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Thread: Thile setup - string height

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    Default Thile setup - string height

    I think I remember seeing years ago somewhere that Chris Thile told the string height on his gear at the time. May have been when he was playing the Dudenbostel? Does that ring a bell with anyone? And how do the specs go on something like that, mm above the top of 12th fret?

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thile setup - string height

    I've read that CT described his string height as a ''sissy action'' at one time,obviously referring to a very low action. I think that was back when he was playing his 'Dude.'. What string height he uses these days on the Loar is anybody's guess,but it'll be something that suits him, & hopefully gets the best out of the Loar as well. CT's string height won't suit all mandolins. Too low a string height & you'll loose a lot of volume unless the mandolin is very responsive indeed. I raised the action on my mandolins to maximise the volume as much as possible & still have them easy to play = G strings 2mm above the 12th fret / E strings 1.5 mm above the 12th fret. That works on my mandolins,for me,
    Ivan
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    Registered User Timothy S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thile setup - string height

    The information you're referring to is in an interview somewhere. Don't recall if it's the FB Journal article or one later (I think there's on here on the Cafe actually). From what I recall he used to play with a low action and has since raised it as his technique and finger strength have improved.

    I too echo Ivan's sentiment: set up your mandolin for what is most comfortable for you and what brings out the most your instrument has to offer.
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    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thile setup - string height

    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy S View Post
    The information you're referring to is in an interview somewhere. Don't recall if it's the FB Journal article or one later (I think there's on here on the Cafe actually). From what I recall he used to play with a low action and has since raised it as his technique and finger strength have improved.
    Yeah, he did recently mention that he has raised his action over time, although he didn't get specific on numbers. It was in the 2012 interview with Dan Beimborn in London (at the very end of the article):

    Dan Beimborn: Scott mentioned to me that you've been raising your action over time.

    Chris Thile: Yes, I've definitely gone higher. My hands are stronger than they used to be. I kept hearing tapes of myself, where in the heat of battle, I would be over-driving the instrument all the time. Snapping, buzzing... I decided that I was sacrificing tone for facility. Facility means nothing if it doesn't sound any good. So I've cranked the action up a fair amount over the last 3 or 4 years. I think I've finally found the place, where I can still play the most demanding stuff like the double from the second movement of the B minor partita for instance. Playing that where it needs to go as the double of the second movement, you don't want to take the first part too slow, they need to be the same speed. That puts the double at like 160/165. That's really fast and hard to sustain that sort of speed through the whole thing and keep it clear. I've always had that where I think "I shouldn't crank my action up where I can't make it through that piece."
    He may have talked it about it elsewhere too, I dunno.

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