Maximum Relief at 12th fret

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by pigpen1, Apr 21, 2018.


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  1. pigpen1

    pigpen1 Guest

    Aug 2, 2017
    Hey all,

    Just a quick question. On one of my Fender Jazz's the relief seems to be greater up around the 12th fret with a capo on the 1st and fretting the last fret. Is this normal? I've read/heard this could indicate and issue with the neck.

    Your thoughts?
     
  2. James Collins

    James Collins

    Mar 25, 2017
    Augusta, GA
    You mean: the neck has the most relief at the 12th fret instead of the 7th fret?
     
  3. pigpen1

    pigpen1 Guest

    Aug 2, 2017
    Correct. It has none, or next to none at the 7th. I typically run it that way. Seems to play best like that. No buzz unless I dig in. Recent fretwork might have helped with that.
     
  4. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Lownote38 and JLS like this.
  5. pigpen1

    pigpen1 Guest

    Aug 2, 2017
    To be honest, after rechecking, there is a miniscule amount of relief at the 8th fret. Slightly more at the 12th. I would say the difference is .002.

    I've always struggled with this bass and now I know why. A couple rounds of fret work have made it a lot better.

    End of the day though it sounds great though and I'm more or less ok with the way it plays so I guess it's ok. Otherwise I might just but a new american pro neck.
     
  6. pigpen1

    pigpen1 Guest

    Aug 2, 2017
    Went over this thread and it was very informative. I guess the decision now has to be made, replace the neck, deal with it, or sell the bass to someone who doesn't care about this issue. I'd like to keep it, but what I've seen over and over is how many Jazz necks do this, to the point that I don't know if its worth money to replace the jazz neck with another one, or that that I'd ever buy a bass with such a thin neck again.

    I bought this bass used and the neck and a lot of relief it in it when I got it, can leaving a neck in that condition for such a long time contribute to or exacerbate and ski jump?
     
  7. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Leaving a neck with excessive bow is inviting problems. The wood can take a "set" in it's bowed state that can be difficult to treat later. OTOH a neck that bows excessively is one that is of an inferior grade of wood, and may bow under string tension regardless of what the truss rod is able to counter.

    Setup is at best a set of compromises. Quite a large number of compromises when you get into the fine details. And one of them has to do with the tricky balance between relief, string height, string buzz and the vagaries of the nature of wood. Many times you can find a compromise that works when one or more of the factors are not ideal, and ski jump is one of those. And the first thing you should look at that may not be capable of being optimum is the relationship between relief and string height. Try reducing relief and increasing the saddle height before you give up on that neck. Get the neck flat between the first and twelfth fret - zero relief. Then raise the saddles so that the string clearance at the 12th wis where you would like it. That might give you a reasonable action pretty well all over the fretboard. If it's not there yet, determine whether you need a bit of relief to help out the first few frets, or a bit more string height to deal with the upper frets. Fiddle, fiddle, fiddle until you find the best it can be for you. If the action is too high at that point you will need to take more invasive action. That may mean fretwork to compensate for the ski jump, major surgery on the neck, or a new neck.

    Sound too complicated? More than you want to handle? That's what techs are for. It's regular work-a-day stuff for us.
     
    nolezmaj likes this.
  8. pigpen1

    pigpen1 Guest

    Aug 2, 2017
    I've tried your suggestion. It works out pretty well, but there just isn't enough adjustment in the truss rod to totally get the kink out rom about 11-12. Raised saddles and it is ok, but that is as far as the truss rod will go. I actually prefer the feel of the neck with no relief and the saddles a little higher, just seems "easier".

    Unfortunately I think my American standard jazz neck might be starting to do the same thing...when it rains it pours. Are .105-.45 Dunlop Super Brights too heavy for jazz bass necks?

    I've always ran almost no relief, taken good care of by basses. I don't understand really why this happens, unless there is just a flawed design on Fender's part? If so, what basses, in your experience, seem to have the least amount of problems with this stuff.
     
  9. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    The 45-105 Dunlops are not too heavy for a Jazz bass. And yes, the Fender design is flawed - Bruce Johnson has plenty to say in this regard. But a good part of the problem is the quality of wood you find in production instruments these days. Really good quality woods are getting harder and harder to find, and a big production company like Fender buys their wood in bulk. It's quantity they need over quality and it shows. I'm not saying they deliberately buy inferior grades, but they take what they can get in the quantities they need. That's very unlike the hand builder who necessarily produces instruments that are more costly, and since they are pricier they need to pay a lot of attention to the quality of all components.

