Do PRS guitars require high action?

Discussion in 'PTC - PRS Tech Center' started by Christian King, Sep 3, 2021.

  1. Serious Poo

    Serious Poo Shoegazing Member

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    I typically like the action of my guitars fairly high because of how I bend notes.. I always have to raise the action of my PRS's when I set them up, even the Private Stock ones. That said, I do the same with with almost all of my other guitars (Shabat, Framus, Thorn, Dean Gordon, Gibson...).
     
  2. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    I've heard this a couple times. Why is higher action better for bends? The strings are always at the same distance from the fret board when you fret a note which is determined by the size of the frets. So no matter how high the action is it'll always be the same once you fret the note. I'm not an experienced bender. Would you mind explaining your thought process behind it?
     
  3. Serious Poo

    Serious Poo Shoegazing Member

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    It all comes down to where your fingertip grabs the string when you bend a note. The higher the string, the easier it is for your finger to grab it and slide under it a little. This becomes really important when you want to add heavy vibrato to notes like I sometimes like to do.
     
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  4. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    Ah I see. That explains why it's easier to bend on my Jackson due to super tall frets. I have the action at 4/64 low E and 3/64 high e as well and it's super easy to grab the strings. I might actually consider going up a tad on my PRS maybe to 4.5/64 low E and 4/64 high E and go down half a gauge again to 10s. I think it's just a different guitar for a different playing style. The Jackson is a shredding machine but on the PRS I find myself bending and riffing more than anything else. But I'll definitely get DGT frets on that guitar in the future because I love tall frets.
     
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  5. Nice F Holes

    Nice F Holes New Member

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    I wonder if the issue at hand could be a different neck shape than you're used to? Is the radius of the SE PRS different from the guitars you liked?

    My SE is set to spec and it plays nice, but it did teach me that I was beating too hard on my previous guitars. PRS plays well and gets really good sustain with a lighter touch compared to my previous guitars. I started on acoustic first and think I've always played more aggressively on electrics because of that. But I find that with the lighter touch, more of the guitar's character comes through.
     
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  6. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    You are absolutely right. Plus with lower action you need a lighter touch. But not list PRS guitars. My Jackson soloist came with SS jumbos and if I don't pay attention to left hand I keep pressing down too much which pulls the notes sharp. It just doesn't sound nice. However, it sustains better than the PRS with lower action. Every guitar is different. I've been enjoying my PRS. But I'll get DGT frets in the future. I love Jumbos because they force me to develop a lighter touch AND I can get under the strings for bends with low action.
     
  7. Stinger22

    Stinger22 New Member

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    Just got my first PRS, a Custom SE 24-08, a couple of weeks ago. Came with .09's switched to .10's as I play on all my electrics. Action was about 2.0 and 1.5. That's about where I play my Fenders and Gibby's. Truss at about .006. I had planned to get the PRS neck straighter and lower action than normal just to have one set low and straight and I heard PRS's were good for that. So with the .10's at 1.5 and 1.25 and Truss at .004 no buzz and certainly a different feel. Like so far, no problem with bends and gripping them.
     
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  8. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    Wow your neck is certainly almost dead straight. Do you not have issues with sustain at all? I do and mine is about the same but I dialed in .008" relief. It just doesn't sing through a clean channel because the buzzing comes through the amp. It was setup by PRS so there's nothing to complain. I have to play with such a light touch to make it sing some it's absolutely unemployable. I already have a lighter touch anyways but the way it's set up I'd have to play with an even lighter touch.
     
  9. Stinger22

    Stinger22 New Member

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    As I said straighter and lower than normal for me. With a day or two since would not be surprised if it is around .005" now. No problem with sustain I don't play with an over hard touch but will dig in.
     
  10. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    Would you mind recording a video of you playing? Doesn't haha to be something crazy. Just a few clean notes or chords. I'd like to get an idea because I'm almost certain that my technique is to blame. It's perfectly set up and yours is even lower. So I have no excuse anymore. But then again why don't I hava the issue on my Jackson? Mystery lol
     
  11. ThePod

    ThePod New Member

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    Man this thread really rings true for me. I am having all of the same problems as the rest of you. Lack of sustain, too high of an action, fret buzzing on the high strings with lowered action and I can't lower the action to 1.25-1.5 without buzz killing the sustain. It validates all of my thoughts on my SE. It's a good guitar but not great and it does take work to play compared to some of my others.
     
