strings move significantly different throughout the neck will just make it impossible to intonate. High action does not equal "bigger boom". Heavier strings will give you more of what you're looking for if I'm understanding your desired goal.

Yngwie's action, according to him, from the fret is 4.5 to 5mm and from the bottom of the scallop is 7mm. At no point is it 7mm from the fret. 4.5mm isn't all that high. But he doesn't use very heavy strings so that would make it easier. Yngwie's sound certainly does not come from high action. His tone, as with anyone, comes from his ability and all the gear used as a whole. Not from one particular setting or item.

Higher action can help with the tone, but too high defeats the purpose. Using heavy gauge strings on a properly set up guitar will accomplish what you want. If you aren't getting it, then the rest of your gear needs to be addressed. You won't get a huge sound out of a 15 watt practice amp, for example, regardless of your guitar setup.
#6
Quote by D_M_I
What you need is a better amp...........

You really need to get the neck relief set properly and keep the strings basically level the entire length of the neck. the more you need to move the string to meet the neck, the more it will change pitch. Making the strings move significantly different throughout the neck will just make it impossible to intonate. High action does not equal "bigger boom". Heavier strings will give you more of what you're looking for if I'm understanding your desired goal.

Yngwie's action, according to him, from the fret is 4.5 to 5mm and from the bottom of the scallop is 7mm. At no point is it 7mm from the fret. 4.5mm isn't all that high. But he doesn't use very heavy strings so that would make it easier. Yngwie's sound certainly does not come from high action. His tone, as with anyone, comes from his ability and all the gear used as a whole. Not from one particular setting or item.

Higher action can help with the tone, but too high defeats the purpose. Using heavy gauge strings on a properly set up guitar will accomplish what you want. If you aren't getting it, then the rest of your gear needs to be addressed. You won't get a huge sound out of a 15 watt practice amp, for example, regardless of your guitar setup.


Pretty sure that he said in some interview that the 4.5-5mm is the high E and 6-7mm is the low e, and that from wood to string is 6mm @ 12th fret on high E.

4.5mm @ 12th fret is more than enough to **** your intonation. Believe me, I used to play with 3.2mm at the 12th.

Malmsteen has perfect pitch. There is no way he can allow intonation problems just to set his fender up like a nylon classical. I'm certain he uses high action (higher than what most of us set, anyway), but definitely not as high as he says.

__________________
To the OP:

Yngwie certainly has comprehensive wisdom about guitars, but he intentionally misinforms people all the time. Choose what you believe carefully.

By the way, some of his most useful wisdom would be how he strings up his guitars and how using light top and skinny bottom-type strings help you.
Gear:
Jackson Dinky (JB+59) > TC Polytune Noir > TS808 clone > DOD 250 > Modded RAT > CH-1 > GE-7 > TC Flashback > Plexi Clone
#7
Quote by Archer250

Malmsteen has perfect pitch.


I'm not a fan, and I have seen him live. he is not s good as he thinks he is, I heard so many wrong notes/sloppy playing
I saw an interview where he claimed he never practices guitar either
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#8
Quote by Robbgnarly

I'm not a fan, and I have seen him live. he is not s good as he thinks he is, I heard so many wrong notes/sloppy playing
I saw an interview where he claimed he never practices guitar either


I read in a duo interview with John McLaughlin that he doesn't practice exercises; he practices the music in which the techniques he is known for are.

