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Main Forums => Technical Discussion => Topic started by: Crunchy Wacko on June 13, 2006, 12:06:51 AM



Title: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: Crunchy Wacko on June 13, 2006, 12:06:51 AM
Hey Everyone

I am finding that I am primarily a fingerstyle player rather than picking (90% to 10%)  and want to get the action lowered to ease the burden those darn barre chords are putting on the the base of my thumb on my fretting hand. I am not too worried about fret buzz as I am not a heavy picker.

Just wondering if those of you that actually know what your aciton is...can you share it.  I am not sure what to tell my local shop (12th Fret in Toronto) to do when I take my "Elle" in to get the new bone saddle on her.  She a sweet L-03R.

Cheers


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: dcarey on June 13, 2006, 12:19:58 AM
Tell them exactly what you just told us. The 12th Fret will know exactly what you mean.

Dan


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: Crunchy Wacko on June 13, 2006, 12:30:59 AM
Tell them exactly what you just told us. The 12th Fret will know exactly what you mean.

Dan

Yes, they are a good bunch of blokes!


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: Sweb on June 13, 2006, 12:47:44 AM
Sounds pretty straight forward. Keep in mind though that new saddles sometimes can be confounding. I had a bone saddle put on my OMV-09 and it buzzed like a bumblebee. Turns out the radius was slightly off causing fretting out of the D string when played a little more aggressively. When you check it out after the work capo it around the 5th fret and play as usual. That will substitute for a barred chord. Have fun.


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: Crunchy Wacko on June 13, 2006, 12:50:12 AM
Sounds pretty straight forward. Keep in mind though that new saddles sometimes can be confounding. I had a bone saddle put on my OMV-09 and it buzzed like a bumblebee. Turns out the radius was slightly off causing fretting out of the D string when played a little more aggressively. When you check it out after the work capo it around the 5th fret and play as usual. That will substitute for a barred chord. Have fun.

Will do!  Thanks for the info  :)


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: scottallyn on June 13, 2006, 02:50:33 AM
Just wondering if those of you that actually know what your aciton is...can you share it.

The 12th fret action on both my Parlor and my new OM-03R is 4/64" for the Low-E string. Jason at Notable NAILED the action on the OM - I was hoping it'd come out close to the Parlor, but it's exactly the same! I'm not an aggressive player & have a pretty light touch. I'll occasionally get a little bit of buzzing on the OM, but it's not enough to bother me. The neck is really straight right now, so I can always add a bit of relief if I need to.

Since you're planning on taking it in for a bone nut, you might consider experimenting on your current nut. A sheet of 320 or 400 grit emory paper (from a local hardware store) and a flat surface is all you need to lower it. frets.com has a good writeup here:

  http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Musician/Guitar/Setup/LowerAction/loweraction01.html

On the other hand, you might want to leave your current saddle untouched. If the 12th fret does happen to get your action a bit too low, then you can always pop the old one back in and be right back at square #1. Decisions decisions... :D


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: Steve on June 13, 2006, 05:42:09 AM
I like 3/32" on the low E.  I need at least .010" relief for my thumbpick or I get some buzz.  Light gauge strings.

Steve


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: ronmac on June 13, 2006, 10:30:17 AM
There is no better place than the Twelfth Fret for setup, IMHO. Here is the email Dave sent me after setting up my OM-03R SH. I gave him the specs I desired, and told him to let his good judgement be the final guide.

"Hi Ron

 Just finished setting the guitar up with a set of John Pierce  12-56
gauge.  I threw various other brands and gauges in the accessory pocket
of the case if you're into experimenting a bit.  The setup is 4/64"
treble side and just a tad under 6/64" bass side and seems to play
wonderfully with a medium right hand attack.  If you look really close
at the bone nut,  it is slightly discoloured by the string slots.  This
is because I lubricated the slots for better tuning stability and the lubricant is
absorbed by the bone (which keeps it lubricated longer!).   Your FedEx
tracking number is ############## which you can track at
<www.fedex.com>.  This won't track until sometime later today when it
is scanned back at the main terminal.

ENJOY!  What a GREAT sounding guitar!!!

Cheers!

David Wren <www.12fret.com>"


The result? Plays like butter and no buzz! (regardless of attack) If I were playing exclusively fingerstyle on this guitar I would take the nut down another mil or two.

If you get face to face with the tech it is a good idea to demonstrate your playing style so that they know exactly what you are going for.


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: expatCanuck on June 13, 2006, 03:38:23 PM
If you get face to face with the tech it is a good idea to demonstrate your playing style so that they know exactly what you are going for.

+1

Ahh, the value of human contact ... this can often be the difference between average & excellent results.

Ron -- Of what guitar was Dave singing praises?

