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EXT37T8UN5ERF1!

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Apr 12, 2014
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26
Hola everybody.
My question concerns strings a bit again, but not the gauges: this time, it's about action.
I love the feeling of high action strings, and I just found out that Jimi Hendrix had an action (12th fret) of about 1/2 an inch (=12.7 millimeters). I'm going to move to D'Addario EXL 148 soon. But of course, guitar action has a limit: far too high= there will be tunings problems and bigger chances of the strings breaking. I'm trying to figure out how Hendrix had such a high action. Do you get higher action if the string gauge is lighter? and vice versa if the gauge is heavier? I know you can adjust the saddles at the bridge, but can you do anything else in order for the guitar to achieve an even higher action without the strings breaking or tuning problems? (Truss rod adjustments? Bridge adjustements?etc?).
I'll be very grateful for any replies regarding this subject. (the main idea is to get better sound really, and make it as difficult as possible really (in order to get use to them)).
 

TNT

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Oakland - Raider Nation!
interesting?? Are you "sure" Hendrix had that high of action, I can almost guarantee you he didn't, nor was it even close to that?

If you go too high you finger will actually go "under' the string when you bend. Not only that it really takes the guitar "physics" out of wack.

What exactly is it that you like about extremely high action?
 

EXT37T8UN5ERF1!

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You're right: I'm not too sure if he always used it, but this is a comment I saw(copied and pasted): ''I saw one photo of Hendrix warming up backstage and the action was outrageous on the guitar he was playing, literally 1/2" from the frets. On the other hand when you look at the Woodstock video, Hendrix' action was very low and slinky, otherwise it would have been impossible to do the things he did, an observation that applies to much of Hendrix playing.''
The thing is that higher action generally gives the sound more boom (more punchy), more sustain, and I noticed a slight difference when I got a guitar tech to increase the height. It's good training as well: a lot of guitars I found here and there have either slightly low action, or medium action. This would be useful, because there's a mini concert nearby that takes place every month, and playing there for me would be a lot easier (it's seriously difficult for me too play with control when playing in front of a crowd). What's more, is the feeling of higher action, feeling the stronger vibrations under the fingers.
 

EXT37T8UN5ERF1!

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Apr 12, 2014
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Yes it's true, the fingers will likely go under the string next to the one you're fretting when bending, but I usually find ways to prevent these problems. I started on a classical guitar, and it just feels right to play with high action.
Just wondering, when you say ''takes the guitar ''physics'' out of wack'', what do you mean? Are these problems that could arise if the action's too high?
 

TNT

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Well, generally speaking the lower the string action to the neck the more it forces the neck straight ahead "Into" the body of the guitar. The higher the string action (and extremely high e.g., 1/2") will force the headstock to absorb the huge amount of pull that develops upward and over the body of the guitar.

This actually has an opposite effect of sustain as you desire. The stength of a guitar neck is from headstock to base of neck (vertical). Bending a neck in the middle of the neck does not meet with a huge amount of resistance (thus the need of a truss rod).

good luck
 

EXT37T8UN5ERF1!

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Joined
Apr 12, 2014
Messages
26
Ok then, thanks, I won't go too high. :) Apparently, they go out of tune when the action is too high, though I'll go for the highest until there is very little chance of creating any problems. High action just feels good: there's a bit more sustain, tone, and it's good for octave and tap harmonics.
 
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