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penny and dime test

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An American friend posted up a Matt Rainnes video (on the SongStuff Forum) and said it reminded him of 'the penny test' he did on guitars in the 80s.


I had never heard of this. The idea is to place a penny (a US cent actually) between the 12th fret and the strings. If it didnt slip through, the guitar had a fast action. A better test according to Mike was the dime test, as a dime is thinner.


Mike says that a penny is 0.0598 inches (1.52 mm) in thickness. And a dime is 053" (1.35mm) thick. Well I dont have any US coins and our uk pennies are thicker, but....


I sifted through the old family coin box and found a couple of old sixpences. One from 1949 and another from 1950 (these are Brian May plectrums BTW). I measured them with a micrometer and they measured up as follows.


1949 = .051" (1.29mm) at thickest point : edge

1950 = .055" (1.39mm) at thickest point : edge



I tried them both on 5 working guitars. None of which exhibit any fret buzz. To my surprise all gripped ok at the 12th fret.


These are the Deuce, the 339, the 650, the Less+ and the Esprit. The Less+ even gripped at the 22nd fret as the strings are close on parallel to the frets due to the adjustable nut.


I was pleasantly surprised. I didnt expect any of them to pass. :)


I hope this doesnt mean I've got to play fast now :unsure:

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Well that's fun test to try. I just happened to have a US penny and dime in my pocket from lunch change. My new Standard LP did not pass the test, may need some adjustment now that it has settled in for a couple months. My LP Lite however passed even the dime test as did my CS336 [tongue]


We will be expecting an Alvin Lee like sound bite from you [woot]

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Well someone has to say it - Yes. Yes it does. This is what happens when you get all technical and stuff. [mellow]





[lol] [lol] [lol]



Well the last bit of playing I posted up here was on a spanish guitar with an action you could trampoline on. The last bit of electric playing I posted was not nearly as technical though.

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Wow, that's some low action. My luthier always jokes about how stupidly low I like my action, so I figured there was no way the coins would slip through on mine. They all fell right through with the action at my preferred height of 1/16" at the 12th fret. I'm sure I'd have fret buzz if I went any lower, even on the ones with recent professional fret dressing. My Japanese ESP Edwards might have been able to do it, but I sold that one last year.

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