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Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Youngspanion, Apr 5, 2006.
How do you know if you need more or less relief or if you need to raise or lower your saddles?
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?
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)
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.
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.