Homemade string action gauge for guitar setup.

September 17, 2010

As a guitarist, I often have to adjust strings height (action) and other kind of settings on my guitars. The problem is that such tweaks are often a matter of 1/64th of inch or so… I definitely love Stewart-MacDonald, they have a tons of neat tools but it’s often too expensive, especially if you are not in USA. If I had to buy one thing from Stewmac again, it would be their “string action gauge”, a steel rule especially designed to read strings height above your fretboard.


But hey, don’t want to pay 18$ for that + the shipping cost. That’s too much for a “simple” rule. Why not make your own ? Hmm.. it’s a matter of doing the gauge pattern in Inkscape, a vector drawing tool. Then simply print it on a thick sheet of paper and then accurately cut the gauge border using a sharp cutter. If you really want something solid, you could even tone-transfer it to a PCB using a laser printer (and etch it if you feel you can achieve such thin lines). The only tricky thing in that case would be to cut the PCB cleanly and along the given borders.

Looks good so far with cardboard, gonna try it to adjust my bass guitar which has a high action that makes it unplayable.

SVG FILE here:

or here:
(click on the small ‘Save file to your PC’ at the bottom)

Open and print it using Inkscape: http://inkscape.org


4 Responses to “Homemade string action gauge for guitar setup.”

  1. slim Says:

    Thanks a lot man!!! I just printed out this little thing, but there is no conversion table like on your pictures. Anyway thanks a lot.

  2. Schef Says:

    Thanx. I think it’ll be really useful

  3. Eric Hong Says:

    Can you upload as PDF file? I don’t have same font that you have so the latter are not showing!

  4. ram Says:

    thanks, i’v just started making my own setups on my tele, and this will make it much easier!

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