tech­nique fo­cus

Ac­tion height & string gauge

Guitar Techniques - - PLAY -

How many times have we all heard the ‘you must have heavy strings and a high ac­tion to get good tone’ dis­cus­sions when­ever this topic is dis­cussed? As usual, there is no sin­gle cor­rect an­swer. Ad­mit­tedly, SRV prob­a­bly wouldn’t have sounded as mag­nif­i­cent us­ing 9-42 with a low ac­tion. His heavy pick­ing tech­nique would have them flap­ping and ping­ing off the frets, rob­bing his tone of all rich­ness and body. Con­versely, play­ing that same Strat with SRV’s set-up, any­thing but a bold at­tack would sound very ‘un­der-cooked’ – all that ex­tra mass would count for lit­tle if you didn’t get it mov­ing. Some coun­try play­ers get a much bet­ter snap and twang out of their Te­les with lighter strings and wouldn’t en­joy a gig on 11-52s. In con­clu­sion, there is a bal­ance be­tween the con­sid­er­a­tions of your per­sonal tech­nique, ac­tion height and string gauge that sounds (and feels) right to you. Hope­fully, these ex­er­cises will help you make that choice out of pref­er­ence rather than ne­ces­sity, or some pre­con­ceived no­tion that may ap­ply to play­ers other than you.

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