Adjusting the string height at the bridge

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons, Tutorials & Tips' started by bob-bobby, Jan 20, 2005.

  1. bob-bobby

    bob-bobby Extinct or Banned!

    This measurement is taken from the top of the 12th fret, to the bottom of the string, generally with a small metal ruler. As a starting point, the following heights are factory recommendations:

    Specifics for Gibson Guitars - measurement is made at the 12th fret.
    Height - Bass side Height - Treble side
    5/64" 3/64"

    Specifics for Fender guitars - measurement is made at the 14th fret:
    Neck Radius Height - Bass side Height - Treble Side
    7.25" 5/64" 4/64"
    9.5" to 12" 4/64" 4/64"
    15" to 17" 4/64" 3/64"

    The height of the string is generally adjusted by turning small allen head screws in the individual string saddles, or by adjusting the treble and bass side of the bridge.A 64th of an inch seems like a small amount, but when you're talking overall string heights of 3/64 to 5/64, a 64th is a significant change! In general, the rule is that as you go from the high to low strings, there should be a gradual increase in height. If you have a fairly radiused fretboard, your strings should follow the radius of the fretboard. If your string height is seriously out of whack, then start by adjusting the thumbwheels on the bridge if you have a Gibson Tune-A-Matic style bridge, to bring it within the ballpark. Then make the fine adjustments using the individual string saddles. If it's pretty close to begin with, you should be able to make all the adjustments by just tweaking the string saddles. Turning the screws clockwise will raise the saddle, counter-clockwise will lower it.

    Note: If you have any high frets, or problems with your fretboard, you may not be able to achieve the optimum specifications without first having the problem resolved properly.
  2. sayanakaharry

    sayanakaharry Forum Leader

    thats FANTASTIC stuff.
  3. Bandbaaja

    Bandbaaja Pronounced Band Baaaa Ja

    :) hahaha BOB
    Good post
    wonder how many will do it themselves though
    I don't bother with all this
    I just take to Peter Pereira's shop or the DUDE called SUNIL SHINDE
    both are super karigars!!!
    bob-bobby likes this.
  4. bob-bobby

    bob-bobby Extinct or Banned!

    i think most of us apply ur style !!
  5. 6String_assasin

    6String_assasin The Painkiller

    thats a good post bob. those measurements are usefull. thnx.
    bob-bobby likes this.
  6. ananth222

    ananth222 Beginner

    how many of us have the instruments necessary to make such measurements?
  7. Knonie

    Knonie New Member

    In layman sense, some people describe this adjusment more easy... but I dont know. That one is too technical but I think any fine ruler with divisions can measure that.
    bob-bobby likes this.
  8. death_metal_fan

    death_metal_fan oh goody, it's a woody!

    Thanks bobby but I don't have an instrument capable of measuring 1/64th of an inch. I adjust by feel and good old-fashion eye judgment.
  9. shak

    shak Harrr!

    thnx bobby..a great post..yet again...
  10. bob-bobby

    bob-bobby Extinct or Banned!

    all u guys are welcome ,

    well i think if you have a good eye and you can do it without the written techniques , good enuf - what else u can ask for ...
  11. Seeker

    Seeker New Member

    Hello, this is my first post... i was looking for a solution to my problem..if anybody could? i have a guitar even if it is tuned and each string sounds exactly the way it should it the thickest and the later two i.e. 6,5,4 give a buzzing sound . u know which duznt giv a gud feel or music plus its more a like i`m playing a dubba simply...:S HELP
    bob-bobby likes this.
  12. chandu15

    chandu15 New Member


    Is it that they sound awkward when played open or in specific frets. For the former, try increasing the bridge height. well, if its latter, I am afraid ur inst is defective where some of the fret bars are low. :)

    bob-bobby likes this.
  13. ananth222

    ananth222 Beginner

    Possible reasons for buzzing:
    1. The strings may be too loose. Is the guitar tuned properly? If you are several steps down ur strings may not be taut enuf to stay away from the frets
    2. Is the bridge too low? you can try raising the bridge
    3. Is your truss rod adjusted correctly? keep ur guitar neck horizontal before u and u must be able to see a slight curvature, with the nut end higher and curving down so that the bridge end is lower. If this curve is not there then the clearance between the frets and the strings may not be appropriate. you will then have to adjust ur truss rod.
    bob-bobby likes this.
  14. shak

    shak Harrr!

    just to add:
    4) worn frets: ... if your frets are worn down by constant playing ..(12th, 15th, 17th the main culprits) this can lead to fret buzz, cuz you see if the 12th fret is worn down then its height becomes less than the 13th fret, so you'll get a buzz when you play 12th fret.

    5) lose frets: if the frets are not hammered and turned properly then they will start to bulge out, thats another reason for fret buzz.

    to check wether truss is properly adjusted or not: fret the high-e string at 1st fret and then fret it again at 22nd/24th fret ... now it run your eyes along the string ... at any point the string should not be touching any fret! ... the distance between the freted string and the frets SHOULD be constant thru out... if not then it would clearly show if the truss rod needs extension or depression.
  15. bob-bobby

    bob-bobby Extinct or Banned!

    nice additions sharukh .
  16. neologik

    neologik New Member

    hey i just finished making an electric guitar sortof a flying v.
    i used an old fret board.
    i know one or two frets r slightly protruding so it gives a buzzing on the fret before.
    ne way i can make the frets correct on my own.
    one more thing wht's the best way to fix the top nut.

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