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How do you know................?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Youngspanion, Apr 5, 2006.

  1. Youngspanion

    Youngspanion Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2003
    Staten Island, NY
    How do you know if you need more or less relief or if you need to raise or lower your saddles?
  2. Youngspanion

    Youngspanion Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2003
    Staten Island, NY
    Thanks alot.

    The proper amount would be measued by a rule, right? Is there another way to know if you have the proper amount of relief in the neck?
  3. Youngspanion

    Youngspanion Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2003
    Staten Island, NY
  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer Supporting Member

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA

    Joshua is spot on. It is always ideal to start with with the relief in "neutral" which is pretty much as he described.

    Although, I'll add it has been my observation that all necks "relief themselves" :) in different ways. I have seen necks that have a beautifully flowing arc from the nut to the body. I have also seen basses that relieve almost entirely in the last third of the neck by the nut.

    I have always used this rule. It's simple and easy:

    If you lower the saddles low as you want them and the strings buzz down low, that is, around frets 1-5, the neck needs a little relief. If the strings buzz up high on the neck, you need to raise the saddles.

    If you bottom out the saddles and the action is still unacceptably high, you have too much relief. (or a design/manufacturing flaw)
  5. EADG mx

    EADG mx

    Jul 4, 2005
    If your strings buzz at frets 1-5, you need more relief. If your strings buzz only above the 12th fret, you need less relief.

    If your strings buzz all up and down the neck, your relief is fine, your strings are just too low.

    I think that's the Willis rule.
  6. Puru


    Mar 13, 2006
    Alachua, Florida
    All good info above. Yeah, Willis has that on his setup manual, http://www.garywillis.com/pages/bass/bassmanual/setupmanual.html

    Another factor on string height is how hard you play. If you have a light touch (right hand) you can get away with lower action, if you pluck hard, then you might get too much buzz, and need to raise your strings.

    I heard that when a guy tried to play one of Victor Wooten's basses the action was so low he couldn't play it. I don't know the original souce of this story, heard it from a good friend.

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