Adjusting String Height and Action Setup


Hey guys, and welcome to a quick tip #2 today I’m gonna talk to you about string height. [glass breaking sound] and show you how I go about adjusting this with my own guitars String height is for me the most important part of a guitar setup and having perfect string height makes guitar playing much more fun and effortless And if it’s not set up to my preference, that guitar turns me off completely. And that has happened to me many times when I had gone into a music store just to try a random guitar and if the string height or action is off, that guitar totally turns me off. Some people like to have a slight bend to their neck and some like it more straight: some like low action, some like high action … Low action is for a lot of people a bit easier to play, while high action sounds a bit better and it’s easier to catch a note physically on the fretboard. Now, finding the sweet spot: you can either adjust the truss rod or the individual string height on the bridge of the guitar, but adjusting both in conjunction with each other is the best way to find that perfect setup. Now, for a lot of people, adjusting a truss rod might be a no-brainer, but for some this might be something you’ve never done before and if you’re scared to even touch the thing, then I would recommend going to a guitar tech and have him fix this. But it doesn’t actually hurt to know how to adjust the truss rod of your guitar. And also remember that this is how I prefer my guitar’s setup it might not apply to you, or you just have shitty taste, I don’t know. Just joking 😉 Now, I like having the truss rod of the guitar set up, so it gives almost a straight of a neck as possible. This of course might differ a bit, depending on what bridge you’re using and on this guitar I have an evertune bridge. And this is where you adjust the truss rod, you use one of these. This is a tool, truss rod adjusting tool, hex key basically, and if you bought a Solar Guitar, this comes with the guitar, okay? It’s in the package somewhere. You just put it in here and then you turn it either clockwise or counterclockwise. Counterclockwise [duck quacking] if you want to bend the neck like a banana and clockwise [duck quacking] if you want to straighten the neck. This neck is as straight as it can be right now, basically and if you want a small bend that would make kind of like a valley underneath the strings, you turn the hex key counterclockwise, okay? So, like this. But for me, like I said, I like to keep the neck pretty straight. And when it is relatively straight, I start checking the individual strings for dead spots and usually it’s up by the first fret, but you can often find somewhere on 12th to the 15th fret as well This of course can differ, for instance, if you have a levelled fret somewhere. On this one you can see it’s really even, and not a single fret poking up So, this is me looking for dead notes. [plucks string on each fret] And I do this for every string. [plucks string on each fret] Let me lower the string even more, just so you can experience how a dead note sounds like. So, let’s try again. [plucks string on each fret] I don’t know if you can hear, but here … [plucks string] we now have a dead note. [plucks string] So, the note does not ring out … [plucks string] … that clear. So this is where I would adjust the string height … [plucks string as adjusting string height] … Until I get a clear ringing note. [plucks string] Okay? So, then I do this for every string until I have a comfortable and even string height. And I don’t really go about measuring the action [punch sound] I just go by feel basically and when I’m smiling, the you know I hit the perfect string height zone. Let’s try it out. Alright [gurgles] [plays guitar] Okay. [plays guitar] That’s the smile, it means I’m happy. See? Doesn’t really get anymore complicated than that and that’s the way I do it when I set up my guitars and set up the string height, okay? Thank you so much for watching, please subscribe if you haven’t already and if you haven’t, I’ll come find you!

100 thoughts on “Adjusting String Height and Action Setup

  1. man i totlaly agree. A guitar setup badly puts me off. I've even had luthiers set up a guitar that just didn't feel right. It can be a pretty subjective thing sometimes.

  2. Very important: if you raise or lower the saddles you also need to intonate them again.

    In other words: correcting the distance between the nut and the saddle. You can do this by checking whether the note on the 12th fret is perfectly in tune and the exact same note as the open string (not flat or sharp for instance), followed by moving the saddle forward or backward if it needs to be corrected; this is usually done with a small hex key or Phillips-head screwdriver. Forward (towards the nut) is higher, backward (towards the bridge) is lower. Ofcourse each time you've changed a saddle (higher, lower, forward, backward) you need to retune your open string first before checking.

  3. Hi Ola. I'm playing left handed guitars, can you please tell me if the truss rod adjustment directions you refer to on your right handed guitars are the same way round for lefties or do you turn the opposite way? Dumb question I know, but… Cheers from the UK. Excellent channel btw!

  4. You’d also want to measure string height across the radius the neck has. If you really want to get it setup as crazy low as possible, buy a Stew Mac starter kit on amazon or something, they rule.

  5. thanks for this video! when you set up the action this way, do you take the fretboard radius into consideration at all?

  6. The people at Jackson need to watch this video. I bought a King V & an RR24 both from the factory in the $700 to $800 range each & the strings on both were a mile high. They're metal guitars & I don't know any metal players that like high action. Since that's been fixed I love both guitars.

  7. An easy way of adjusting the Truss Rod is…sit down..with your guitar in playin position…if you push the Allenwrench away from you (downwards)..the headstock will move away from you – less tension…if you pull the Allenwrench towards yourself (upwards) the Headstock moves toward you – higher tension

  8. Hey men. Im kinda losing my virginity on these subjects but how should i do it on an 8 string with 2 truss rods (legator headless). Thanks in advance

  9. Adjusting the saddle height and neck relief are great, but you will get so much more out of having the nut slots cut to the correct depth, lower action with no dead notes and better intonation across the whole fret board!!!

  10. This is just a marketing video of course. A video about how to tighten or loosen a screw. And that you like guitar to be good and not bad. Wow!

