Getting Action Lowered Should I stick with D'addario EJ45 Normal Tension or EJ43 Light Tension?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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spanishguitarmusic
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Getting Action Lowered Should I stick with D'addario EJ45 Normal Tension or EJ43 Light Tension?

Post by spanishguitarmusic » Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:33 am

I am looking to get the action on my guitar lowered by a luthier. Currently I am using D'addario EJ45 normal tension strings on my guitar. I find the strings too hard on my fingers and at times causes some left hand fatigue, especially when playing for long stretches of time or playing barre chords. This may be due to the action being rather high.

I am planning to try out D'addario EJ 43 light tension strings on my guitar when I take my guitar to the luthier to get the action lowered. I am wondering that if I don't like the feel of the light tension strings once the action is lowered and I want to go back to the normal tension strings, will I have to adjust the tension again? Should I get the action lowered with EJ45 normals or go ahead and get the action lowered with the light tension EJ43? I don't want to have to mess around with the action again if I don't like the feel or the sound of the light tension strings. Is it possible to get the action lowered with the light tension strings and then go back to the normal tension strings if I wanted with the same action height without changing it again?

Just for additional information I am using a light weight flamenco factory guitar. It has a solid spruce top with laminate sycamore back and sides. It sounds pretty good just the action is rather high. I am thinking a luthier can help me with this and or anyone else who knows what I should actually do in this matter. Thank you for any help or suggestions that anyone has on this matter! :merci:

Lovemyguitar
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Re: Getting Action Lowered Should I stick with D'addario EJ45 Normal Tension or EJ43 Light Tension?

Post by Lovemyguitar » Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:59 am

spanishguitarmusic wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:33 am
... Is it possible to get the action lowered with the light tension strings and then go back to the normal tension strings if I wanted with the same action height without changing it again?
Yes, of course, you should be able to use whatever strings you like, without having to change anything else. You may have to experiment with strings to find those you like most, once the action is lowered (just to find a feel that you like), but it shouldn't be a problem at all.

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Re: Getting Action Lowered Should I stick with D'addario EJ45 Normal Tension or EJ43 Light Tension?

Post by Christopher Langley » Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:03 am

Hey friend,

Try and measure the action at the 12th fret on both the high and low e strings.. So we can help you decide if it really is needing to be lowered or not. At first nylon strings seem to be too high to most, but they are meant to be like that so the strings can breathe a bit.

In the meantime, it definitely would not hurt to try a set of low tension strings before you get it lowered.. This might solve the whole problem without having to go to the luthier.

If you know of a good luthier who is familiar with classical guitars, he will know exactly what is needing to be done after a few moments...

However, many guitar techs are much more knowledgeable when it comes to electrics and steel strings and somewhat ignorant when it comes to classical guitars. Also, some are money hungry and will do work that doesn't need to be done just for the money. So, watch out and do your homework and make sure you are making the right choices.

It never hurts to try different strings.. Most nylon strings are really closer to being the same in tension and materials than they are different and most will work on most guitars in most scenarios. You are looking at around a 10 pound difference between low and medium and medium and high tension.. It's actually pretty hard to tell them apart. Slight difference in feel.
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Jasonm
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Re: Getting Action Lowered Should I stick with D'addario EJ45 Normal Tension or EJ43 Light Tension?

Post by Jasonm » Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:23 am

Are you playing flamenco? If so, then a typical setup is 3mm low E and 2.5mm high E at the 12th fret. But even more important is the string height at the bridge which should be around 7-8 mm. Many factory flamenco guitars are not setup properly or don’t have the correct neck angle/fretboard taper/bridge height.

If the guitar can be set up like this then you may find that Ej45s are quite comfortable. Many people including myself even find them too light. Ej43s would probably be way too light.

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Re: Getting Action Lowered Should I stick with D'addario EJ45 Normal Tension or EJ43 Light Tension?

Post by Brittunculus » Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:33 am

It would be worth looking at the string height at the nut too. Read the helpful FAQ post by James Lister about measuring and setting action.
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=64845#topic4

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spanishguitarmusic
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Re: Getting Action Lowered Should I stick with D'addario EJ45 Normal Tension or EJ43 Light Tension?

