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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-24-2003, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
 
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Low action

Reading some posts, I noticed that some mention their action being as low as 1.6mm. While I can understand how this can allow fast runs, isn't it a serious obstacle to bending, especially when bending aroung the 4-7 frets? Or with jumbo/large frets this ain't a problem?

The reason I ask is because I am going to lower the action on my two Ibanez guitars, but since the locking nut is not easily replacable I would prefer to get some opinions first.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-24-2003, 11:14 PM
 
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I remember the second day after I brought my JEM home to Michigan from Los Angeles, and I was tinkering with the setup and I remember that I got disgustingly low action on the darn thing and I remember clearly that bending strings ALL AROUND the neck was a BREEZE (of course it is when you use 8's ). Lowering the action might affect ease of bending, but the guage of the strings and the fret sizes are bigger factors I would think. As long as you use 9' guage strings and assuming that your guitar doesn't have the same size frets as those original Les Pauls from the late 50's (heard those are a PAIN in the rear to bend on), you shouldn't have too much trouble bending assuming that your guitar is set up according to the setup bible (ya know proper bridge angle and all a la Rich Harris' Ibanez Rules setup guide). There's also another alternative which is the Yngwie approach and scallop the frets so the scallops let you dig into the strings a LOT better when you have exremely low action. Kind of interesting that many believe that those scallops help you play faster when Yngwie himself says that it's actually harder to play faster on a scalloped neck. Anyways hope my post helped, good luck, and HAppy Holidays to you and to all.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-24-2003, 11:17 PM
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Fretboard radius is the only stubling block to how low you go and still get clean bends [and "clean" means something different to everyone, some are will to take a little choking and call it clean, some aren't, I absolutely do not]
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-25-2003, 12:40 AM
 
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I agree with Rich. I keep mine about as low as he does on his set-ups. Maybe a little higher, but not as high as Vai. It helps with note articulation and sustain. You do have to have more finger strength, but the sound of bent notes choking out hurts my ears worse than the higher action hurts my fingertips. Just build up those callouses and you'll be fine.

Scott
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-25-2003, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
 
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For some reason, Rich's page about action height had slipped my attention so far, which was a pity since it would have saved me from much head scratching.

I have set action very low on my scalloped RG, on both ends of the fretboard, and it plays perfectly! On my SA with its medium frets, it's a bit more complicated, as I once took it to a luthier for a setup and he adjusted all strings flat instead of following the fret curvature. This made bending completely impossible, and I learned the hard way how to do it myself. Still, lowering the nut on this guitar is a puzzle to me due to its medium frets.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-25-2003, 03:55 PM
 
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Am I the only one in this world to dislike low action???

It's not that I like HIGH action, but man I've tried playing my old neighbor's guitar which had such a low action that it's tone suffered even though it may seem as a contradiction since the strings are nearer to the pups. ANyway having normal action allows me to sweep using my pick over the fretboard which is essential when you do some extreme arpeggios where you have to tap the higher notes. This becomes a real pain if the action is 0.0000001 mm high. I really dont' have problems bending strings with my current setup which many players here would probably define as "way too high". The only situation where I think I would appreciate low action is when hammering on open strings like in the beguinning of Friends solo or when playing tapping studies like DATB.

Just my 2 cents.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-27-2003, 05:02 PM
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low

I keep all my guitars at a 32nd of an inch which is basically touching the frets. It requires a lot less touch and therefore playing faster is a breeze as well as sweeping/shredding. As far as anybody saying it effects the tone badly that's bull because if anything you get a better tone with more sustain.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-27-2003, 07:11 PM
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Sure, let's cut out half the strings elipse and let it ping off most of the frets, and the tone is still going to be full? Sure. Maybe your ears. Loud amps are dangerous if nobldy's told you yet.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-27-2003, 09:52 PM
 
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Re: low

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice
I keep all my guitars at a 32nd of an inch which is basically touching the frets. It requires a lot less touch and therefore playing faster is a breeze as well as sweeping/shredding. As far as anybody saying it effects the tone badly that's bull because if anything you get a better tone with more sustain.
I guess you LIKE that compressed sound from the strings hitting the frets?

