String height and other issues

Batbia

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  • Jan 11, 2021
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    Hello everyone! So I'm feeling the strings of my guitar are a bit too high when I play. I measured the height (don't know if I measured it right tbh) between the top of the 12th fret and the low E string and it's 3 mm. Is it really too high or is this height considered normal? If it's too high how can I fix it? I tried reading about this but I fear trying to fix it on my own and getting things worse because I never did anything on my guitar before and have absolutely no clue of what I should do 😬

    Also, I tuned my guitar, played an open string and it says it's on tune, but when I play the 12th fret it says it's too sharp. How can I fix this issue too?
     
    Solution
    I usually prefer the action at the 12th fret at around 1.3-1.5 mm on the high e string and around 1.5-1.8 mm on the low E string, at the 12th fret each. Those are just settings I found working for me, personal milage may vary, but 3 mm sounds way to high.

    Anyway, the crucial steps to set up a guitar right are:
    1) Truss rod adjustment (how much is the neck bending)
    2) Set action by adjusting bridge height
    3) Intonation

    Always adjust things in this order, a good intonation is worthless if you are messing with truss rod or bridge afterwards.

    Here is a very good guide, that mentions all helpful tools that are needed for these steps:

    [URL...

    Calvin Phillips

    Music Theory Bragger
    Nov 11, 2019
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    2 ways.

    I'm sure ed will have a more detailed explanation but.

    1. Truss rod.. if it's too far you could tighten it.. it's under your name plate on your guitar. Quarter turns at a time. I suggest youtubing or finding Ed's video on it. Everytime you adjust the truss rod you will need to retune.

    2.if you have a floyd rose theres a change they lifted the bridge. I had to adjust my bridge on the one revenger I got because they tightened everything waaay too much.

    2 easy adjustments that seem I intimidating at first. But once you get the hang of it it becomes easy.
     
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    carlosmqr

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  • Nov 17, 2019
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    I always lower the action on my guitars, keep in mind you'll need to adjust the intonation after that, but I guess you already have to do it since is sharp at the 12 fret!
    Its a floyd rose or fixed bridge? Its easy to adjust the action and intonation unless you have to adjust the truss rod thats a bit more scary xD
     
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    Batbia

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    I always lower the action on my guitars, keep in mind you'll need to adjust the intonation after that, but I guess you already have to do it since is sharp at the 12 fret!
    Its a floyd rose or fixed bridge? Its easy to adjust the action and intonation unless you have to adjust the truss rod thats a bit more scary xD
    It's a fixed bridge!
     
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    Batbia

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    I thought your guitar had a floating bridge, sys. Are you sure about that? 🤔
    OMG I think I translated it wrong 💀🤦‍♀️thank you SO MUCH for telling me this sys 😹😹 here's a pic of the bridge of my guitar, this way I won't translate it wrong again 😹

    1622493052009.png
     
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    chris_is_cool

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    Apr 18, 2020
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    I usually prefer the action at the 12th fret at around 1.3-1.5 mm on the high e string and around 1.5-1.8 mm on the low E string, at the 12th fret each. Those are just settings I found working for me, personal milage may vary, but 3 mm sounds way to high.

    Anyway, the crucial steps to set up a guitar right are:
    1) Truss rod adjustment (how much is the neck bending)
    2) Set action by adjusting bridge height
    3) Intonation

    Always adjust things in this order, a good intonation is worthless if you are messing with truss rod or bridge afterwards.

    Here is a very good guide, that mentions all helpful tools that are needed for these steps:


    EDIT: Yeah, you have a floating bridge, setting the action will require more work than on a fixed bridge.
     
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    Solution

    Ed Seith

    Supreme Galactic Overlord
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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    Ok, so your best bet is going to be to take it into a local guitar shop for a setup. That may cost around $50US, but is well worth it.

    If you can't afford that, or want to learn how to do it on your own, here's a VERY basic approach:

    1. Neck bow. If you put a capo on the first fret and a finger on the highest fret of the low E string (the THICKK one), you should have just barely enough space that if you pluck between the capo and the finger, the note will ring out. There should be less than 1mm space here. If there's a lot of space, you have too much bow, and need to tighten your truss rod - that's usually at the top of the neck, right behind the nut, and under a plastic cover held down by three tiny screws. Your guitar should have come with an allen wrench specifically for this. To tighten the truss rod, insert the wrench and turn from thin strings to thick. It should NOT need a lot of adjustment, and you should re-tune and do the above check again.
    b. If the string won't ring, there's not enough bow, and you need to loosen the truss rod. Go from thick to thin, and only make one adjustment, retune, and let it sit for 24 hours to allow the wood to "settle."

    2. Once the bow is correct, you can adjust the saddle height of each string on the bridge. Each string has it's own saddle (the part the string goes across) and two tiny screws on top (one on either side of the string), holding the saddle up off the base of the bridge - this is string height. Adjust both to keep the saddle "even" on both sides of the string. Loosen the screws a little to lower, tighten to raise. Retune the string and check by playing and bending a note on each fret of the string from the 12th fret up to maybe the 20th or so. If there are ANY dead spots, you went down too far. Repeat across all six strings. Take care to ensure continuity from one string to the next - you want them to make a gentle arc from thin to thick, just like the arc (radius) of your fretboard.

    3. Intonation. See this thread. https://synner.com/threads/setup-basics-of-intonation.5086/

    It can be a lot of time-consuming work, but learning how to do it can be VERY rewarding, and save you a lot of money in the long run!
     

    Forgetabull

    Local Dive Bar Favorite
  • Nov 11, 2019
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    Quick Hint/Tips:
    • For action adjustment (for the 1st 5 frets -- basically if doing an F bar chord is impossible):
      • This is a truss rod adjustment.
    • For action adjustment (beyond the 5th fret):
      • I use a pick (or pile of picks) of about 1.5mm sitting on your 12th fret is a quick way to measure/help adjust your action.
      • I use 3 x .5mm picks (or my 1.5mm pick) and place it on the 12th fret under the strings. Whilst that pick is sitting there under the string, I will use the allen key to do half turns (ie. 180 degrees, not 360) to lower/raise the saddle until the string is just holding the pick down.
      • Once I've done that, I'll tune it up and play every note on the fretboard.
      • If you find one note becomes buzzy (or doesn't play at all). You need to raise the action a little on that string. What can happen on cheaper guitars (glances at Tilly) is the higher frets are poorly levelled and you only have the action height to work with in that case (or take it to a tech to get the frets levelled).
    • For intonation adjustment (it's sharp/flat at the 12th fret):
      • If it's sharp, then you need to have the saddle move away from the nut, you can just use a phillips head screwdriver to turn the screw at the end of the bridge/saddle. Just think, "ow it's sharp, pull away".
    • For intonation adjustment (it's fine at the nut, fine at 12th fret, but goes sharp at the first or 5th fret)
      • You need to adjust the nut. I wouldn't normally recommend doing that yourself.
     

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    • Adjusting Saddle Height Screw.jpg
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