I've only seen him sloppy once (in the FOX video), and I've never heard him not bend to pitch.
Gear:
Jackson Dinky (JB+59) > TC Polytune Noir > TS808 clone > DOD 250 > Modded RAT > CH-1 > GE-7 > TC Flashback > Plexi Clone
#9
You're all right, I didn't think at all about considering the credibility of what Yngwie says.
@DMI: you're right, but the string action does have some benefits according to the experience of the height I'm using, and it's unfortunately a question of money (I love spending it on effects (just got the ARPANOID!!!)): my neighbour just lowered the action massively on my guitar, and when I tried it my amp, there was hardly any sustain, any boom to those low power chords. I don't have any experience with different types of pickups, bit he says it's them things that do the work.
The sound I won't to go for is punchy, so you need the pups closer to the string, but with such low action, and the relatively low-quality pups I've got (I think they're low quality), it just doesn't work.
I've actually finally found the ''solution'': with the gear I got, low action is easier, and the intonation is much better, but when it comes to hard rock or quality sounds, it's not as good. I just set my action again to an even higher level this time, and the height between the gaps between the pups and the strings is near slide-guitar height: cons: bad intonation on certain string after 10th fret, BUT MONSTROUS POWER CHORDS IN THE LOWER ZONES!! Seriously, when I tried a 1st fret power chord, it felt like my amp's power had been multiplied by 2! I really felt that I was getting the right sound out of the 12-60 gauge. Even when the guitar's off, and you play the basic chords, you feel like you're getting closer to an acoustic guitar! It's insane!
Anyways, the main idea is that, IMO: higher action=better tone and intonation problems ; low action= tone not as good but no intonation problems.
What I find weird though is that the highest string (especially) and the D string, are pretty good when it comes to intonation, whereas the others are near hopeless. Can anyone explain that? :?
Anyways, thanks for the info, I really appreciate it
#10
Your friend is right -- you need to learn to make the guitar do the work. That does NOT mean, however, that you move the pickups closer to the strings. That will certainly kill sustain.

Generally you do NOT want your electric to work like an acoustic. I want the amp to do the work. When I hear comments like yours, I usually want to ask what kind of amp you're running through. Most standard guitar amps with around 100W will barely reproduce a low E (82Hz); they start tailing off at around 110Hz. A low C# is 69.3 Hz, well below their capabilities.

I had to make this journey several years ago. And I really didn't even realize the amps weren't capable until I hauled out an old 1971 Carvin solid state amp that has 275W and a huge (about 4' tall, 30" wide) closed-back ported cabinet with a pair of 15" Altec Lansing speakers and a horn mids/high tweeter. What I found is that tube amps and manufacturers' insistence on using cheap (ish) 12" speakers in "traditional" cabinets made it near impossible to reproduce lows.

I built a pair of 2x12" cabinets using Eminence Delta ProA's -- the cabinets are about 3.5 cubic feet internal space, have a pair of tube ports, and tune the Deltas to about 52Hz. I tried using these with a 2x50W tube power amp and ended up switching to a 2 x 750W (yes!) solid state power amp. And suddenly I had clean lows and enormous punch.

It wasn't the guitar, it wasn't the pickups, it wasn't the action. Since then, I've refined things a bit. Those cabinets (huge magnets on the back of those speakers) were seriously heavy (but relatively cheap to build). I replaced them with fEARful 15/6/1s. A 15" Eminence Kappalite (neo-magnet based) Kappalite 3015LF, a 6.5" mids driver, a 1" tweeter in a highly braced cabinet. These things will reproduce lows down toward 35Hz (they were originally designed as full range bass guitar cabinets) and highs up to 18Khz. Each one will handle up to 900W, and they weigh under 50 lbs apiece. One is more than enough for most gigs. They'll reproduce a 5-string bass with clarity and without farting out. They'll also reproduce an iPod as well as most hi-fi systems. In fact, I can use a pair of KRK Rokit 8 recording monitors (or a set of good recording headphones) at home to set tones that are reproduced accurately through the bigger speakers.

I use a Variax JTV-89F a lot. It's got a set of ordinary 10's. The Variax, however, has the unique ability to switch to a wide variety of alternate tunings (using the internal electronics) including a lot of downtunings. In fact, it will drop each string as much as a full octave (41Hz on the low E). No need for 12's or 13's. It's got very low action. If you play with one at a Guitar Denter, plugged into some ordinary amp with a 4x12, it'll sound like crap in the lower registers. Plugged into a PA system or a setup like mine, you get to hear punchy bottom end like no other.

Before you ruin your guitar's action (and your technique), take a long look at your amp.
#11
I notice Yngwie uses super low action on his acoustics, I saw a good angle of his strat live, looked to only be moderately higher than normal. I wonder if he has them all set the same though, seems to me it would be good to have some set up different if you had so many.

