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Question about the string height of my 1st fret   You are logged in as Guest
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Ziyad H.

 

Posts: 43
Joined: Aug. 6 2019
 

Question about the string height of ... 

I own an Alhambra 7FC. I was wondering whether the 6th string height on my 1st fret is too high or not.
When I did my research on this website (Great website by the way), I found out that the common way of measuring the 1st fret 6th string height was by pressing down the 3rd fret and looking at the 1st fret. The 6th string should almost touch the fret. Like, there should be an ever so slightly small gap between the string and the fret. A gap the size of a hairline. When I did this measuring method, it seemed like the string isn't almost touching the fret. It seemed like the gap is kinda noticeable. I don't know if it seems that way to me only but not to others... ?

The action on my guitar is 2.5 mm at the 12th fret, 6th string. I don't have any problems with that. Playability is great. But im kinda struggling with doing legados on the 1st fret. It seems like im pushing and pulling a little too much, while having no problems with the rest of the guitar, basically. Its just the 1st fret.

Do you think the nut needs to be trimmed down or filed a little bit to shorten the height or do I keep it the way it is?
I just wanted an expert opinion so the first place I came to is here, the luthier section. I hope that's okay. 🫡 you'll find the picture attached to this post.

Thank you and have a nice day/night!



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 25 2023 2:05:17
 
ernandez R

Posts: 737
Joined: Mar. 25 2019
From: Alaska USA

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to Ziyad H.

Lotta variables there.

You need a good way to measure the space with a feeler gage set or I like to use measured slips of thick and thin paper, they are easer to feel the drag them a slippery metal feeler gage.

The E takes a lot more than the e of course.

You can use a cigarette paper on the e 1st string for instance but the others are a matter of playing style and force ad well as fretwork quality and neck relief.

I hit the strings really hard and buzz the best standard flamenco setup, could be my playing is a bit ham fisted as well.

If you are reasonably skilled, can you color within the lines? Then get a nut blank or three, pull your current nut to copy spacing etc.

Whatever you do don’t Jack around with your original nut!!! You might find it’s a lot harder than it looks.

So make up that second nut, fit up nice then install it and slowly lower the string slots. Play it hard at full string tension before each adjustment. File each slot some more. Work your way down bit by bit. Be methodical, count file strokes, take notes, measure.

I promise you you are going to screw up that second nut but that’s the point. Now you have a baseline and some good numbers so when you make up the #3 nut you won’t file the string slot too deep.

Now, after reading this, go find a Luthier, pay him some cash for a new nut, don’t let them touch your old nut, and be glad you didn’t spend $80-$150in tools and materials, get stinky dead animal bone dust all over your carpet, and waste all that playing time, kick back with your favorite beverage and thank the maker for your good sense and good fortune you found the Foro!

HR

_____________________________

I prefer my flamenco guitar spicy,
doesn't have to be fast,
should have some meat on the bones,
can be raw or well done,
as long as it doesn't sound like it's turning green on an elevator floor.

www.instagram.com/threeriversguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 25 2023 8:55:52
 
Firefrets

 

Posts: 111
Joined: Mar. 22 2023
 

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to Ziyad H.

The slots look a little high at the moment. Much depends on how clean you want your sound, or if you want a bit of sizzle. You need a bit more room for the bass strings though, than you do for the treble so they don't need to come down 'too much'. It's a quick job to cut your nut slots correctly if you were to take it to somebody who has a bit of nylon set up knowledge and a set of files.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 25 2023 11:40:43
 
Ziyad H.

 

Posts: 43
Joined: Aug. 6 2019
 

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to ernandez R

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post. That was a very comprehensive reply from your end and I truly appreciate it!
I would also like to mention that your guitars look beautiful not gonna lie. I checked your Instagram link and yeah; The guitars look amazing.

Back to the subject, I'm gonna be honest with you, sir. I have almost 0 knowledge regarding fixing the nut and filing and all that stuff. I'm a PharmD. - Clinical Pharmacist working in a hospital with a terrible workday schedule since the COVID days. I know that this kind of nut slot work and filing require a degree of delicacy and skill and i simply don't have it in me.

Unfortunately, there's no nylon string luthiers where I live. I only know one shop that repairs mainly electric guitars and install good setups on them and whatnot. I'll pay them a visit and ask them to make me a new nut and install it (if they're knowledgeable about nylon string guitars that is). If it's not in their field of expertise, well, I just gotta live with it then. It's not too terrible but i just wished it was a bit easier on the first fret.

Thank you again for your reply!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 25 2023 15:04:03
 
Ziyad H.

 

Posts: 43
Joined: Aug. 6 2019
 

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to Firefrets

Thank you for your reply, sir!

