Relief and Setup


#1

In a different thread, a question came up about measuring and adjusting relief. We opted to move it to a new thread specific to the topic and share it in case anyone wanted to join in the discussion. Be forewarned, I am not a luthier. I do maintain my own guitars and do set up work for others. I am happy to share what I know, but be advised that I don’t know what I am talking about.

As we get into measuring and setup, we might end up venturing into other aspects, but we’ll start with the original topic of relief.

First a little background on relief. If you sight down the neck of a well setup guitar, the neck will generally have a slight curvature towards the strings from around the 9th or 10th fret down to the nut. Relief is this “normal” curvature of the neck. Most guitars have an adjustable truss rod that allows one to increase or decrease the amount of relief. Changing relief is not the primary method to adjust action. Changing relief does change the action, but if the action is excessively high or low, relief alone will not correct the problem. What relief allows you to do is get similar action all the way up and down the neck. That is to say if your action is a bit too low and you get fret buzzing, if your relief is set correctly (and your frets are level), you would expect to get get buzzing up and down the neck. With too little relief you get more buzzing in the lower frets.

How do we measure relief? There are several methods. An easy one is to use the string as a straight edge. To start, put a capo on the first fret. Then use your finger to hold a note on the low (or high) E string at the 13th fret. The string acts as a straight edge. Relief is measured at the point where you have the maximum height of the string over the frets. This is generally done at the 6th or 7th fret. A typical range you might see is .004" to .012" Martin specifies a max of .010" from the 7th to 9th frets. Of course that’s a pretty small gap, so how do you measure it? A business card is typically about .012 and paper about .004. So if there is a relief gap that is more than a business card or less than a piece of paper then it might be suspect right off the bat. The easiest setup fix I did was on a friend’s new and freshly setup D-18. The owner complained about some fret buzz on the lower frets. Just using the string as a straightedge revealed the neck was actually back bowed slightly (there was anti-relief) and the fix was simply loosening the truss rod a small amount (2 turns of 1/8 of a turn or less). This type of measurement (with the string) is generally sufficient to have a good idea of your relief, but you can get more exact if desired. If you have feeler gauges, then you can get a better measurement, but even then the flex of the string makes getting an exact measurement impossible. If you really want to know the exact number, you will need to use a straightedge about 18" long (a rafter square works nicely). It won’t give the way a string does, so you should be able to get an exact measurement with a straight edge and some feeler gauges.

So what is the right number? It depends on other setup factors, your playing style, the gauge of strings, and probably a few other things I haven’t thought of. The point being, there is not a universal “right” number. With that said, the aforementioned range is a pretty good general guideline. When I set up a guitar I start with it pretty close to flat. It will generally have some buzz like that and I will add enough relief to eliminate that buzzing. I like guitars with little relief, typically in the .005" range (many bluegrassers like a ton of relief). If the neck is dead flat and doesn’t buzz, then I can probably lower the action a bit if desired. If I get to .010" or so and I am still buzzing and my frets are in good order, then probably something else is going on that will need to change to raise the action (nut, saddle or neck set angle).

Well, I have kind of rambled. The point being, the first thing to do is evaluate the relief you currently have. You can do that by sighting the neck and measuring with one of the two previously mentioned techniques.

I could have saved a bunch of rambling… here is an article by Frank Ford. He knows a great deal more than I about this stuff:
frets.com/FretsPages/Musicia … tradj.html


#2

Thanks for the info Mike. I’m going to have a look at my guitar tonight and post the results. I’d love to get my Washburn set up nicely!

Mike


#3

Yep good stuff for us guys that simply “play” and want to learn more in order to “fine tune” our set-ups.


#4

I tinkered with the truss rod on my guitar for days when I first got it. I ended up around .008 to stop all the buzzing. I’ve got used to it over time, but I wouldn’t mind less relief. Would you change the nut or saddle first?


#5

My guitar is a Washburn WD10S and I don’t think it’s setup as well as it could be. Actually it may be pretty far off. The images below may or may not help in gauging the neck relief. Those are the best shots I could get.

Here are the measurements I took tonight. Unfortunately I do not have a 1/64" ruler on hand, and I haven’t bought any feeler gauges yet but maybe we can get this started with what I’ve got. I have come unprepared!

