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neck too straight?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by BrandonBass, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    hey guys i bought a new bass today and i dig its tone and all but it doesnt play as well as my old bass. The action at the 1st few frets and very nice but it gets kinda high ascending towards the last frets....

    i brought it to a lutheir just now and the dude said the neck is a tad too straight and just play for a week or so and it'll settle down???

    also, i tried raising the pickups to give more output. BUT one of the screwheads are kinda messed up(from repeated unscrewing maybe?) and i cannot unscrew it with a screwdriver....and i screwed?
  2. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    There's no such thing as too straight. A thing is either straight or it's not. What I think was meant is that there was too little relief.

    You could play it for a while and see what happens. But why wait. Adjust it now, and if it needs further adjustment later - adjust it then.
  3. the_fonz


    Nov 27, 2006
    Kane, PA
    that's not a question?
  4. wait a minute, let me get this right...

    you have good action on the first few frets and high action as it decends...

    well check your relief...if you have even a tiny bit, then your problem is probably your neck angle (that is, if it is a bolt on)...a good way to correct it (on a bolt-on) is to place a small shim (like a bit of metal cut from a coke can) in the neck pocket on the bridge side.
  5. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    place a shim on the neck pocket on the bridge side? dont catch your drift man...

    anyways i tried lowering the bridge and its better now. my bass has a 3point bridge and apparently its abit uneven. thanks for the help anyways
  6. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    A luthier explained to me that a neck does need a very, very slight bow in it. He says that it is because of how a string vibrates. A string's travel distance gets wider as you move closer to the middle of the string. For this reason, you can actually get a lower playing action if there is slight bow with the center of the bow at the 12th fret, to allow the string's center more movement room.

  7. that's exactly right...
    that is why it is also important to have a proper neck angle.
  8. While this is all true, some people think that NO relief is the way to go (a perfectly straight neck). It all depends on how little relief you can get away with. For example, you can have lower action with a higher guage string because the circle of rotation (travel distance) is smaller, because there's more tension. (So it would need less 'movement room') Also, longer strings (like a string through body) would result in higher string tension and you could get away with lower action (and less neck relief). Most necks need at least some relief though.

    There are a LOT of factors it all depends on!
  9. I agree with 80% of what you said...
    but the statement about string-through having more tension, that's a myth. It does improve break angle over saddle a bit, but does not change the orbit of a vibrating string.

    this is because, all things being equal (scale length, string, and tuning)...a string will have the SAME tension regardless of whether it is string-through body, or bridge anchored.
  10. Is that right?

    Could you explain more? There might not be much to explain, but I'm having trouble visualizing why or how. So if you had one guitar that was string through and another that was at the bridge, and tuned them to the same pitch the string through wouldn't have any more tension?

    I'm not really doubting you, as I'm sure you have much more experience than I do, but I just can't fully see why that works the way it does, and I would like to :)

    I just did a bit of research. I found this

    "If the string's mass per unit length remains constant, the longer the string, the higher the tension required to achieve the desired pitch."


    But does that just mean the longer the string *between the nut and saddle*, as in different scale lengths and such?
  11. jeffhigh


    May 16, 2005
    Yes, that is it.
    Nut to saddle distance (scale length) is what matters.
    The idea of string through body giving greater string tension is a popular myth but false
  12. The Craw

    The Craw

    Jul 31, 2006
    Brandon, think about it this way: if your action is low at the nut like it should be, and your neck is perfectly straight, then the only way you can get enough clearance for string movement in the middle of the fretboard's length is to raise the bridge saddles. That makes it harder to play toward the last frets.

    But if you allow some neck relief, then you'll have enough clearance in the middle without having to raise the bridge saddles too much, and that makes it easier to play in the upper register.

    It's always a balancing act. You want some relief, but not too much.
  13. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    ic. relief means how much my neck bends upward right? Because i do notice that my old bass' neck is bent upwards slightly.

    will my new bass gain 'relief' overtime?
  14. luthier is an idiot.
  15. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    Your bass needs a good setup (by a more helpful luthier) The neck probably needs a bit of relief, the neck might need to be shimmed and the bridge saddles adjusted. How low you'll be able to get the action will depend on how good the fretwork on your bass is, your strings and how hard you play.

    String tension remains the same whether string through body or not.

    As far as the pickup height screw goes--there are screw extractors you can buy that will make it easier to remove the thing so you can replace it with a new one. When you get it set up you can get that done too.
  16. Khronic

    Khronic Richard J. Naimish Banned

    Oct 24, 2006
    Grand Junction, CO.
    Nothing to do with the original question from Brandon Bass, but I'd like to chime in on the string tension debate. One of the factors rarely mentioned is what I refer to as overstring. The amount of string beyond the nut and saddle before the string reaches the solid anchor point. The more overstring you have, the more flexible the string will feel. (i.e. it's perceived tension seems lower because it bends a little easier) I don't notice this phenomenon myself, but many players swear they do.:meh:
  17. dTune


    Feb 28, 2004
    Could that be more because of the string being longer...

    What I mean is that a string is flexible lenghtwise. If you have two strings that are otherwise identical but the other one is longer, the longer one is "easier" to stretch. A 34" string will stretch 10 times as much as a 3,4" string, though this still is very little. So, the more "overstring" there is, the more the string can stretch while playing -> looser string.

    But most people think it has no effect so...Then again, someone who thinks it has an effect will probably say "most people think it has an effect"
  18. ldervish


    May 22, 2005
    Johnson City, TN
    I'm getting a headache
  19. FunkyFrosty


    May 28, 2006
    100% agree.

    For me, this part, is all about contact angles and basses with either or both string through bodies and string trees at the headstock, definately exhibit a higher tension "feel" to most players. Although of course the actual tension is only a factor of string gauge, string elasticity and scale length (between the bridge and the nut!!!)

    I believe that the greater break angle at the nut and at the bridge caused by string trees and through bodies respectively, does a better job of clamping the string to it's effective length over the bridge and nut and therefore makes the string "feel" tighter while being played.

    JMO through my own experiences though.

    Brandon, carefully read the setup sticky's at the top of this forum and you'll get a much better setup understanding.
  20. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Everyday I see a different thread here with "my luthier says this". Who are these luthiers and why are they so misinformed? You may just have to lower the saddles. Check your relief first. But what you described is the opposite of the neck being too straight.

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