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Gibson String Height


jw3571
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The factory set up is sort of medium action. This is because it is easy to lower action by sanding the bottom of the saddle but to make it higher is more trouble: you need to shim it or use a new saddle. So it's better to start a little on the high side and carefully take it down to where you want it. Action is affected by many things, so no one can really tell you what is going on with your new guitar without seeing it up close. The best thing to do is take it to a luthier and get a professional setup based upon the type of playing you like to do. A luthier can also evaluate neck set, intonation and frets and other potential issues and this will help you decide if you want to keep the guitar.

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I find the action is high if I feel it is and only you should be the judge of your guitar. Taylors are laser quality accuracy when it comes to fit/finish and setup from the factory. Gibson as the other poster said come with higher then (what some people feel is) optimal action. But only you can be the judge of that. However, I will guess that you will want it lower since you are used to playing the Taylor? If that's correct, take the saddle down yourself a few 64ths and see if you like it better. Otherwise take it it a good guitar tech and have him/her do a personalized setup for you. Keep us poster on how you make out!

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I find the action is high if I feel it is and only you should be the judge of your guitar. Taylors are laser quality when it comes to fit/finish and setup from the factory. Gibson as the other poster said come with higher then (what some people feel is) optimal action. But only you can be the judge of that. However, I will guess that you will want it lower since you are used to playing the Taylor? If that's correct, take the saddle down yourself a few 64ths and see if you like it better. Otherwise take it it a good guitar tech and have him/her do a personalized setup for you. Keep us poster on how you make out!

 

That is high. Mine is 7/64. A good setup will find the right mix of neck relief/angle and saddle height.

 

Very worth it. The right setup will mean the difference between your living your guitar and hating it.

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That is high. Mine is 7/64. A good setup will find the right mix of neck relief/angle and saddle height.

 

Very worth it. The right setup will mean the difference between your living your guitar and hating it.

 

 

You are so right Sal.

 

I seem like to like 7 to 8/64ths action on the saddle side and a little high on the nut side because of my attack style. A 5* like Russo can easily make that happen which they did for me!

Now that Scott knows my playing style, I am going to have him redo the setup on my J200 (nut side)!

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The standard factory setup puts the action at an ok height, a tiny bit higher than I usually use. But that is on the factory floor in Bozeman or at nearby Music Villa. Once a guitar is shipped somewhere else the setup can and often does change for a variety of reasons, mainly humidity but some of it is the wood and glue structure settling into a stable position. It's hard to be certain what has happened to a guitar once it leaves the factory. It may have been stored at a less than optimum humidity. Sometimes people muck around with them or change the string gauge, etc.

 

In the end the guitar is a dynamic equilibrium of forces and bracing and glue and humidity such that action may settle at a slightly different spot than it was at the factory, once it has sat in your home environment for a few weeks. That's why we have luthiers. A decent setup can turn a balky, muffled guitar into an effortlessly played tone monster. Don't skip the setup.

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String height on a Gibson acoustic guitar should be 4/64 at trebile side and 6/64 at the bass side measured at the 12th fret when set at the Gibson factory. It's odd that the treble side is below spec and the bass side is way above spec. Either there is too much neck relief,too much humidity for your guitar, someone filed the saddle wrong. somthing is in the saddle slot and the saddle is not all the way in the slot, or your guitar needs a neck reset. Gibson would not ship a guitar from the factory with the set up this bad. Factory set string height for a Taylor guitar is 3/64-4/64 on the treble side and 5/64-6/64 on bass side. Martin guitars set the action at 4/64 on treble side and 6/64 on bass side.

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That's because the metrosexual fingers aren't calloused :)

Jk lol

IMO whenever you buy a guitar whichever brand you should have it set up to your liking anyway. If they are sent from the factory like that then the store music villa for instance should set them up. Music villa is probably one of the better ones every guitar that comes out on the floor is usually set up perfectly. They usually change all the tusq and pins to bone as well. Atleast in my experience.

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I know for a fact that Gibson QC lacks some times and that their acoustic guitars tend to come with higher then normal action as seen on just about every Gibson hanging in my 5*. Where as the same 5* has a dozen Taylors which all have low action. Taylor is laser accurate on their guitars across the board with all their specs but Gibson is more on the hand finished end of things so specs will tend to wander. My 416 measured 3/32 out of the box where my J200 was 5 to 6/32 when my tech initially set it up to 3/32 (which was too low for me BTW). My SWD was pretty close to the same before I installed a new TUSQ saddle I had laying around and it is now at 7 to 8/64s where I like it.

 

In my observations which are based on personal experience and reviewing over a dozen Gibsons and Taylors, I find it hard to believe that one can say Gibson would never ship a guitar with a high action setup.

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Bryn,

 

That's really interesting. But I have to say, I've never been in a guitar shop with both Martins and Gibsons where the string height has been the same. New Gibsons are nearly always higher than the other brands.

 

Taylors are the only ones that consistently set like a Telecaster.