-At the 1st fret, I placed the ruler on top of the fret and the meaurement reads about 1/32" of an inch or just below it.
-At the 7th fret, I placed the ruler on top of the frets (6 and 7) and it measures a hair over 1/16".
-At the 12th fret, I placed the ruler on top of the fret and it is almost 2/16". That’s too high right?

As for neck relief, I capoed the 1st fret and fretted the 14th and I could slide a business card under the 6-7 frets. It does seem to touch the string though so not much room there. But when you take the biz card out, you can twang the string (in between the capo and my finger on 14) and it rings like it’s not touching anything.

So any idea on these readings and what my 1st step would be? Seem to be too little relief or too much? Or neither?

Here’s a link to an image album, I could not get the “Img” feature to post the images directly into this message
https://picasaweb.google.com/mswhat298/Guitars?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCN-91JybhrHXlwE&feat=directlink


#6

— Begin quote from "ldpayton"

Would you change the nut or saddle first?

— End quote

The nut is where I generally start. It’s a purely mechanical adjustment. On two of my guitars, once I got the nut right, all I had to do was minor tweaking of relief and I was ecstatic with the action. Do you have (or have access to) nut slot files? As a general observation, is the action significantly better when capoed at the first fret? If so, you can get the nut lower without buzzing.

Instead of rambling on what to do, I’ll just link to Franks page on measuring the nut.
frets.com/FretsPages/Musicia … ction.html

Take a look at that, and see where your nut action sits, and we’ll go from there.


#7

— Begin quote from "mswhat"

-At the 1st fret, I placed the ruler on top of the fret and the meaurement reads about 1/32" of an inch or just below it.
-At the 7th fret, I placed the ruler on top of the frets (6 and 7) and it measures a hair over 1/16".
-At the 12th fret, I placed the ruler on top of the fret and it is almost 2/16". That’s too high right?

— End quote

That’s a bit on the high side. It’s going to be hard to fret notes much up the neck. Even going from your 8/64s to 7/64s will make a world of difference. There are a few more measurements we could take to see more of what is going on. Thanks for the pictures. They say 1000 words. Those are pretty guitars.

If you would, please take a picture of the saddle from the side. Measure the height of the saddle in the middle. That will give us a good idea if you have room to lower the saddle. Here’s some general saddle info:
frets.com/FretsPages/Musicia … dle01.html

Go to the link in the post I made for Larry’s reply above. That will tell us if the nut can come down (it almost certainly can).

For a future measurement, do you have a rafter square or similar straight edge (18" to 24")? What we are going to do with that is check the neck angle. If not, no biggie we can work with what we have.

As far as the relief goes, I suspect you can remove some relief and that will help. Let’s look at the other measurements first.

No need to rush, I am getting ready to go start a movie, so I’ll be gone for a while.


#8

Hey Larry,
You said you wanted less relief, do you like the action height where it is? The reason I am asking is, unless there are fret irregularities, to get less relief you might be looking at increased saddle height and increased action height to get a flatter neck. When you had buzzing, do you remember if it was everywhere or in a particular region? It wouldn’t be unheard of to have frets that are not exactly level up and down the neck on a new guitar. If so, a fret level and dress would allow you to get less relief without directly adjusting the action.

With all that said, my first place to play with action is the nut. I like my guitars to play pretty close when open to what they do when capoed at the lower frets. Most every new guitar I have ever looked closely at has a nut that can come down, and it’s always made the guitar a better playing instrument (to my tastes).


#9

Ok, I have a photo the saddle from the side.
The measurement in between the D and G strings is just a hair under 1/16".

As for the nut, the strings touch the 1st fret when pressing at 3rd. No space at all.

I have a yard stick for straight edge, maybe too long.

Mike[attachment=0]IMG_20120825_093254.jpg[/attachment]


#10

— Begin quote from "ldpayton"

I tinkered with the truss rod on my guitar for days when I first got it. I ended up around .008 to stop all the buzzing. I’ve got used to it over time, but I wouldn’t mind less relief. Would you change the nut or saddle first?

— End quote

I’m not a luthier either so please take my opinion with a large grain of salt. I have a good bit of experience with fretted instrument repair and setup over the last 40 years (500+ instruments?). But I would never consider myself a luthier; that is a title for folks who have the patience to take a log of wood and make it into a fine instrument.

