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Lehmann guitar - set up questions

Hi all. This is my first post to the forum. I've been lurking for several weeks but I need to ask a direct question.

I have played guitar for many years and the last few years I've focused on Bluegrass/Fiddle Tunes. However, I've recently been bitten by the Gypsy Jazz bug. I've purchased several instructional materials and have been working hard at this genre all summer.

Today I received my first Gypsy Jazz guitar, a used custom Bernie Lehmann Eclipse model in Petite Bouche. It is indeed a beautiful guitar and I'm very happy with its appearance.

My question involves the set-up. The action seems a bit high to me. At the 12th fret, my 3.5 mm Wegen GJ pick will almost slip under the 6th string so I think the action there is around 3 mm or slightly higher.

This is higher than my Martin D18, so my question is what is normal for a GJ style guitar? I would have expected it to be a bit lower.

I think there is some room for adjustment but before I work on it, I wanted to check with the experts.

Comments

  • CalebFSUCalebFSU Tallahassee, FLModerator Made in USA Dell Arte Hommage
    Posts: 557
    Actually 3.5 is low to normal for these guitars. Josh can give you a much better idea of what it should be. I know mine is more than 3.5 but not quite 4.0. Ultimately it is really up to you and what you are comfortable with. My action on my Dell Arte is the highest on any of my guitars. I do keep the action on my 175 copy kind of high, but the action on my Larrivee OM in pretty low. I just use these guitars for different things. but like I said do what makes you happy and what is comfortable for you. Set it low and as you go bring it up that is essentially what I did. Now playing my guitar with out high action or shims just feels weird. the strings feel too springy if that makes any sense.
    Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard.
  • CMWCMW New
    Posts: 6
    Thanks, that helps a lot. Even with the higher action, the soft strings give it a completely different feel from my flattops.
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    Set up is a very personal thing. 3.5 at the 12th as a very middle of the road sort of set up and for those just starting out a good one at that. As you learn not only this style but also the instrument you will come to the action that fits your playing style. It takes some time. Give the 3.5mm 6 months while you learn and see how you feel after that. In the case of some guitars like Dupont they just sound better with lower action. Others like Favino sound better with an action on the higher side. That is a generalization but it makes the point.. I guess that is why not every one likes to play the same guitar. : )


    Cheers,
    Josh
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