String action for Legato - high or low?

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Cyborg_Ogre, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. Cyborg_Ogre

    Cyborg_Ogre SS.org Regular

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    How high should my string action be for the loudest and clearest legato with left hand only?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Andrew Lloyd Webber

    Andrew Lloyd Webber Super Duper Moduraturr

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    If you don’t know, then try it low. At the end of the day, your “loudness and clarity” will result more from technique than an exact string height. The quality of the guitar’s fretwork, nut height, and fingerboard radius will largely dictate how low of an action you can get away with.
     
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  3. Turgon

    Turgon SS.org Regular

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    for fast playing, a lower action is more common. as mentioned before, there are a lot of factors how low you can go without sacrifising too much tone.
     
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  4. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    This. Most pure legato guys do favor lower action... But also say that even action matters more than high or low.

    I play heavily legato, but don't set my guitars up specially for it - honestly, I'm more concerned about notes ringing out cleanly and action being high enough to allow for solid, controlled bending than I am about how low it is and how how it favors legato. I tend to have fairly low action, but not especially so.

    But yeah - technique matters way more than setup, within most reasonable bounds, IMO. I've found that focusing on fretting with my very fingertips gives much clearer articulation. Try practicing unplugged, or with an extremely unforgiving tone (a clean tone you can push into overdrive is great for this).
     
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  5. Cyborg_Ogre

    Cyborg_Ogre SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for advice, I will try this out.
     
  6. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Seriously, if you can get clear note articulation while playing unplugged, then as long as you can also mute unwanted notes well enough, you can get even legato runs out of ANY gain structure.
     
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  7. gujukal

    gujukal SS.org Regular

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    Legato seems easier for me with low action and thin strings. But it's probably more about technique, yngwie malmsteen has veeeeery high action and he seems to do pretty well :p
     
  8. lurè

    lurè Thy Art Is Mambo

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    He also has scalloped frets and super jumbo frets and..yngwie is yngwie..
    Anyway, legato remains mostly a metter of technique.
    Low action helps you achieving the correct technique, forcing you to focus more on how much force you put on your fingering; once you master it you can pretty much do legato with 3 cm action,
     
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  9. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    ....and plays 7s, lol.
     
  10. Lorcan Ward

    Lorcan Ward 7slinger

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    Check out some of Rick Graham's tutorial videos, he goes really into depth about finger pressure and the technique behind it which like people said already is much more important than what your action is set at. As long as it's not a few mm of the board you should be fine with most legato patterns and you'll get to know the feel of your guitar and the minimal amount of force needed by sticking to one setup.

    I'd love to learn Marshall Harison's approach where every note is a hammer on.
     

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