Yeah the nut slots seem kinda high to me too. Im gonna try to take it to an electric guitar luthier (he's the only luthier I know of in the country. literally) and hopefully he has some knowledge regarding nylon string guitar setups.

Thank you and have a nice day or night!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 25 2023 15:10:22
 
Stu

Posts: 2526
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to Ziyad H.

Ah, a new (ish) member with good manners and humility! A pleasure to read this kind of discourse.

Good luck with your adjustments. I've just strung up my second build and I'm curious about whether my set up is sound. But especially the nut. so this is of interest to me.

Let us know how you get on.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 25 2023 16:11:25
 
Ziyad H.

 

Posts: 43
Joined: Aug. 6 2019
 

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to Stu

Thank you very much sir!

My initial plan was to be active in this community. I just loved the idea of basically a bunch of people from all over the world, sharing the same passion about flamenco, grouped up in one large community and just vibing you know. But I remember the year I joined the Foroflamenco was the year COVID hit us like a truck. Yeah.. I couldn't find the time to be active ever since.

Regarding my guitar, yeah I'll definitely post my follow-up here once I visit the guitar maintenance shop!

Thank you for your interest in this subject sir, and have a nice day or night!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 25 2023 17:26:28
 
etta

 

Posts: 341
Joined: Jan. 20 2010
 

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to Ziyad H.

High tension strings will allow for a lower action; but, high tensions will vary from brand to brand of strings.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 26 2023 16:04:41
 
Ziyad H.

 

Posts: 43
Joined: Aug. 6 2019
 

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to etta

Now THAT is interesting.
So basically if I change my strings to High Tension, that'll make the legados a bit a easier?

Keep in mind my action on the 12th fret, 6th string is 2.5 mm. I have no problems with the playability of the guitar. It's only the 1st fret, 6th and 5th strings that I mainly have some issues with. The legados seem a bit "rigid" you know...
But from 4th string to the 1st, I can do the legados easier.

My strings are "D'addario Pro Arte ej45 - Normal Tension"
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 26 2023 19:49:00
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14799
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to Ziyad H.

quote:

Now THAT is interesting.
So basically if I change my strings to High Tension, that'll make the legados a bit a easier?


No. He means if you lower the action and you get buzzing with normal tension strings, you will have to compensate by putting on HIGH tensions strings to eliminate some of the buzzing. Higher tension strings ALLOW you to lower the action more than normal or low tension strings. One thing I have noticed is old time guitar players tuning SHARP of standard, no doubt increasing the tension of a buzzy guitar.

You can lower the nut to experiment. 1mm fret board to string is good for me. You will know it is too low if the open strings buzz, OR, when you fret up high, there is a sympathetic rattle behind your fretting finger, on some fret back there toward the nut. If you have gone too low, you can shim up the nut using business card material in layers as needed, just enough to clear the buzzing at the first fret (played open, or as described fretting higher).

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 27 2023 20:25:37
 
Ziyad H.

 

Posts: 43
Joined: Aug. 6 2019
 

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to Ricardo

Thank you for your detailed reply. It is much appreciated!
Your reputation in the Foroflamenco community speaks of you Mr. Ricardo I gotta say haha! Your opinion is highly respected in here, I noticed. 🫡

It's good that you told me about the string height from the fretboard (1 mm). Because I measured mine and it turned out to be a whopping 2.2 mm from fretboard to the 6th string (near the nut). I dunno what was Alhambra thinking not gonna lie.
But I gotta say though, when I first bought the guitar, it had saddle height that gave a higher action already installed in it. They also gave me an extra saddle that suites the flamenco style (low action) to install it whenever needed (which I immediately did). They probably forgot to give me an extra nut for flamenco to compliment the saddle.

I'll visit that guitar maintenance shop in 2 days.
You'll find a picture of the action near the nut without pressing on any frets just to give a general idea about how it looks.
Again, thank you for your reply, sir.

Also, don't mind me asking. It's just out of curiosity but, what kind of strings do you use on your flamenco guitar? I might just buy one and install them on mine haha.

Have a nice day or night!😁



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 27 2023 23:19:01
 
Stu

Posts: 2526
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

1mm fret board to string is good for me


Do you mean from the fretboard or top of the fret?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 27 2023 23:27:27
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14799
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to Ziyad H.

La Bella 820 or Luthier 20.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 28 2023 12:11:37
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14799
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to Stu

quote:

ORIGINAL: Stu

quote:

1mm fret board to string is good for me


Do you mean from the fretboard or top of the fret?




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_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 28 2023 12:20:04
 
Ziyad H.

 

Posts: 43
Joined: Aug. 6 2019
 

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to Ricardo

Thankyou for the elaboration!

