#1
The distance between the bottom of my guitar strings and the fretboard is more than 3mm at the twelfth fret, which apparently means it has bad action, or intonation.

Is this going to significantly hinder my learning process? How vital is having a guitar with good action?
#2
The higher the quality of the instrument that you learn not only speeds up the learning process but it helps you learn the correct technique the first time so you dont have to change the way you do something down the road. Nice action on a guitar is quite important because it can effect several things in your playing speed, tone etc.

If you have the option take it somewhere and ask them to fine tune the action/intonation and such. Probably won't cost to much at all and it will help tremendously.
Quote by Thepoison92
Go as a tampon
White shirt, white hat, white trousers (cheap ones) and cover the bottom half in fake blood, also have to write 'Tampax' on the shirt, so people know what you are and can then be disgusted.
#3
I'm no acoustic expert, but as far as action goes I'm guessing it doesn't differ much from electric.

If you're just playing chords or something on the lower frets it shouldnt be too much of an issue. If you plan on using your upper frets though you should probably go get it adjusted
#4
Hi Paul,

Well it's hard to say if it's going to hinder your learning process because high action doesn't always have to be a bad thing. (If your guitar is set properly offcourse)

High action gives you more volume and most of the time a better tone. But the big disadvantage is that you need to press harder on the string to get them ring clean. Also fast riffs and licks are much more difficult to play.

Low action will give you less volume, and a (sometimes) worser tone.

So it's just your choise. I think it's not a bad idea to begin with high action when you're going to be low action playing. Going from low action playing to high action playing is much more difficult.
Last edited by Thomaso at Oct 11, 2008,
#5
I agree with Thomaso. It is not necessarily a bad thing to start off learning on a guitar with a higher then normal action. It actually helps you develop your calluses, and train your strength. And when you have gotten better and purchase better equipment, you would all of a sudden find it much easier to do things like barre chords.
But having said that, if the action is so high that it discourages you from playing, then you definitely should get it checked out.
#6
First off, 3mm clearance at the 12th fret for the low E string is not bad. I'm not sure where you heard this, but that's a decent measurment for action at that string and that fret. 4,5 or 6mm's would be considered high, depending on the guitar and type of music being played on it.
The action should get lower as you go across the strings, so it would be maybe 1.5-2mm at the high E string at the 12th fret. If so, then consider this normal, and enjoy it.
To the guy who thinks the action of an acoustic is the same as that of an electric, the simple answer is NOT. The string gauges between the two prevent the action from being the same. Typically an electric will have much thinner strings than an acoustic will, and can therefore have a lot lower action. I'm not referring to those individuals who prefer to put heavy gauge strings on for metal and all that. That's considered customizing and I'll not get into it here. My measurments are for the typical setup seen on the majority of guitars.
#7
Just as an indication:

The action on the 12th low E string fret should be around:

Electric: 2,38 mm
Acoustic flat-top: 3,18 mm
Classical: 3,97 mm

So I guess you have an acoustic flat-top or something like that?
#8
Removed for the saftey of your Guitars.
Sorry bout that, thought it would be safer not having someone play around with the Tremolo/Truss rod
Last edited by Mr.Pink101 at Oct 12, 2008,
#9
I would be very careful here.

DO NOT GO PLAYING AROUND WITH WITH YOUR GUITAR SETUP UNLESS YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE DOING! .

Adjusting the TRUSS rod (I've never heard it called a Tremolo rod before!) requires great care and may result in damage if you don't know what you're doing and actually is used as a measure for adjusting neck relief, ie the amount by which the neck is curved.

Action is normally adjusted by removing the saddle and sanding the bottom before replacing it, but again if you're not sure about doing it leave it alone.
3mm at the 12th fret is quite acceptable and I certainly wouldn't be too concerned with it. Keep up the practice, get a few songs under your belt and don't take too much notice of what you read in guitar forums.
Remember - A little knowledge can be very dangerous.
Good luck.
Last edited by Strummer 71 at Nov 15, 2008,
#10
Quote by Mr.Pink101
Removed for the saftey of your Guitars.
Sorry bout that, thought it would be safer not having someone play around with the Tremolo/Truss rod


It's not a tremolo rod, it's simply a TRUSS ROD. I read your post just before you removed it. You seriously need to do some learning yourself before posting that sort of info in here again.
#11
Just hi-jacking this topic a bit.

