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Old 07-08-2014, 09:00 PM
NEGuy NEGuy is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Roseville, CA --> Zellwood, FL
Posts: 328

Originally Posted by Frank Ford View Post
It is very EASY to see a gap of .001 between two closely spaced things, if there's strong light coming from behind. So, without any real effort at all, you can bend over and peer at the gap between the string and the first fret when the string is depressed between the second and third.

I think that's the key to the whole business of setting nut action. Now, if you look really closely as you work, and lift the string out of the nut slot, file a little, replace the string and look again, you can judge your progress as you go.

The difference between that little gap at the lowest possible action at the nut and the highest usable action is easy to judge visually - usually it's the difference between a gap of .001" and about .004, or a 4-to-one differential. Hard to miss if you're looking closely!

We do generally set the action at the nut so the gap is on the order of .002 for "normal use" but it's not uncommon to set it higher for a number of reasons - playing style is one. Bottleneck blues guys typically need it kinda high. . .
Okay, Frank – you’ve made a believer of me.

[I should probably add that I visited Gryphon Strings within the past month, and all the guitars that I sampled played wonderfully – with no fret buzz. Also, a very knowledgeable and experienced guitar enthusiast on this very site has recommended purchasing guitars from Gryphon because of the “added value” of your set-ups. ]

Anyway, I guess I was thinking of something “quantifiable” for the sake of precision, so if you use a feeler gauge at the 1st fret while fretting between the 2nd and the 3rd , then the clearance at the first fret for one of your standard set-ups is . . . what – ~ 0.002”?

This seems to be what you stated over at the UMGF.

(My present clearance is 0.010” – possibly even closer 0.012”. Too high!)

I should mention that the frets are all perfectly level (I checked with the StewMac metal straightedge).

I should also mention that a shim was placed underneath the nut to raise the action because it was initially too low (fret buzz). All the slots at the nut, the radii, etc. are proper; it’s just a matter of reducing the thickness of the shim to get the right action height at the nut.

So, Frank, if your “standard” clearance that you set at Gryphon is 0.002”, then I could shoot for 0.002” – 0.004”?

(Once again, all of the guitars that I played at Gryphon (4 or 5) were all buzz-free for me with my playing style.)

Thanks very much for your and all other responses – quite a learning experience!
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