If you are finding that the relief on your instrument is not as low as you would like because of fret noise (buzzing, fretting out…etc), the first thing you should do is a complete fret level, crown and dress. The reason is that fret noise is very often caused by just a few frets that are not perfectly the same height as the ones around it. By doing a careful fret level, you can make all the frets the same height and by doing so you can then get the relief (and action if you like) to it’s lowest level with the least amount of fret noise.

To be clear, a careful fret level, crown and dress is the first thing you should do to nearly every fretted instrument if you are concerned with getting the instrument to play it’s absolute best. Even when I bought my Martins brand new from a very reputable guitar boutique, the first thing I did when I got them home was remove the strings and do the complete fret work. It makes a world of difference in the way the instrument plays.

If you are looking for the order of work in a complete setup, I find the following order to works best:

[ul]1. Fret level, crown and dress
2. Truss Rod adjust
3. Saddle height adjust
3a. Check Truss Rod adjustment
4. Nut height adjust
5. Saddle intonation setup[/ul]

I realize that the above setup can take a good bit of time, but the result is definitely worth the work. Also, you may wonder, “How do you cut the saddle height and then later set up the intonation?”. You can do this by simply setting the height of the saddle with a completely flat cut saddle top (about 1mm higher then you would like the final height to be). By setting the saddle height before the nut height, you avoid first fret (fretting out) problems. And by setting up the intonation last, your intonation calculation can include all the height adjustments you made previously. Doing the intonation setup is easy at the end since your saddle is flat cut on top and ready to be cut for intonation forward or back depending on the string.

Finally, if you are not comfortable doing this to your prize instrument, pick up a garage sale guitar or two and practice on them first. When you get good at this, you will be surprised how nice a trashy instrument can play when properly setup.


#11

— Begin quote from "mswhat"

Ok, I have a photo the saddle from the side.
The measurement in between the D and G strings is just a hair under 1/16".

As for the nut, the strings touch the 1st fret when pressing at 3rd. No space at all.

I have a yard stick for straight edge, maybe too long.

— End quote

Hey Mike, thanks for the picture and measurements. To me, that looks higher than 1/16". For a point of reference, a medium gauge low E string (.054") is a bit under 1/16" (.0625") and I think the height from the top of the saddle to the bridge looks considerably higher than that. Of course, I could well be wrong. If you would, double check the measurement. With that said, by looking at the break angle of the strings over the saddle, I don’t think there is much room to take the saddle down without doing something else that would fall outside the scope of easy to do (like a reset or shaving the bridge down). What happens when the saddle gets too low is that there is not enough break angle over the saddle. Reduced break angle means less downward force on the saddle and less sound. I have seen many people choose action over sound by having a very low saddle, so not going lower on the saddle is not an absolute. Let’s take a closer look and see what we get. If your camera is handy a similar picture from the low E side would be great.

On the nut, it sounds like the nut might actually be a bit low. Since your overall action is high, that’s ends up working ok. What might happen if you get the action lower is you might find open string buzzing when there is none elsewhere up the neck. We’ll worry about that if we get there.

As far as a yard stick for a straight edge to check neck angle, that probably won’t work. In all honesty, checking that in this case probably is not a big deal as the neck angle is a relatively expensive item to address (unless it would be covered by a warranty). I think our focus here is to make the guitar better, not rebuild it. For the time being, we’ll assume the neck angle is what it is.

Ok, so where we are now is that the nut can’t go lower, the neck angle is what it is, the saddle maybe shouldn’t go lower and we think there is a some excess relief. What I would do next is straighten the neck out a bit to reduce the relief and see where things fall at that point. I would like to caution that adjusting the truss rod can cause something to break. I have never personally had one break, but it is a possibility. A broken truss rod is not a minor fix and on less expensive guitars, it could effectively total the guitar. If it gives you pause, taking the guitar to a luthier for a setup (which would include truss rod adjustment) is fairly inexpensive. It used to be about $25, but I think local places typically now charge about $50. I could be off on the cost, but the point being, it’s not that expensive.

If you want to adjust it yourself, the first step is to find the end of the rod. Looking at your headstock, it’s not there, so it’s going to be in the neck block and accessed through the sound hole. If you look at the frets.com truss rod link in the original post it could help you visualize where to find it. Most truss rods I have seen in acoustics use a 5mm allen wrench for adjustment. I can’t tell you what yours has. You may need a mirror and a flashlight to determine it. Sometimes, they are buried way back in the neck.