I bought a Taylor 214 acoustic a few weeks ago, and have been messing around higher on the fretboard lately. I noticed that there was a relative high action on this guitar, and inspired by this topic I tried to measure the action.

My low E string was around 4 mm at 12th fret, and the high E seemed mystically to be a little lower than the rest of the strings. But that lead my thought on plain poor adjustment from the manufacturer. I have no clue whether the shop did adjust it or not, but I think not.

I'm used to playing electric but it's not a big problem for me to play on the guitar at the moment. But a 1,5-2 mm lowered action would probably suit me better. But to the question, how long time does the average guitar shop spend on adjusting the action. Days or hours? - as I'm not going to fiddle with that myself as it is now
#12
^ It depends on what's needed to bring the action in line on any given guitar. If it's just a slight saddle lowering, then the whole thing shouldn't take any more than about 1/2 hr. If it's a complete saddle replacement, then expect a few hours as the new saddle would need to be fashioned, compensated, intonation set.... This takes time. Same goes for the nut. Each can be simple or not so simple. A quality tech will take many things into account when performing a thorough setup of any guitar. Everything from the truss rod to the gauge of strings should be taken into consideration and addressed if the job is to be successful. Of course talking with the customer and finding out things like type of music they play primarily, their instrument care routines and so on will help as well.

As for your guitar's measurments, 4mm is ok but could be a tad lower, assuming you're using .012" strings. If you've gone up to .013's, then perhaps it's fine as is. And if you look at the bridge saddle, you'll notice that it's tapered across it's face, being higher on the low E side than it is on the high E side. This is normal. It should also have a curve to it to match that of the fretboard radius, unless it's a nearly flat fingerboard similar to a classical guitar. Then there may not be much of a curve.
You have to remember that with the bigger gauge of strings on an acoustic, the more clearance they will need in order to vibrate cleanly and not cause any unwanted buzzing. Same thing goes for altered tunings that result in less tension on the strings. They'll tend to vibrate in a bigger arc when lowered, so more clearance may be needed.
#13
Quote by LeftyDave
^ It depends on what's needed to bring the action in line on any given guitar. If it's just a slight saddle lowering, then the whole thing shouldn't take any more than about 1/2 hr. If it's a complete saddle replacement, then expect a few hours as the new saddle would need to be fashioned, compensated, intonation set.... This takes time. Same goes for the nut. Each can be simple or not so simple. A quality tech will take many things into account when performing a thorough setup of any guitar. Everything from the truss rod to the gauge of strings should be taken into consideration and addressed if the job is to be successful. Of course talking with the customer and finding out things like type of music they play primarily, their instrument care routines and so on will help as well.

As for your guitar's measurments, 4mm is ok but could be a tad lower, assuming you're using .012" strings. If you've gone up to .013's, then perhaps it's fine as is. And if you look at the bridge saddle, you'll notice that it's tapered across it's face, being higher on the low E side than it is on the high E side. This is normal. It should also have a curve to it to match that of the fretboard radius, unless it's a nearly flat fingerboard similar to a classical guitar. Then there may not be much of a curve.
You have to remember that with the bigger gauge of strings on an acoustic, the more clearance they will need in order to vibrate cleanly and not cause any unwanted buzzing. Same thing goes for altered tunings that result in less tension on the strings. They'll tend to vibrate in a bigger arc when lowered, so more clearance may be needed.

Thanks for the input. I tried to measure the strings and seem like it's .013's. So I guess the action is not totally off then. But I guess it boils down to personal preference in the end.
#14
yeah when i started out my first guitar had really high action and i put really thick strings. i felt like my hands were gonna fall off when i played that thing. when i got my new silver creek i noticed such a big difference and im still getting used to the low action and smaller fretboard
#15
Quote by PaulKaiser
The distance between the bottom of my guitar strings and the fretboard is more than 3mm at the twelfth fret, which apparently means it has bad action, or intonation.

Is this going to significantly hinder my learning process? How vital is having a guitar with good action?



I wish mine was that low at the 12th fret and playable, just measured mine and its 4.45 mm and I've already filed the block down so imagine in it before! The strings are 12s