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Is there a formula for neck relief?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by nonsqtr, Sep 2, 2004.

  1. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    What is the optimal neck relief for a 35" scale?

    How about a 30.5" scale?

    Is there a "formula" that I can use to determine what my neck relief should be?
  2. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Allow me to rephrase the question:
    What is the optimal relief for your specific bass and your specific preference?

    The parameters of the function you ask for are:
    scale length
    string weight
    string tension
    backbone stiffness
    personal playing style
    personal expectations

    Of course, longer scale would imply more string amplitude, but there is no objective, optimal relief. Only your subjective.
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    It's subjective - so for example, somebody who likes to really 'dig in' - will have different needs to someone who plays with a very light touch.

    Also, you can set up basses so that notes nearer the nut will be easier to play or notes nearer the pickups, or a compromise between the two - again this is down to personal preference.
  4. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Okay, so let me rephrase the question again. I've seen these "guidelines" that say you should be able to stick a credit card under the 12th fret when you're holding down the third, that kind of thing. Agreed these are just "general" guidelines, but wouldn't that be different for a short scale versus a long scale?
  5. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Not necessarily. The reson for having relief is to avoid noice from the strings. How much is needed is a very personal thing, so all you get from anybody as setup advice is verrrry widely toleranced. Thus, why not give the same figure regardless scale?

    I would set it up as a longer scaled bass, play around and adjust according to findings.