How low is low?

iDavid

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How low can action be set at the first fret and still be good to go? Can I carbon fiber/ ekoa instrument be set lower than wood, due to it not changing with weather conditions?
 

WhenDogsSing

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There is little amplitude vibration near the nut so you can get strings down pretty low near the nut without buzzing. I like to set my action at the nut such that all 4 strings are easy to barre on the first fret with my index finger. This is usually in the .005" - .010" range above the first fret. I use automobile feeler gages to do my setup work at the nut.
 

Doc_J

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It depends on string tension, and your playing style. I tend to strum/pluck robustly. So, I generally go for around 0.020-0.030" at the first, 0.080-0.090 at the twelfth. I've had open fret buzzing go away with higher tension strings.
 

Kekani

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How low can action be set at the first fret and still be good to go? Can I carbon fiber/ ekoa instrument be set lower than wood, due to it not changing with weather conditions?

"Action" is usually set at the bridge.
Nut height (I guess its actually nut slot depth) in theory can be set the same as your fret height (think Zero fret, although I think David Hurd uses a higher Zero fret than the rest of he fretboard).

As stated, I use feeler gauges that put the nut .015" higher than the frets for tenors (or around there), but barre the third and set the space above the first like Frank Ford. His site will answer your questions.

Personally, set it as low as you can. Short scales shouldn't move enough to change the action if its well maintained.
 

Beau Hannam Ukuleles

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The lower the action, the worse an instrument sounds, hence why classical guitars' action is set very high. Of course, super high action puts more torque on the saddle and top so to much is to much.

I recommend using as high an action as you can comfortably play on, for best volume, projection and tone generation.

Nut height, I fret at the 3rd fret and push the string at the first and do a visual- you want about half a bees penis gap. A full bees penis is way to much :)
 
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Wicked

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The lower the action, the worse an instrument sounds, hence why classical guitars' action is set very high. Of course, super high action puts more torque on the saddle and top so to much is to much.

It's not really the action... it's the break angle that affects the volume and tone.
 

Rllink

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The lower the action, the worse an instrument sounds, hence why classical guitars' action is set very high. Of course, super high action puts more torque on the saddle and top so to much is to much.

I recommend using as high an action as you can comfortably play on, for best volume, projection and tone generation.
I bought my uke on line and it did not get set up. So I was at a ukulele festival early on, and I was asking a luthier there about my action and he said that it looked pretty good, but just a little high. One of the headliners happened to be standing there as well. He took it and looked at it, and pronounced it just right. The luthier said, "he likes them high, a lot of performers like them high."

So that really confused me, as all I hear is get it as low as it will go. But I have no trouble fretting mine, even bar chords up by the nut are nice and clear. The thing is, I have very strong hands and fingers. Something about milking cows when I was a kid I suppose. I had a uke on loan for a while this summer. It had been all set up, and I could tell that the action was a little lower than on mine. I happened to measure it with a feeler guage, and it was, but not so much that you could readily see that it was just looking at it. When I played that uke, it felt touchy. It seemed mushy to me, which I thought was odd, but it did.

I am going to eventually upgrade and I'm going to get my new uke set up. I don't know what to tell them though. I don't know if I like it higher because that is what I'm used to, and that a lower action might be better. I mean, mine came out of the box like it is, and I've been playing it every day since I got it, so maybe I'm being handicapped and don't even know it. At the same time, I don't want to spend a lot of money and get it set up the way I don't want it. So that is a dilemma. I know that high vs low is a much bigger issue with guitars, as there is a lot more discussion about it in the guitar world than there is with ukes. With ukes, it is just sort of the accepted norm that everyone wants it low. So I read everything I can about the action, and get more and more confused as I do.
 
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Beau Hannam Ukuleles

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It's not really the action... it's the break angle that affects the volume and tone.

Yes indeed. Specifically its the torque/tension exerted on the saddle/top. I assumed that a high action would also have a high break angle over the saddle, which isn't always the case.
 

Wicked

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Yes indeed. Specifically its the torque/tension exerted on the saddle/top. I assumed that a high action would also have a high break angle over the saddle, which isn't always the case.

I assumed that you knew that. I wanted to point it out to those who may not.