Unfortunately, there is no correct or official answer to this. Only worry about the nut slots if you’re having issues with the string height in the 1st few frets. The risks to filing the saddle deeper is that if not done right the string could bind in the slot–which could result in tuning instability and/or frequent string breakage. Within the next few days, I’ll be adding an acoustic guitar setup guide on my Sketchy Setup Guides page. It’s difficult to say how low you can go without actually seeing the guitar myself. I posted something 2 days ago and never showed here. After that, you might get 1-2 more fret levels out of them before they have to simply be replaced with new frets (but we’re talking after many, many years of service here). .... you can click on most of the assembly photos on this site to enlarge them for a close look? That’s too big of an investment for a single use. If you have a Floyd Rose style tremolo, where the saddle height isn’t adjustable, you can use bridge saddle shims to do something similar. Action at the 1st fret I removed it, and see that it was filed down. and you’re right, they can potentially cause distortions or other issues in that upper-fret area. Action at the 12th fret With that said, I’m confused on what approach I should take. The reason you’re seeing variation in opinions about how low they should be is because… well… that’s just the nature of guitar work. Well, you’d be hard-pressed (no pun intended) to find anyone who would willingly play a guitar with strings 7mm above the fretboard. .065" Blake demonstrates the four key measurements necessary to get your guitar's action perfect. High E (1) 1.55mm. I have Light and Extra Light Gauge ready to install. what if they were raeally high , more so than the two outer ones? Hi, I have a Fender acoustic guitar. Fear not, I got your message, but it won’t show up here until I have a chance to reply to it. Here’s what you do: 1. As well as reading this excellent guide I’ve also looked at Gibson nut height specs are: E: 0.030” However, they should’ve contacted you before doing so, so there were no misunderstandings on either side. First at all, thank you very much for this complete guide. That said…. There are drawbacks to really low action, as I point out in my other article. Measuring at the 12th fret with open strings, as many recommend, means that the height of the strings in the nut slots could throw out your action measurement. I’m not sure what you mean by “muted barre chord”… I’d need to see/hear what’s happening. Just because it’s a “spot” job doesn’t mean it’s for the average DIY-er, and you can royally screw it up if you don’t know what you’re doing. why would you NOT set the action for them as well? I think that this is working. Here are the steps to measure your guitar’s action: Tune your guitar. Normally, you can do this yourself, but it’s doubtful you’ll have the very, very thin wooden shims that are preferred for the job. He even features a Tele in the video: How to Shim a Guitar Neck. Carefully slide the ruler up to the low E (6th) string so that it touches the string but doesn’t move it. That’s fine but why the 17th fret? On my acoustic guitar, however, I get those suckers so low that it’s probably illegal in some states. Hi Harry.   If you’re going tackle the task of lowering your string height at the nut (deepening the string slots), first err on the side of being too high and gradually deepening the slot. Using just the outer E’s gives all of us a quick way to talk about this stuff. I was going through my summer setup as part of my restring, and found that I could tweak the truss rod a small bit to flatten it out a bit and did great things there. Cheers, My fingers hurt just hearing you say “3.5mm.”. E:0.015”. Or anything in between.Long story, short, you can’t rely on consistency past the 14th fret on many acoustics. This is done to ensure maximum tone transfer, sustain, etc.   Measuring 1st fret action in this manner is difficult (just try it, and you’ll see what I mean). 6 mm in the 12th fret of low e string and 5 mm in the 12th fret of high e string(I have an acoustic guitar)Is this the reason for muted barre chord? You’re currently at double that height, so lower that action as soon as possible. 2. Poor guy! We only measure string height under the two outer E strings  (thickest and thinnest strings). Action at the 12th fret So if you only set the action on the low E and High E… what happens to the all the other strings? Sometimes, if you pull the saddle out, you might find little wooden shims under it. I’m already getting a tiny bit of fret buzz so I can’t lower it any further. Further lowering only causes the problem to radiate outwards in a growing circle from that spot until everything from about the 14th fret onward to the 24th fret all go dead (though above the 12th it’s great.) Some players like medium action, and some like it high. When I was a teenager, I attempted to spot level a high fret (had the same kind of buzzing as you–in just 1-2 spots) and screwed it up. Action at the 1st fret And with that piezo system in there, I wouldn’t want you to muck anything up. (Or put a capo at the 1st fret and press a string down at the highest fret — the string becomes the straightedge.). 2. Now, do the same exact thing for the treble side: In reality, I don’t actually “measure” string height at the 1st fret anymore, nor do many experienced guitar techs or luthiers. So, you can try that first if you’d like without much risk. Brett: No, the scale length doesn’t dictate what your action should be, so set it where you like it. Since a complete fret job is what we normally recommend, be ready for that suggestion. In other words, you’ll have to take the saddle out of the bridge and place the paper shim underneath it–and you’ll want it actually under the high E string (the far end of the shim), not under the B string, otherwise the saddle might rock like a seesaw. 2) shaving some height off the saddle (only shave off the flat underside, never the top). Our knowledge base contains over 28,000 expertly written tech articles that will give you answers and help you get the most out of your gear. Action at the 1st fret I’m not sure if that was clear from my previous explanation, but you definitely don’t want anything on the top of the saddle (between the saddle and the string). The action … The fact is, a “good” string height is whatever feels good to you. Hi, I’ve setup my electric guitar with a tad of relief, around 8 thou measured with a feeler gauge and have set the action height at 2mm low e at the 12th fret as well as 1.75mm at the 12th high e (tune o matic bridge). .125" Bass E You’ll have an unbiased measurement for your action. come from the factory with fairly high action. But what if you go to far and ruin the nut!? Any time I’m talking about measuring action on an electric guitar or bass (we’ll get to acoustics in a little while), I always recommend fretting or capo-ing at the 1st fret while you measure the action at the 17th fret. .090" How to determine string action with the String Action Gauge. Those aren’t bad action measurements. Trouble viewing video? In the video he recommends shaving the nut slots down until a low unfretted action is achieved. If so, filing-down a saddle is the main way we lower the action on an acoustic guitar. Just my personal opinion/preference though. Close sometimes, yes, but never exactly the same. We’re dealing with very small, very precise measurements here, and that’s why you need an accurate measuring tool like the String Action Gauge I’m using here: A string action gauge isn’t the only way to measure string height, but it sure makes life a lot easier. For more information on setups, including setup preferences of Yet when I take the video guy’s approach of measuring the string open, I’m still at about a .75 millimeter gap at my low (fat) E string. Soprano and Tenor Ukulele Next, measure the height under the highest (thinnest) string in the same manner. I mean, I’m just being picky here, the guitar plays good as it is now and I dont think my action is high. No need to worry though. But I still would like to get down to 2.00mm and 1.5mm, What I did was to adjust the truss rod a tiny bit and I got it exactly to: And not really sure what to do in the case where 3 or 4 frets in a row buzz. Now that you know the proper way to measure your guitar’s string height, let’s talk about some actual numbers. Just figured I’d share my current experience since it seems we’re both in the exploration stage of figured this all out.

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