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  #1  
Old 11-30-2017, 09:12 AM
Theleman Theleman is offline
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Default Ideal string heights for classical guitars and setting action

I got a classical guitar for student. Make is unknown one. But it sounds clear and loud.

Action is high at higher frets. How do you measure it, and what is the ideal setting. How do you set the classical guitar action? It has no truss rod.
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Old 11-30-2017, 09:32 AM
smwink smwink is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theleman View Post
I got a classical guitar for student. Make is unknown one. But it sounds clear and loud.

Action is high at higher frets. How do you measure it, and what is the ideal setting. How do you set the classical guitar action? It has no truss rod.
Action on a classical is usually measured at the 12th fret from the top of the fret to the bottom of the string, and it's usually done in mm. 3.5-4mm on the low E and 2.75-3.25mm on the high E are typical. You set the action at the saddle--truss rods should only be used to set the neck relief. If the action is too high then you need to remove material from the saddle. If the action is too low then you need a new saddle with more meat on it.

If the neck relief is bad (bow or back-bow), then there isn't a whole lot to be done without spending a lot.
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Old 11-30-2017, 09:38 AM
Theleman Theleman is offline
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Originally Posted by smwink View Post

If the neck relief is bad (bow or back-bow), then there isn't a whole lot to be done without spending a lot.
Looking at the neck, it seems it has bow inwards slightly which is the reason for high action. (about 5-6mm at 12th fret)

hmm weird this guitar is supposed to be new - how could it be bowing already?
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Old 11-30-2017, 10:00 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theleman View Post
I got a classical guitar for student. Make is unknown one. But it sounds clear and loud.

Action is high at higher frets. How do you measure it, and what is the ideal setting. How do you set the classical guitar action? It has no truss rod.
Your post raises a variety of questions, most of which I'm not going to get into.

There is a distinction between a "classical" guitar and a guitar with nylon strings. They aren't necessarily the same thing or used for the same purpose. The desired string height depends upon a variety of factors, but one of the biggest of those is whether or not it is intended to be used to play classical-type music using classical guitar technique. Doing so requires a higher action.

If the nylon-string guitar is going to be used for strumming or fingerpicking - essentially played much like a steel string guitar - the action can be considerably lower.

A nylon string guitar usually has more neck relief that its steel string counterpart.

It sounds like the guitar should be assessed by a qualified repair person who can tell you what it needs, if anything, or if it should be returned to the seller.
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Old 11-30-2017, 10:09 AM
Theleman Theleman is offline
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Originally Posted by charles Tauber View Post

There is a distinction between a "classical" guitar and a guitar with nylon strings. They aren't necessarily the same thing or used for the same purpose. The desired string height depends upon a variety of factors, but one of the biggest of those is whether or not it is intended to be used to play classical-type music using classical guitar technique. Doing so requires a higher action.

If the nylon-string guitar is going to be used for strumming or fingerpicking - essentially played much like a steel string guitar - the action can be considerably lower.

A nylon string guitar usually has more neck relief that its steel string counterpart.
I have been thinking of nylon stringed guitars as classical guitars.

I would like to learn some classical music and finger picking with it, but also I was going to use it to learn and play Blues & Folk music too, which will involve strumming chords and finger picking.

It feels a bit awkward to bar code on the higher fret with this guitar due to its high action. No truss rod means, that it will be only adjusted with the saddle height by removing the base of it?

Problem is that the saddle doesn't seem too high, and by removing the base of it, doesn't look it will lower the action too much.
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Old 11-30-2017, 01:35 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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In short, a classical guitar is a specific type of instrument traditionally used in conjunction with a range of specific playing technique. The playing technique and environment in which it was traditionally played favoured an instrument that can be characterized as lightly constructed with a wide neck, flat or near flat fingerboard, long string (scale) length and tied nylon strings.

In more recent times, "cross-over" guitars have become popular that are intended, primarily, for steel string players wanting a nylon string sound or feel to be played in situations where a steel string guitar would otherwise often be used. Often, they are played using the same technique as is used for steel string guitars. They typically have features closer to a steel string guitar, such as a narrower neck, lower action, truss rods, shorter string (scale) length, built-in electronics, and are often not as lightly built, depending more on "plugged-in" sound rather than un-amplified sound.

