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  #1  
Old 04-16-2012, 01:03 PM
Gostwriter Gostwriter is offline
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Default String Height at the 1ST and 12TH Frets

I finished doing a basic set up on my older Guild D16 and it feels and plays great with no buzzing. However in checking the string height at the 1st and 12 fret I found it to be:

1st fret - 1/16 and 12th fret - 2/16 on Low E

1st fret -1/32 and 12th fret - 2/32 on the High E

with the first fret capoed and the 12th pressed down it looks like 1mm on the high E and barely readable in mm's on the low E at the 6th fret

Doe the low string sound like it is too high or too low based on the 6th fret reading?
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Old 04-16-2012, 01:53 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gostwriter View Post
I finished doing a basic set up on my older Guild D16 and it feels and plays great with no buzzing. However in checking the string height at the 1st and 12 fret I found it to be:

1st fret - 1/16 and 12th fret - 2/16 on Low E

1st fret -1/32 and 12th fret - 2/32 on the High E

with the first fret capoed and the 12th pressed down it looks like 1mm on the high E and barely readable in mm's on the low E at the 6th fret

Doe the low string sound like it is too high or too low based on the 6th fret reading?
I'm not sure what you are trying to determine from your measurements.

Usually, folks measure the string height at the 12th fret of an open, un-fretted string. They also measure the gap between the top of the first fret to the bottom of each string, or simply the gap from the top surface of the fingerboard to the bottom of each string where it leaves the nut. Doing so provides a standard measure for numerical comparison. It's rather like checking auto tire pressures when the tires are cold.

Once the air in the tires heats up, it's just a guess what the correct tire pressure is, when measured hot/warm.

Measuring string heights at the 6th fret and at the 12th fret with a capo on the first fret is like gauging warm tire pressures: you've left the standards behind.


That said, for measurements at the nut/first fret, you'll need more precision than the nearest 32nd of an inch - typically measured in thousandths. Any $10 set of automotive feeler gauges will work well for that.

It is not uncommon to have a 12th fret string height for the low E at 3/32 and a little less for the high E. Depending upon how you play, what you play, the particulars of that instrument... it may or may not allow going that low, or lower.
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:32 AM
Gostwriter Gostwriter is offline
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Reason for measurements:

Adjust the height (action) of your guitar.

Players with a light touch can usually get away with lower action, while heavy players may need more height to prevent rattles. Start by measuring the distance from the bottom of the string to the first fret. This will help you determine whether the nut slots have been cut to the proper depth. If this measurement does not match up or come close to spec, you should take your guitar in to have this done. The string height at the twelfth fret will determine if your saddle should be raised our lowered. Here are the some standard specifications for electrics.

1st fret treble side - 1/64" or .0156 decimal
1st fret bass side - 2/64" or .0313 decimal
12th fret treble side - 3/64" or .0469 decimal
12th fret bass side - 5/64" or .0781 decimal

The most important thing is that the string height is comfortable for you and that you do not have any fret buzz. If you have a couple of guitars try these procedures on the least precious one first and then attempt it on your treasure. I hope this helps.

Quick and dirty action. Assuming that your truss rod is adjusted properly, and that the angle of your neck is correct, adjust the height of your treble E string so that it barely clears a standard US dime placed on the 12th fret. (A dime is slightly less than 2/32" thick. You may want a slightly lower action, if you can manage it.) The G and B strings are adjusted similarly, but the bass E, and the A and D strings, which are coiled, can be further from the fretboard.
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:46 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Sounds like you have the answer to your question: compare the values you posted with the values you measured. That'll give you someone's "to-spec" set-up, something I'd never want, personally. But, I'm unique, just like everyone else.
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  #5  
Old 04-17-2012, 12:27 PM
Ned Milburn Ned Milburn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gostwriter View Post
I finished doing a basic set up on my older Guild D16 and it feels and plays great with no buzzing. However in checking the string height at the 1st and 12 fret I found it to be:

1st fret - 1/16 and 12th fret - 2/16 on Low E

1st fret -1/32 and 12th fret - 2/32 on the High E

with the first fret capoed and the 12th pressed down it looks like 1mm on the high E and barely readable in mm's on the low E at the 6th fret

Doe the low string sound like it is too high or too low based on the 6th fret reading?
I've set up many more guitars than I can count, and other than measuring classical guitar string height at the 12th fret, I've never measured string height, so I can't comment much on your measurements.

However, the best way to find out if nut slots are cut deep enough is to fret the string PAST (on the wrong side) of the second fret, and lightly tap the string between there and the nut until it touches the first fret. There should be a couple hairs of height above the fret. G-strings tend to need a bit extra height, and lower strings can sometimes be left higher than others.

If the action is really high due to the saddle and lots of neck relief, your non-fretted string height above the 1st fret will be higher than the same guitar with very little neck relief and a low saddle. Hence, the non-fretted string 1st fret string height is mostly a meaningless measurement.

Bruce Cockburn was a client of Ring Music where I used to work, and for the first guitar of his that I set up I was instructed by the owner to leave Bruce's bass strings higher because he plays with a heavy thumb. Hence, the required measurements will have variance based upon the guitarist's needs (and sometimes the guitar).
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