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Thread: High Action Help!

  1. #1

    Default High Action Help!

    Hi everyone

    I'm pretty new to the mandolin, I've been playing my ortega rma5na for about 4 months now but I'm concerned my action is too high. I've been playing guitar and banjo for twenty years and have experience with stringed instruments but I've never experienced action this high before, is it normal to feel such difficulty in playing due to action when your used to playing other stringed instruments.

    I absolutely love the mandolin and I play it every day but I feel completely restricted by the amount of pressure i have to apply to play at speed or double stops and chords

    I know this is pretty inexpensive mandolin but I can't afford a new one for a good while and I feel a bit stuck.

    Any advice on what might help or whether this is a natural and common issue when a proficent guitar player switches to mandolin?

    Id really appreciate any help or tips.

    Thanks
    Chris

  2. #2

    Default Action issues

    Hi everyone

    I'm pretty new to the mandolin, I've been playing my ortega rma5na for about 4 months now but I'm concerned my action is too high. I've been playing guitar and banjo for twenty years and have experience with stringed instruments but I've never experienced action this high before, is it normal to feel such difficulty in playing due to action when your used to playing other stringed instruments.

    I absolutely love the mandolin and I play it every day but I feel completely restricted by the amount of pressure i have to apply to play at speed or double stops and chords

    I know this is pretty inexpensive mandolin but I can't afford a new one for a good while and I feel a bit stuck.

    Any advice on what might help or whether this is a natural and common issue when a proficent guitar player switches to mandolin?

    Id really appreciate any help or tips.

    Thanks
    Chris

  3. #3

    Default Re: Action issues

    Perfect timing since Rob Medrumís excellent free e-book thread on how to set up your mandolin is just a few posts down:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...Mandolin-Users

  4. #4
    Monte Barnett MB-Octo's Avatar
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    Default Re: High Action Help!

    Scroll down to the thread titled “Mandolin Set-up E-Book by Rob Meldrum”
    Monte

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  5. #5
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: High Action Help!

    All the Ortega instruments I found on line had adjustable bridges. It's therefore possible to lower the string action by lowering the bridge saddle height.

    I would recommend that you contact Cafe member Rob Meldrum ("roster") and obtain a copy of his free e-book on mandolin set-up. Shows you how to get your mandolin into playable shape without having to take it to a techie.

    Check this thread for info and discussion. This should also answer your "Action Issues" thread in the General Information forum.
    Allen Hopkins
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  7. #6
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    Default Re: Action issues

    Quote Originally Posted by sweetgoose View Post
    Hi everyone

    I'm pretty new to the mandolin, I've been playing my ortega rma5na for about 4 months now but I'm concerned my action is too high. I've been playing guitar and banjo for twenty years and have experience with stringed instruments but I've never experienced action this high before, is it normal to feel such difficulty in playing due to action when your used to playing other stringed instruments.

    I absolutely love the mandolin and I play it every day but I feel completely restricted by the amount of pressure i have to apply to play at speed or double stops and chords

    I know this is pretty inexpensive mandolin but I can't afford a new one for a good while and I feel a bit stuck.

    Any advice on what might help or whether this is a natural and common issue when a proficent guitar player switches to mandolin?

    Id really appreciate any help or tips.

    Thanks
    Chris
    Get a set of feeler gauges and measure distance from string to fret at the first and 12th fret. Do both G and E strings. Get the Rob Medrum ebook and compare the numbers

  8. #7
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Action issues

    Also, needn't start two threads on the same subject; your thread in the Builders & Repair forum got the same responses.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  9. #8
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: High Action Help!

    I merged the threads.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: High Action Help!

    Adjustments at the bridge end are relatively simple but, on almost every new mandolin I’ve come across, the nut has been too high so I’d tend to look at that first.

  11. #10

    Default Re: Action issues

    thanks Allen - i am pretty new here and i thought i my post didn't work in the other thread. I will be careful not to double post in future - also thank you so much for your advice, i will contact rob and see if it is something i could do myself, it sure would be a useful skill to have

    - - - Updated - - -

    thank you mike and sorry about the accidental double post. I didn't think it had posted on the builders thread.

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  13. #11

    Default Re: High Action Help!

    I would recommend you get your mandolin to a tech/luthier who's experienced in mandolin set-up. Truss rod for relief and bridge height are things you may be able to deal with yourself, but nut slots are much more critical on mandolin due to the high tension and doubled pairs. 1st fret action is about half what it would be on a guitar, 0.006 - 0.010". When you get that low, it's easy to overdo slot filing- best left to someone with experience and the proper files. A properly setup mandolin takes very little effort to fret cleanly IMO.

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