How to Lower the String Action on a Guitar

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The string action on a guitar controls how far the strings sit from the fret board. Adjust your string action with the help of a professional musician in this free video.

Part of the Video Series: Guitar Strings
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Video Transcript

Hi, this is Raven T. Mitchell, expert with Dean Guitars, and in this clip we're going to show you how to lower the string action on your guitar. What we have here is a Les Paul style guitar with a tunomatic bridge. Here at the bridge, it has two posts and these are adjustable with slots for a flathead screwdriver. Also, there are wheels down here that you can turn, that will also lower the action, but for this demonstration I'm going to use the flathead screwdriver because I feel it works best. I'm going to carefully insert it into the slot on the high E string, and I'm going to make a couple turns on this action that's too high, making it a little bit difficult to play. We'll get it to where it needs to be. I use a metal ruler that has millimeters on it, and I'm going to measure the 12th fret for two millimeters, with the ruler resting on top of the fret to the, right to the edge of the string. The action is still a little bit too high, so I'm going to go ahead and do another half a turn, clockwise, lowering the string and measure again. Now, we've got our two millimeters at the 12th fret. We're going to repeat the same process here on the high string, the low string, I'm sorry, the low string, inserting the screwdriver, turning clockwise. I want to do one full turn, take our ruler, set it on top of the 12th fret and look at the string. And that one is dead on. That should make the action a lot more playable and a lot more comfortable for you to have enjoyable guitar playing. And that's how you lower the action on your electric guitar. This is Raven T. Mitchell, expert with Dean Guitars.

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