    Fender is not the worst offender in this regard. There are plenty of brands that have "rubbery" necks that don't even pretend to be "Jazz"-style basses or Fender copies.
     
  10. pigpen1

    pigpen1 Guest

    Aug 2, 2017
    Seems to make sense. My American Standard Jazz, if it doesn't change much more over time, is one over the best playing basses I've ever touched. Ridiculously low action.

    Do you have an opinion on the quality of Warwick, Lakland, or Kiesel necks? Aftermarket like Warmoth?

    Seems like you can go big, buy a very expensive bass to last a lifetime, maybe. Or buy something like a Sire, a great value for the money and not worry too much about it if you have to replace the whole thing in a couple years. You can almost get an entire Sire for the cost of a Fender replacement neck.
     
  11. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    I've seen good and not so good from all of these. Your best bet is knowing what to look for in a neck when you purchase an instrument. Unfortunately you cannot be assured of a quality neck just from looking at it. But you can avoid [problem necks when there is a visible indication. You might want to check this thread:

    Sizing up a Neck - quality evaluation
     
    pigpen1 likes this.
  12. James Collins

    James Collins

    Mar 25, 2017
    Augusta, GA
    In selecting a neck, you want it to be rigid and not prone to warping. Of the ones you listed I can tell you some about what Warwick does based on their promotional videos.

    The standard Warwick neck is Wenge which is a dense and stable wood. The necks are multi-laminated with a grain pattern to add to stability. The neck woods are dried and matched to a narrow spectrum of moisture content so the laminations will move the same. They include a truss rod and extra support at the neck/body joint for neck thru instruments (iron rods?). The fret board has the slots for the frets incompletely cut so the fret board can better add to stability.
     
  13. pigpen1

    pigpen1 Guest

    Aug 2, 2017
    Good to know. I'm guessing that this only the case on the custom shop builds and not on the German Pro Series?
     
  14. James Collins

    James Collins

    Mar 25, 2017
    Augusta, GA
    The German Pro Series is either a Maple or Ovangkol neck typically with a Wenge Fingerboard. The Ovangkol is a lighter color wood than Wenge that was used on the masterbuilt/custom shop basses from 2000 to 2012 due to inability to get responsible Wenge. The only neck through GPS I'm aware of is the Streamer Stage 1 which has a Maple neck and cherry body. In all cases, they have multi-laminated necks and the wood is matched by moisture content the same way as far as I'm aware.

    The Masterbuilt Shop will produce some "standards" which for the most part either have Wenge or Maple necks and some upgrades. Though you can order one with whatever you like through the custom shop.

    The fret slots are marketed as invisible frets, and I believe is standard on all GPS and Custom Shop instruments. The most notable differences between GPS and Masterbuilt are wood choice (Afzelia, Australian Blackwood, Tigerstripe Ebony, Spalted Woods, Bubinga, Zebrano, Figured woods, etc), upgraded nut (Tedur to Brass), upgraded fret wire (Nickle Silver to Bronze), and I believe the bridge is upgraded as well (Steel? to Brass). The jump from Rockbass to GPS is huge. The jump from GPS to Masterbuilt is not as drastic.
     
  15. pigpen1

    pigpen1 Guest

    Aug 2, 2017
    Totally in love with the Thumb GPS basses. Normally I'm like more "traditional" stuff, and I like USA stuff, but I do love Warwick basses.
     
  16. Warpedneck.com may be able to help you. Give them a shout or send email.
     
  17. nbsipics

    nbsipics Ours' is the only Reality of Consequence Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2016
    The recent fretwork? Like one left hanging? Idiot opinion mind you...
     
  18. pigpen1

    pigpen1 Guest

    Aug 2, 2017
    Had frets leveled. He leveled the frets specifically above the 12th fret. I had wanted them all done. I guess the others were ok, but there as always been and odd spot around the 3rd fret on the bass side. You have to run the truss really tight now which means no relief at all, but there is still a bow (ski jump) up around the 12 fret.

    I bought this bass used and the neck as always been a pain. Ski jump, uneven frets, you name it.
     
  19. nbsipics

    nbsipics Ours' is the only Reality of Consequence Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2016
    There is a tell there, somewhere. Idiot yields the floor...
     
  20. pigpen1

    pigpen1 Guest

    Aug 2, 2017
    What are you trying to say?
     
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