  12. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    I don't know if I subscribe to the "it takes work to play" thing because a good guitar plays like butter. It shouldn't require any work. And my PRS does play well as long as I play a certain way. I can't treat my PRS the same way I treat my Jackson. Two different worlds. I've come to terms with the fact that I might have to raise the action on my PRS some more. But I won't do that until I get DGT frets. They will definitely change the game for me because my Jackson has Jumbos and I love 'em. It requires zero effort and even with higher action it feels easier to play. And with lower action you can still get under the strings for bends. Bends sound so juicy with tall frets.
     
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  13. Stinger22

    Stinger22 New Member

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    Have you check all your fret levels? You have have a high one or two.
     
  14. ThePod

    ThePod New Member

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    Good thought. I just did a level and crown on them. I believe they are flat. I do all my own work. They were way out of whack prior to the leveling. But I will reverify because they could have shifted a bit.
     
  15. SamIV

    SamIV New Member

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    All of the SE’s that I have owned benefitted from fret leveling. When I do a fret level, I do it with strings under tension. Google Sam Deeks on YouTube. There are those that say this makes no difference, but this is how I do it and all of my PRS SE’s had low action with very little fret buzz. I don’t measure the string height, just set it where I like it. Also keep the neck set almost flat. Don’t measure that either. Also, the flatter the radius, seems you can set your action a bit lower. Most PRS have a 10” radius, where other manufacturers use a 12 or 14 inch radius or even a compound radius.

    The American models I own did not need fret leveling. I only own one SE now, the Tremonti Custom, and it plays as well as my American made models with low action and has plenty of sustain. Would benefit with a pickup change though. I play with a light touch and 9’s. If you like very low action, and play with a heavy hand, there will alway be a small amount of fret buzz, from my experience. Your mileage may vary.
     
    #35 SamIV, Nov 3, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2021
  16. Uncle Bob

    Uncle Bob New Member for almost a year...

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    This was interesting reading.

    Levelling frets under string tension is just over complicating the task and doesn’t really have any benefit.

    I like a low action, and I have a fairly light touch. I set my necks pretty much dead flat and I use 9s. I wasn’t able to have the action as low as I wanted on my PRS guitars because their factory setups and tolerances are just too ‘general’, but with work they can be setup to play low. It does take some effort however. I should add that I only really measure action after I’ve got it where I want it, I don’t chase the numbers as each guitar is different.

    Having just spent the weekend doing thorough setups of my PRS guitars I observed the following;

    1) The (Korean) SE C24 required more fretwork than the American C24, but that still needed fretwork, which was surprising and disappointing in equal measure.
    2) With fretwork both guitars are now sitting at 2/64 high E and 3/64 low E. That’s pretty slammed, yet they both sing now. No buzzing, no choking, sustain for days (well, you know...). It was purely coincidence that both guitars ended up having the same action, however based on following the same setup procedure it’s not entirely surprising.

    So, if you’re not able to do the fretwork yourself and you’re not 100% about trusting somebody else to do it, it’s probably best just to buy something else, because PRS basically don’t seem to build them to go low. That’s not a criticism, just an observation. My Jackson was able to go that low straight out of the box, because they’re designed to do that and built accordingly.
     
  17. Rod Welles

    Rod Welles New Member

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    I don’t watch many of these because of inexperienced players but I’ve noticed with most of the YouTube videos ive seen that guitarists post for gear demos ect hit the guitar strings way to hard making the guitar buzz.. now, you can play that way if you want, but you’re gonna have to raise your action and maybe use heavier strings as well if you want a good solid full sounding note that sustains well.
    finesse is in the hands of the player:)
    See below..¥
     
  18. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    Even with a soft touch strings can buzz depending on how low you have your action. There's a sweet spot for every player. Mine seems to be around. 3/64th with tall frets and 4/64-5/64ths with smaller vintage frets. I downsized to 9s to learn how to play with a softer touch. It's a massive pain in the butt I can tell you that.
     
  19. Torstein

    Torstein New Member

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    Have my Cu24 set at 4/64 on the last fret, plays beautifully with no buzz whatsoever.
     
  20. Christian King

    Christian King New Member

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    Then it's a very well built neck/guitar and/or you're playing with a soft touch. My SE sounds a little choked especially without distortion. Well it's an SE.
     
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