How low do you guys set your action at the 12th fret?

I bought all these tools, feeler gauges, rulers, allen wretches, capo etc to try to give my guitar the best setup possible. I’m wondering what action you guys prefer for shredding? I currently set mine at 1.5 mm at the 12th fret.

From what I read from most factory setup guides, most guitars should come with .3 mm truss rod relief at the 8th fret and 1.5 mm action at the 12th fret.

I know action is kind of a compromise between playability and tone, lower action == less desirable tone due to buzzing, higher action == better tone but more tiring and difficult to play.

As a community of aspiring shredders what action do you guys prefer? I’m thinking about even trying to go lower than 1.5 mm but I’m wondering how common that is to maybe go to like 1 mm.

I personally use action high enough that allows bends to not buzz out, and minimal buzzing down low in the frets. I’ve done all my own guitar setups (except for my archtop) and never used any measurements, just gone by feel. Seeing as you have the tools, I would recommend you experiment with the different variables and see what works for you!

what guitar, string gauge, what’s the rest of your tone chain? And what are the styles you play, and aspire to?

Harley Benton Fusion Floyd Rose, 9 - 42 gauge, modelling amp, overdrive, slight reverb.

Mainly aspiring to play like the artists frequently mentioned the courses here, gilbert, yngwie, vai, petrucci, eric johnson etc, the 80’s shredders.

I’m just wondering if 1 mm action is too low.

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honestly, I just set action by feel. I had to grqab a gauge to even see what I’m at, but on my Suhr I’m playing while browsing, first fret low E seems about 1mm, 12th fret probably juuuuuust under 2mm, 24th just under 2.5mm. My Strat is definitely a little higher than this, the guitar seems to breathe better that way. The Suhr here could probably go lower, but it feels comfortable to me so I dobn’t see the point.

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I used go really low but lately I’ve been going with 1.9mm Low e/ 1.5mm high e. Relief is at .25mm at the 8th fret. It feels so much more natural to me. Troy said that he uses 2.0mm Lowe/ 1.6mm high e on his guitars.


Sorry missed your post.

Ideally, you should just experiment with it.

1mm sounds low to me, the reason is the strings won’t breathe as Drew said, the other thing is you will lose bottom end in the tone and it could also be bright. Brighter due to effects of the frets being closer, it develops top-end frequencies, it may not have frett buzz but just brighter, sometimes its a good thing to dial in that top-end for a dark amp or guitar.

For Yngwie, he’s at 3.5mm or higher, but your guitar is not scalloped and you didn’t mention if you are using std. tuning, 3mm might work if you’re dropping a semitone. The thing is each one of those players are very different from each other, also your guitar I suspect is HB in the bridge? Try 1.5 to 2mm to start with. Pickup proximity is important too. On my LP type guitar, I adjusted the action about 5 times a day over a few weeks to find what worked for me.

Generally, the higher you go, the bigger the tone and sometimes it’s easier to bend too. Beyond a point, it gets uncomfortable and may not be able to intonate correctly. You will need to adjust your intonation with every change, but if you are doing a lot of experimentation, you could wait till you settle to do your intonation settings, also you may need to adjust your spring claw and truss rod.

The key is to experiment with what works for your situation. If you’ve never heard your guitar with higher action, do it just to know what it sounds and feels like with the rest of your tone chain.

.070" at the 12th on all my guitars.

1.5mm on the low E, 1.4mm on the high E. Neck relief of 0.05mm. 9-42 strings.

I suffer from long term tendinitis so need the action to be light enough so that I can play without pain.

I noticed recently that when I bend or use wide vibrato on the high e string, I catch the b string and it is audible. As If I intended to fret that note.

Is this something I should fix with higher action or work on left hand technique to fret notes more on the tips of the finger?

I actually don’t know how high the action is set and I’ve never adjusted action myself

Not really applicable, but the highest action I’ve ever seen a non-slide player use was Freddie Green. Dude’s action was insane.

My action is 1.60mm on all strings at the 12th fret. Not sure on my relief, but I would say it’s around .30mm at the 7th fret with the low E string fretted at the first and 15th fret.