Assuming you have found the truss rod and you have the tool to match, there’s not much to do except get on with it. If you read the Frets.com articles, you are already familiar with how it works. Turning clockwise tightens the nut, which compresses the rod, which straightens the neck. Here are some tips:

If possible, it is a good idea to lubricate the TR nut with a tiny amount of oil. I have made adjustments without doing this, but lubricating is good practice.

Even if you are tightening, I like to loosen first. That way I have an idea for how it should feel as I tighten it. There is a limit to how far a nut can be tightened, and you don’t know where you are when you start. As you are loosening, keep track of how much you have loosened it so you can get back to where you started and then start tightening from there.

I detune a guitar before tightening a truss rod. Otherwise, you are fighting against the string tension. I will sometimes make small tweaks to loosen it by detuning only the middle two strings (to ease access).

If the resistance to tightening suddenly gets more strong or you hear a squeek, stop. You might have run out of thread for the nut. It’s a feel thing, but you shouldn’t have to really muscle it. If it is very hard to turn the nut, it’s time to back the nut out and inspect closer to figure out what is going on or take it to a luthier.

Small changes of the rod make surprisingly large differences in relief. I make my adjustments in 1/8th a turn (or less) and then check the progress. If I know I have a huge way to go (like I just removed the TR nut to lube it) I’ll use a 1/4 turn, but once I am anywhere close, I back off to smaller adjustments. It does require alot of back and forth between adjusting and measuring, but breaking stuff stinks.

If you are going to do this with the strings on the guitar, the de-tuning and tuning will kill the strings. Don’t change to new strings right before you adjust the relief :slight_smile: I said “if you are going to do this with the strings on the guitar.” You can rough set the relief without the strings, but it requires a good straight edge. Basically you set the neck to flat without strings and then when strung, it will be in the ballpark.

Once I had adjusted my relief just the way I wanted, only to find that a few days later it was different. It can take a bit of time for the changes in TR tension to totally settle in. If it happens, no big deal, just fine tune it a few days or weeks later.

Last but not least, remember what you are doing is setting the relief, not setting the action. The action might be lowered by properly set relief, but going beyond the point of proper relief is only going to bring bad things. I have seen guitars (including a nice Taylor) that were pretty well trashed because the owner cranked on the truss rod trying to force lower action. I think the odds of something bad happening are pretty small if you go at it conservatively and thoughtfully.

Best of luck,


#12

Hey Doc,
Thanks for posting. 500 guitars is a ton of setup, and 400-something more than I have done. I appreciate your input, so feel free to add to or suggest other things than what I have stated. This goes for anyone else who wants to chime in as well.

There are many different ways to approach setup. Everything you do affects other things, so it’s often a back and forth bit of an affair to get things totally dialed in. One thing I do different than what you listed is I set my nut before I get to the saddle. For my flow, it makes sense. Are you setting the saddle height based on a measurement above the bridge (or an extended point off the neck) or what?
Thanks again,
-mike


#13

Thanks for the good info, guys. My main beef with my set up is that the action was higher than on my easy playing Takamine. It bothered me a bunch at first, but over time, I’ve gotten used to it. Seeing this thread got me thinking about it again. The buzzing was primarily in the first 5 frets, but one or two up at the 4th or 5th fret were the last to clean up. Makes me think the fret dressing idea might be worth pursuing.


#14

In the link on the nut adjustment, I’m not sure I understand why the guy is pressing down at the second fret to see string height over the first fret. I understand doing it from the first fret to the fourteenth to get a straight edge for guesstimating neck relief, I just don’t understand the purpose here.

Seems like you could just bypass that and dial the action in at the nut to where it clears the first fret just high enough that it doesn’t buzz when you hit the string open. Filing in small amounts until you get this action over the first fret (without pressing at the second fret):

Again, checking it often while filing to make shure it’s not buzzing, it seems like you could go pretty low here because the strings aren’t going to vibrate as much that close to the nut. I mean, if it doesn’t buzz over the first fret, it’s not going to buzz up the neck, right? The action is only going to rise after the first fret, but, once it gets further from the nut the strings vibrate more freely. Is it possible that the strings could NOT buzz at the first fret but buzz somewhere else? And then the humidity changes and the whole thing starts buzzing. :slight_smile:

Do you have to worry about intonation problems when filing the nut, or can you just dial it in as close as you want?


