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Author Topic: Yucky!  (Read 958 times)
sunburst
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« on: January 01, 2007, 02:43:47 AM »

 yak
I played a friend's guitar this afternoon. It could be a decent guitar (Gibson dread) but the action was so terrible you could just about drive a truck between the strings and the fretboard. He had been saying that he was having trouble learning to play guitar. No wonder! The strings were dead, too, so that didn't help. I had to come home and play my guitar just to get the bad taste out of my mouth, so to speak. I forget how spoiled I am! I wonder how many beginners never get past thinking they can't play guitar, never realizing that the guitar is at fault.
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dberch
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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2007, 03:14:16 AM »

Did you tell your poor friend to take his guitar in for a decent setup?  I hate to hear stories like this - too many potetially good players get turned off on guitar just because their action is too high.
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sunburst
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« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2007, 03:21:13 AM »

His wife asked me where I would take it. There seems to be a good shop not far from here. A guy who restores old Stellas and Harmonys. He also carries low/mid priced guitars, but sets them up perfectly so people with limited budgets can enjoy guitar playing. She's going to take it there later this week. Our friend seemed glad to know I couldn't make a decent sound with his guitar either. I think he'll give it another go once it is fixed.

Deb
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Hoser Rob
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2007, 05:57:46 PM »

Yup, lower action is sure important for beginners.

Did he buy it used?  That may have been the way the previous owner liked it.  Many of the best players I've known have theirs set up so high you could literally play slide on them, no problem.  That's hot you get the killer tone.  And these are nice guitars ... one is a Grit Laskin, absolutely the best acoustic I've ever seen drool.

I don't play it that high ... don't have them fingers of iron.  But not too low either.  It really kills the sparkle.
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PortHueneme
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2007, 08:55:22 PM »

I have noticed too that many very good players have extremely high action. Some of my professional friends have setups I could use for slicing cheese.
It may be because they play 10-12 hours a day and have hands & fingers of iron. The higher action can increase the volume and tones. Also if you tend to strum or pick hard you avoid all the buzz. I have tried to keep the action comfortably low, but also maintaining a decent string break over the saddle. Once you get less than a 45 degree break you really start losing sound. On the other side if you get to much break you can stress the top.
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maxferry
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« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2007, 05:21:34 PM »

Good point, PortH; a stressed top due to a too-high action or too-heavy strings will dampen the tone big time. I see a lot of guys putting mediums on guitars that just aren't set up or braced for them, because they think that the heavier string will give them "more" tone. As often as not, precisely the opposite occurs, because that top needs some slack in it to resonate.

As to the action, I like Tommy Immanuel's take on this, which I will paraphrase from his recent interview in Guitar Player mag, "...guitar is hard enough to play as it is...". Immanuel sets his action so that the neck is absolutely straight...and yet no one ever says that his tone sucks.
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