Confusion, Which Fret to Measure Initial Height of String Action

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Digiplay, Mar 23, 2020.

  1. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Meister

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    I'm setting up my new saddle's/action height, and I have two conflicting instruction's on which fret to measure the action from.

    Sweetwater says:

    Place the ruler on the 12th fret, making sure the ruler ticks are parallel to the string.

    Do this so that you’re getting an accurate measurement of the gap from the top of the fret to the bottom of the string.

    Fender says:

    Measure the distance between bottom of strings and top of the 17th fret.

    So which fret should I measure from?
     
  2. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Man I have no idea. I’ve been setting up guitars for decades and I’ve never measured the action. I do it all by eye and feel, and how the player wants it.

    Same goes for relief, nut height, pickup height, all of it.
     
  3. koolaide

    koolaide Tele-Holic

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    I would go with Fender. They are the mfg.
     
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  4. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    about here for mine....;)

    clare action2.jpg
     
  5. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Meister

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    What is it under the E string that appears to be allowing the height you like?
     
  6. adamgdog

    adamgdog Tele-Meister

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    Looks like the head of a match stick to me

    Sent from my SM-G973U1 using Tapatalk
     
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  7. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Meister

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    I'm envious of you Jakedog :)
     
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  8. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Meister

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    If so, that sure is some potentially HOT action!!!!!!!!!!


    Thank you very much, all of you are a GREAT audience :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
     
  9. tah1962

    tah1962 Tele-Afflicted

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    I use a StewMac string action gauge. It’s around 4” long so I put one end on the 12th fret which basically covers the 12th to 15th fret.

    upload_2020-3-23_19-5-7.jpeg
     
  10. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Holic

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    Yup, doesn't really matter as long as you are consistent.

    12, 17, 21.... Just measure what feels right at any fret and do the same everytime.

    I use 12 and a 1.5mm allen key. Then usually tweak it a bit more anyway.
    .
     
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  11. Bill Sheehan

    Bill Sheehan Tele-Meister

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    Church Lady.jpg
     
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  12. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I found that out one day when looking for a basic gauge to check my tele guitars for the average action I'd set on most of them .... just happened to be a box of redheads on the table, I tried one and it was just right to use for a quick check instead of fumbling around with anything scientific to measure with..

    the proof is in the playing.... I don't shoot for the absolute lowest I could go... everyone has a different feel they like/use .... too low and your finger tips drag too much wood....

    clare action1.jpg
     
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  13. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    I've been setting my action from the 12th fret string..

    I have all my guitars set up with the same action, but Ive had my frets dead level and nut correctly cut for 11's.. so that helps..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. slauson slim

    slauson slim Friend of Leo's

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    I begin with the Fender recommendation and tweak a bit from there, also for pickup height and neck relief. I know there are a myriad of systems and methods.

    I used to use Hideo Kamimoto's book Complete Guitar Repair as a guide. Lots of good info.

    The Stew-Mac gauge is a useful tool
     
  15. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I do have a CC sized tool that came with something I bought, if I need to know actual numbers this works ok... just lay it on the frets on edge and look side on to see which one lines up ... works as a quick fret rocker too..;)

    string gauge1.jpg

    string gauge2.jpg
     
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  16. Bill Sheehan

    Bill Sheehan Tele-Meister

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    Digiplay, for what it's worth, I've always had good luck with my "quarter's worth of action" method:
    Take a quarter and slide it under the 6th and 5th strings, letting it sit on top of the sixteenth and seventeenth frets (similar to a bridge span over a body of water). Start out with the string action deliberately higher than you ultimately want it to be. Then, slowly lower the height of each string just to the point where it BARELY starts making contact with the top of the quarter, such that it creates sort of a "sitar" sound when you lightly pick the open string.

    Then, do the same procedure with the quarter positioned beneath the 4th and 3rd strings; and then likewise with the quarter positioned beneath the 2nd and 1st strings.

    When you're done, you'll have a nice medium-low action, and the strings will nicely follow the radius of your fret board. It's a good starting point, and from there you can lower the strings a bit more if they seem too high, or raise the strings a bit if you're feeling too close to the "buzz threshold".

    (This may be no match for Trev's method, I admit...) ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2020
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  17. medownsouth

    medownsouth Tele-Meister

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    This is what I use too.

    12th fret 1/16 to 5/64 low/high. Use a radius guage to set saddles & feeler guage to set neck relief
     
  18. medownsouth

    medownsouth Tele-Meister

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    Watch these 4, you’ll be set

     
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  19. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Meister

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    Hi tah1962!


    I have a FretGuru2, and it's about 3 1/2" long.


    Regardless, it seems like neither Fender or Sweetwater is definitively correct :)

    Thanks Bill!


    BTW, do you know who it is that made me say my joke?


    It was SATAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Thanks again,
    Jerry
     
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  20. Bill Sheehan

    Bill Sheehan Tele-Meister

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    Hahahahahahaha!! Love it!!
     
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