Taylor guitars may sometimes have a lower action but a properly adjusted Gibson or Martin acoustic will play/sound just as good. I'm a Taylor guitar guy but It is hard to beat a Gibson that is set up right. There is somthing about the smell and feel of a Gibson that has me hooked. I just bought a Gibson Les Paul Standard two months ago. My next acoustic guitar will be a Gibson. I have been looking at a J-45 true Vintage or a Country Western Sheryl Crow but I played a Gibson Songwriter Deluxe (no cut away) that really spoke to me the other day. I also played a Dove that was amazing but the price is out of my comfort zone and it was just to pretty, Flame maple everywere. [smile]

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[snip]

 

In my observations which are based on personal experience and reviewing over a dozen Gibsons and Taylors, I find it hard to believe that one can say Gibson would never ship a guitar with a high action setup.

 

Oh wow, you checked out over a dozen Gibsons and Taylors! Was this all at one store? That is not much of a sample, you know. People on AGF and other spots will insist that Gibson quality control on action (and other issues) is inconsistent. Actually it is pretty consistent. I know that from checking out hundreds of guitars and spending time at the factory and Music Villa.

 

As long as the neck angle is good, it does not matter what the action is when you receive the guitar and it is better to get it a little high. Action is easily adjusted, especially when you are going lower.

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I know for a fact that Gibson QC lacks some times and that their acoustic guitars tend to come with higher then normal action as seen on just about every Gibson hanging in my 5*. Where as the same 5* has a dozen Taylors which all have low action. Taylor is laser accurate on their guitars across the board with all their specs but Gibson is more on the hand finished end of things so specs will tend to wander. My 416 measured 3/32 out of the box where my J200 was 5 to 6/32 when my tech initially set it up to 3/32 (which was too low for me BTW). My SWD was pretty close to the same before I installed a new TUSQ saddle I had laying around and it is now at 7 to 8/64s where I like it.

 

In my observations which are based on personal experience and reviewing over a dozen Gibsons and Taylors, I find it hard to believe that one can say Gibson would never ship a guitar with a high action setup.

Gibson , would not ship a guitar out of the factory with 9/64 bass 3/64 treble action.

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Gibson , would not ship a guitar out of the factory with 9/64 bass 3/64 treble action.

 

Totally agree. Anyone who has been there knows it. The thing is there are too many variables here. String heights can go all over the place due to humidity alone, even if the setup was absolutely perfect at the factory. What matters is neck angle, not action, on a received instrument. And no measured parameters mean anything unless you control for humidity.

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The action on my new HB seems fairly high especially as it moves up the fret board. The 12th fret measures 9/64ths with no strings depressed. It's around 3/64ths on the first fret. Is this high? My Taylor seems to much lower.

If you installed med gauge strings on your Humingbird it could raise the action. Gibson ships the Humingbird with light strings.

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Original poster here, I did not install medium strings. I took it to my tech today to the lower the action and put a bone saddle in. One thing I wanted to make clear, was that the treble measurement wasn't 3/64. I never measured the treble. I said that i was at 9/64 on the 12th fret and 3/64 on the first fret. Both measurements were on the low E string.

 

 

If you installed med gauge strings on your Humingbird it could raise the action. Gibson ships the Humingbird with light strings.

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Oh wow, you checked out over a dozen Gibsons and Taylors! Was this all at one store? That is not much of a sample, you know. People on AGF and other spots will insist that Gibson quality control on action (and other issues) is inconsistent. Actually it is pretty consistent. I know that from checking out hundreds of guitars and spending time at the factory and Music Villa.

 

As long as the neck angle is good, it does not matter what the action is when you receive the guitar and it is better to get it a little high. Action is easily adjusted, especially when you are going lower.

 

Let's see.

 

The Taylors were all spot on and pretty much identical (low action) across the models I looked at.

 

The Gibsons were (yes they were) consistent in their bridge action. Consistently very high. Although, the nut action on my SWD was too low. Neck angle and humidity does not cause that, rather the slots being cut too deep caused the .001 clearance fretted and .020 unfretted (low E). But then again, as you said, it did not ship from Gibson that way, so I guess the Martin and Taylor gremlins sabotage my guitar. [flapper]

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And yet you bought it anyway. [thumbup]

 

I'll be the first to say I love the guitar, it's just unfortunate that for a company that likes to state "only a Gibson is good enough" or "Prestige, Quality and Innovation" that it was amateur hour when it came time to install the nut and saddle and perform a proper setup.

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  • 5 years later...
On 11/25/2013 at 7:42 PM, Bryn6490 said:

String height on a Gibson acoustic guitar should be 4/64 at trebile side and 6/64 at the bass side measured at the 12th fret when set at the Gibson factory. It's odd that the treble side is below spec and the bass side is way above spec. Either there is too much neck relief,too much humidity for your guitar, someone filed the saddle wrong. somthing is in the saddle slot and the saddle is not all the way in the slot, or your guitar needs a neck reset. Gibson would not ship a guitar from the factory with the set up this bad. Factory set string height for a Taylor guitar is 3/64-4/64 on the treble side and 5/64-6/64 on bass side. Martin guitars set the action at 4/64 on treble side and 6/64 on bass side.

 I set up my Gibson Hummingbird early 60'  to  formula :  2/62 "  string height on first fret , 4/64 "  on 1st string ( 12 fret) and 6/64 " string height on 6 bass string ( 12 fret) . Strings I use now  = DR Sunbeams Acoustics extra light 10-48 .
This is actually Gibson factory setting that I find the best ( except for  factory strings gauge 12-54)

Regards

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