 - Richard


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: ronmac on June 13, 2006, 03:45:22 PM
One of the "lowly" 03 series, an OM-03R SH

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v631/ronmac/Guitars/Larrivee%20OM-03R%20SH/DSC03132.jpg)



http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v631/ronmac/Guitars/Larrivee%20OM-03R%20SH/


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: Crunchy Wacko on June 13, 2006, 03:50:03 PM
There is no better place than the Twelfth Fret for setup, IMHO. Here is the email Dave sent me after setting up my OM-03R SH. I gave him the specs I desired, and told him to let his good judgement be the final guide.

"Hi Ron

 Just finished setting the guitar up with a set of John Pierce  12-56
gauge.  I threw various other brands and gauges in the accessory pocket
of the case if you're into experimenting a bit.  The setup is 4/64"
treble side and just a tad under 6/64" bass side and seems to play
wonderfully with a medium right hand attack.  If you look really close
at the bone nut,  it is slightly discoloured by the string slots.  This
is because I lubricated the slots for better tuning stability and the lubricant is
absorbed by the bone (which keeps it lubricated longer!).   Your FedEx
tracking number is ############## which you can track at
<www.fedex.com>.  This won't track until sometime later today when it
is scanned back at the main terminal.

ENJOY!  What a GREAT sounding guitar!!!

Cheers!

David Wren <www.12fret.com>"


The result? Plays like butter and no buzz! (regardless of attack) If I were playing exclusively fingerstyle on this guitar I would take the nut down another mil or two.

If you get face to face with the tech it is a good idea to demonstrate your playing style so that they know exactly what you are going for.


Thanks Ron

Are those #'s considered  "low" ?   Do you use aa pick much on that baby?

Cheers..chris


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: ronmac on June 13, 2006, 04:23:39 PM
Chris,

I am about 50/50 pick and finger on this one. If I would be using this for fingerstyle only I would probably leave the saddle where it is and bring the nut down just a bit. IMHO, that would give me a softer feel without sacrificing any of the richness of tone.

A lot of fingerstyle players will want 5/64 on the low E, but I really think that the person you trust to do the job should be given some latitude, based on your needs and the characteristics of that instrument.


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: Hoser Rob on June 13, 2006, 05:38:45 PM
As someone said, just explain it to them and maybe play the guitar in front of their tech.  They'll know what to do.

Specs really are a guideline.  Every guitar (and player) is different.  In fact many top luthiers don't measure that closely.  It's all done by feel.


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: Gemnoc on June 13, 2006, 11:10:46 PM
I've got about 3/32" on the low-E and 1/16" at high-E. Since I've started using a pick for strumming (I used me fingers before) I get some buzzing when I play hard. I guess it would need some neck relief.


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: expatCanuck on June 14, 2006, 12:27:20 AM
One of the "lowly" 03 series, an OM-03R SH

"Lowly", my left buttock.  's byooteefull.  And no doubt (if Dave says so) sounds & plays byuooteefull two.



Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: ronmac on June 14, 2006, 01:36:44 AM
Yeah it's a Lion in a Sheep suit. :WNK>

It was getting 95% of my playing attention for the past year. I play it about 10% of the time right now because I found some of my other guitars were starting to go to sleep, tone wise. I am back to taking it to one to one of my weekly sessions, just so it doesn't feel neglected.



Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: Philphool on June 14, 2006, 03:19:39 AM
I've got about 3/32" on the low-E and 1/16" at high-E. Since I've started using a pick for strumming (I used me fingers before) I get some buzzing when I play hard. I guess it would need some neck relief.

Absolutely ditto!!

Phil


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: Crunchy Wacko on July 13, 2006, 09:56:42 PM
I managed to get a micrometre and measured my low and high E strings at the 12th fret.

Low is  9.3/64ths   
High is 7.5/64thss

This is from the bottom of the sting to the fret board. Is that the proper measuring technique?

Taking it in tomorrow to get it changed to Low  6/64ths  and high 4/64ths .  My strings are  11-52's


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: ronmac on July 13, 2006, 10:11:11 PM
You may already be at that measurement. The action measurement is made form the top of the fret to the bottom of the string, as shown in this photo from frets.com:

(http://209-239-165-10.oak.inreach.net/FRETSPages/Musician/Guitar/Setup/LowerAction/LowerActionViews/action02.jpg)


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: Crunchy Wacko on July 13, 2006, 10:44:22 PM
Thanks Ron

I measured again.

Low E 7.5/64ths
High E 5/64ths


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: pickngrin on July 13, 2006, 10:51:59 PM
Yeah, I'd want to lower that to 3/32 on the low E for fingerpicking.