You must not bend much either, because that low and even with a great fret level you're going to have strings choke a bit here and there.

And how can you think that having the string hitting the frets, thus transferring energy to the frets instead of letting it dissipate naturally, would give you MORE sustain????

Listen to your guitar unplugged and listen to a guitar with higher action, same strings and woods, and tell me the one with the higher action doesn't sound fuller.

I'll tell you to have your ears checked.

YES, this makes "shredding" easier, but I guess that's why you think the tone is fine, you're not staying on one note long enough to HEAR it.

And as Rich said, if you have everything up at "Nigel Tufnell’s" <spelling?> volume you could just breath on the strings and stuff is going to fall off of your shelves, so you wouldn't notice that the tone is being killed by hitting the frets anyway.

I used to LOVE really low action because of an injury to my left arm, but my ears kept telling me something was wrong. I'm at 2.5 and 3.0 mm at fret 24 now, not really high, but much higher than what I used to have, and I'm SO much happier with the tone I'm getting now.

Mic
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-27-2003, 10:00 PM
 
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Just a PS to my last post . . .

Shredding isn't really harder with higher action; I can still play 32nd notes at 120 bpm . . . for a few seconds anyway

If anything I no longer hit any unwanted notes now since I have to be more conscious of exactly what I'm hitting to get it to ring properly.

Not only do I get better tone with higher action, it's actually forced me to be a better player . . . go figure.

Mic
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-27-2003, 11:18 PM
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Well I'm a big bender and the action on my guitars is 2mm at 24 fret with a touch of neck relief.
Also I like .10 -.46 gauge strings

Lower action than that doesn't work for me because 95% of the time I play my guitars unplugged just jamming with the TV/CD and this way I can hear the notes ring out much better and fuller than with lower action.

your mileage will vary

ilia
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-28-2003, 12:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dex
Well I'm a big bender and the action on my guitars is 2mm at 24 fret with a touch of neck relief.
Also I like .10 -.46 gauge strings

Lower action than that doesn't work for me because 95% of the time I play my guitars unplugged just jamming with the TV/CD and this way I can hear the notes ring out much better and fuller than with lower action.

your mileage will vary

ilia
I never use an ultra low action as tone definitely suffers to my ear, and the feel just cannot compare. I agree on 10-46 strings also, you may have to strengthen up during the early stages to cope, but it's worth it. Speed/chops without tone are worthless, ask any unemployed '80s shredder.

BTW man, 95%? Come on, you're missing out!! There's a reason they are called electric guitars.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-28-2003, 12:56 PM
 
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Yeah, at the end of the day, the action and strings and all that is personal preferance. Different people will like different things.
So the best thing to do is to try all sorts and just stick with what you like.
Gary - The.Godfather
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-28-2003, 12:56 PM
 
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After going over pictures of evo and setting up my guitar with a similar action height i found that my playing was so much ridiculously cleaner and more articulate sounding Ill never go back to low action. Satch can play with ridiculously low action but I think you can hear that in his playing too. he plays around it whereas vai has alot more dig and pressure and his picking hand allowing for a bit more articulation. Anyway to each his own, but for me higher is better
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-28-2003, 02:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich
Sure, let's cut out half the strings elipse and let it ping off most of the frets, and the tone is still going to be full? Sure. Maybe your ears. Loud amps are dangerous if nobldy's told you yet.
rofl ... break his legs ;-)

Rob
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bridge angle , fret level , fret size , fretboard radius , gauge strings , guage strings , ibanez guitars , les paul , les pauls , locking nut , medium frets , neck relief , nigel tufnel , scalloped neck , shawn lane , triple neck

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