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.025" too much relief?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by crud19, Feb 4, 2003.

  1. crud19


    Sep 26, 2001
    Using the "capo/hold down the last fret" method of measuring relief, I get .025" at the 12th fret using a feeler gauge. I use pretty heavy strings (50-110) and all the strings are tuned down a whole step (DGCF). I play with a pick, and usually dig in pretty hard. Is this too much relief? I'm hesistant about monkeying with the truss rod too much (though I know how, and have done it before) because my bass is an older Fender, one that requires you take the neck off to get to the truss rod screw. I'm not terribly concerned about the action being too high, I'm more concered about intonation problems up the fretboard. Opinions? Advice?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    That's 0.6 mm right? Sounds ok to me, if it ain't broken don't fix it.

    Better measure at the middle of the neck, @ 9th fret or so.
  3. crud19


    Sep 26, 2001
    Sorry! I actually measure relief at the 8th fret! Not the 12th!
  4. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Do yourself a big favor! Throw the feeler guage away. It's absolutely useless and meaningless unless you want to return to a specific set up.

    That's the beauty of doing your own setup- you set the instrument up to feel right to you, personally. .025" feels totally different from one set of strings to the other, not to mention from one bass to the other.

    Those measurement specs are not meant to be the last word in set-up. They are only meant to get you in the ballpark.

  5. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    .025" sounds a little high to me. But as the others said, if it feels good to you, there's no reason to change it.

    I like .020" or so on my 5-string basses. I've got my 6 set up at .015" and that's a bit low for my playing style.
  6. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    Did you fret the note at the 1st fret, too?
  7. jani_bjorklund


    May 22, 2002
    Guitar Player Repair Guide second edition 1994

    Ken Smith; 1mm-1,6mm at the 9 th fret
    Roger Sadowski;at 12 fret E=2,5mm; G=2mm
    Brett Carlson; at 12 fret E=4mm; G=2,5mm
    Bob Malone; very slight relief, it's all by feel
  8. the capo method uses the 17th fret where the neck usually gets body bound...and measure at the 9th?
    and the gap you measure as has been said is a personal one..but there has to be a gap
    and .020 on the G string is one setting
    i picked up this method from a wise old frenchie
    hold the string on the 5th fret
    and hold the string on the 9th fret
    can you get a cigarette paper between the string and the 7th fret
    or if you ping the string...and connect to the amp
    you will get a high pinging noise if there is clearance
    i use this and set to min gap...and it is the best method i have seen...
    thank you J4
    give it a go its very good:)
  9. onda'bass

    onda'bass Supporting Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    Buffalo Ny
    you must be talking about string height, not relief.
  10. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Do you have intonation problems? If not, your bass is fine, for you.
  11. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    0.025" is a bit more than 1/64" (0.015") and less than 1/32" (0.031), so that's about right for me based on using the "string as a straightedge between the 1st fret and last fret" method and measuring at the 8th fret. However, the last part of your post where you say "...I'm more concered about intonation problems up the fretboard" is more of a problem. My standard tuned 4-strings using nickle rounds 45/65/85/105 (either Dunlop or DR) has about 1/64" or so fretted at the first and last fret and measured at the 7th fret. Being down-tuned and digging in pretty hard having a bit more relief is probably good. However I wouldn't use a flat feeler gauge. Only a round one (like an ignition gauge) or even better a flat machinist ruler marked in 64" of an inch. The flat feeler gauge can rotate around the top of the fret and give wildly different readings.

    Yeah, they're related, but the relief is set to give the string room to vibrate without rattling against the fingerboard, not to set intonation. Set the relief where it needs to be for how you play, make sure the nut is cut correctly (and most factory nuts on mass-produced instruments are cut woefully wrong) and then set the intonation with the bridge.

  12. prd004


    Dec 3, 2010
    A straight edge is much more accurate than the capo/last fret method! Much, much better

    Measure at the 7th fret. .015 to .020 should be perfect neck relief. Then you can adjust the action at the bridge.
  13. Nothing at all wrong with .025" relief if you dig in hard. Any less, and you would probably get some fret buzz. If you are happy with the action, leave it alone.
  14. Chrisk-K


    Jan 20, 2010
    Maryland, USA
    .025" = .64 mm. I consider it big. My basses have neck relief of .15 - .20 mm at the 8th fret with the string pressed at the 1st and last frets. I don't dig in. If the bass feels fine, leave it. If not, tighten the rod. Not a big deal, really.
  15. Handyman


    Sep 4, 2007
    Austin, TX
    That's more relief than I prefer, but if you like the feel of your current setup, you're not getting buzzing, and your intonation is fine, then you're fine. Folks have very different ideas of what a good setup means.

    I've taken basses in to get a fret leveling a few times, and each time the tech adjusts the action to what he feels is the ideal setup for a bass. I hate it, and without fail have to re-adjust the saddles and truss rod when I get it back. Different strokes for different folks.

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