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Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bassplayajew, May 20, 2002.
How much relief do you have on your neck and why?
It's a lot less than 009 inches! Haven't measured but I'd say approx 002 or 003...just enough to hear a little pinking noise when tapping the E string down on the 8th while depressing the 1st and body joint frets. Strings set at 3/32 inch height at 17th fret all the way across. This gives me very low action. Use a pick. Sometimes dig in. Not the slightest hint of fret buzz anywhere on the neck. Use SlowWounds...45, 65, 85 & 110. American 62 reissue J Bass (1998).
Cheers. (Aka "Rod Trussbroken").
Re: buzzing from fretted note to the "nut"...did you mean to say "bridge"?
As strange as it may seem, EVERY properly adjusted bass has exactly the same amount of relief!
That magic amount of relief is precisely the amount of relief that allows the neck to be as straight as possible while allowing buzz free playing at any position on the neck.
Most set-up tutorials for a specific brand/model will give a measurement for relief. That measurement is NOT the final adjustment.
After the relief is dialed in to a specific measurement the relief is either increased or decreased as a function of playability. I/E no fret buzz while maintaining the smallest amount of relief possible.
Those who prefer a higher action can get by with less relief than those who prefer the lowest possible action.
There are many, many people who play with a straight neck, or practically straight, by using a very light touch. The more aggresively that you play, the more relief you need to avoid fret buzz.
The biggest problem with a zero relief set-up is that there is no headroom left for humidity changes which can demand frequent truss rod adjustments.
In other words, a neck with relief can withstand some change in straightness/humidity and still remain playable.
A straight neck that changes to ANY degree toward a back bow will buzz all over the neck. A neck with some relief can change slightly toward a backbow and still remain playable.
Everybody properly confused now?
I used to use .020" relief to make room for my sloppy fingerstyle technique. Recently I've backed off on my plucking, turned up my amp, and have gone to a slightly straighter neck and lower action. I'm aiming for a "constant" amount of buzz all over the neck, as long as it isn't obvious through the amp. I haven't tried to measure relief lately. Sorry I can't be more precise.
Despite me being a setup mod, i don't measure them. I just judge, "yep that looks pretty good"
So shoot me. lol
I agree with this part and never bother to measure relief - to me it's just about playability - adjusting it to get the ideal playability for you.
I just set it up for the lowest action I can get without getting buzz - maybe even with a little buzz as |I know I can get away with it, by using a very light touch.
I think measurements are irrelevant in the long run - although I suppose they are useful references for luthiers/bass manufacturers - but as a player, it's all about how it feels and plays!
Is this a measurement of the distance between fingerboard and string at the 12th fret?
R - O - L - A - I - D - S, 120 to a bottle.
I now can die a happy man!
BRUCE LINFIELD JUST AGREED WITH ME!
Sorry to shout but I want the world to notice this moment. j/k, Bruce.
Bruce is a proponent of the straight board theory and he and I once had a long, long discussion on the pros and cons of the method.
subsequently we ages about a million years but the conversation was worth it right! lol
I'm a little confused. It thought neck relief was how flat or bowed the neck is, and I thought it was measured when you fret at the first and 12 frets and look at the maximum gap between the string and the fret somewhere between the 4th and 8th frets. If it is just the distance between the string and the 12th fret, it wouldn't really indicate anything about how bent or straight the neck is...right?
Fretting at1 and 12 to measure relief is not the correct way.
I don't understand the question. Why would it not indicate the amount of bend/relief in the neck?
Ok, I guess I didn't explain what I was thinking very well. Let me try again.
Say you had really high action, bridge adjusted really high. Strings will be far from the 12th fret. Then you take the same bass, and lower the bridge. Strings will be closer to the 12th fret...action is lower. But the bend in the neck is the same, and I thought neck relief was the amount of bend in the neck.
does this make sense?
nivagues has the correct methodology for measuring relief in the formal sense. And even for the same player the formal measurement may vary from bass to bass due to fretboard and fret characteristics, string gauge, and playing style each bass is used for.
I agree with Merlin and Bruce also, although I do think that recording the measurement once it feels right makes future adjustments quicker.
I also agree with pkr2 - in the esoteric sense.
I guess I'm just sort of an agreeable guy - what a relief....
I have a newly (used) aquired Cirrus 6 (walnut/bubinga/oil finish) that I've adjusted to near zero relief and have been able to practically lay the strings on the neck with no buzz. In twenty five years of professional bass playing (and owning mostly "High End") I've never gotten action like this (with or without relief). Go Peavey .
I use just enough relief so I can slip a Fender thin pick under the strings at the 7th fret. I don't know what that measurement is but it works for me and I don't need a feeler gauge.
Being a non Techie, I've never measured. I'm heading out to the garage for the feeler gauge! I agree with Merls, it's a feel. You pick it up and play it, it either feels right or doesn't. As judged from the responses, you'll probably get a wide variety of what works for different players. It may not be what works for you?!
Ideally around .011 or less. However most of my cheapo basses' necks can't stay straight.