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The word "action" describes a series of settings (neck's relief, string's height, nut height, etc) made on an stringed
instruments the purpose of which is delivering the best and comfortable feel while playing.
A comfortable action depends on three main factors (in chronological order of setup).
String's height at bridge.
String's height at nut.
and it's also influenced by pickups height.
HINTS AND TIPS
Below you will find some points you should consider when setting for the perfect action:
PLEASE NOTE: best resulting in adjusting the action requires the frets to be perfectly leveled (dressed):
Fretboard should always have a small relief.
On the electric guitar, this relief corresponds (to give a certain reference) to the thickness of a Daddario strings cartoon
placed between the top of the 10° fret to the bottom of the string.
On the electric bass the same correspond to a business card placed same way.
The higher the action the highest the volume level the more dynamic you can apply to the instrument through your touch.
The lower the action the less you will be able to apply dynamic and your playing and technique wil be affected.
Neck's relief is more important than bridge height for a comfortable action. Therefore
the straighter the neck the more the fretboard will be comfortable (of course some relief MUST be aplied).
Almost straight necks with HIGHER STRINGS will always deliver a better playing feel than a
an up bowed fretboard with lower strings height at bridge.
High radiused fretboards (7", 9") will require higher string's height in order for the strings not to
stop during bendings. The flattest the fretboard radius the lowest action is allowed.
The higher the string's gauge, the less neck relief and bridge height
is allowed for the strings not to buzz and for a comfortable action.
The harder the touch the more relief and string's height is required not to hear buzz. The softer the touch the less
the relief required not to hear buzz.
The softer the touch the more we will be able to keep the neck straight for maximum compfort without buzz.
To a lesser neck relief corresponds a higher strings height not to buzz.
Too much relief translates in buzz noise at the end of fretboard (last frets).
Too straight fretboard means buzz noise at the first frets (nut side)
Sometime is required for the instrument to settle after action has been setup.
Having the frets dressed by a pro guitar repairman assures a lower action
and a perfect feel
on the fretobard. Pictured Frudua Carved Slave Pentabass.
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