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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Forgive me if this thread exists somewhere....but how low do you like your action? I'm thinking of raising mine on both my Strat and LP (currently super low on m LP). I love low and fast action, but after hearing many greats like higher action, it has me wondering, plus its too low for slide. I'm heavy handed and admittedly a sloppy player and I've also started playing without a pick. I don't hear any buzzing, but I don't think the strings are ringing the way they could be. I
recall Phil X saying "let them ring"

For the DYI guys, whats your string guage and height? (electric) and what's your style
 

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I like mine as low as possible, just before I get fret buzz. Depending on your setup, you may have to lower your pickups if they end up being too high.
 
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Low action is a funny thing. It's often used as a selling point for guitars, making the uneducated believe that lower is better when in reality many people, especially newer players and ham fisted players (like myself) benefit from a higher action (to a point).

If I have a guitar with lots of buzzing, the first thing I would check is the neck relief. The second thing I would check would be if the action is too low.

I set my Strats up according to Fender specs which suggests an action a bit higher (approximately the thickness of a nickle) than seems to be the "cool" low action. The ONLY drawback I've encountered with higher action is, the higher it gets, the more notes are sharpened when depressing the strings. I would imagine that at some point, high action makes intonation difficult.

My string gauge is 9-46. My "style" if you could call it that...I hit the strings pretty hard, I snap and pop them, pretty heavy attack most of the time, there's almost a percussive thing going on.
 

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It will vary depending on the guitar but usually medium action with standard amount of relief, 10-46 gauge (5/64" at the 12 fret, measured from top of the fret to bottom of string). My Strat is a tad higher , 5.5/6.

I have softened my left hand touch over the years - my right hand strikes the string fairly hard.
 

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I am still new to Luthiery (and guitars) and set my action on the low side - medium I guess compared to numbers thrown here?
I aim for low with no buzz.

Some used guitars I got had quite high action, nearing 1/4 at 21st fret and it may be good to slide or something but it's not fun to play, particularly with bigger strings.
 

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The Stewmac string action guage has become an invaluable tool, I use it all the time.

String Action Gauge | stewmac.com

But whatever works, as long as it works!
It's been on my wish list for some time now...but I can't wrap my head around spending so much $ (with shipping etc.) for a "ruler". I briefly looked around for somewhere locally that I could buy a machinists ruler (accurate to a 64th) but had no luck. I have a little guitar multi-tool with markings for 64ths but it's incredibly difficult to read. Sure the markings may be accurate, but my readings of those markings rarely is. The nickle works two-fold. It's easy to slide under the strings and see just where you stand. It's also great for sticking to the top of pickup pole pieces to adjust pickup height. The Fender suggested measurements for both are very close (at least for my Strats).
 

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Yes, I have to use an illuminated magnifying glass to see the one from Stewmac.

I went on a "setup tool" binge when our dollar was closer to par.
I'd make it an order worth shipping, as you said, not worth shipping a single item.

I initially ordered the setup kit, but the radius guages are not needed, imo.
The string action guage is all you'd need. The straight edge in that kit is handy and I use it a lot too.
 

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I adjust my action by feel. When bends feel right, the action is right. I don't have a light enough touch to warrant low action.

It certainly helps if you want to shred though.
 

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I'm sure I have my action set higher than average, I don't consider it low--but I don't like ti barely above the frets.
I find it easier to get under the strings and bend them...
 
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Most of my guitars are set up such that there is a heavy ⅛" between the bottom of the strings and the crown of the frets at the 12th.
I consider that to be either on the high end of low or else the low end of medium, action wise.
I used to set them lower but I found I couldn't play as expressively as I wanted.
The available dynamic range seemed limited to my taste.
 

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I don't know where I like mine, but I can tell you that my main guitar feels perfect. My backup guitar has the action noticeably higher, but I can still play it.
 

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You kind of need to talk about relief at the same time. You can have low action at the 12th fret but it won't feel that way lower down the board if you have a lot of relief. I set all of my guitars, electric and acoustic, at 2-3 thou relief measured at the sixth fret (I have the expensive Stew Mac relief gauge mainly for repeat-ability for doing customer work ), action is 4/64" at the 12th fret on the low E, 4-5/64" on the high e. I find that any lower on the high e and my fingers want to roll over top of the strings when doing bends. 4-5/64" on the high e allows my fretting fingers to bite across the strings rather than slip over top. If you can't get these numbers without buzzing you likely have a high fret or you are in need of a fret level. I use 10-46 on all of my electrics and 12-53 on my acoustics. Of course, all of this is entirely subjective and depends on personal taste and style.
 

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I've got my electrics set around 1.7mm at the 12th, which I guess is around medium to medium high. Light relief.

I find it pretty comfortable to have a bit of space under there.
 
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