Have a nice day, good sir.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 28 2023 14:18:21
 
RobF

Posts: 1611
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to Ziyad H.

Hi Ziyad,

Bringing it in is the right thing to do. You don’t have the knowledge or the tools for this job and it’s too easy to either go too low and get buzzing (will need a new nut) or having the file slip and scratch your headstock finish. While some makers or brands might provide a spare saddle as a courtesy, it’s actually seldom done, and giving out spare nuts with a new guitar is pretty well never done.

All measurements related to string height over a fret are done with reference to the top of the fret. The reason for this is because not all fret varieties are the same height. Many are in the neighbourhood of 1.1 to 1.2mm, but really it depends on the brand/manufacture/model of fret. There are many variants, and frets are also dressed after being placed in the fretboard and can change height, so without knowing what’s on the guitar, measuring from the fretboard isn’t going to give you enough information.

Your tap test is good, the strings could come down a touch, but they shouldn’t be as close as a steel string’s set-up. Trying to get everything low low low is a bit of a mug’s game, but it’s what people like to do, often at the expense of an optimal set-up. If the tech sets it up a little a little higher than steel string you should be OK. The goal isn’t to get it as low as possible, it’s to improve the playability for you, it need not go any further than that. If you need numbers, I think just google it. Some manufacturers will publish their setup data, and string height above the first fret is occasionally included.

Try not to overthink this. If the Foro has given you one piece of usable advice, it has been to take it to a competent tech. It’s bread and butter work for them and they’ll have the know-how and tools to do it right.

Best,
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 28 2023 14:18:24
 
estebanana

Posts: 9351
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to Ziyad H.

Four light passes with the correct width nut file, or with a rat tail file.. next

_____________________________

https://www.stephenfaulkguitars.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 28 2023 15:03:19
 
Ziyad H.

 

Posts: 43
Joined: Aug. 6 2019
 

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to RobF

Thankyou very much for your reply, sir!

I absolutely agree with what you said. The best thing to do is to give the guitar to a luthier and he'll l do it. I don't mind paying them extra cash to do it for me.

I did contact the luthier. He said he's gonna need to check the fretboard itself as well to see if it's in good condition or not. He said "To lower the action, we need to make sure the guitar can handle that lowering". He also said I'll have to keep the guitar with him.
The luthier's home is actually his workshop. I saw a bunch of pictures of him fixing broken necks and basically destroyed electric guitars and turning them back to being playable. He also has knowledge regarding flamenco guitars too.

Thankyou for your reply again and have a nice day/night!😁
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 28 2023 19:04:35
 
RobF

Posts: 1611
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to Ziyad H.

Hi Ziyad, from what you described earlier, you don’t need to lower the action you just want the nut slots adjusted. A lot of new guitars are a touch high coming off the nut. Many places will include a basic set-up as a free service when selling a new guitar for this reason.

I don’t know, unless you asked the luthier for lower action or didn’t explain yourself very well, I don’t know why he’s assuming you want this kind of work done. It’s a bit of a red flag. Is he the only guitar tech in your area? As estebanana implied, this is a very simple job.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 28 2023 20:45:56
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1674
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to Ziyad H.

It does sound like your 6th string is too high at the nut. If the other strings are also too high, I would suggest carefully sanding the bottom of the nut by rubbing it on sandpaper, being careful to keep the bottom square to the sides. Do it a little bit at a time, testing in between by assembling the guitar and playing it. Or have a luthier do it.

_____________________________

Ethan Deutsch
www.edluthier.com
www.facebook.com/ethandeutschguitars
www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 28 2023 20:56:09
 
Ziyad H.

 

Posts: 43
Joined: Aug. 6 2019
 

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to RobF

Unfortunately he's the only luthier in my area (I dare to say in the entire city I live in).

If you're wondering, I'm Egyptian but I live in saudi arabia because I work in a governmental hospital here. So in KSA, you won't find that many guitar shops and guitar luthiers. Most of the guitar shops won't understand 95% of the things we discussed here in this post. So yeah, that's where I live atm. In Egypt, there are many who are talented and you have a variety of luthiers to choose from. But in KSA, it's very difficult to come across a luthier. So I gotta stick with the one I found.

But yea I'll definitely straight up just tell em " My brother, I just need the nut adjusted. That's all ". I'll meet with him tomorrow and we'll discuss it.

Thankyou for your concern, sir. I appreciate it a bunch🫡
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 28 2023 20:59:01
 
Ziyad H.

 

Posts: 43
Joined: Aug. 6 2019
 

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to constructordeguitarras

Yeah I'll definitely go to a luthier to adjust the nut👍

Thankyou for your reply!😁
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 28 2023 21:07:06
 
ernandez R

Posts: 737
Joined: Mar. 25 2019
From: Alaska USA

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to Ziyad H.

