Bass Guitar String Height



String Height

How high or low the strings are above the fretboard is called action. You may hear someone say, “My action is too high.”

String height, or action, can be adjusted in two places — at the nut, and at the bridge.

Hopefully the nut came cut correctly from the factory. I say hopefully because it can be tricky to make any modifications to it. Unless you really know what you’re doing, you should leave any nut adjustments or repairs to a guitar repair shop.

At the bridge end you can raise or lower the string height of each string using the height screws on the saddle.

Fretboard Radius

The shape of your fretboard has a slight arc to it. This arc, or curve, is called fretboard radius. (see last picture) Think of it as a small segment of a large circle. The radius of that large circle is measured in inches.

The height of the saddles should form an arc to match the curvature of the fretboard, or fretboard radius.

When you set the string height, you can use a radius gauge (radius gauge PDF), or you can eyeball it. The radius gauge has a bunch of common radii used on basses and guitars.

Next: Bass Intonation

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