Jump to content
gasbag

A Question About String Height.

Recommended Posts

gasbag    54

First, I did a search on this subject and I couldn't find anything that made a light bulb come on for me.

In my case that could also be a filament problem, but I digress..........

I am curious as to the relationship between tone, resonance etc. and the height of the strings from the plane of the sound hole on an acoustic instrument. I have been told that it is an important factor to consider when doing a setup but I have never found out why and how to determine the proper height.

I always thought string height was dictated by ease of playing, the lower the better and still avoid fret buzz. The height of the strings relating to quality of tone was brought up in a discussion with a friend. They of course had no idea why it is important either.

I know so little about guitars I shouldn't legally be allowed to own one, so this is news to me. Is this distance critical, arbitrary, just arrived at by ear or ignored and "go for the ease of fingering".

Any responses will be appreciated. My curiosity must not be denied........... :tongueyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
eddiez152    129

One factor of string height is the detuning of a string by an action too high. Pulling down a string is similar to the bending of a string. Now imagine how the tone would be if each one were pulled too little or too far. Chord tones would be out of whack. Make sense? I believe it will fall into the category of

intonation. Also the vibration of the sound board can be affected. Too low an action of course would mean string buzz and that would prevent the

correct vibration to the sound board.

There is a lot of discussions on string height dims out there.

Ease of playing by having the correct action is probably everyone's first quest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
gasbag    54

Thanks for the replies folks and the links. I have been reading a lot and am still figuring it out. So far I haven't found anything relating to quality of tone when applied to the string height EXCEPT the stretching of the string when a finger presses it to the fret.

What brought this up was someone, who should know, said to me that the height of the string from the soundhole can affect the tone. Thinking about it made sense, but I didn't know why.

I should more than likely stop thinking. :helpsmili

I am probably being anal again, but it was an interesting subject for me. It sounds like adjusting string height should be aimed at comfort and ease of playing only. If I get caught up in these technical "what ifs" my brain could explode. That would not be good.

Oh yeah, a scalloped fretboard. Now that's all I need. My tuner would burst into flames in 3 seconds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
eddiez152    129

Remember, the sound comes out of the hole, not into it. You have seen guitars with the sound hole in another location or no sound holes at all except for those funny looking f's on each side of the strings like a violin. It the vibration of the saddle or sound board or top that pushes the sound out of the hole. for the most part.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GotDeeBlues    3

GB: the LAST thing you want is to stop thinking. That's learning the instument as well as the music and is a good thing. The object is to learn what we can, then apply the important stuff to what we do. and keep the rest as interesting knowledge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
karcey    42

What brought this up was someone, who should know, said to me that the height of the string from the soundhole can affect the tone. Thinking about it made sense, but I didn't know why.

You've been hearing that a guitar with a low action won't sound as good as a guitar with a higher action. (Leave buzz right out of the discussion for the moment.) And that a higher action gives a clearer, stronger sound.

Well that's been argued for years, and for all I know it may be right.

But the one thing I know that is right, is that if you're playing with an action that suits your style, and the string height feels good in your hands, your music will be much better than if you were playing an uncomfortable guitar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mattz196    15

You've been hearing that a guitar with a low action won't sound as good as a guitar with a higher action. (Leave buzz right out of the discussion for the moment.) And that a higher action gives a clearer, stronger sound.

Well that's been argued for years, and for all I know it may be right.

But the one thing I know that is right, is that if you're playing with an action that suits your style, and the string height feels good in your hands, your music will be much better than if you were playing an uncomfortable guitar.

Interesting subject , have certainly heard before (don't know where) what Karcey has relayed above re stronger sound, would have to say I have raised the action on my Maton of late and couldn't hear any difference, though the change was fairly marginal.

Actually found I had the action a bit to low and fretting close to the nut felt a bit strange ,wasn't buzzing just didn't feel right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
eddiez152    129

Karcey,

Made an interesting point. I have noticed the differences in action by the simple use of the capo in various position and how they affect tone, resonance, and action.

Also took note of the affects of string bend on the tuner resulting from higher or lower action simulations. I will however mention nothing felt right with a higher action especially when my

fingers get caught on open string between the strings I depress. I think I said that right ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×