Say…

Just wanted to add this. Roughly based on what you shared so for there is a slim chance that the issues you are having around f1-3 might be just a matter of technique?

The reason I’m saying this is is I recently had a professional photographer walk up while I was playing on a bench outside the gallery where I sell my guitars. I tell the guy, sure but you have to email me a couple. Couple weeks later I get three nice photos.

So last month or so I’ve been having an issue dampening the e string while cording an E on f1-2 and the B cord on f2.

So I get this one foto and I see I’ve been shifting my right thumb high up the back of the neck and the light goes on in my head! Just needed to rotate my thumb lower and gain a little space between the e string and my little finger.

So what I thought is you might want to take a few videos of your right hand during the parts you are having an issue with, do a screen shot and post here on a new thread? Just an idea. The other is to sign up for a video lesson with one of the usual suspects here on the Foro.



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_____________________________

I prefer my flamenco guitar spicy,
doesn't have to be fast,
should have some meat on the bones,
can be raw or well done,
as long as it doesn't sound like it's turning green on an elevator floor.

www.instagram.com/threeriversguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 29 2023 6:01:06
 
pbekkerh

 

Posts: 34
Joined: Dec. 11 2012
 

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to Ziyad H.

quote:

I dunno what was Alhambra thinking


I find that Alhambra are good value for money but they might do, as many other guitar companies, i.e. leave the nut very high, so the new owner can adjust it to his own taste. But if the nut is low, you can't raise it easily.

Most good shops would adjust the guitar before they give to the buyer.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 29 2023 17:50:31
 
Ziyad H.

 

Posts: 43
Joined: Aug. 6 2019
 

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to ernandez R

I can't claim to be the best flamenco player ever haha. Im basically an enthusiast. I take my time in learning pieces and stuff. Even after 5 years i still see myself as beginner to be honest.

But yeah if i had the guitar with me I'd show you. But the guitar is with the luthier at the moment. He said " if i lower the nut, you might have some problems with the neck and hear some buzzing because your neck is kinda bent forward". I was shocked when he said that. He said " leave the guitar with me and I'll work on it and give it to you tomorrow". He said he won't charge me a lot. But he needed to make sure the guitar is completely fine from the bridge to the nut. He seemed like he knew what he was doing. He had the equipments and checked the guitar methodically "as far as i can tell ". Soo yea... the guitar is with him at the moment.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 29 2023 19:03:58
 
Ziyad H.

 

Posts: 43
Joined: Aug. 6 2019
 

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to pbekkerh

That's actually quite interesting what you said, sir. Thankyou for your reply!

It does make sense to leave the nut high and just let the owner ajust it for himself later on.

By the way, i still love my Alhambra 7FC. It'll take me probably 5-6 more years to completely outgrow the guitar and look for another one. I had this guitar since 2019. I still think its a good investment you know. As they say, " you get what you paid for" but this is actually a fantastic guitar. When the luthier saw the guitar, he liked the finish a lot. He also liked how bright it sounded. It's not a bad guitar at all.😁
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 29 2023 19:09:57
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1674
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to ernandez R

quote:

So I get this one foto and I see I’ve been shifting my right thumb high up the back of the neck and the light goes on in my head! Just needed to rotate my thumb lower and gain a little space between the e string and my little finger.


This is irrelevant to the conversation, but what the hell: I once told my duet partner that I was having trouble in the first position because the metal Shubb capo was in the way of my hand sometimes. I had been putting it on from the treble side. She said, "Why don't you put it on the other side?" And that solved the problem. Don't know how I was so dumb.

_____________________________

Ethan Deutsch
www.edluthier.com
www.facebook.com/ethandeutschguitars
www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 29 2023 22:52:58
 
Firefrets

 

Posts: 111
Joined: Mar. 22 2023
 

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to ernandez R

You look like a film star - A Flamenco Gangster!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 29 2023 23:15:55
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14799
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Question about the string height... (in reply to pbekkerh

quote:

ORIGINAL: pbekkerh

quote:

I dunno what was Alhambra thinking


I find that Alhambra are good value for money but they might do, as many other guitar companies, i.e. leave the nut very high, so the new owner can adjust it to his own taste. But if the nut is low, you can't raise it easily.

Most good shops would adjust the guitar before they give to the buyer.


It is easy to adjust if you have a belt sander. (That is how I altered mine). Over doing it is an easy fix, shim it up. I used business card cut in thin strips until it was just right.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 30 2023 12:00:39
 
RobF

 

Posts: 1611
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 30 2023 14:16:43
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