Preferred String height/Action?

A discussion of techniques, and equipment for guitar. Fretted, bottleneck or slide, acoustic or electric, this is the place.

Preferred String height/Action?

Postby the_big_crunch » Tue Jul 11, 2006 8:42 pm

Just curious where most of y'all set your action when playing slide.

I've been learning on a piece of junk Rhapsoby that a friend bought from a guy on the street for $5 about 15 years ago. He bought it, never played it, and then one day brought it over to my place for a jam, just for the hell of it (he normally plays banjo). The action is pretty high (almost unplayable really) but that makes playing slide very easy because you never have to worry about bumping frets. Furthermore, it actually sounds pretty good and has some reasonably strong volume. Anyway, I've been thinking about getting the action lowered because as I have started learning some non-slide phrases from Brozman's book, I have found that fretting can be fairly taxing on my hand given the string height.
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Postby stratman_27 » Tue Jul 11, 2006 10:12 pm

I would say I prefer my action medium that I can comfortably fret notes but get good tone from the slide. The trick I found is to learn to have a light touch on the slide and any guitar can be a slider. The action on my Les Paul is extremely low but plays great with a slide. Can't say the same about my strat but the Les Paul has a flatter fretboard.
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Postby houndog » Wed Jul 12, 2006 8:23 pm

Big C,
Don't play slide on _beater_guitars , it's a popular misconception when starting out.

Something like this formula ...Blues=rough and ready=cheap guitars=high action=slide.

I think about 75% of slide tunes I play are fretted ( rough estimate taken over the last two gigs).

Play slide on the best guitar you have, makes sense really when you think about it.

adios,
Lovat
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Postby bluesmcgoo » Wed Jul 12, 2006 8:45 pm

On all my resos, I use medium Newtone strings (.013's) and I like the action to be right around 1/8" at the twelfth fret - give or take a 64th.

And H-Dawg's right. The more I play slide, the less I play slide. (what?) Actually the more I fret WHILE playing slide tunes.
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Postby houndog » Thu Jul 13, 2006 6:59 am

B Mc,
The Zen approach to the essennce of slidification :lol:

Houndogic Yogic Logic
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action

Postby cowboyjake » Fri Jul 14, 2006 4:51 pm

I play a fender acoustic, and it was just set up standard, and I didn't wanna mess with a good action, so Ididn't--no point in going someplace when ya don't know what yer doin.--Ifound too, that using the slide light and smooth got me a sound most folks don't mind listening to
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String action

Postby slickcat » Sat Jul 15, 2006 6:28 pm

All three of my guitars are set at 1mm @ 1st fret. (measured from the top of the first fret to the bottom of the 6th low E string)
And 4 mm At the 12th fret. (measured the same way) Any higher at the nut causes the note to go sharp when fretted at the first fret.
Any lower at the 12th and I get fretting out with a heavy slide.
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Postby houndog » Sat Jul 15, 2006 10:53 pm

Actually,
having just come back fro a couple of gigs....can I just add that it is all about energy transfer and little to do with anything else, really.

By this I mean that the angle of strike, the left hand and right hand muting, both or independent of each other or in anticipation of each other, the position of strike , and if the strike is from the front of the pick or the side of the blade, a pinch strike or a claw strike , alternating bass strike with the above or a choke strike employing the left hand with the behind slide muting or the palm muting , or both or neither at the same time before finding the note that is before the one I am going to play.

And then there is the string variables, as the same note played in the above configuration on different a string, will not , ever play the same. This will make sense on the thickest string.

And then there is the ratio between strike , fret/slide position and the length of the string/s, are different as the harmonic interplay can , and will produce a variance.

As I try and play the shorter the string the strike should be near the median to provoke a energy on the median, but not the node as the harmonic overtones are fairly uncontrollable unless you like poodle rawk.

Then there is the question of energy transfer in that the slide is a moveable fret and greater energy can be reproduced depending on the relative equation beteen the strike, muting ( L or R or both ) muting before the string is struck, after , or as usual during the strike.

Then there is the mass of the slide, the position of the strike relative to the moveable maas and the fixed maas ( bridge), the muting and the move towards an increase in vibrational energy ( slide up ) or a decrease in slide string energy ( slide down).

So I suppose your question is one of many interesting ( and there is more ) quantifiable variations and for many slide starters the one they seem to start with ...why ...who knows.

Have fun , think about the above, and then do it all in a gig.

adios,
Lovat
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Postby ricochet » Sun Jul 16, 2006 12:09 am

Or just do it. :lol:
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??

Postby slickcat » Sun Jul 16, 2006 12:43 am

Houndog... ... :?: ...:? ... dang boy must be a nuclear physicist.
But from what I understood of that ...I will agree to everything but the height of the nut. That is critical. :wink:
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Postby ricochet » Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:19 am

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Postby houndog » Sun Jul 16, 2006 11:08 am

Hell yeah,
As Brother Grady would say...it's awesome that we get anything played really looking at my list :wink:

But I suppose that what I was trying to say is that ;

String height is one of many variables and that I find it easier to play heavy string + higher action

But it is feasible to play slide on lower strings, the energy used to strike the string would have to be less, but I think you would have to turn your amp up to compensate.

adios,
Dr Arfenbarf
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Re: ??

Postby houndog » Sun Jul 16, 2006 11:16 am

slickcat wrote:Houndog... ... :?: ...:? ... dang boy must be a nuclear physicist.
But from what I understood of that ...I will agree to everything but the height of the nut. That is critical. :wink:


Interesting,
I asked a player about a brass nut a while back ...but not being a slider he didn't understand that this is an important part of the energy sustain formula.

I have never touched the nuts on my guitar ( steady Rico...steady lad) but have always used the adjustable bridge on my accoustics ( which most gtr techs don't like ...but they will have to prise them from my cold dead hand etc) mainly as I fret a lot and raising the nut would make that more difficult as most fretting ( and worry :wink: ) happens on frets 1 to 7.

So Slickcat have you a good set up with the strings being raised at the nut ...does this mean that the action is the same height right across the length of the gtr?

adios,
Lovat
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Postby houndog » Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:40 pm

Anyhoo,
here is Doug and me and our " Opening Time" recorded on md at yesterday's Smokie Blues Fest.

As you can hear a lot of my playing is fretted.

Actually at 23 to 25 secs in you can here a genuine Houndog "arf" as I play a slide, fret, bend,slide combo ...the fretting actually sounds more slidey than the slide and I loved it.

Hence the big "arfs". :D

http://www.soundclick.com/houndogfraser

adios,
Lovat
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Postby ricochet » Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:58 pm

AAAAAAOOOWWROOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

That's some fine stuff!
8)
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