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Action height question (polling for preference, no tech)

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Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 12
Topic starter  

Sometimes my contact just feels spongy rather than bouncy. I'm not Allan Holdsworth but can that be a sign that my action is too low?

I'm playing with 9s. It's a Fender American Deluxe Strat.

Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 1196

key question is to find out when the feel is spongy and when it feels bouncy. It may be where you are playing on the fretboard, what string (due to gauge) you are playing, neck relief, etc.

It is a small world for metal fanatics. I welcome you fellow musicians, especially the metalheads!

Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1024

I hate nines...cuz to me, they feel 'spongy' especially on Med Jumbo frets. I prefer .10's and am thinking about going to .11's or .12's on a few of my guitars. My instructor uses .13's on his Tele and its not 'that' hard to play with them. Again the string tension on electrics is a lot less than acoustics.

Action wise I like it low.... low and smooth.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. - Wernher Von Braun (1912-1977)

Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2241

I'm anti-9s too, they just feel like elastic bands to me.

Got 10s on all my electrics (except my MIM tele which has its shop 9s 'cause I can't be bothered dealing with the nut until tey break). Looking to go up from that to 11s as soon as my hands are strong enough to deal with bending them - been playing more acoustic recently and trying to bend, so that should help somewhat.

action I like fairly low. but on strats, too low and I think it starts sounding bad. same quite probably goes for teles.

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5038

The scale length matters as well. I often play hard and percussively. So all my 25.5 in scale guitars (Fender-like) have 10s or larger. The height on every one is more than 'spec,' because they play and sound better that way -- especially when it comes to buzzing. I'm also too lazy to tweak the neck relief on over a dozen guitar seveal times a year. A little higher makes that less critical.

On my shorter scale electrics (25 in and less), it's 11s or 12s. Due to lower tension, these gauges feel as 10s and 11s will on a 25.5 in scale. Occasionally, I'll switch a guitar over to 12 or 13 flatwounds. With careful adjustment and maintenance, the combo of higher gauge and flatwounds allows much lower action than the livelier skinny round-wounds. Different sound for these different styles: jazz, 50s rock rhythm, surf

-=tension & release=-

Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348

same here. 10 -46. nines are spongy. comfortable, but too wimpy feeling. I like a bit of resistance for my bends.

Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 136

I like the action on my guitar about as low as it'll go before buzzing. Most importantly it can't choke the bends on the high notes!!! I find I get lost with higher actions (just a muscle memory thing, I guess).

Christine's wearing 9's at the moment, every other 'electric lady' I've got is wearing 10's. Put skimpier strings on her for an experiment & it's taken a while to get used to them - they felt akward & spongy at I think I like them. But I'm not fussy, 9-10's is fine.

"Who says you can't 'dive bomb' a bigsby?!"