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 High Action vs Low action- Light Gauge Vs Heavy Gauge

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Posts : 393
Join date : 2009-03-27
Age : 59
Location : Chicagoland

PostSubject: High Action vs Low action- Light Gauge Vs Heavy Gauge   Thu Jul 30, 2009 4:15 am

On most of my basses I have the action set to as low as possible for fast, effortless playing but...

On my EB-0 the neck on them is set flat, no angle & the bridge does not go low enough for really low action.

The other thing is since it is short scale you need heavy gauge strings because of the low tension, or the strings are like rubber bands.

The plus side of this I am finding is, set up this way you get really nice sustain, ringing notes and tapping / hammer ons take a new fun dimension. The downside is it's harder to play really fast.

The other part I found real irony in is that the old two point bridge has nylon saddles and I get excellent sustain, growl & ringing tones on this bass. I thought it was going to be a dead thuddy sound bass, but I was way wrong.

Still it's interesting to have one bass set up like this. Its just really different from all my others. I read that Tom Peterson favors his basses this way.

Sperzel Locking light weight tuners.

Does anyone here like higher action & heavy gauge strings?
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Posts : 2197
Join date : 2009-03-22
Age : 27
Location : Kirkistan, WA

PostSubject: Re: High Action vs Low action- Light Gauge Vs Heavy Gauge   Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:57 am

I've been finding myself more and more comfortable with some setups I really wasn't expecting. My favorite basses:

On my Hamer (34" scale), I have .95-.40 steel rounds. Feels wonderful. I love how notes jump out with it set up like it is. The medium/light gauge and a medium-high action make a really great, dynamic feel. Since the tremolo isn't recessed, the strings are set as low as they can go. With any heavier strings, it's really uncomfortable to have them that high, but with the .95-.40s, it's a dream to play. And it's in EADG.

On my Destroyer (32" scale), I've got the lightest GHS strings I could find. This was before Rotosound released the Funkmaster set, making it easier to get a Rotosound set with a .30 G string. I don't think I can go back to a different setup with this bass. It doesn't do well with drop tunings, it already has killer bending action--I figured I'd make the most of it. So super light strings, medium/high action again in EADG.

My BTB has .45-1.05 nickel rounds tuned a half step down from standard. Due to your success with heavier strings, I think I'd like to give maybe some 1.10-.50s on here. First I need to put a P pickup in it, though. It's such a nice playing bass that I want it to sound good, too.
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Join date : 2009-03-22

PostSubject: Re: High Action vs Low action- Light Gauge Vs Heavy Gauge   Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:12 am

One thing I do like about high action, espcially with neck pickups(more espcially with Mudbucks) is that the notes don't get louder the higher up the board you get, I've had one or two basses do this to me in the past, and its annoying. This is another thing the Roscoe Beck pickups counter well.

I also like my action a bit higher on fretless basses, too low action on fretless sounds bad, to me.

High action is also a great practice tool, building strength and precision. Cool
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Join date : 2011-07-04

PostSubject: Re: High Action vs Low action- Light Gauge Vs Heavy Gauge   Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:47 am

I have extremely low action on all my basses and I use a super light gauge (90,70,50,30), EADG.
When I got my SR 506 with it's Kahler installed, my tech told me that he would like to see the action set a little lower (so would I) as top mounting the trem brought the action up a bit. Actually, it brought it up too much for my taste. Recessing the unit would solve this issue, but I would have to do some serious mods to my bass.

1. The bass's curves and concave make for tricky deep routing. Not impossible, just a bit scary.

2. The basses electronics had to be moved around a smidge to allow for the basic routing as it is. Dropping the unit would require additional electronic migration.

3. The output jack's position is slightly covered by the bottom right corner of the trem bracket. Some Sound Gear basses have a top mount, recessed jack (imagine a scalloped depression leading to the jack) that angles up towards the player slightly so the cable can be slung through the guitar strap and over the strap button. Lowering the trem any further would interfere with plugging in the bass. However, moving the jack would solve this and it is something I am considering.

There is an alternative to additional routing. The neck could be shimmed more. Fabricating a full neck pocket wedge that would fade to zero towards the headstock would help the action. This is something that my guitar tech has suggested. I don't have any gigs coming up soon, so I will be dropping off my bass to see what they can do.

I just can't get used to the med high to high action. after 30 plus yrs of super low action, it just feels like I'm playing a lap steel!
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