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String Action on Hanika Guitars

String Action refers to the height of the strings above the fingerboard – most typically measured from the top of a fret to the underside of a string. The conventional way to describe it is to refer to the distance between the top of the 12th fret and the underside of the 6th string and the top of the same fret and the underside of the 1st string.

Using this approach, it is a convention that “Standard” action is “4/3” meaning that there is 4mm between the top of the 12th fret and the underside of the 6th bass “E” string and 3mm between the top of the same fret and the underside of the 1st treble “e” string.

Currently Hanika guitars (if they come with 2 saddles) leave the workshop with one High saddle giving a string action of 4.3/3.2 and one “Low” saddle giving a string action of 3.8/2.8. When ordering a guitar with options it is possible to specify a third saddle to give an “Extra-Low” action.

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Why doesn’t everyone just have the lowest possible action? The answer is because the lower the action the more likely a string is to touch a fret when it is vibrating making unwanted noises – noises ranging from very obvious “clacking” to more subtle – and quite unpleasant – “zinging”. Some players tolerate the noise – the Flamenco style (and ambience) is so percussive you can hardly notice string buzz. Some players have a very light plucking/strumming style and so don’t tend to produce that much noise, at least at medium action. However, many classical players want to play as loud as possible (when the music and the venue demand it) and so their more assertive plucking style will give rise to unwanted noise unless the action is Standard or High. A more subtle point is that many guitars give a broader range of tones when played loud than when played softly and so the higher actions allow for a greater tonal as well as a greater dynamic (volume) range.

(The above applies to all Hanika classical and cutaway models. String action on Hanika flamenco guitars is set low as is always required on flamenco instruments.)