String action height

Im just curious how high everyone sets their action?


cant give the exact height but i am no longer on the search for the most,minimal,tiniest,microscopically still detectable, pancakeflat lowest action ever while still playable. I play in the medium range now, where about two or three 1cent pieces (€) on top of each other would fit between fretboard and string (ignoring the frets).

I think thats mostly due to better synchronistion but i also shamefully have to admit that the necks of both of my guitars are really out of shape, hopefully not beyond repair but no longer fixable by adjusting the rods. So i tried to make the sound cleaner by raising string action multiple times over the last months and got used to higher action. Will need professional help soon, it didnt fix the problem, just made it more bearable.

I dont get the guys who play high string actions, though, and i never will and i dont trust them.

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I set mine to what I would call medium on most of my guitars, more or less at fender USA factory specs or a touch above.
Higher and the intonation suffers, and lower it gets too buzzy for me even with a good fret dress.

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I go till I have buzzing then I raise it up enough to just get a little bit in certain areas


1.5mm on the treble side, 2mm on the bass (for 6 string), just slightly more relief than none

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The problem is that “action” depends on several things:

The neck curvature/relief
The nut height
The neck angle
The fret condition
The neck radius
The saddle height

On a standard Strat with:

a straight neck (zero or next to zero relief)
low nut
good neck angle
good fret condition
9.5” radius

Measured at the 17th fret (from underside of string to top of fret, while holding down the string on the 1st fret with finger/capo) you can have between 1mm-1.75mm on the high E and 1.5mm-2mm on the low E.

The higher it is, the lower the fretbuzz and the cleaner and more sustain your bends have.

Personally I like it around 1.7mm for high E and 2mm for the low strings.


On my last guitar it was about 4mm (a 12th fret).

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I have no idea, actually. For me I have three basic goals while setting action:

  1. Have it as even as possible across the neck, so action at the 5th fret doesn’t feel radically different than at the 17th.
  2. Have it high enough that when I bend a note, I feel like I have a good “grip” on the string, and furthermore I don’t feel and hear it choking out on the bend.
  3. Not have fret buzz audible through the amp, and have as minimal as possible (preferably no) buzz while playing unplugged.
  4. Have low action, as low as feasible without jeopardizing #2 and #3.

I’m probably somewhere in the 2-2.5mm realm for the open E strings at the 22nd or 24th fret, but honestly I haven’t actually bothered to measure - for me I set it mostly by feel.

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2.5mm through and through on a YJM tuned to Eflat.

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Assuming near zero-relief, near zero-fret nut height, and near even frets, I like 1.50mm all the way across all strings at the 12th fret that gradually taper to 1.75mm at the 17th. Provides enough next fret clearance to have the right amount of fret buzz and escape to avoid fretting out near the heel of the neck. For the vintage 7.25" radius Fenders, a faux radius on the frets with the high E action just slightly higher than the B works. For Gibsons those two adjustments aren’t necessary.


You are right and i should be more precise when talking about technical details.

I guess the tone of my post reflects my lazy attitude the hardware-part.