Principally, they are two different instruments aimed at two different uses, though there is nothing that prevents one being used for the other.

Last edited by charles Tauber; 11-30-2017 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 11-30-2017, 01:42 PM
smwink smwink is offline
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Originally Posted by Theleman View Post
Looking at the neck, it seems it has bow inwards slightly which is the reason for high action. (about 5-6mm at 12th fret)

hmm weird this guitar is supposed to be new - how could it be bowing already?
Is the neck bowed, or is the neck set at too steep of an angle? Fret the low E string at the 1st fret with your left hand, and use your right hand to simultaneously fret at the highest fret. The string is essentially a straightedge now. Look from the bass side of the neck around the 7th fret. Is there a big gap visible between the 7th fret at the E string? What about at the 5th, 9th, and 12th frets? If you see curvature of the fretboard relative to the string when fretted at both ends like this, then the neck is bowed. If the neck looks relatively straight with only a tiny gap between the string and frets (still fretted at both ends), then the neck itself is ok and the neck set is probably bad. This is just as likely, if not more so, than a bowed neck on a nylon string guitar.
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Old 11-30-2017, 01:54 PM
rokdog49 rokdog49 is offline
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I know I'm late to the party but I get such a kick out of the
K&K guys.
By the way, I'm having a JJB put in my new D18 as we speak. Same thing...Less money.
I have an Anthem SL in another guitar and it's great
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Old 11-30-2017, 01:59 PM
Tony Done Tony Done is offline
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+1 on what Charles said about action heights, neck widths and playing styles. I mostly play acoustics set to the fairly typical action height of 1.7 mm treble, 2.4 mm bass. However, my requinto (22" scale, 2" neck width, normal tension nylon guitar strings tuned to G standard) is set to 3.0 mm treble, 3.6 mm bass. I could go lower, but I'm comfortable with that because of the soft feel and wide string spacing.
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Old 11-30-2017, 02:01 PM
Theleman Theleman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smwink View Post
Is the neck bowed, or is the neck set at too steep of an angle? Fret the low E string at the 1st fret with your left hand, and use your right hand to simultaneously fret at the highest fret. The string is essentially a straightedge now. Look from the bass side of the neck around the 7th fret. Is there a big gap visible between the 7th fret at the E string? What about at the 5th, 9th, and 12th frets? If you see curvature of the fretboard relative to the string when fretted at both ends like this, then the neck is bowed. If the neck looks relatively straight with only a tiny gap between the string and frets (still fretted at both ends), then the neck itself is ok and the neck set is probably bad. This is just as likely, if not more so, than a bowed neck on a nylon string guitar.

I did it, and the neck seems only very slightly bowed - doesnt look bad.
For the gap between the strings and frets, it is really tiny at the beginning of the first fret, but gradually hightens and the highest is at about 10th fret about 1.5mm. So from 7 - 10 fret it is at that space. From 13th fret lowering to almost touching at the fret next to the last one.

Great info. Thanks.
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Old 11-30-2017, 03:18 PM
smwink smwink is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theleman View Post
I did it, and the neck seems only very slightly bowed - doesnt look bad.
For the gap between the strings and frets, it is really tiny at the beginning of the first fret, but gradually hightens and the highest is at about 10th fret about 1.5mm. So from 7 - 10 fret it is at that space. From 13th fret lowering to almost touching at the fret next to the last one.

Great info. Thanks.
A 1.5mm gap is pretty large, suggesting a neck bow. There should be very little clearance between the string and frets when fretted at both ends like this. Still, 5-6mm action with little saddle showing is a lot, so it could be a combination of issues.
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  #12  
Old 11-30-2017, 04:39 PM
Theleman Theleman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smwink View Post
A 1.5mm gap is pretty large, suggesting a neck bow. There should be very little clearance between the string and frets when fretted at both ends like this. Still, 5-6mm action with little saddle showing is a lot, so it could be a combination of issues.
Yes, I thought so too initially. But then I wasn't sure. So it's why the action is way higher than usual too.

I think I will have to contact the seller about the neck and unusually high action.
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