"Natural Bow"

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by pshep68, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. pshep68


    Sep 21, 2006
    Should there be a "natural bow" in the neck of a bass?
  2. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    I like my fret board nice and flat with low action.
  3. tabdog


    Feb 9, 2011
    There should be a little bow. It's
    called neck relief.

    Strings don't vibrate in a straight
    line from nut to bridge. It's an arc,

  4. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    by "a little", we're talking a business card sized gap or less over the middle frets when the string is held down at the first and last fret.

    you want almost straight, and the better the fretwork, the tighter that "almost" can get.
  5. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    The strings need room to vibrate. A perfectly flat neck will be unplayable. Or at the very least, it will sound terrible. Over the years I've been allowing more and more relief in my necks in order to produce a fuller sound.
  6. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    This, pretty much -- if you mean "fuller sound" as a result of heavier technique.

    Relief is to accommodate the elliptical vertical vibration of the string. If you play with a really light touch, you can do with a flatter fingerboard and lower action.

    [There are people here who swear the Rickenbackers have to have perfectly flat, no-relief fingerboards. This makes absolutely zero sense to me, knowing how stringed instruments work, and they've never given me any sensible explanation. :confused: ]
  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    That depends on how high you set your bridge saddles.
  8. I have setup hundreds of diverse guitars and basses over the years and the ones that came in with dead-flat necks always had fret-buzz and required higher overall action to work.
    The amount of relief varies, but a tiny amount of clearance when pushing the strings down at the first and last frets simultaneously is a good indication that you're almost there.
    Instruments with a few rogue high frets will need a little more relief.

    Every neck is different so there are no rules.

    I recommend getting the nut looked at as the first step, because it's non-adjustable and a badly cut nut will defy every attempt to get the best action.
  9. it's all preference, there's no right and wrong when it comes to setup.

    I set my action where I want it then adjust relief until most buzz is gone but a little remains.
  10. pinz


    Jun 14, 2010
    I just check my 2011 Fender 70's P bass,which has the best,flattest neck I have ever played(plus vintage style frets), and I has no gap you mention :eek:.
    But in saying that I have what I deem to be a high saddle height to counteract,and no buzz with TI flats. I'm happy.
  11. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks.

    Jan 25, 2011
    Colorado Springs, CO
    My Ibanez has just enough relief to enable almost dead-even string heighth from about the 5th fret all the way up, with very low action. I used to set my necks up as straight as I could, but this way allows for much lower action and much cleaner tone. A little relief goes a long way, but it can make the difference between a buzzy mess and a flawless player (fretwork permitting, of course).
  12. why are something like 90% bass and guitar players scared of the truss rod? It's not some alien device that requires training to adjust.
  13. Showdown


    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    If you have a straight, flat neck you can get a clean tone by raising the saddles as you said. You will end up with higher action on the upper frets than necessary though. If you want low action all the way up and down the board you will need some relief.
  14. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    Every nut is adjustable with the right tools. Nut height, bridge height, and neck relief are all important. Adjusting one does not generally remove the need for another.
  15. SamanthaCay

    SamanthaCay Like bass guitar OMG!

    Nov 16, 2008
    Denver, CO.
    For the most part among manufactures and luthiers it is the norm for nuts to be set as low as possible (or very close)
    So tell me if your nut is set to the deck (or very close) how does one go about redefining the basic laws of physics in the manner in which you describe? :confused:
  16. SamanthaCay

    SamanthaCay Like bass guitar OMG!

    Nov 16, 2008
    Denver, CO.
    um... yeah no offense as to call you wrong here but it really doesn't explain anything other then that you may have more going on with your setup then you actually realize.

    Try and think about it this way.
    Whether the string is 5 feet off the board or 1/64 at the nut it is still in the same place from fret to saddle once fretted.

    That is the area that is being plucked picked what have you, as well that is the area that is producing the sound you hear.
    With that in mind how does changing nothing change something?

    It doesn't.
    As of now I can only assume from what you have said thus far that there is either A: something you are missing/failing to tell us or B: you have fallen victim to placebo.
  17. because it get's drilled into your head that it's 'scary' and if you touch it you're going to ruin your instruments neck. I was scared to do my own set ups for years then I said "i'm not paying 50 + strings for a setup, read everything i could find. yeah truss rod is not scary at all.

    but yeah, just look at the setup threads on talkbass, there are plenty of people on here telling people not to touch a truss rod and this is supposed to be the shining beacon of bass player wisdom.
  18. SamanthaCay

    SamanthaCay Like bass guitar OMG!

    Nov 16, 2008
    Denver, CO.
    From what I've read in your posts this seems that you are just repeating yourself, so I still have no clue how this works.

    If you want to further try and explain this, knock yourself out otherwise it's all good we can just agree to disagree and move on.:)
    No I don't understand that :D

    Because if the neck was in a back bow and you straightened it you would be raising the action. :D
  19. SamanthaCay

    SamanthaCay Like bass guitar OMG!

    Nov 16, 2008
    Denver, CO.
    I think where this comes from (I could be wrong here)
    is the desire to have an even amount of fret buzz across the board.
    Think Chris Squire/Billy Sheehan.
  20. SamanthaCay

    SamanthaCay Like bass guitar OMG!

    Nov 16, 2008
    Denver, CO.
    I'm not sure exactly the nature of your question here, but I'd guess you are asking what this word means as in the definition, so with that here's a wiki link.