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  #1  
Old 08-24-2019, 08:41 PM
dalep dalep is offline
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Default Rookie question. String height...

So I generally play use electrics and know that my action is about 3/64" trebal and 4/64" bass side. I have have adjusted my technique and it works great for me. This tends towards low in that arena.

I do not know how low starts to typical acoustic. I picked up a J 15 and it seems a little high. But before I get carried away some general guide would really help me.

Thoughts?
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Old 08-25-2019, 04:25 AM
lowrider lowrider is offline
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I set up my acoustics with;

neck relief: .010

nut slots: as close as even with the first fret as I'm willing to go, without going lower and making more work.

string height at 12thfret: 6/64 E, 5/64 e

And I do it in that order.

I hope it helps.
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Old 08-25-2019, 05:30 AM
AndrewG AndrewG is offline
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Everyone likes individual setups so unfortunately there isn't a universal solution. I don't go by numbers but by what feels right, because what feels right on one guitar may not necessarily feel right on another. Perhaps a visit to a local tech might help. He can watch how you play and adjust your action appropriately according to your style and preference. As you already discovered factory setups are seldom right for everyone.
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Old 08-25-2019, 06:27 AM
beatcomber beatcomber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dalep View Post
I picked up a J 15 and it seems a little high.
If your J15 is brand new, yes, the action probably is slightly high. The factory does that intentionally to enable the buyer to shave down the bridge to where they like their action.

If you bought it from a local dealer, they should be willing to adjust it for you at no cost. That's what I did when I bought my Martin at The Music Emporium here in town. They put it on the bench, made a few measurements, and then removed just enough saddle height to have it play the way I like it. It took less than ten minutes.
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Old 08-25-2019, 06:32 AM
vintage40s vintage40s is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dalep View Post
... I generally play use electrics and know that my action is about 3/64" trebal and 4/64" bass side... This tends towards low in that arena. I do not know how low starts to typical acoustic..
Low in the acoustic arena traditionally starts at 2.5mm on the bass side
http://hatfieldguitarandrepair.com/2...o-be-adjusted/
But I like 2.0mm which is 5/64".

I was handicapped for decades with unnecessarily high action. It was not until this year on this forum that I heard of luthiers and set ups. And bought an expensive string gauge to see where I was:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I then paid for repeated set ups on the 6-string guitars to drive the action down, forcing luthiers to get where it felt right -- the nut slots down close to the 1st fret, the bass string at 2.0mm above the 12th fret.

Luthiers are afraid of buzz, but I am a forceful finger and flat picker and have no buzz on any of my guitars.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:06 AM
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justonwo justonwo is offline
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It really depends on how hard you play, I guess. If you really lay intro the strings when strumming or hard fingerpicking (with picks, like me), I think you need about 0.090” on the bass and 0.070” on the treble at a minimum. That’s about 6/64” on the bass and 4.5/64” on the treble. Better to measure in hundredths using an action gauge than in 64ths using a ruler, if you want to get it precise.

You will also need some relief to prevent buzzing at the low frets. I like to target about 0.006”, but bear in mind again that I play my guitar pretty aggressively.

If you have a lighter touch, you can go lower than that. I so hate the tone- and volume-sapping quality of buzzing that I always err on the side of high action.

You can get an idea of what lower action might do for a particular guitar by playing with a capo at the first fret. See how much it lowers the action at the 12th and then play some tunes and see how bad the buzzing is. If you think there’s a good balance of tone and playability, then lower the saddle.

But before touching the saddle, measure the relief. If it’s excessive, it can drive up the action. A small tweak of the truss rod will get rid of the excessive relief and lower the action slightly.

Investing in some feeler gauges and an accurate action gauge is worthwhile, in my opinion.
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:16 AM
dalep dalep is offline
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All,

This is a used guitar. It is a 2016 J15. I have had other acoustics I really liked, Martin D15, Taylor 312 and most recently my Yamaha A3R. This one sounded great to me so the Yamaha went away to make room for this one. It is what I think of as great sounding and play is 96% there. The only thing is the action and that probably has more to do with me as a player than the guitar!

Thanks for the input I REALLY appreciate it. I have trained myself to use a lighter touch having moved to 9s and a low action of even short scale guitars (Jaguars). It took me a decade to retrain. I used to kill fretwire in 6 months to a year, now hardly impact it after 5 years.

I am aware that the acoustic guitar requires more effort as you drive the top and there is no electric driving the process. Thus the heavier strings etc. So I was not sure how light/low I can go without killing it functionally.

I suppose I am over thinking this as the adjustment of the acoustic action seems trickier (less forgiving) to me. The worst case is I would need to get a new saddle. I probably will anyway, so this may be the time to experiment. The current saddle seems too narrow for the slot anyway. I suspect someone replaced it previously. It is slanted in the slot a bit due to loose fit. So this may be the experimental saddle tweak time.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:21 PM
dalep dalep is offline
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All,

Again thanks! I brought the bass side down to just under 5/64" and the treble side to just under 4/64. IT plays much better! No buzz, sounds the same as previous and plays much nicer. I will have to acclimate to 1 3/4 neck width!

I have been getting used to it today. I have been running it direct to the board (Fishman) for recording it and tighten up my acoustic work. It sounds nice. I would mic up but I have a 7 yer old with autism and he is not quiet enough to mic these days. He came in to help my play drums and key as well.

Thanks for your folks guidance here. I am a pretty happy camper.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowrider View Post
I set up my acoustics with;

neck relief: .010

nut slots: as close as even with the first fret as I'm willing to go, without going lower and making more work.

string height at 12thfret: 6/64 E, 5/64 e

And I do it in that order.

I hope it helps.

↑↑↑↑↑ THAT ↑↑↑↑↑.....

And make sure you set the neck relief first before adjusting saddle height. As you know it's not as simple and reversible as changing string height on a Strat, Tele or LP.

You've got the measurments for the string height. Here is a quick video tutorial...

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