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: Crunchy Wacko on July 28, 2006, 11:23:08 PM
Well   :GRN>   picked up my Elle with the new bone saddle with action at 4/64 on high E and 5/64's on low E.  Gotta say that bone saddle upgrade is well worth it! So much cleaner with wonderfull tone. No fret buzz so far.  I think I'll play it for a few weeks and the guys at 12th Fret says if I want to go a bit lower just bring it in and they will give it a quick shave on the spot. Also had some D'Addarios EJ26  11-52 put on.  It all just adds up to a bucket full of SWEETNESS.

Cheers


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: Pjmsj21 on July 28, 2006, 11:38:24 PM
Well   :GRN>   picked up my Elle with the new bone saddle with action at 4/64 on high E and 5/64's on low E.  Gotta say that bone saddle upgrade is well worth it! So much cleaner with wonderfull tone. No fret buzz so far.  I think I'll play it for a few weeks and the guys at 12th Fret says if I want to go a bit lower just bring it in and they will give it a quick shave on the spot. Also had some D'Addarios EJ26  11-52 put on.  It all just adds up to a bucket full of SWEETNESS.

Cheers

I pretty much went through the same process with my L03R by adding a bone saddle and by having my luthier lower the action to "Taylorlike" in spec.  The changes made great improvements in the guitar with most but not all coming from the bone saddle.  I was on the verge of putting it on the market, but it has really made a very significant difference in tone, and some good improvements in playability, although I am still lusting over a cedar/mahogany shortscale guitar. 


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: Crunchy Wacko on July 28, 2006, 11:54:08 PM
I wish there was an L03 model that was short scale and 1 and 3/4 nut.  That's my x-mas wish list.


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: Denis on July 29, 2006, 03:14:19 AM
I wish there was an L03 model that was short scale and 1 and 3/4 nut.  That's my x-mas wish list.

+1



Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: pickyfingers on July 30, 2006, 10:22:18 AM
I actually prefer the action a little high - around .125 at the 12th. There are time when I like to "dig in" and snap that 6th string. Also, I think as you get better at picking - you get way more aggressive, I know I do!

I use the D's custon lights also, I've got a set on the dread too. Great strings that I've used for years. I do break 11's though quite often, especially with the colbalt plated propicks - so I just keep spares around!

 :mellow:



Title: fingerstyle action
Post by: Hoser Rob on July 30, 2006, 05:56:23 PM
I actually prefer the action a little high - around .125 at the 12th. ...

Some fingerstyle players do like it higher.  There's an absolutely brilliant fingerstyle player here who has his action so high most people can't play his guitar.  He plays hard.  And it's on a Grit Laskin.  The best acoustic I've ever seen.

Most people like it lower though.


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: Gemnoc on August 06, 2006, 04:10:32 PM
Hey Crunchy Wacko,

You don't mention if you had a pickup installed as you wanted?


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: desaljs on August 09, 2006, 06:42:04 PM
For those looking for a nice tool to take these measurements, take a look at this:

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Measuring_tools/String_Action_Gauge.html

I bought one of these and it is very useful if you like to do some of your own work.  It really enables you to take an accurate measurement with ease.


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: Crunchy Wacko on August 10, 2006, 12:45:11 AM
Hey Crunchy Wacko,

You don't mention if you had a pickup installed as you wanted?

Hey Gemnoc

Yes, i had a LRBaggs Ibeam  Passive pickup installed. Without a preamp it played a bit thin on a Ultrasound Pro-100 Amp but i entend to get a LRBaggs para DI and a Ultrasound AG30 in 2 or 3 weeks.

Cheers


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: ronmac on August 10, 2006, 01:35:45 AM
You must use a good quality cable, and keep it as short as possible, when using an IBeam passive. No longer than a 6 foot cable into the PADI should be OK.


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: Crunchy Wacko on August 10, 2006, 03:36:15 AM
You must use a good quality cable, and keep it as short as possible, when using an IBeam passive. No longer than a 6 foot cable into the PADI should be OK.

Do i need a short cable even with a preamp? 


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: ronmac on August 10, 2006, 10:28:29 AM
Yes, you need to keep the cable short between the guitar and the pre to insure that the capacitive effect (directly proportional to length) of the cable doesn't roll off the low frequencies. The very low level of signal travelling this cable is also susecptible to noise and interference.


Title: Re: Lowering Action for Fingerstyle
Post by: Crunchy Wacko on August 10, 2006, 01:26:43 PM
Yes, you need to keep the cable short between the guitar and the pre to insure that the capacitive effect (directly proportional to length) of the cable doesn't roll off the low frequencies. The very low level of signal travelling this cable is also susecptible to noise and interference.

Thanks Ron...so i am assuming a good quality 10ft from pre to amp is ok?