Post by spanishguitarmusic » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:43 am

Lovemyguitar wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:59 am
spanishguitarmusic wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:33 am
... Is it possible to get the action lowered with the light tension strings and then go back to the normal tension strings if I wanted with the same action height without changing it again?
Yes, of course, you should be able to use whatever strings you like, without having to change anything else. You may have to experiment with strings to find those you like most, once the action is lowered (just to find a feel that you like), but it shouldn't be a problem at all.
:merci: For your response! Much appreciated!

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spanishguitarmusic
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Re: Getting Action Lowered Should I stick with D'addario EJ45 Normal Tension or EJ43 Light Tension?

Post by spanishguitarmusic » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:45 am

Brittunculus wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:33 am
It would be worth looking at the string height at the nut too. Read the helpful FAQ post by James Lister about measuring and setting action.
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=64845#topic4
:merci: For your response and for the link! It was an interesting read and one I didn't really give too much attention too, but I should though. Much appreciated!

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Re: Getting Action Lowered Should I stick with D'addario EJ45 Normal Tension or EJ43 Light Tension?

Post by spanishguitarmusic » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:55 am

Jasonm wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:23 am
Are you playing flamenco? If so, then a typical setup is 3mm low E and 2.5mm high E at the 12th fret. But even more important is the string height at the bridge which should be around 7-8 mm. Many factory flamenco guitars are not setup properly or don’t have the correct neck angle/fretboard taper/bridge height.

If the guitar can be set up like this then you may find that Ej45s are quite comfortable. Many people including myself even find them too light. Ej43s would probably be way too light.
:merci: For your response! I am using my flamenco guitar as a classical guitar instead. I measured my action today, and the action of the 6th string at the 12th fret is 4 mm and the 1st string at the 12th is 3 mm. I believe this is standard for classical guitars. I may just have to experiment with different string gauges and see which one I like better and are comfortable. Thanks again for your comment and suggestions!

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Re: Getting Action Lowered Should I stick with D'addario EJ45 Normal Tension or EJ43 Light Tension?

Post by spanishguitarmusic » Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:06 am

Christopher Langley wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:03 am
Hey friend,

Try and measure the action at the 12th fret on both the high and low e strings.. So we can help you decide if it really is needing to be lowered or not. At first nylon strings seem to be too high to most, but they are meant to be like that so the strings can breathe a bit.

In the meantime, it definitely would not hurt to try a set of low tension strings before you get it lowered.. This might solve the whole problem without having to go to the luthier.

If you know of a good luthier who is familiar with classical guitars, he will know exactly what is needing to be done after a few moments...

However, many guitar techs are much more knowledgeable when it comes to electrics and steel strings and somewhat ignorant when it comes to classical guitars. Also, some are money hungry and will do work that doesn't need to be done just for the money. So, watch out and do your homework and make sure you are making the right choices.

It never hurts to try different strings.. Most nylon strings are really closer to being the same in tension and materials than they are different and most will work on most guitars in most scenarios. You are looking at around a 10 pound difference between low and medium and medium and high tension.. It's actually pretty hard to tell them apart. Slight difference in feel.
:merci: For your response! I just measured my action today at the 12th fret on both the high and low e strings. My 6th string at the 12th fret is 4 mm and the 1st string at the 12th fret is 3 mm. I believe this is pretty standard for classical guitars. I don't know if this is correct or not and if I should still go ahead and get my action lowered? Any suggestions if this should be lowered or if this is a fine height?

I may just go ahead and try the lower tension strings and see if I find them more comfortable as I am finding the normal tension hard in playing barre chords.

Yes, I don't even know if the luthier I have in mind deals with any classical guitars or not. It seems to me he may deal more with electric and steel string guitars. So, I don't know though. I may try the lower tension strings first and go from there. Thanks again for your response and suggestions. Really helpful!

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Re: Getting Action Lowered Should I stick with D'addario EJ45 Normal Tension or EJ43 Light Tension?

Post by Christopher Langley » Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:19 am

spanishguitarmusic wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:06 am
Christopher Langley wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:03 am
Hey friend,

Try and measure the action at the 12th fret on both the high and low e strings.. So we can help you decide if it really is needing to be lowered or not. At first nylon strings seem to be too high to most, but they are meant to be like that so the strings can breathe a bit.