I wonder if Vai or others have higher action guitars for some songs, recording, clean stuff etc.
#12
@spellman: I'll be honest, the info concerning the amps is a bit complicated for me now :p , but what you're basically saying, is that I should consider certain amps or check the mechanisms/electronics of my amps? I'm not knowledgeable enough yet when it comes to pups and amps, though I should look into it at some point. Thanks anyways
@Tempoe: for Yngwie Malmsteem, I'm not sure, but from what I hear when it comes to Vai, apparently, he uses pretty low action.
#13
@ dspellman, another thing: you said that higher action ruins your technique: in what way, just out of curiosity? The other day, I went into a music store and tried a low/medium action of a 250$ guitar: and to be honest, I was feeling a bit pessimistic about any improvements in my playing, but when I picked it, it was so bizarre: changing frets and tapping were easier, chords were easier to form, and I tried playing a few scales (oriental, pentatonic and balinese), and I felt like I was nearly soloing for the first time! I just really want to know what you mean by ruining technique with high action (not trying to contradict, It just sounds interesting what you're saying).
#14
Quote by jzRTCAQ!PY13575
@ dspellman, another thing: you said that higher action ruins your technique: in what way, just out of curiosity? The other day, I went into a music store and tried a low/medium action of a 250$ guitar: and to be honest, I was feeling a bit pessimistic about any improvements in my playing, but when I picked it, it was so bizarre: changing frets and tapping were easier, chords were easier to form, and I tried playing a few scales (oriental, pentatonic and balinese), and I felt like I was nearly soloing for the first time! I just really want to know what you mean by ruining technique with high action (not trying to contradict, It just sounds interesting what you're saying).


It's not that high action itself will ruin your technique; it'll just be more difficult to develop smooth technique with high action. If you're attacking an electric guitar as you do an acoustic, strumming hard, gorilla gripping the chords, etc., you'll probably never develop the speed or technique that you can with a low action electric. You've already seen how much easier everything becomes with lower action.

Intonation can be a problem with high action as well. When you sound a harmonic at a specific fret, then push the string down to touch the fret, you'll usually notice that your fretted string has gone sharp. If you have lower action, this will happen to a MUCH lower degree if at all.

With lower action, you'll get a lot more fret buzz if you strum hard, so in order to eliminate that, you learn to strum with a much lighter touch. But you're not going to hear as much acoustically from your guitar. That said, an electric is meant to be plugged in <G>.
#15
Vai uses a similar action to mine: 2.5mm at the last fret. Mine is higher at the 12th, though.

I must also say that unless one measures for real, action is hard to gauge by eye. Yngwie has scalloped frets, which certainly makes the action "seems" even higher.
Furthermore, this is lower than what Yngwie claims to use.





I guess you can see why I profess disbelief that he sets up his guitar with higher action than some slide guitars.
Gear:
Jackson Dinky (JB+59) > TC Polytune Noir > TS808 clone > DOD 250 > Modded RAT > CH-1 > GE-7 > TC Flashback > Plexi Clone
#16
^lol that is just stupid. For sure he lies if he says it's higher than that, intonation would be impossible...not that he ever sounds in tune anyways
#17
I call bullshit. There is no way that Yngwie could play guitar the way he does with action like that. The scalloped fingerboards he always use just gives the illusion of having a much higher action.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Oct 4, 2014,
#18
Lest we forget, he also claims to have never practiced.
Gear:
Jackson Dinky (JB+59) > TC Polytune Noir > TS808 clone > DOD 250 > Modded RAT > CH-1 > GE-7 > TC Flashback > Plexi Clone
#19
I agree though, those scalloped fret do give that illusion.
@D_M_I I agree that it depends massively on amp and pickups all around, but with the 15W amp I got, there's very little sound that comes out. It's only when you raise that action sky high with 12-60 that you get a massive boom I think though, because there's no way with the amp and the pickups I've got that I cause generate such a sweet boom.
I usually ask this question because it just seems interesting, and it's mostly because I stay in dorm every week and I can just barely fit the amp in the wardrobe. And this high action really makes the guitar explode: I feel a could seriously do a mini hard rock concert every night with this configuration :p
#20
Unfortunately, I have to accept the slight loss of intonation right in the higher frets. I don't do too much shredding or scale runs on higher frets anyway right now: if the intonation all right all the way up to the 12th fret, then we're good. It is effectively quite hard to play, but you definitely feel that there's a **** load of power when you grip those low chords.
@Archer250 Depends on the kind of practicing he does: some say that exercises do nothing to help you when it comes to technique: I kind of agree with this. And I'd be pretty surprised if Yngwie didn't practice at all. Seeing how easy he makes it look, I'd be really surprised.