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R2Guitar

Action and Tone

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lorsban    2

Hey there,

There are cases where this is true: If your action is too low, you'll get buzzing. The note won't ring clear. If you raise the action, the note rings clearer, thereby improving the tone.

However, if there's no buzzing whatsoever to begin with, raising the action any more wouldn't make a difference unless it's very high, in which case, tone may suffer because you're not fretting the note well enough.

Just my two cents....

lorsban

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Hey there,

There are cases where this is true: If your action is too low, you'll get buzzing. The note won't ring clear. If you raise the action, the note rings clearer, thereby improving the tone.

However, if there's no buzzing whatsoever to begin with, raising the action any more wouldn't make a difference unless it's very high, in which case, tone may suffer because you're not fretting the note well enough.

Just my two cents....

lorsban

true, but i think his question was about tone not fretting problems.... but i like the way you think!;)

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hb    0

There were posts about this issue on another web site and MANY of them mentioned that if they got their action too low that they didn't get the tone that they got from a slightly higher action. So I guess that there must be something to it or so many would have not stated this. IMO, one must really have a good ear or have been playing the guitar for decades to notice it. Either that, or the guitar in question was one that the action affected tone moreso than other guitars.

hb

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lorsban    2

I have a friend that raised the action in his guitar, saying that the string's vibrations are being impeded in some way without it buzzing. He said he got more sustain when he raised the action. I haven't heard it for myself so I'm not so sure.

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nicksdad12    0

Actually on an acoustic the string angle over the saddle does effect volume, but not necessarily "tone". The steeper string angle over a taller saddle causes more pressure on the soundboard and so more volume. There's an optimum angle for the strings. It's worth experimenting to find it. Too shallow = loss of volume. Too steep can break the bridge or saddle.

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starsailor    20

Good question R2, hadn't heard it mentioned either but I found this discussion in guitar player that may be of interest, these guys think it does make a difference, it is a bit more of an effort if the action is higher, I think it may be more of a struggle on an acoustic than an electric, electrics just seem easier to fret, most of these guys think a higher action is a sacrifice worth making for better tone, hope this helps a bit.

Carl Verheyen on Action vs. Tone

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Dewy    0

A couple of points on this topic...

One, action is relative to string size... and string size is very relative to tone. Part of that change is with a "thinner" string you can bend and slur easier, which would have the playing style changing the tone as compared to a "different" setup.

Next we should consider aggression. Sometimes I quite vigorous with my Thick purple pick during passionate song passages. I have to compensate for that on my guitars with a higher action. So lowering the action would "affect my tone" by restraining my playing and distracting me from my focus.

So I would think that everyone has a "better tone" on a guitar set up at the action/ string gauge that works best for them.

In this regard there is a significant change in my tone over the Dean acoustic I own and have set up for my playing preferences... and an Identical one at the store set up "differently". But do we give credit to the set up of the guitar... or the player? Which really changes the tone more?

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