#15

— Begin quote from "TNTaylor414"

Seems like you could just bypass that and dial the action in at the nut to where it clears the first fret just high enough that it doesn’t buzz when you hit the string open. Filing in small amounts until you get this action over the first fret (without pressing at the second fret):

Again, checking it often while filing to make shure it’s not buzzing, it seems like you could go pretty low here because the strings aren’t going to vibrate as much that close to the nut. I mean, if it doesn’t buzz over the first fret, it’s not going to buzz up the neck, right? The action is only going to rise after the first fret, but, once it gets further from the nut the strings vibrate more freely. Is it possible that the strings could NOT buzz at the first fret but buzz somewhere else? And then the humidity changes and the whole thing starts buzzing. :slight_smile:

Do you have to worry about intonation problems when filing the nut, or can you just dial it in as close as you want?

— End quote

As per the first thought about dialing in the action to where it doesn’t buzz on the open string. The trick is, you need to stop before it starts buzzing. The traditional method is to set the height over the first fret with feeler gauges. I used to stack gauges and use it as a stop for the nut file. The method here works like a champ and is much easier. I think I have done 4 guitars this way and I much prefer it. Either way can yield great results, but this method is real simple to do. As far as why it works? I kind of think of it like the string section is a teeter totter. What we are doing when we adjust it this way is to adjust the nut slot above (when viewed from the saddle end along the path of the string) the first fret by roughly the same amount the first is above the second fret. I hope that makes some sense, but if not, I apologize, but the important thing is know that I do like the results.

— Begin quote from "TNTaylor414"

Is it possible that the strings could NOT buzz at the first fret but buzz somewhere else?

— End quote

Sure, the most common issue with an open string that buzzes up the neck would seem to be a neck problem such as a hump or a raised fret. If you had a perfectly straight neck could it? I am just guessing, but I think it is possible but not likely. When a string vibrates, I don’t think it makes a perfect line or concave curve between the nut and the 12th fret. Again, that’s just a guess.

— Begin quote from "TNTaylor414"

Do you have to worry about intonation problems when filing the nut, or can you just dial it in as close as you want?

— End quote

In most guitars I have initially set up, I have generally lowered the action. My most notable intonation issues experienced were with some strings noting sharp (typically the low E and B strings). Lowering the action at the nut helps this type of intonation problem. I have an old baritone uke that had high action. The action really didn’t bother me because the string are so soft. However, it had pretty notable intonation issues and do to that, I made a new saddle and lowered the nut. The intonation was pretty good just from the lowering of the action. I did compensate the saddle a bit as well, but it was so thin there wasn’t a large amount of room to work with. If you had a guitar that was spot on in intonation and a grossly high nut, then lowering the nut could cause a problem (noting flat up the neck), but I have not personally run into that.


#16

— Begin quote from "mreisz"

Hey Doc,
Are you setting the saddle height based on a measurement above the bridge (or an extended point off the neck) or what?
Thanks again,
-mike

— End quote

Generally, I cut the saddle to a height slightly higher than the height I want it to eventually be. For example, I will often press on the string above the sound hole and look at the string height over the frets. I try to then decide how much needs to be removed from the saddle to get to that height. A more scientific way would be to measure the height of the first and sixth string over the 12th fret and figure out the distance you would need to reduce that height to the height you would like by:

  1. Measure the height from the bottom of the first and sixth string to the top of the 12th fret.
  2. If you would like a medium action, figure out the distance between your measurement and 3/32" (sixth string) and 5/64" (first string).
  3. Double those distances and remove that much from the bottom of your saddle evenly on both the sixth and first string sides of the saddle. The reason you double the distances (when removing material from the bottom of the saddle) is that the 12th fret is half the string length from the nit to the saddle and will only lower by 1/2.

Keep in mind that unless your frets are properly leveled and dressed, an action this height may cause lots of fret buzzing or worse (dead strings).

Some years back, I would occasionally cut the nut before I finished lowering the saddle and a few times I ended up with buzzing with the open strings. In other words, with the nut cut to it’s lowest, reducing the saddle height after would actually lower the string closer to the 1st fret and occasionally cause fret buzz (my least favorite sound in the world). As you know, if you get all of these measurements just right, the guitar will play like butter, but the tolerances are so close that it is very easy to cut it just slightly too much and cause a new fret buzz or problem.