  11. I like it as low as possible. I don't mind a tiny bit of buzz actually. The main down side of keeping the action so low is that you are constantly fiddling with things to find the sweet spot. Temperature, humidity etc all have an impact when you have the action super close. Doesn't take much to go from a tiny taste of buzz to total loss of half your fretboard…. takes practice just like anything else.

  12. I have a feeling that lots of people are going to be breaking their necks from adjusting their truss rod improperly. When messing with the truss rod, you should only turn it 1/4 of an inch at most at a time (or at least until you know the guitar well and what you are doing). Let it sit and naturally adjust for a minute or two and play a little just to let the neck settle. If it's not set to your liking, rinse and repeat. Just remember that it's wood (the neck and most likely the body) and keep in mind how tension and weather can and will affect it. You can adjust the truss rod and have the neck feel great but the next day it could be very different. I usually let it sit for the night if I'm setting up a new (or horribly setup) guitar to let it settle and acclimate to whatever environment it is in. Keep that in mind as well. Lots of things to take into account like breaking in the strings during a setup and knowing that the guitar will most likely not be the way you had it setup the next day due to basic physics and weather. Even if you only adjust the truss rod, the neck will probably need very fine adjustments the next day. Another thing is don't just fret every string to see if there are dead frets. It could be fine until you bend a string and notice it will fret out at a certain point. So make sure you bend at all frets after you check each one for dead spots. The ones that seem to be snuffed out are usually higher up the fretboard but it can happen anywhere. Good luck and keep on chuggin!!

  13. 2mm on the low E string.. that's quite high.. none of my guitars are that high and they all play and sound clear.

  14. Please come find me. You can set up my guitar right away then as you have proven how cometent you are at it. 😉

  15. Okay! Im sitting here and fool around.. Ive played my guitar with insane height for years now, wich have made it hard to keep some chords in tune. This because when adjusting To where I feel its perfect, when playing the lower tones I get this small buzz one second after, and thought this was bad, but when I hear you play now, where I can hear your actual guitar, I can hear your strings slap the neck the same way a eastern father is parenting his son. If you play the wounded strings normally do YOU still hear them buzz for a second?

  16. Ola! Big fan here! I bought a used IB RGA8. Decent guitar. Intonation and action is off. Somebody messed with it pretty hard.
    Is there a "starting spot" I can put the adjusters to before I set intonation? I've looked for paint Marks left from the bolt but it's been moved a few times. Thanks

  17. Lmao "Feel" 😂 it's. Funny Cuz I don't do that measurement bullshit.. What matters is that it plays like butter and that's all Cuz I do the same thing 😂

  18. I LOVE low action on the neck. So I ranked my Truss Clockwise as far as it would go. So then I had dead notes On the High E string 12 and down. So then I lifted the Saddle knobs w a flat head. The dead note went away….but it made my action too high on the high Es ect. Now what? Schector C-1 HR. Do those little mini screws attached to the saddle do anything for highth? ty

  19. The 1st fret of first two strings is not playing on my guitar what could be the problem truss rod or strinv height?? Please tell

  20. I usually only adjust truss rod if I have to go heavier strings for what ever reason but generally stick to the same brand and guage and only make the adjustment once when doing the first accurate set up.
    Saddle height to get rid of fret buzz and setting intonation to get harmonic/note pitch spot on.
    Low action for the thinner strings and slightly higher action for the chug strings.
    Clean notes for days!
    Remember when travelling in plane to loosen all strings off to relieve neck tension.
    Cheers

  21. Hi Ola, great and very useful video, thumbs up! I wanted to ask you, what is the better (safer) way for setting up the truss rod, with strings in tune or we need to loose them first? How do you prefer to do it? Most clips I watched, they say we have to loose strings first. In my case, truss rod is not the same when I loose the strings (it looks pure flat) and when the strings are in tune (I see little curve). Thanks!

  22. Thanks for the Vid! I love to have kinda high action on my fender strat and very low on my charvel. i find the lower the action, the faster i can play rhythm parts and the higher the action, the easier i can do unison bends. is it true that the straighter the neck, the better overall tuning or does it matter?

  23. I prefer medium action apparently. I thought I preferred low, but after meeting a guitarist who played with low action, he showed me mine was medium because his grazed the top of the frets.

  24. hey thats a beautiful guitar!!!!!! so if my strings are too high ,i adjust the trust rod clockwise to lower down the strings. is that right ????

  25. I just got an Agile 827 septor, and the action feels too high, and it has dead notes allover 11-15
    especially on E, D and G (high strings) sometimes you cannot hear it, if I add reverb or a lot of distortion or I am playing fast, but it is hard to play fast when the strings either die when I press down hard (cause I have to cause the action is too high)
    Should I still lower the action? or will this create more dead spots…?

  26. Leave this job for guitar engineer!!!
    In UK they tak 60£ while you wait. (Manchester)
    I don't recommend to play with their guitar setup on your self.
    Hail

  27. NICE VID DUDE BUT i still cant get this if i wanna lower the strings of a guitar i go clockwise with the trust rod?..is that right?

  28. how could you set up the guitar like that,if you have that constant pressure on the neck(have the guitar layed down like that)? why not adjusting the guitar on its normal condition.the condition we play?

  29. I have a floyd rose,and my action doesn't move,i rotate the allen wrench but nothing change,what do i have to do?

  30. which desk is that I need to get a new one for my office with a lot of space (wide) to put my laptop and Helix LT on and have my reference monitors on a riser like you have and the monitor screen on the riser as well. keep it up Ola

  31. I found a Dimebag guitar at a garage sale for $50. Truss rod is broken and the string height is so fucked the first fret buzzes like a beehive. Sad days

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