How low/high do you like your action?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by CaineIsCarter, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. CaineIsCarter

    CaineIsCarter Tele-Meister

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    Hi folks

    I did a provisional setup on my new Tele to tide me over until my regular tech can work his magic on it next week. I basically adjusted until the strings weren’t buzzing.

    I have a LP and a JM whose actions are very low; the LP in particular is almost effortless to play. But I seem to be drawn to the relatively higher action I’ve now got on the Tele. More precise bends in particular.

    I’m pretty ham-fisted at the best of times and I’m wondering if I’d be better off at this setting. Very interested to know how you like your action.

    Many thanks
     
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  2. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I have almost zero relief in all my necks and a medium/low action.
    That's why I always do a perfect fret leveling and crowning.
     
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  3. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Meister

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    Very little neck relief for me, but I like my action rather high, approx. 2,3mm at 12th fret.

    For me the advantages are:
    - more ringing sustain
    - easier to grab the strings for bending
    - easier to mute unplayed strings with the left hand.
     
  4. CaineIsCarter

    CaineIsCarter Tele-Meister

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    Yes - that thing you mention about being able to grab the strings for bending is just what I mean. With the LP, it’s really easy to get the bend wrong and I’m starting to wonder if it would be better with a slightly higher action (like the Tele).

    It means a bit of re-learning but it could be the way forward. Thanks
     
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  5. Michael Vilogi

    Michael Vilogi TDPRI Member

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    enough to slip a super thick pick under. Not too low or you lose that 'snap'.
     
  6. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Meister

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    It is really a matter of what you are used to. I cannot play with a low action and do not find it easier to play at all. That being said I am not a shredder by any mean, I rather play jazz-blues oriented stuff.
     
  7. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    I generally set up to have about 3/32" at the 17th fret.

    With enough relief to minimize buzzing. Prefer not to have any buzzing, but it's rare for me to achieve.

    Setting up the relief vs string height vs intonation a trial and error process, but important.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
  8. strat56

    strat56 Tele-Holic

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    I set my action at 4/64" at the 12th fret on all strings. According to Google that's about 1.6 mm. Don't know if that's high or low but it works for me.
     
  9. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Tele-Afflicted

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    You take the high road and I'll take the low road...
     
  10. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    Such a personal topic. I set as little relief as I can without fret buzz. I play chords and lower the action until I’m no longer accidentally muting the next higher string when I fret chords. I check for fret buzz, especially higher up the neck and then add relief and lower the action iteratively until it’s perfect. I do this on each guitar a few times a year and always after a string change. I warmed up my Strat by changing from NYXL to Dunlop Nickel Electric strings. The change in tension made resetting the action necessary. I also had to lower the bass side of the pickups half a turn. I’m obsessive about this stuff.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
  11. mimmo

    mimmo Friend of Leo's

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    Very little relief and a rather on the high side action.
    The tone I get is as thick as it gets and strings vibration is a real joy.
     
  12. RoCkstAr256

    RoCkstAr256 Tele-Afflicted

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    1 mm at 12 fret, almost no bow. Not Dead straight
     
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  13. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I’m told I like Fender factory spec or slightly higher. No idea if that’s high, medium or low.

    I do play .11s and play some slide (nothing fancy - like Nels Cline or Andy Summers or Johnny Marr - just a different texture). I think that requires a little more clearance - and frequent fret dressing . . . .
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
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  14. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    No too shreddy, as I like to dig in a little.

    But if you like to dig in a little, you can't be too fussy about a little buzz. Which I'm not.

    You can agonise over this. And I have. And, like most agonising, it wasn't worth it.
     
  15. 8barlouie

    8barlouie Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    .012” relief. Action 5/64-4/64 E to e for neck radii from 7.25 to 9.5. For flatter radii necks, I go 4/64 to 3/64.
     
  16. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    There is so much in getting the guitar set exactly how you like it. The action how you use the guitar makes much such a dif. Sometimes takes me quite awhile back n forth experimenting. but once you find it..oh man what a guitar you have now. Way worth the constant fiddling.
     
  17. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Holic

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    Hi.

    I just adjusted my truss rod last night. With the changing temp and humidity here, things had moved. Back to normal now.

    With a capo on the first fret and a finger on the 17th (i.e. where the neck meets the body), I have a tad less neck relief than Fender's recommended 0.3mm (.012") for 7.25" radius.

    For action, I have a tad over Fender's recommended 2mm on the bass side and 1.6 on the treble side. I set the rest of my strings with a radius gage I printed off a site on the internet. Seems to work fo me.

    So, I guess in other words, relief is ever so slightly flat and action is ever so slightly high.

    I don't really care what Fender* says, but it is a useful starting point for me.

    Pax/
    Dean
    * at least, I think these are Fender's recommendations. Pretty sure I got these figures form their 'how to set up a Telecaster' page or some such.
    Hang on a sec.
    Yeah, this one.
    https://support.fender.com/hc/en-us...ow-do-I-set-up-my-Telecaster-guitar-properly-
     
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  18. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Thanks for asking!
    I like my necks dead straight, with heavy (12-54) strings and fairly high action.
    I want the strings to “ring”.
    I can not bear light strings and low action.
    I need resistance.
     
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  19. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I agree with most people in this thread: When I was younger, for some reason I was always looking for the lowest possible height. Now I prefer it a little higher, it gives you something to grab and push against. Brookdale, 12s? I tried 'em for a while after SRV died, OMG they hurt my hands!
     
  20. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I like it low but not too low. Fingers still need to get under the strings without a struggle.
    I had to raise the action on my CV tele due to it being too low but as low as it will go is a good starting point when setting the action-string height.
     
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