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Author Topic: STRING HEIGHT  (Read 1943 times)
ROB S
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« on: December 30, 2012, 09:24:36 PM »

I purchased a new D-03R this week and put new D'Addario EXP16 Lights on it. Just curious about proper string height and if I am measuring it correctly. When I measure the height at at the 12th fret I have 5/32" between the bottom of the low E string and the top of the 12th fret. Does this sound right? Also, would I achieve a noticable improvement if I change the nut and saddle to bone. Thank you for your input. Happy New Year to All. Rob 
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wanttoplay
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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2012, 01:01:47 AM »

That sounds about rite.  Go to Bryan kimsey lutherie page if you want to really check and adjust it
www.bryankimsey.com.  I put a bone saddle in mine yesterday and can not tell the difference. I think the tusq stuff is pretty close to bone
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MPrice
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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2012, 02:58:10 PM »

Your height is about right. I recommend taking it down at the saddle until you can't stand it. I replaced the plastic saddle and bridge pins with bone and noticed and immediate improvement in the attack of the notes. As far as the tone, the bone was almost too bright. I have not changed the nut to bone. I bet proper balance would be achieved by using some traditional ebony bridge pins in combination with bone saddle.
I highly recommend buying a couple bone saddles and sanding them to different heights.
Bob Colosi at guitarsaddles.com will throw in a practice saddle with your purchase if you say please. One more thing: if this is all fairly new to you I recommend enjoying the instrument for at least a month to become accustomed to the tone and also because loosening and tightening the strings excessively will kill them. 
Cheers 
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« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2012, 04:14:22 PM »

Don't let numbers stand in your way as they are just a guide.MPrice is right play the guitar as is for a while,get to know it.If your not comfy doing work yourself please bring it to a good tech and bring along your notes so you can share them with him/her.My action is lower then most {some say its lower then there electric's,sorry I never measure anything as a tech for over 45 years I trust my eyes and ears and hands},I use heavy strings.As for whether bone saddle is better then Tusq trust your ears its your guitar.As for the nut I use bone only because its easier to work with and have never notice any tonal difference.
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ROB S
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« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2012, 09:45:13 PM »

Thanks so much guys. I appreciate your input. My other guitar is a Taylor 314ce and the action on that seems lower than the Larrivee, although I didn't measure it. Just wondering if they leave the Larrivee factory a little high or is this is a normal height for them. Thanks again, you have given me something to go on. Rob 
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Zohn
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« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2013, 08:42:41 AM »

First off -  welcome here Rob

Action is always a spin-off of comfort vs tone.

The higher the action the more torque is exerted by the string tension on the sound board thus the louder and richer the tone.
High action is like you know not comfy on your fretting hand, especially when you play chords higher up the neck.
Conversely lower action sucks up the tone (less torque) but makes for more comfy playing.

Guitars usually leave the factory with higher action so that the owner can adjust it to his/her liking as part of a set-up.

My guitars are set-up with around 7/64" (bass) and 5/64" (treble) and with medium/bluegrass gauge strings for a buzz-free guitar.

5/32" is too high for my liking  cop but note I base that on my playing style.
If you like the tone, leave it as is, !! 
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jpmist
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« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2013, 03:22:27 PM »

Thanks so much guys. I appreciate your input. My other guitar is a Taylor 314ce and the action on that seems lower than the Larrivee, although I didn't measure it. Just wondering if they leave the Larrivee factory a little high or is this is a normal height for them. Thanks again, you have given me something to go on. Rob 

I've owned several Taylors before stumbling on my Larriee's and I can confirm that the Taylors leave the factory with the strings at 4/32". The new Larrivee's that have passed thru my hands are set much higher at 6/32".

I like Zohn's point about the tradeoff between tone and string height and I'd go along with his statement that Larrivee sets the action with higher action with the thought of allowing the buyer to have it adjusted to his liking if it weren't for the fact that Larrivee makes their damn bridges so damn thick. To get my action down to 4/32" on my Larrivee I'm left with very little saddle above the bridge and thus a very shallow string angle over the saddle. If there were an easy way to shave off 1/8" off my bridges I'd have done it by now.


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