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Where the action is

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Re: Where the action is

Postby Wonks » Sun May 27, 2018 10:41 am

0.009"s seem to be the thinnest acoustic guitar strings available, so you'd have to use electric strings on an acoustic or get a custom set made if you really wanted 0.008"s.
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Re: Where the action is

Postby Alba » Sun May 27, 2018 3:25 pm

I wouldn't use an '8 to sew a button on my coat... I mean seriously.
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Re: Where the action is

Postby Wonks » Sun May 27, 2018 3:43 pm

Certainly not on acoustics. I started out with 8s on electrics (now use 10s) and of course Billy Gibbons and Tony Iommi are famous for using 8s (or even lighter at times).
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Re: Where the action is

Postby Alba » Sun May 27, 2018 6:48 pm

I go for 11s on the electrics and 12s on acoustics, even the 12-string. I find that anything lighter and i end up pushing the strings all over the place. Thought about trying some 12s on one electric when i make my next strings order.

Though one thing to consider is that different guitars do respond differently to different gauges and also different tunings. I have a parlour guitar that comes alive in dadgad and a dreadnought that seems to really respond perfectly tuned down a step and a half.

I used to be really anal about standard tuning but far more flexible now. Its really just about getting a nice sound and making nice music.

I'd say to the OP that its all about trial and error and being open minded about tunings and gauges, action, relief etc... general setup.

I mean if that means ending up with 8s and an action that is way off the factory specs but you're making beautiful music then what else can anyone want?
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Re: Where the action is

Postby SecretSam » Mon May 28, 2018 10:00 am

Interesting debate, chaps - thanks.

The first very-high-action guitar I saw was a concert classical guitar owned my teacher back in the 1970s. He had a very nice Jones (IIRC) as his day-to-day instrument, but something even more exotic for performances. I can't remember the maker, but he was proud of the fact that Segovia played guitars from the same luthier. The action was about a centimeter at the12th fret. The action on a high end classical guitar is not adjustable by anyone except Andy (probably), so it wasn't a mistake: the instrument had been made that way. Whether all posh classical instruments are set up that way, I can't say. In the less rarified part of the guitar religion, there are clearly very different views and priorities.

On basses, which are very much more my territory, I have seen the evolution both ways. Personally, I have drifted towards higher actions over the years, and a lot of high end basses give the player plenty of room to manhandle the strings. However, one of my teachers had a Ken Smith with an action so low that I literally couldn't get a note out of it when I was a beginner. He had it set up for speed and had lots of precision in his hands.

Each to his own. Except for those of you who are utterly wrong, of course.

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Re: Where the action is

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon May 28, 2018 6:21 pm

It's definitely worth considering that using not too dissimilar gauges on both electric and acoustic (for those of us who play both regularly) does make switching back and forth somewhat less difficult.
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