In the meantime, it definitely would not hurt to try a set of low tension strings before you get it lowered.. This might solve the whole problem without having to go to the luthier.

If you know of a good luthier who is familiar with classical guitars, he will know exactly what is needing to be done after a few moments...

However, many guitar techs are much more knowledgeable when it comes to electrics and steel strings and somewhat ignorant when it comes to classical guitars. Also, some are money hungry and will do work that doesn't need to be done just for the money. So, watch out and do your homework and make sure you are making the right choices.

It never hurts to try different strings.. Most nylon strings are really closer to being the same in tension and materials than they are different and most will work on most guitars in most scenarios. You are looking at around a 10 pound difference between low and medium and medium and high tension.. It's actually pretty hard to tell them apart. Slight difference in feel.
:merci: For your response! I just measured my action today at the 12th fret on both the high and low e strings. My 6th string at the 12th fret is 4 mm and the 1st string at the 12th fret is 3 mm. I believe this is pretty standard for classical guitars. I don't know if this is correct or not and if I should still go ahead and get my action lowered? Any suggestions if this should be lowered or if this is a fine height?

I may just go ahead and try the lower tension strings and see if I find them more comfortable as I am finding the normal tension hard in playing barre chords.

Yes, I don't even know if the luthier I have in mind deals with any classical guitars or not. It seems to me he may deal more with electric and steel string guitars. So, I don't know though. I may try the lower tension strings first and go from there. Thanks again for your response and suggestions. Really helpful!
If all other things are where they should be, that action should be about perfect.

Barres really, really take some time to get down.

Definitely no harm in trying the low tension strings before you try a lower saddle. They should be easier to play, at the expense of just a little volume. No big deal.

If you do decide to get action lowered, go ahead and buy a secondary saddle so that you can keep the original and raise it back up later if you want.
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Re: Getting Action Lowered Should I stick with D'addario EJ45 Normal Tension or EJ43 Light Tension?

Post by Lovemyguitar » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:16 am

I seem to recall you asking this exact same question a year or two ago (about the same guitar). I don't think the advice you're getting is any different this time. Low tension strings and/or lower action, just do it! (A flamenco guitar should actually be a bit lower than 4/3 mm at the 12th fret, it is not a classical, and the optimal action should be lower than on a classical.)

There is also a possibility that your nut is too high (since the action at the 12th fret is not terribly high) -- that can make low position barres harder than necessary, even with lower tension strings (I am guessing that you don't play much in the higher positions...). Even a basic guitar tech ought to be able to help you with these things, if your guitar is not set up properly.

Good luck.

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Re: Getting Action Lowered Should I stick with D'addario EJ45 Normal Tension or EJ43 Light Tension?

Post by Carey » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:31 am

I'd stick with the J45s for now, if it were me. They're a good, very moderate tension set, and you're going to lose some
power from lowering the action, anyway. Another thing is that with the J43 third string you're getting into very floppy
territory, and if you detune that string to F#, even more so.

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Re: Getting Action Lowered Should I stick with D'addario EJ45 Normal Tension or EJ43 Light Tension?

Post by Christopher Langley » Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:09 am

Carey wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:31 am
I'd stick with the J45s for now, if it were me. They're a good, very moderate tension set, and you're going to lose some
power from lowering the action, anyway. Another thing is that with the J43 third string you're getting into very floppy
territory, and if you detune that string to F#, even more so.
Now that Carey mentions it, you could just tune your normal tension strings down a half a step to see if you like it before moving to low tension strings.

Also, Carey.. If he tries the low tension and doesn't like them, no biggie. I've never noticed a problem with them being floppy, but I don't typically play detuned, either.
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Re: Getting Action Lowered Should I stick with D'addario EJ45 Normal Tension or EJ43 Light Tension?

Post by Intune » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:46 pm

Instead of lowering your current saddle, why not have a luthier make you a second saddle lower than your current one. If you're at all handy, maybe you could even make it yourself, using the guidance offered in countless posts here. At any rate, you can try out medium and low tension strings on both saddles to find the combination that suits you best.
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Re: Getting Action Lowered Should I stick with D'addario EJ45 Normal Tension or EJ43 Light Tension?

Post by ddray » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:05 pm

If you haven't already, try Savarez white card. I find them to be superior to 43s in just about every way.

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