— Begin quote from "TNTaylor414"

Do you have to worry about intonation problems when filing the nut, or can you just dial it in as close as you want?

— End quote

Actually, a high nut can cause all sorts of intonation problems, especially when comparing the intonation on the first few frets to the intonation on the upper frets. In many ways, getting the nut cut to it’s lowest without creating any fret buzz on the first fret is the optimum situation. Consider that when you press down on the first fret with a high nut, you are actually seriously bending that string sharp compared to the 2nd fret and above. If you can cut the nut to a height that just barely clears the first fret (without any fret noise when strummed/picked hard), then it will take less energy to play the notes on the first fret and you will not be bending the string sharp (any more than any other fret).

Many folks will tell you to cut the nut slot so that the height of the string over the first fret is equal to the height over the second fret with the string depressed over first fret. I will often set it just slightly higher than that since there is wear in that nut slot (often in the first week or two after that adjustment) and also to allow for hard played open chords that are not fingered (and in turn not held hard to the fret and possibly could rattle in the slot). My rule of thumb is to cut the nut slot so that the height over the first fret is equal to approximately 1.33 times the distance of the height over the second fret with the string pressed down on the first fret. YMMV :wink:


#17

— Begin quote from "ldpayton"

Makes me think the fret dressing idea might be worth pursuing.

— End quote

You can check the fret condition in a couple ways. For checking individual frets, get a straightedge that covers three frets. You’ll need three or four straightedges to get all the various fret spacings on the neck. StewMac sell a little triangle for this purpose. Anyway, what you do is move up the neck checking for any position where the straightedge rocks over the middle fret. If you find one, then the middle fret is too high or one of the surrounding ones is too low.

Another thing you can check is that the relief is consistent in the lower frets. If you have a longer straightedge (I use 16") lay it across the frets in the middle of the neck (between the D and G strings), butted up against the nut. Slide the straight edge towards the saddle. At each fret, the tail end of the straight edge should drop a tiny amount onto the next fret, i.e. from 1st fret to 2nd fret. This should occur in the lower frets up to around the 7th or 9th fret. This is also another way to check for sufficient relief, but I have found problem frets using this method.


#18

Thanks Doc.
The reason I asked about setting the saddle first is that, unless it’s real obvious, I don’t know what I want to do with my saddle until I get the other parameters dialed in. My saddle setting isn’t very scientific. Basically, if the frets are level, neck angle is right, the nut is right, and the relief is close to where I want it, then the saddle is where I make my adjustments. I was setting up to about 5/64 low E at the 12th, but since I now play harder sometimes, I have been more around 6/64. It’s a fine line between perfect action and an annoying buzz.


#19

— Begin quote from "ldpayton"

My main beef with my set up is that the action was higher than on my easy playing Takamine.

— End quote

I know what you mean. I too have a Tak and it plays great (well, I do need to make a new nut as I don’t like the spacing on the last one I did, but I digress). The typical Martin setup is generally serviceable, but not slick. I am guessing that their specs are on the high side to allow people to set them up to their choosing. You can lower action without replacing parts, but the opposite is not generally true. When doing that, you can shim things, but I’d rather just grab another nut or saddle.

I will say that as I have gotten into bluegrass, my preferred action is getting higher. It’s now in the low range of the martin specs. I used to set them up lower than spec. I still enjoy playing a slick low action acoustic, but I enjoy even more being able to dig in to a big G5 chord and hear it growl. I am not sure where I’ll end up, but my tastes are changing.

Just out of curiosity, did you look at the action on your nut? Sometimes Martins are pretty good, but I have had a couple (my D18GE and my OM18V) where doing the nut alone and then re-tweaking the relief made a world of difference. I was happy that little was needed for either saddle as they are both glued-in saddles.


#20

— Begin quote from ____

I will say that as I have gotten into bluegrass, my preferred action is getting higher. It’s now in the low range of the martin specs. I used to set them up lower than spec. I still enjoy playing a slick low action acoustic, but I enjoy even more being able to dig in to a big G5 chord and hear it growl. I am not sure where I’ll end up, but my tastes are changing.

— End quote

Isn’t that the truth. I used to keep my acoustic action so low that occasional fret noise didn’t bother me. I was playing mostly jazz, fingerstyle and folk then. Now I need to keep the action high so I can dig in hard to single notes and chords and be able to get lots of volume and power without any fret noise.