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Neck Angle question

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by tandc, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. tandc


    Feb 10, 2014
    Hi, looking for little guidance really. I have just bought a Yamaha RBX270 bass. My action is too high, and I've been looking at stuff around the web to help me set it lower.

    I'm a little confused re the neck relief. A basic question I need to ask is this: - Is the neck supposed to be perfectly straight in accordance with the body? I've done a crude diagram to explain my question.

    'A' is a slightly exagrerrated (to show the point) view of the side of my bass. My neck is not straight to the body, subsequently the string (red) is at different heights around the fret. Should I really be looking to set the neck perfectly straight as in 'B'?

    Once I understand how the neck should sit, I can begin my other adjustments.

  2. Bassisgood4U

    Bassisgood4U Banned

    Jan 30, 2014
    On most basses, the neck is in line with the body(example B). On some others, the neck angle design tilts back like a Les Paul Guitar. Why are most basses in line? Much easier to build

    For your Yamaha..you want example B.
  3. You want the neck as straight as possible without fret buzz. Your "A" illustration is usually adjusted with the height of the bridge saddles. If your saddles are as low as they will go, then shimming the neck will help. Put a small shim, (maybe a strip of credit card 1/4" x 2 1/4") at the rear of the neck pocket. This will drop the head of the neck considerably Trial a error for the correct shim thickness is the only way to get it right. Neck relief is adjusted with the truss rod. Most players prefer a slight amount of relief.
  4. Relief is actually a curvature of the neck, not the angle of the neck compared to the body. When laying a straight edge down the neck the straight edge should touch the first and last frets, but around the 8th fret there should be some small gap. The string needs some room to vibrate in the middle. A perfectly straight neck with low action will allow the stings to vibrate against the frets half way between the selected fret and the bridge.

    If you cannot lower your action by lowering the bridge saddle pieces then check your relief and see if your neck is curved too much.

    If your relief is OK, your saddles lowered, and action is too high, THEN you may have a neck angle issue. See that your neck is properly seated in the pocket. Is it laying flat, or is there junk under it? Are the screws loose? You may have to shim ender the butt of the neck to tilt the neck back so the action is lowered.
  5. elBandito


    Dec 3, 2008
    Rotten Apple
    Neck angle is completely separate from neck relief. Truss rod adjustment does little to nothing to the neck at high frets. Getting rid of relief will not change the neck angle, and changing the neck angle will not change the neck relief. For example, even if you shim a neck with ski jump , you still have ski jump on the neck. As changing the neck angle won't give you more/less relief.
  6. tandc


    Feb 10, 2014
    Thanks guys. Got it pretty good now. Only thing is a bit of buzz on the E string when it is fretted and ringing. I also notice that the E is a touch flat when tested in a tuner at the 12th fret. All the other strings are fine, open and at 12th fret. Any ideas?
  7. Klonk


    Apr 28, 2011
    Google "intonation bass guitar setup" :)

    Or check any of the sticky threads in this section of the forum
  8. Remus_Redbone


    Dec 27, 2010
    Western AR
    Good pictures to use for discussion. Pic A isn't a wrong setup. In fact, basses have been produced for many years with the ability to "tilt" the neck to achieve the desired action.

    Most manufacturers recommend some relief. Imagine Pic B with the neck having a very slight bow upward, where the headstock end is slightly higher like in pic A, but higher from a bow, not an angle. The "bow" is neck relief. It's very slight. If you put a straight edge on the neck, the gap created between the neck and the straight edge due to the bow is around .012" - .015" for average relief.

    The relief allows room for the strings to vibrate without hitting frets and also provides a more consistent average height above all frets.

    A perfectly flat neck requires a setup like Pic A where the strings are slightly higher above each consecutive fret from the nut to the bridge. The lowest clearance is at the 1st fret and the highest clearance is at the last fret.