In this short guide I’ve highlighted some brand and type specific suggested heights for both action, and pickups.
A guitar’s action and pickup height can cause a multitude of different issues. It’s best to utilize the standard suggested action and pickup heights from your guitar’s manufacturer.
That being said, you can get some really unique tones and playing styles from making small adjustments to these measurements. For example, slide players will want a raised action to avoid hitting frets as they float around different positions. In contrast, fast lead players will likely be searching for the lowest possible distance between the bottom of the strings and top of the frets.
Use this guide as a starting point to find what feels and sounds the best for you and your guitar.
Measure at the top of the 17th fret.
Fender’s suggested actions are as follows:
For Neck radius of – 7.25″
Bass side – 5/64″
Treble Side – 4/64″
For Neck radius of – 9.5″ – 12″
Bass side – 4/64″
Treble side – 3/64
Measure at the top of the 12th fret
Gibson’s recommended action is:
Bass side: 5/64″
Treble side: 3/64″
To adjust these, Fender saddles require a small Allen key, whilst Gibson guitars sport a Tune-O-Matic which you only need to rotate a thumb wheel.
Suggested Pickup Heights
Standard single coil – Bass side 5/64″ – Treble Side 4/64″
High output single coil – Bass side 7/64″ – Treble Side 6/64″
Humbuckers – Bass side 4/64″ – Treble Side 4/64″
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