Acoustic guitar string height

Acoustic guitar string height

Beginning guitarists are faced with a problem – the guitar is uncomfortable to play. One of the reasons is the unsuitable height of the strings on an acoustic guitar for a musician.

For an acoustic guitar, the first string should be located at a distance from the threshold of the 12th fret and approximately 1.5-2 mm, the sixth – 1.8-3.5 mm. To check this, you need to count the distance from the 1st to the 12th fret , and then attach the ruler to the nut. In addition to the 12th fret a, the height of the strings is determined at the 1st fret y: it is measured in the same way. The normal arrangement of the first string is 0.1-0.3 mm, the sixth – 0.5-1 mm.

Adjusted string height above the fretboard of an acoustic guitar allows for comfortable playing, which is important for beginners.

Wrong string height

If the distance from the strings to the fretboard and on an acoustic guitar, classical, bass or electric instrument is adjusted incorrectly, then the musician needs to clamp the strings with great effort.

They also cling to the frets , making a rattling sound.

Problem symptoms

The height change is due to:

  1. Low saddle : the wrong location of this part spoils the sound of the strings at the first frets .
  2. High saddle : this is felt when playing the barre, on the first frets ah. The guitarist grips the strings harder, and the fingers get tired quickly.
  3. Incorrect position of the nut : low – the strings touch the neck a, high – they rattle.
  4. Nut dimples : A common problem with electric guitars. Excessively wide or deep string seats distort the sound, not deep enough cause rattling.
  5. Fretboard deflection a : often found in acoustic instruments – the strings ring, it is difficult to take the barre. High humidity and improper care lead to neck deflection , so the part changes the degree of deflection and the distance between the neck and the strings is incorrect.
  6. Stand deformations : the part located on the deck does not connect well with it.

What factors affect the deformation

In addition to the details of the instrument, the height of the strings is changed by external influences:

  1. Humidity and air temperature : Excessive indicators negatively affect the neck in the first place . The guitar is made of wood, which is sensitive to high humidity, excessive dryness, and temperature changes. Therefore, the instrument must be transported and stored correctly.
  2. Wear : A guitar loses its appearance and quality over time. Low-quality products quickly suffer from age. The musician has to buy a new instrument.
  3. Big load : occurs when large-gauge strings are installed on the guitar that do not match the tunings of the instrument. Over time, the neck bends due to the force of tension and moves away from the strings.
  4. Buying new strings : You need to purchase products that are suitable for a particular instrument.

Acoustic guitar string height

Problems on the new tool

A newly purchased guitar may also have defects. They are associated with:

  1. Manufacturer . Budget products turn out to be of high quality, but samples, the cost of which is too low, from the first minutes of the game let you know about the problems. Often problems are associated with the fretboard , since this part of the guitar is subjected to the greatest stress.
  2. Store storage . Not every warehouse provides proper storage conditions for guitars. When the instrument rests for a long time, the neck may buckle. Before buying a tool, it is worth checking it out.
  3. Guitar delivery from other countries . While the tool is being transported, it is affected by humidity and temperature fluctuations. Therefore, the guitar must be properly packaged.

How high should the strings be on a classical guitar?

A classical instrument equipped with nylon strings should have a height between the first string at the 1st fret y 0.61 mm, at the 12th fret y – 3.18 mm. The height of the bass, sixth, string on the 1st fret y is 0.76 mm, on the 12th – 3.96 mm.

Advantages and disadvantages

high strings

The advantages are:

  1. Ensuring clean playing, high-quality sounding of chords and individual notes.
  2. Clear vibrato play.
  3. Proper fingerstyle game.

High strings have the following disadvantages:

  1. Vibrato when playing in the style of ” blues ” is difficult to extract.
  2. The chord doesn’t sound the same.
  3. A single note sounds with a characteristic click.
  4. It is difficult to play a fast passage or play a chord block with a barre.

Acoustic guitar string height

low strings

Acoustic guitar string heightLow strings provide:

  1. Easy string clamping.
  2. The unity of the sounds of a chord .
  3. Simple performance of micro -bands .
  4. Easy playing of fast passages.

At the same time, because of the low strings:

  1. It turns out fuzzy sounding of the chord a, since it is impossible to emphasize on one note.
  2. There is a risk of mixing fast passages.
  3. It is difficult to perform standard vibrato.
  4. The articulation of the a chord becomes more difficult .

Two guitars with different string heights

A musician who is serious about learning to play the guitar should try both string positions – high and low. More often, beginners start with a classical guitar with a low string setting: it is more convenient, because the fingers do not hurt, the hand does not get tired so quickly, and you can learn to play chords . But in order to perform serious pieces of music, one should be able to play the high strings. Here the requirements change, ranging from setting the fingertips and ending with the speed of the game.

Getting rid of old skills and acquiring new ones is a laborious and time-consuming process. If a musician has been playing low strings for a long time, it will be difficult for him to get used to an instrument with a high string position. Therefore, it makes sense to purchase two guitars with different string fixation, and alternately try your hand at different instruments.

You can change the position of the strings on one guitar, but it is laborious and inconvenient.

Standards for other guitars

Electric guitar

The standard height of all strings of this instrument is the same – from 1.5 on the first string to 2 mm on the last.


The distance between the neck and the strings on this instrument is also called action. According to the standard, the fourth string should have a height of 2.5-2.8 mm from the neck , and the first – 1.8-2.4 mm.

How to lower the strings

Acoustic guitar string heightTo lower the strings, perform several actions. They are effective in the standard situation, when the bridge nut of the guitar has enough space, and the neck is not damaged or defective.

  1. The ruler measures the distance between the bottom of the string and the top of the 12th fret .
  2. It is necessary to loosen the strings in order to free the neck from them . The strings are fixed from below with an improvised means – for example, a clothespin.
  3. The anchor is brought into position so that it does not affect the neck : you need to scroll and find a position in which it scrolls effortlessly, and leave it.
  4. The wood of the neck is given time to assume its natural position. The tool is left for 2 hours.
  5. With the help of an anchor, the neck is straightened as evenly as possible . It is convenient to control the desired position with a ruler.
  6. The height of the bone is adjustable. From its original value, measured at the beginning, the height is removed – half a millimeter or a millimeter, as much as the musician needs. This will come in handy file, grinding wheel, sandpaper, any abrasive surface.
  7. The bone is ground down until the strings lightly touch the frets . Then they are installed back. The neck has to “get used” to the new position of the strings, so the instrument is left for two hours.
  8. The last step is to tune the strings and check the playing. A sign of quality work is when the strings do not touch the frets . If this happens, you need to slowly and carefully pull the neck to the body.

Possible errors and nuances when setting up

The need to cut grooves for stringsThis is done with special files or needle files. The thickness of the cut must exactly match the thickness of the string, otherwise they will move apart, which will affect the quality of the game. Therefore, it is not recommended to saw through the grooves with the first object that comes to hand.
When is it better not to touch the saddleUnless the musician plays beyond 3rd position and has no good reason to remove this part, it is better to leave it.
What is more difficult to sharpen – bone or plasticThe bone nut is more difficult to sharpen, therefore it requires patience. But the plastic one needs to be sharpened carefully and not in a hurry, since it can be easily sharpened and there is a risk of overdoing it.

Summing up

The distance between the strings and the neck on an acoustic guitar, classical, electric or bass instrument is a characteristic that affects the quality of the performance and the sound produced.

The strings on acoustic and other guitars are measured at the 12th fret .

Depending on the value obtained, it is increased or lowered.

The main criterion for a suitable height is to make it comfortable for the musician to play the instrument.

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